LeBron, Cavs favorites for 2016 NBA title; Bulls second in East


LeBron, Cavs favorites for 2016 NBA title; Bulls second in East

Fred Hoiberg has some lofty expectations in his first year with the Bulls, at least according to one sports book.

Bovada released its 2016 NBA Championship odds on Wednesday, and the Bulls tout the fourth best overall odds at 10:1. Their odds are second in the Eastern Conference, unsurprisingly behind LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers.

James, who has been to five straight NBA Finals, and the Cavaliers have NBA-best 3:1 odds to win the title in 2016. They're followed by the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors (5:1) and an Oklahoma City Thunder team (7:1) that will get back Kevin Durant next season.

[BULLS: Jim Boylen named associate head coach]

The Bulls have considerably better odds than the Atlanta Hawks, the East's top seed in this year's playoffs. With DeMarre Carroll and Paul Millsap both potentially leaving via free agency, the Hawks' 25:1 odds are eighth best in the NBA.

These odds certainly will change following next week's NBA Draft and, more importantly, after free agency begins on July 1.

Here's a complete list of the odds.

Cleveland Cavaliers 3:1
Golden State Warriors 5:1
Oklahoma City Thunder 7:1
Chicago Bulls 10:1
Los Angeles Clippers 10:1
San Antonio Spurs 10:1
Houston Rockets 18:1
Atlanta hawks 25:1
Memphis Grizzlies 25:1
Dallas Mavericks 33:1
Indiana Pacers 33:1
Miami Heat 33:1
New Orleans Pelicans 33:1
Portland Trailblazers 40:1
Toronto Raptors 40:1
Washington Wizards 40:1
Boston Celtics 50:1
Los Angeles Lakers 66:1
Denver Nuggets 100:1
Detroit Pistons 100:1
Milwaukee Bucks 100:1
Brooklyn Nets 100:1
New York Knicks 100:1
Phoenix Suns 100:1
Sacramento Kings 100:1
Utah Jazz 100:1
Minnesota Timberwolves 150:1
Charlotte Hornets 250:1
Orlando Magic 250:1
Philadelphia 76ers 250:1

Kendall Gill named to Illini Athletics Hall of Fame


Kendall Gill named to Illini Athletics Hall of Fame

Kendall Gill can add another bullet point to his resume.

NBC Sports Chicago's Bulls analyst was announced as a member of the University of Illinois' Athletics Hall of Fame for the Class of 2018. Gill enters in the same class as his coach at Illinois, Lou Henson, and former Bulls broadcaster Johnny "Red" Kerr.

Gill was a part of Illinois' 1989 Final Four team and earned consensus Second-Team All-America honors the following year as a senior when he led the Big Ten in scoring (20 points per game). He is third in program history in steals with 218.

He went on to have a 15-year NBA career, which included a stint with the Bulls.

Last year was the inaugural class for Illinois' hall of fame.

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.