Bulls Draft: Free agency look-ahead


Bulls Draft: Free agency look-ahead

Gar Forman insisted the Bulls would look for the best player available Thursday night, and he stayed true to his word when he drafted Kentucky point guard Marquis Teague with the 29th overall pick of the NBA Draft.

And if his comments last night were any indication, the Bulls general manager will be active in free agency, which begins July 1.

Forman specifically addressed trade rumors that first surfaced after the Bulls first round playoff exit in Philadelphia, when small forward Luol Deng and center Joakim Noah were being floated as potential trade pieces.

We dont respond to rumors. We like the direction in which were headed, Forman said. It was disappointing how this year ended with the injuries, and Ive said short-term, weve taken a little bit of a hit. Weve hit a bump in the road. But as far as what were looking at long-term, we still feel were headed in the right direction.

Forman noted that trade discussions involving the Bulls may have come up, but that the foundation the team had built was too talented to disassemble.

Were we actively shopping our players? Absolutely not. Were there conversations? All 30 teams have conversations about everybody on their roster, Forman said. But we like the core of this team, and its our job to continue putting pieces around Derrick and some of the other core guys and try to continue to trend up.

Many of those rumors stemmed from the strict financial constraints the Bulls will face this off-season. Forman, however, said the team moving forward will look to build on the basketball side first.

Much of that, Forman said, has had to do with Jerry Reinsdorfs commitment to allow the front office to build a winner.

Our decisions up to this point, and our decisions this summer will be basketball decisions. They wont be financial decisions, Forman said. Now, are finances a part of it going out the next three, four, five years? Of course, it always is in any decision you make. But were making basketball decisions.

Many expected the Bulls to draft a shooting guard or scorer on the wing Thursday night. Instead, the Bulls opted for Teague, a 19-year-old who had fallen to the Bulls pick. And while a point guard was not Chicagos most pressing need in the short-term, Forman said the team took both short and long-term needs into their selection process.

Youve got to weight both things, but we thought of what was left that (Teague) was the best prospect left on the board and in a scenario where, going forward, the next three, four, five years were going to have a need there, needs at several places, Forman said. But again, we were going to draft the best player. We werent going to draft for a specific need. Draft the best prospect that was left.

Forman said the team has several positions they must address in free agency, talks they have already discussed as an organization. Starting Sunday, they will begin speaking to free agents directly.

The contract statuses of small forwards Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer, and point guard C.J. Watson are sure to be at the forefront of those discussions.

And even with Teague on board, Forman said the team will address the point guard position in free agency. Whether that means bringing back Watson or signing a veteran free agent, someone else is likely to join Teague and the injured Rose in the back court this summer.

We still have to make a decision in regards to C.J., Forman said. And right now, were still gonna have to add another point guard one way or another.

And just as Forman made good on his promise to draft the best player available Thursday night, its also a good bet that the Bulls will be active in the free agency market.

Three Things to Watch: Bulls-76ers

NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Bulls-76ers

The Bulls square off against the Sixers tonight on NBC Sports Chicago, with coverage beginning at 6:30 with Bulls Pregame Live. Here are three things to watch as the Bulls begin the stretch run of their regular season.

1. The new rotation: Most of the Bulls’ rotation looks the same, but the addition of David Nwaba, Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Payne will have a different feel. The Bulls clearly want to get a look at these guys before the end of the regular season, meaning they’re not just going to get sporadic minutes. They’ll have to play through their mistakes, play out-matched at times and be put in uncomfortable situations. But the Bulls need to see what they have, especially in Payne, who has missed the entire season to this point with a broken foot.

2. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons: They’re quite the 1-2 punch and have the Sixers looking at their first playoff appearance since Derrick Rose hadn’t yet torn an ACL. Yeah, that’s a long time. Embiid just finished his first All-Star appearance (starting in his second year) and Simmons is the front runner for Rookie of the Year. The Bulls will have their hands full with these two. Luckily…

3. Kris Dunn is back: The Bulls wanted to get Dunn some run before heading to All-Star Weekend to play in the Rising Stars Challenge, and he looked healthy in that thumping against the Raptors last week. The good news is John Paxson says Dunn won’t be on a minutes limit, which means he’s healthy. That, of course, is more important than how he’s playing. It’ll be fun to see him, LaVine and Markkanen play together down the stretch. Their numbers together aren’t great, but the Bulls are 2-2 with all three in the lineup, and tanking or not…it’s more fun to watch when those three are rolling. 

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'


Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."