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Bulls practice observations, from two former NBA players

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USA TODAY

Bulls practice observations, from two former NBA players

Editor's note: On Wednesday, the Bulls invited their broadcast partners to watch the entire practice. Kendall Gill and Will Perdue, who have a combined 28 years of NBA experience, were on hand and shared their observations.

Will Perdue

As many sports fans around Chicago worry about whether Mitch Trubisky is the quarterback of the Bears' future, I think about bigger and better things for the basketball landscape of Chicago. I was able to catch the Bulls practice this past Wednesday and came away with a few thoughts as the team heads toward their first preseason game on Sunday.

Zach Lavine just glides around the court. Very few players in the NBA have his athleticism, but as I asked on Media Day: "Is this the year he shows us the talents that change the perception of him as a great athlete who plays basketball, to a basketball player with superior athleticism?” Is he truly a candidate for this season's All-Star Game?

Robin Lopez reminded me he’s still a very skilled big man. He may be a plodder, but he’s developed a soft touch on his jumper and makes smart decisions with the ball in his hands. As much as I like what Wendell Carter brings to the table - exceptional lateral quickness and great timing to block shots - he still needs some seasoning as he’s very hesitant on the offensive end of the floor.

Bobby Portis might be the Bulls' best 3-point shooter and he doesn’t hesitate to let it fly. I think it’s in the best interest for Portis and the Bulls to come to some kind of agreement and sign an extension. Portis needs to remember that he’ll have another contract after this one. Give him props, he’s worked hard on his game and it shows.

I know there’s plenty more individuals on this roster, but the ones mentioned above were the players that really jumped out at me for this ONE practice that I watched. The biggest question that needs to be addressed is: Will the Bulls defense make a significant improvement? Practice on this day started with a discussion on how to play screens on crosses in the paint and screens on the wing.

I was asked to clarify something for Coach Jim Boylan. The Bulls plan on using switches on the perimeter as an option within their defense, but it is not their first option. They worked on it in Summer League and have been working on it in practice to see if they have the personnel for it to work effectively. Time will tell. Defense is about the pride, willingness and effort to make it work. That’s on the players. Is there a player/leader that will not only lead by example, but be the voice that holds himself and others accountable?

My initial thoughts that I had throughout the summer haven’t changed after watching practice. This team has talent and depth. This team will be fun to watch. This teams has the necessary parts to be a playoff team, but can the coaches and players figure it out quick enough to make the playoffs a reality? The Eastern Conference is going to be tougher than people think and the Bulls will play some of the tougher Western Conference teams early. I’m currently optimistic that they’ll find a way, but there’s  plenty of work that needs to be done prior to the Bulls opener on October 18 in Philadelphia. 

Kendall Gill

The morning session on the second day of training camp looked good. Sloppy team play at first but then the team got it together and finished strong. I felt all of the players were sharp. Not one of them looked rusty.

I was particularly impressed with the way Bobby Portis shot the ball from deep, knocking down six 3-pointers in a row before missing. Jabari Parker can really score the ball, especially from mid-range and taking it to the basket. Zach Lavine looks as if the ACL injury is behind him. He played hard and aggressive, coming through with a couple of spectacular dunks.

Wendell Carter physically is there.  I'm impressed with a couple of nice blocks on the defensive end,  but he still needs time before being a starter. He's not quite ready yet.

Denzel Valentine also shot the ball really well and practiced like a legit veteran.

Now, here's the thing that stood out most to me: Fred Hoiberg will have to run plays to get Lauri Markkanen involved in the offense because you have three players that like having the ball in their hands to make a play: Dunn, Lavine and Parker. Hoiberg has his work cut out for him to balance everything between the four players. I believe that this team can make the playoffs if they stay healthy. Its a long season, so we will see.

NBA Board of Governors pass new, stricter anti-tampering rules

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USA TODAY

NBA Board of Governors pass new, stricter anti-tampering rules

After much discussion over whether or not the NBA should impose harsher penalties on teams for breaking the anti-tampering rules, an official decision has been made. The NBA Board of Governors passed a much more strict set of rules that will force teams to be compliant with the anti-tampering rules.

Among the new measures, the league will be selecting five teams per year that will undergo a "random audit", the maximum amount for a fine related to tampering has been raised to $10 million and team officials are required to save communications with agents for one full year.

The league will also retain the right to take the communication devices of owners if it is deemed necessary in investigations, though it has been stated that it is not something that Adam Silver wants to rely on moving forward. 

Though concrete details have not been released, possible punishments for tampering will reportedly include taking away draft picks, the voiding of contracts and more.

This is all in an attempt to create a more "even playing field" amid the belief that small-market teams are at a disadvantage when it comes to player movement. The new rules sound great but there is already fear among NBA GMs when it comes to how their privacy will be affected with this being a clear area of focus for the league. 

Along with the new, harsher tampering penalties, the league also announced that they have changed the language regarding traveling calls to "address the uncertainty around traveling." Another new rule announced was that teams are now required to announce their starting lineups at least 30 minutes before tipoff as opposed to 10 minutes, in an effort to "increase transparency for teams, media and fans." Teams will still be allowed to change their lineups up to the last minute if a player gets hurt in pregame warmups. 

All of the new anti-tampering rules approved by the league on Friday were a response to this wild NBA offseason we just experienced. There were many deals agreed to right at the start of free agency, such as the Bulls with Thaddeus Young, and the timing of those deals had many owners wanting the league to make tampering a greater focus. To a greater extent, moves like Anthony Davis forcing his way to the Lakers and Kawhi Leonard orchestrating he and Paul George's move to the Clippers are what got this package of anti-tampering measures passed.

Adam Silver has picked up a reputation as an NBA Commissioner who is very willing to listen to new ideas and make changes, and Friday's events support that reputation as he and the league continue to look for the best ways to get NBA teams to be in compliance with the anti-tampering rules. 

Is Ryan Arcidiacono trying to become the fourth Jonas Brother?

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Is Ryan Arcidiacono trying to become the fourth Jonas Brother?

The Jonas Brothers are in Chicago for concerts that are taking place on Thursday and Friday night, and they have enjoyed quite a week. This week the trio has enjoyed a nice golf outing at Village Links in Glen Ellyn, had some quality BBQ at Bub City and even got the amazing opportunity to play a touch football game at Soldier Field. But one particular Bulls guard is looking to add another fun experience to their Chicago trip.

The Bulls organization welcomed the Jonas Brothers to the city with a set of custom jerseys for the trio and their significant others and that's when Ryan Arcidiacono chimed in with his offer. 

Since the Jonas Brothers have already got to play some football on the actual Soldier Field grass, Arci figured they might as well keep the Chicago sports-themed fun going and shoot some hoops with him. 

Now, Arcidiacono didn't make it clear whether or not he was offering for the Jonas Brother to get some shots up with him at the United Center, where their shows take place on Thursday and Friday night. But, either way, his time is running out as they will be moving on to Jackson County, MO for their next stop on tour on September 21.

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