Bulls

Bulls Mailbag: Best fits for the Bulls rebuild

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USA TODAY

Bulls Mailbag: Best fits for the Bulls rebuild

Chicago native Patrick Beverley continues to have fun with Bulls fans on social media who are hoping the veteran guard signs with his hometown Bulls as a free agent this summer.

The latest tweet from Beverley came after the Bulls signed former Rockets' assistant coach Roy Rogers to join Jim Boylen's staff. Beverley seemed pretty excited about Rogers coming to Chicago, but it's open to interpretation whether that means he'd like to join the Bulls as well.

Still, it led to questions about how Beverley might fit in the Bulls' rebuild.

NHL...bluesml  @johnroy76

Actually wouldn't be a bad move and Beverley always wanted to come back home

I think the time is right to finish up his career.

Opinions are divided over whether Beverley would be willing to leave a playoff team in L.A. to join the rebuilding Bulls. Even though Doc Rivers is a big fan of Beverley's, there's a chance the Clippers might have to renounce his cap hold for a chance to sign two max free agents this summer. Beverley grew up in Chicago, playing his high school basketball at Marshall, and could be interested in coming home to finish his career. He'll turn 31 next month, but is coming off two highly productive seasons with the Clippers.

Beverley's defensive intensity is reminiscent of my old broadcast partner and three-time Bulls All-Star "Stormin' Norm" Van Lier, which makes him an ideal fit on a Bulls' team looking to play more physically and get mentally tougher next season. Beverley may not be a classic point guard, but he's a solid 3-point shooter which would be a big plus playing with Zach LaVine. Beverley also could be a terrific influence on Kris Dunn or whatever young point guard the Bulls might eventually add to the roster. He made just over $5 million dollars last season, so the price tag for signing him should be in the Bulls' range.

Dan O'Connell @danoconnell

Hunter + Taj + Pat Bev + 2nd Rd Athlete Big would be a nice off-season.

Dan sent this in after watching our video breakdown of Virginia forward De'Andre Hunter earlier this week. Hunter is considered a high floor/low ceiling prospect, but he outplayed Texas Tech star Jarrett Culver in the national title game, and shot 52 percent from the field and 43 percent  from the college 3-point line this past season.

At 6'7" with long arms, Hunter could play both forward spots and be a plus defender from Day 1 at the NBA level. Former Bull Taj Gibson and Beverley would be perfect as the kind of no nonsense, tough-minded veterans John Paxson talked about adding in his season-ending news conference. The Bulls also are scheduled to pick 38th with the 2nd round draft choice they acquired in the Justin Holiday trade with Memphis, and they could add another versatile athlete like Tennessee's Admiral Schofield, Arizona St.'s Luguentz Dort, Villanova's Eric Paschall or Virginia's Ty Jerome, among others.

 

Pete Chapman @PeteCha56613119

Terry Rozier bet on himself and he stunk last year. He probably will get something slightly more than 12 million per season, but not much. There are a lot of PG's available and 3 PG's are likely to go top 10. A 15M PG is a starting PG. Not sure he is that.

We recorded a podcast with Celtics' Insider A. Sherrod Blakely this week, and Sherrod indicated Rozier turned down Boston's contract extension offer last summer that started at $12 million dollars for the 1st season. Rozier averaged 16 points per game in the Celtics' run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2018, and as Pete mentioned, he thought he would hit it big in 2019 free agency as a restricted free agent.

Rozier didn't play nearly as well this season in limited minutes behind Kyrie Irving, but with Irving rumored to be looking for a new home, the Celtics will probably have to match any reasonable offer to keep Rozier on the roster. It doesn't seem likely the Bulls will get involved.

Gustavo Vega @iamvega1982

Bulls might have gotten lucky when Bobby Portis turned down their contract offer.

Like Rozier, Portis is heading into restricted free agency with an uncertain market. The Bulls reportedly were willing to pay Portis somewhere in the $12-14 million dollar range annually, but he turned it down before the opening night deadline. The Bulls then traded Portis and Jabari Parker's massive contract to Washington for Otto Porter Jr.

Portis played well after returning from an early season knee sprain, but it's hard to see him getting more than what the Bulls had been offering on the restricted market. His best bet could turn out to be re-signing with the Wizards since they're not likely to bring Parker back and have major needs on the frontline.

Ewin George @MasterGeorgeMan

Do you think it is possible for the Bulls to at least offer D'Angelo Russell a contract? Do you think Russell will be interested? How do you view his fit with this team?

It's pretty obvious the Nets are going big game hunting after agreeing to a trade with Atlanta that will free up about $15 million dollars in cap space. Reportedly, Kyrie Irving is seriously considering signing with Brooklyn, and Irving will try to convince Kevin Durant to join him on whichever team he lands on. That means the Nets will have to free up more cap space, and they could have to sacrifice Russell (a restricted free agent) in the process. The 23-year old point guard is coming off an All-Star season, averaging 21 points and 7 assists in helping Brooklyn make an unexpected run to the playoffs.

The Bulls would have to free up more cap space to extend a max contract offer to Russell, and it's difficult to say what he might be looking for in a new team. Shot selection has always been an issue for Russell, which immediately sends up red flags on how he would fit playing alongside LaVine. But the talent is obvious, and Russell would give the Bulls another shot creator and playmaker. It's pretty unlikely Russell will be available, but it's a situation the Bulls' front office will be monitoring closely.

FadeItOnThe1 @Sheikh_elite

I think Jarrett Culver will be solid.... I don't see star though. There would be better available Reddish, White, Garland (likely gone by 7).

And there lies the problem for the Bulls after their unfortunate tumble in the draft lottery. Whichever player they select at No. 7 is likely to start his career as a reserve with little expectation of developing into a future All-Star. Personally, I would like to see the Bulls take a chance on Reddish, who certainly looks the part of an impact player in the NBA, even after shooting 36 percent from the field in his only season at Duke.

Reddish is 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot wingspan, and scouts were comparing him to Paul George and Tracy McGrady coming out of high school. Sure, he could turn out to be a bust, but if Reddish lives up to his potential, he could provide immediate value as a 6th man and eventually take over as the starting small forward when Porter Jr.'s contract expires in two years. As for Culver, he has similar value as a 6th man and multi-position defender, but doesn't have the dynamic scoring potential scouts see in Reddish.

Allayne @made_allayne

Y'all like Jarrett Culver with in mind we just got Otto Porter?

As I mentioned above, Porter Jr. has two years left on the max deal he signed with the Brooklyn Nets (matched by Washington) as a restricted free agent for right around $55 million dollars. The 2nd year is a player option which Porter almost certainly will exercise. After that, the Bulls will be in the market for a starting small forward, which could turn out to be Porter on a new deal, Chandler Hutchison, or a player like Culver, Reddish or De'Andre Hunter they could draft at 7.

The Bulls' front office has to think long term, so if Darius Garland and Coby White are off the board, getting a potential future wing starter is probably their best option.

Chicago Bulls Report @BullsReport

Obviously the point guard position is a glaring issue, if they get the choice of Hunter/Culver or White are you thinking they're taking the best player available even with the SG/SF/PF spots filled?

We've been seeing various reports about which team might have promised Coby White they would draft him, which led to his early departure from the NBA Combine. My good friend K.C. Johnson of the Tribune reported he heard from a couple executives at the combine that the promise came from a team that will pick ahead of the Bulls. Since the Lakers are believed to be set on taking Vanderbilt guard Darius Garland at 4, it would have to be the point guard needy Suns who promised to take White at 6. But in recent days, we've seen reports suggesting the Bulls were the team that made a promise to White at 7.

Regardless, if White is on the board, I'm pretty confident in saying he'll be the Bulls' pick. John Paxson wants to provide competition for Kris Dunn at the point guard spot, and White is one of the fastest players in the draft with good size at almost 6'5" who could be an ideal push guard, and also play alongside Dunn at times. If Garland and White are gone, then it's best player available.

LAURI MARKKANEN'S BURNER @deven2021nu

Steve Kyler (Basketball Insiders) reported just a few days ago that reputable sources have informed him the Bulls promised to draft Coby White. Do you buy this? If they do end up with Coby, how do you see him fitting next to Zach?

It's possible the Bulls promised to take White at 7, but with the draft being as fluid as it is after the top 2 picks, I'm not sure they would want to affect their ability to trade up or down by committing to a player so early in the process. Plus, there's a good chance White won't even be there at 7. If White is the pick, he'll need to improve his spot up shooting to play alongside LaVine.

Under Jim Boylen's multiple ball handler system, LaVine has the ball in his hands a lot, especially in transition, and whoever is playing point guard needs to be able to find the open areas to spot up for jumpers when LaVine is attacking the rim. Still, with White's speed, he could be a terrific change of pace guard off the bench and would make the Bulls a more dangerous team in transition.

Lawrence Algee @la_smooth

Upside for Culver is Jimmy Butler...floor is that he is just another Denzel Valentine. If Garland is gone at 4, and White at 6, and Cam at 5...what other options are there?

I would take Culver if Reddish is off the board. He's a 6-foot-7 athlete who can score at all three levels, and like Butler, I think he will become an even better offensive player at the pro level. If the Bulls can find a team that's interested in moving up to 7 and trade back into the teens, they could look at upside prospects like USC shooting guard Kevin Porter Jr., North Carolina swingman Nassir Little, Gonzaga forward Brandon Clarke, Oregon center Bol Bol or Indiana shooting guard Romeo Langford. There are also a couple really solid power forward prospects who should be available in the 12-20 range, Gonzaga's Rui Hachimura and Kentucky's P.J. Washington (who reminds me A LOT of Taj Gibson).

The Nets-Hawks trade on Thursday is only the first of many that we'll be seeing in the next two weeks. With NBA teams anticipating Kevin Durant leaving the Warriors this summer, many of the contenders will be going all-in to try to strengthen their rosters for a potential championship run next season. It could lead to one of the wildest summers of transactions the league has ever seen.

 

Thad Young on the challenges of being a father in a racially unjust world

Thad Young on the challenges of being a father in a racially unjust world

Before getting to Jim Boylen’s future, the anticlimactic end to the Bulls’ campaign and the NBA’s unprecedented 22-team play-in format to finish its 2019-20 season, Thad Young had to address the full context at hand for his conference call with reporters.

For Friday marked the 11th day since George Floyd, a black man, died after white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly nine straight minutes. The killing has sparked mass unrest, protests and fervent discourse around racial injustice and police brutality across the globe. The world also continues to grapple with the new reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, which shuttered the NBA on March 11, and the rest of the United States (where the virus has killed over 100,000 and counting) soon after.

“I know we’re stuck in unprecedented times where we’re in the house during COVID and then the thing that happened with George Floyd and social injustice,” Young said before fielding questions on the call. “I just want to make sure to let everybody know that I hope everybody is safe and healthy with our families, and make sure we’re holding each and every one of us close and try to get through these tough times…”

Young, 31, is currently bunkered down in his family’s new home in Texas with his wife, Shekinah, and two sons. Parsing through the realities of a racially unjust world with his sons, to hear Young tell is, has been a balancing act.

“When they come up with a question, it’s very hard to answer that question because I don’t want them to have to grow up and fear for their lives or have to grow up and understand that they can’t do the same things that other people are doing,” Young said. “That’s one of the toughest things. You want to give your kid the world. You want to get them to understand that, ‘Hey, you can do whatever you want to do.’ In these times, it’s just not the same. You can’t do everything that somebody else is doing. 

“If I’m going to be specific about it, the black kid can’t do everything that a white kid is doing. Those are things that are very, very tough to talk about. But it’s a harsh reality and we have to talk about them. My kids are still young, six and nine. They understand certain things that are going on, but not entirely everything. 

“For me as a father, that’s probably one of the toughest conversations to ever have with your kids. They all have questions because there’s so much stuff on social media and so much stuff on YouTube, which is what all the kids are watching now. When they see a video pop up with different things that happened… My youngest son, he asked the other day, ‘Why did they kill that man, Daddy?’ It’s hard for me to answer that question because you don’t want to push him into the harsh reality of what it is. But you have to answer those tough questions and you have to have those tough conversations with your kids. It’s definitely hard. What happened is definitely saddening for me but it also scares me to death because I have two young boys.”

Sadder still because the direct onus of those difficult conversations falls on black families far more than their white counterparts. It’s a testament to how ingrained racial biases (at best) and racist practices (at worst) still are, even today.

The hope of Young, Zach LaVine, who spoke on an earlier call, and countless others calling and fighting for change, is that a new dawn is on the horizon. Whether substantive change comes to fruition remains to be seen, but Young emphasized that resolution will come through unity.

“It’s so early right now just to see if there’s going to be change. One of the things that I do see is we have some unity coming,” Young said. “We have some people who are getting together. We have these protests. People are coming out and letting their voices be heard. You have a lot of celebrities and very, very influential people who are following suit. The good thing is we have a lot of people who are speaking up for change and speaking up for freedom and peace. 

“We’re bringing more and more people together. One of the biggest things is to continue to do that. Continue to let our voices be heard. Stay together. Stay unified. And also make sure we do what’s right and steer everybody away from doing what’s wrong.”

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Zach LaVine explains decision to vote, thoughts on fight for social justice

Zach LaVine explains decision to vote, thoughts on fight for social justice

At a rally to address social justice issues in Seattle on Thursday, Zach LaVine made both an important plea and a notable admission.

“Go vote,” he said, via a video from Percy Allen of The Seattle Times. “I haven’t been able to go and do that yet, but coming this November I am going to, because I know it’s gonna change something.”

In the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, which has sparked global unrest and protests, many have voiced the need for change, unity and concerted action to combat police brutality and injustice. LaVine added to that chorus (and past comments of his own) on a Friday conference call with reporters. 

He also confirmed that he’s never voted before, but made it a point to explain the evolution of his involvement in politics in his comments.

“It (voting) just wasn’t something that I was hip to,” LaVine said. “Obviously, I know that you have the right to vote, but everybody doesn’t have to. With what’s going on, I think it matters a lot more now, at least to me, because I think every single vote counts. Before, I wasn’t educated at all on it. I’m trying to educate myself now more on the politics and what goes on and how things are voted on. So just taking action in my own community and trying to do my part is the reason why I’m moving forward with that.”

LaVine went on to encourage others to educate themselves — as he has and continues to do — on issues that resonate with them and act on them at the ballot box.

“Go out there and not just vote for presidency but things in your own community, as well,” LaVine said. “Because everything that you vote for can make a change and put those people who are in power to hear your voice and help make that change, as well. Educating yourself, making sure that we're all together, because what's going on isn't right.”

Action outside of the electoral process can manifest in different ways for different people. For some, it’s seeking out education on topics once unfamiliar to them. For others, it’s speaking out — whether it be in their own social niches or on social media. For one person, it might mean donating. For another, it might mean protesting. 

Whatever one’s personal preference or capacity, LaVine is imploring any and all allies to the cause to get involved, now more fervently than ever.

“This has been going on for a long time. I think the video cameras shed light on a lot of things, what's been going on with the world and police and different things like that,” LaVine said. “I think now that we're starting to get this platform for all athletes and entertainers to use our platform for good, and I just want to continue to go out there and share that, as well. There's going to have to be some type of movement, and maybe it might not be this generation, it might be the next, but you know, it can't continue to be this way.”

LaVine’s advice for those looking for ways to take action was all-encompassing, and centered on being unabashedly yourself.

“Educate yourself. Be active. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and be different either. Go out there and try to make a change even if you have an opinion and you’re the only one in the room talking,” LaVine said. “Don’t be afraid of that, because I think now with what’s going on, everybody has a certain opinion and now that everybody is talking, it’s OK to have that opinion. If something settles down and you’re the only one with an opinion, I think it’s a little bit harder for someone to speak up. So don’t feel scared about that. And go out there and do what’s right for you.”

He also parsed through the complex nature of the protests, which have in some instances featured looting.

“Everybody has a voice right now and we’re bringing attention to it, to where we have to be heard,” LaVine said. “Some of the negatives, obviously there’s a lot of frustration, not just in the black community but a lot of communities, where looting and things are going on. And you have to understand everybody’s situation. 

“For me personally, I don’t like looting and stealing, but if that’s a way for people to get their frustration out, that’s how it has to be. But it’s not being portrayed that way. It’s being portrayed as the black community is looting when that’s just the way of frustration and getting things out. And the black community isn’t the only one looting. The TV has their own narrative and they’re going to share their own narrative so we’ve got to be careful about that.”

The Bulls, according to LaVine, recently assembled on a Zoom call to talk through their emotions in the wake of the events of the past few weeks, organized by Arturas Karnisovas. LaVine called it a “safe space,” and pledged continued action moving forward.

“Not everybody has somebody to talk to or they feel afraid to talk, so, a safe space to talk and I think moving forward we're obviously going to do something,” LaVine said. “I think the league's going to do something. But I think that's going to come at a time when we can get together and actually sit down and think of something that's powerful.”

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