Bulls

The three teams that make the most sense as landing spot for Derrick Rose

The three teams that make the most sense as landing spot for Derrick Rose

Basketball Insiders writer Steve Kyler wrote this morning that the “Bulls are actively open to moving guard Derrick Rose."

The news that the Bulls are shopping Rose is not surprising given his injury history and that the former MVP has one year left on his contract. If the Bulls believe he will leave (or if they have no intention of re-signing him) then it makes sense to try and get something in return for him now before his value diminishes. As a rule, even if Rose has a great season, you won’t get much in return for him as a trade deadline rental next February.

The main question then becomes, which teams make sense as a landing spot for Rose? Here are the criteria for any team that would realistically approach the Bulls in trade talks for the Chicago native.

1. Cap space, and plenty of it.

Reason: Rose is due $21.3 million next season. The Bulls don’t want to take on a bad contract in return, so any team trading for Rose would have to be able to absorb his contract into its 2016-17 cap space.

Eliminates: Thunder, Spurs, Raptors, Warriors, Cavs, Clippers

2. Lack of a star already at point.

Reason: Let’s be honest. Any team that trades for Rose believes that he’s an upgrade over their current point guard. The Blazers aren’t trading for Rose just to backup Damian Lillard.

Eliminates: Blazers, Pistons, Celtics, Hawks, Heat, Wizards, Hornets, Pelicans, Rockets, Suns, Mavericks, Grizzlies (Note: Memphis may lose Mike Conley in free agency. If they do, they’ll need PG help)

3. No potential star that a team is trying to develop.

Reason: A team that is trying to develop a young point guard isn’t going to trade for Rose unless they believe that adding Rose will catapult them from the lottery into the playoffs.

Eliminates: Lakers, Nuggets, Magic, Jazz

4. No central division teams.

Reason: Can you imagine if Rose plays 70 games next season and puts up 20 and 6 a night in a different uniform? The last thing the Bulls front office wants is to trade Rose to a division opponent and get torched by him four times a season.

Eliminates: Pacers, Bucks

5. Your new head of basketball operations is a former Bulls coach who had a messy divorce with the Bulls front office.

Reason: Do your job

Alternate reason: More than enough to win

Eliminates: Wolves

6. Must have worthwhile asset to offer.

Reason: Unless the Bulls want to just dump Rose’s salary, they will want some compensation in return. Likely a mid-to-late first round pick or a rotation player.

Eliminates: Nets (seriously, have you looked at their roster?)

This leaves us with just three teams that are viable trade options: the Kings (who will likely lose Rondo), Sixers, and Knicks. All things equal, the Bulls would likely prefer the Kings because you only have to play Rose twice and there’s no threat of facing him in the playoffs.

The Kings are also interesting because the Bulls reportedly rejected a trade deadline offer for Pau Gasol that centered around Ben McLemore and big man Kosta Koufos. The Bulls could request that the protection be lifted off the 2017 pick that the Kings owe Chicago (top-10 protected) but the Sixers would have to get involved since they have the right to swap picks with Sacramento courtesy of the Nik Stauskas trade. It’s messy, and wouldn’t be an easy part of the deal to pull off.

The Knicks and Sixers have both the assets and cap space. Philadelphia is especially intriguing because they have the 24th and 26th picks in the first round and could be willing to part with one (or both) for Rose. It’s well-known that Philly believes it can be a playoff team next season and drafting two projects at the end of the first round doesn’t fit into its post-process plans. The danger here is that it’s widely considered to be a weak draft but Gar Forman and John Paxson have shown they can pick gems at the end of the first round.

There is no pressure to trade Rose, he is still loved by the average fan, and he believes he has a lot left to give a team. For any trade to work, both teams have to feel they are getting good value in return. This is not a Deng-salary-dump-to-Cleveland situation. Trading Rose would be a bold move, especially for a front office that is not known for making ‘big’ trades.

Reflective Jimmy Butler looks back on time in Chicago during All-Star weekend

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USA TODAY

Reflective Jimmy Butler looks back on time in Chicago during All-Star weekend

LOS ANGELES—

Jimmy Butler was absent from the scoresheet of the All-Star Game, unless you count a “DNP-Coaches’ Decision” as activity. Whether due to the All-Star festivities of the weekend or even the grinding minutes he plays under Tom Thibodeau, it wasn’t truly surprising to see him want to have a night off of sorts.

But what was mildly surprising was the reflection he displayed on Saturday at All-Star Media Day in reference to his time with the Chicago Bulls. Usually, Butler’s armor is up because of his feelings surrounding his draft-night departure.

“I learned a lot in Chicago,” Butler said. “Just all through the season and life in general. What to do, what not to do and how to adapt to any situation that you’ve been in. I’ve done that to the best of my abilities. I have a ways to go in that.”

It’s clear he’s still grasping the weight of his words as the best player on a team, or at least, the player whose words impact everything around him.

“A people pleaser? No, I just didn’t say much,” Butler said. “Now I just don’t care. I never talked whenever I was in the league at an early age. It really didn’t matter, nothing I did was gonna make or break us when it comes to losing a game. Now it does and I have a lot to say. Half the time it’s not the right time or right way to say it but it’s okay.”

Whether it was the battles with Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg or the internal struggles in the Bulls’ locker room through his ascension from bench warmer to rotation player to impact player to now, a legitimate star, he’s modifying his approach—just a tad.

“I’ve never been the best player on my own team. I was in Tomball,” he joked, in reference to his beginnings in small town Texas. “I wasn’t in junior college. At Marquette I wasn’t. I’m probably not now. In Chicago I wasn’t. You just pick up on it, watch others and learn.”

He admitted to writing in a journal and reading self-help books now that he’s in Minnesota. The novel he’s reading now, “Faith, Forward, Future” is authored by Chad Veach, a Los Angeles pastor and the subtitle of the book says “Moving past your disappointments, delays and destructive thinking.”

Whether he started the book following a slow start with the Timberwolves in November, where his nightly numbers looked like one of a high-level role player, he took some self-evaluation before leading the charge since, playing like an MVP candidate with 25.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists on 49 percent shooting since the start of December.

“It’s relatively new. Yeah, basketball is still basketball but it’s hard when somebody else is coming in and roles change overnight,” Butler said. “You gotta see where you fit in with the group. At the end of the day you gotta win. I didn’t feel the way I was playing was our best opportunity to win games.”

Bringing along the likes of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, with Towns being a fellow All-Star for the first time, has been a process.

“I’ve never actually had to be a leader,” Butler said. “I just always done what I was supposed to do, didn’t say much and played hard. Now you know, everybody wants to call someone a leader.”

He disputes taking a softer hand, especially as Towns and Wiggins seem to struggle with sustaining concentration at critical moments. The Timberwolves won’t be able to make those mistakes during the playoffs, but he’s being more selective with his words.

“I’m not soft,” he said. “If I see something wrong, I speak on it. If you don’t like it, oh well. You’ll get over it.”

One thing he could take a bird’s eye view of was the aftermath of LeBron James and Kevin Durant’s comments to the “Uninterrupted”, where they were criticized by cable news hosts for speaking out against President Donald Trump.

No stranger to criticism, Butler would likely have the same approach if he dipped his toes into that arena.

“I like it. You got the right to say what you want and you speak on what you think is right,” Butler said. “Good for them. And they are magnified in a very big way. They embrace it and they’re doing the right thing, I’m all for it.”

And if the day comes where he doesn’t stick to sports, Butler’s directness and lack of diplomacy would certainly cause an interesting reaction.

“I don’t care. Whatever I believe in, I believe in,” Butler said. “Everybody else does it. You see everybody on Twitter and the Internet doing it and saying what they want to say. We just have a different job than the person to our left and right.”

Well, not quite a warm and fuzzy Jimmy Butler.

Anthony Davis could be the lone torch-bearer for Chicago at All-Star weekend in 2020, and object of recruitment

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AP

Anthony Davis could be the lone torch-bearer for Chicago at All-Star weekend in 2020, and object of recruitment

There were no Lakers or Clippers in the 2018 All-Star Game, but Los Angeles was well-represented with plenty of homegrown talent, plenty of historians with Los Angeles ties and all the pageantry L.A. can provide.

Russell Westbrook, Paul George and James Harden are among the All-Stars who came home to put on the biggest show of entertainment the league has to offer, and the new format featuring captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry produced one of the most competitive finishes in recent All-Star history as the spectacle wasn’t lost on DeRozan, who plays for the conference-leading Toronto Raptors.

“It was a dream come true,” DeRozan said. “I’ll forever be a part of this, and to come out and be a starter in my hometown, it was a dream come true.”

With Chicago hosting the event in 2020, one wonders if the city or the Bulls will be as represented.

“What better time to do it than in Chicago?” Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen said about his aspirations of being an All-Star sooner rather than later.

New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, to this point, is the only Chicagoan carrying the torch as an All-Star. For years, Chicago could claim their homegrown talent rivaled the likes of Los Angeles and New York, the self-proclaimed “Mecca”.

But now they’ve fallen behind in the way of star power, as Derrick Rose has gone from MVP to one of the biggest “what if” stories in modern-day sports. Jabari Parker was expected to be next in line but his future as a star is murky due to the same dreaded injury bug.

“I didn’t know that. But there’s a lot of great players (from Chicago),” Davis said Saturday during media availability. “Jabari is just coming back, Derrick is going through what he’s going through. That’s fine. D-Wade is getting older. We have a lot of great guys. Guys have been hurt, in D-Wade’s case he’s just getting up there in age now (laughs).”

Davis is arguably the league’s most versatile big man, keeping the New Orleans Pelicans afloat while DeMarcus Cousins is out with an Achilles injury. He’s had to watch the likes of George deal with free agent questions about the prospect of coming home to L.A., even after he was traded from Indiana to Oklahoma City in the offseason.

It still hasn’t stopped the chants from Lakers fans, panting after George in the hope he’ll be a savior of sorts. And even though his contract isn’t up for another few seasons, teams are lining up in the hope they can acquire him through free agency or trade.

It could very well be him getting the chants when the All-Star party comes to Chicago and he could be joined by the likes of Markkanen and Zach LaVine in the big game.

LaVine was in Los Angeles for the weekend and Markkanen opened eyes around the league with his showing in the rising stars game as well as the skills challenge.

Davis could wind up being the object of everyone’s affection and could find himself being recruited by the likes of LaVine.

Even though 2021 is a long way away, a guy can dream, right?

“I mean, I’m cool with a lot of dudes in the NBA. I feel like I’m a likeable guy,” LaVine told NBCSportsChicago.com about recruiting star players to the Bulls franchise. “I can talk about situations like that, it would be my first time being put in a position. It would be a little bit different but I think I can handle it.”

LaVine has his own contract situation to take care of this summer, being a restricted free agent but understands the Bulls’ salary cap position and their long-term goals.

“Yeah I think once the offseason comes and everybody settles down, and I’m comfortable, and I know the position I’ll be in,” LaVine said to NBCSportsChicago.com.

“I think we’ll start having those conversations because we want to get the franchise back to where it was, on that high plateau. That’s what it’s supposed to be.”

“I’m trying to solidify myself in the league to a certain degree. Once you start reaching those points you can talk to anybody to get to where you want to get to.”

LaVine attended several events over the weekend and shared the same space as several All-Stars in non-media settings. It’s easy to see why he would think he could have that affect with his peers.

Being careful about the rules on tampering, he said about a potential sit-down with Davis, “I would bring some Harold’s chicken to the meeting and we’ll be all good.”