Bulls

NBA MVP signs lucrative extension

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NBA MVP signs lucrative extension

From Comcast SportsNetCHICAGO (AP) -- It seemed like something out of a movie script the moment the Chicago Bulls took Derrick Rose with the No. 1 pick in the draft. The latest twist? A maximum contract extension. That's just another milestone in a rapid and steady rise for the point guard from the city's South Side to stardom with his hometown team. The reigning NBA MVP agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Chicago Bulls worth approximately 94 million, a person familiar with the situation said. The Chicago Tribune, citing anonymous sources, first reported the deal. The person spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Tuesday night because the deal had not been finalized. The extension will start in the 2012-13 season, when Rose is eligible to make about 16 million. The Bulls scheduled a news conference for Wednesday, though they won't say what it is for. "It's something big, but I think I want to talk more about it (Wednesday), with my family and everybody being there," the star point guard said after the Bulls' preseason victory over Indiana on Tuesday night. "But it's definitely something big." And, teammates say, it was well-earned. "We're all very excited for him," Carlos Boozer said. "He deserves it. He puts in a lot of effort. I wish the contract was for 10 years." The chance to join Rose in the backcourt was a big draw for Richard Hamilton. The veteran shooting guard signed with the Bulls last week after being bought out by the Detroit Pistons, and so far, he likes what he sees. "He works hard," Hamilton said. "He's young. He's 23 years old and the way he plays on the floor is the way he practices. In order to be great in this league, you just can't turn it on (during) games. He really has a great work ethic." The deal is more of a formality than a surprise. Rose and general manager Gar Forman had indicated it would get done, and it was not hard to see why they wanted to stay together. The Chicago product went from Rookie of the Year to All-Star to MVP in his first three seasons, becoming the youngest player to win that award. About the only thing he doesn't have is a championship ring, and that's what weighs on him as he enters his fourth season -- not the money. "I think I live a humble life," Rose said. "Of course, I know I'll be able to afford whatever I want, but other than that, there aren't too many things that excite me. Me winning is one of the things. Me being around my family, that's another. Money, that's the last thing I think about." The Bulls came close to winning it all last season, winning a league-high 62 games and advancing all the way to the Eastern Conference finals before losing to the Miami Heat. Now, they're looking for more. Rose has repeatedly pointed the finger at himself for the Bulls coming up short against the Heat in the playoffs. He worked on his inside game in the offseason after expanding his shooting range in previous years, but it's hard to imagine him accomplishing much more than he did last season. Rose delivered one of the best seasons by a point guard. He also joined Michael Jordan as the only Bulls players to win the MVP award. The South Side product established himself as one of the league's best players, averaging 25 points and 7.7 assists while leading Chicago to its best season since the championship era with Jordan and Scottie Pippen. For Rose, the contract extension is just another milestone in a rapid rise from the city's rough Englewood neighborhood to a starring role with the Bulls. He helped Simeon Career Academy become the first Chicago Public League team to win back-to-back state championships, then led Memphis to the NCAA championship game before the Bulls drafted him with the No. 1 pick in 2008 after defying long odds to win the lottery. "The Bulls are loyal," Rose said. "They've stayed loyal with me, showed that they trusted me by picking me to come here. I just feel blessed, and I'm just happy that I'm here."

There are 600,000 reasons you won't hear Gar, Pax or Hoiberg discuss losing

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AP

There are 600,000 reasons you won't hear Gar, Pax or Hoiberg discuss losing

The Bulls made headlines on Tuesday when VP John Paxson announced that David Nwaba, Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Payne would be entering the rotation, thus continuing the youth movement in Chicago.

On the surface the moves make sense. The 24-year-old Nwaba, the 25-year-old Felicio and the 23-year-old Cameron Payne will be replacing 28-year-old Justin Holiday, 29-year-old Robin Lopez and 25-year-old Jerian Grant. The Bulls want to see what they have in these younger players who haven't played much; they already know what they have in Lopez and Holiday, and Grant (like the other two) is under contract through next year.

OK, got that? Here's why they're making the move: they're sitting 8th in the NBA Lottery standings and really want to move into the top-5 to give themselves a chance at what should be a loaded front-end of the draft class. It's pretty obvious, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either named Gar Forman, John Paxson or Fred Hoiberg.

And here's why: On Wednesday Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined a whopping $600,000 by the NBA for comments he made on a podcast regarding tanking. The Mavericks are currently 18-40, the third worst record in the NBA. This comes a season after they finished 33-49, netting them the No. 9 pick that turned into talented point guard Dennis Smith Jr.

So when Cuban was asked about the best interests of his Dallas team, which touts young talent but clearly isn't headed for the postseason in 2018, he said this on the House Call with Dr. J Podcast:

"I'm probably not supposed to say this, but, like, I just had dinner with a bunch of our guys the other night, and here we are, you know, we weren't competing for the playoffs. I was like, 'Look, losing is our best option. [Commissioner] Adam [Silver] would hate hearing that, but I at least sat down and I explained it to them. And I explained what our plans were going to be this summer, that we're not going to tank again. This was, like, a year-and-a-half tanking, and that was too brutal for me. But being transparent, I think that's the key to being kind of a players owner and having stability."

Cuban isn't wrong, and the Mavericks sure as hell aren't the only team tanking. But to come right now and admit that losing is the team's best option wasn't, as Cuban predicted, going to sit well with the league office.

Commissioner Adam Silver sent out a memo with the fine that said Cuban's comments "which concerned his perspective on the team's competitive success this season" were "detrimental to the NBA."

So while the Bulls are going about their business in trying to lose as many games down the stretch as possible, don't expect anyone to admit it's the reason behind their personnel moves. There are 600,000 reasons why.

NBA Draft Tracker: Michigan State's Miles Bridges

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USA TODAY

NBA Draft Tracker: Michigan State's Miles Bridges

NBA general managers were fully expecting to see Miles Bridges declare for the 2017 draft after a solid, but unspectacular freshman season at Michigan State. Bridges arrived in East Lansing as one of the nation’s top prospects, and his impressive leaping ability led to a number of highlight reel plays for Tom Izzo’s Spartans.

Problem is, Bridges didn’t show much versatility to his offensive game because of an inconsistent outside shot and inability to create shots off the dribble. Bridges probably would have been a late lottery pick last year on athletic talent alone, but to his credit, he decided to go back to Michigan State for his sophomore season and work on some of his weaknesses.

Unfortunately for Bridges, he really hasn’t shown much improvement year to year. Yes, he’s leading the Big Ten in free throw shooting at 89%, but his other numbers are basically flat from season to season. Bridges averaged 16.9 points a year ago, 17.1 this season. He shot .486 from the field in 2016-17, .477 this year. Even with all the work he put in on his 3 point shooting, his percentage has dropped slightly this season, from .389 to .376. Rebounding is also down slightly, from 8.3 to 6.8. 

Bottom line, Bridges is once again projected as a late lottery pick.

How does he fit for the Bulls? It’s no secret small forward and center are the two positions of need heading into the 2018 draft, and the 6-7 Bridges would give the Bulls another athletic frontcourt player who fits the pace and space game Fred Hoiberg prefers. Bridges could be a real weapon running the floor with Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine for alley-oop dunks, and he should continue to improve as a 3 point shooter.

The Bulls are hoping to land a top 5 pick to add one of the elite players in this draft, and unless the Pelicans drop into the late lottery, Bridges will probably be gone by the time that selection comes up. He’s probably a bit of a reach in the 6 to 10 range, but if positional need and athletic potential are the most important factors for the Bulls, Miles Bridges could be the choice if they don’t improve their position in the current lottery watch standings.

Personally, I would prefer either Kentucky’s Kevin Knox or Villanova’s Mikal Bridges (no relation) over Miles Bridges as a small forward prospect, but all 3 players offer different skill sets that could be helpful to a young, developing team like the Bulls.

The dream scenario would be drafting a young center like Deandre Ayton, Jaren Jackson Jr. or Mo Bamba with a top 5 pick, then coming back to add one of those 3 small forward prospects with the 1st rounder they acquired in the Niko Mirotic trade with New Orleans. We’ll all have to wait until the lottery is held on May 15th to see if the Bulls are in position to add two more foundation pieces to their rebuilding project.