Bulls

Chauncey Billups praises the Bulls rebuild

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USA TODAY

Chauncey Billups praises the Bulls rebuild

During Thursday night's NBA draft, the Chicago Bulls selected Duke's Wendell Carter Jr. at No. 7 and Boise State's Chandler Hutchison at No. 22. The two picks provide Chicago with two players who have a strong possibility of cracking the starting lineup sooner rather than later.

After discussing how Carter's physicality on both ends of the floor reminds him of former Blue Devil and Bull Carlos Boozer, Billups went on to say, "And I just love who took him. I love what they're putting together there. I like their backcourt with Dunn and LaVine. These two big guys, him and Markkanen, are going to play very well together."

Chandler Hutchison is a long and rangy wing. At six-foot-seven-inches, with a seven-foot-one-inch wingspan, it is easy to see how Hutchison has a better chance of developing into a solid two-way small forward than anyone currently on the Bulls roster.

When discussing Hutchison, Billups said, "He reminds me of a guy who was a standout rookie last year, Kyle Kuzma. Very high basketball IQ, handles well for his size. Ability to create his own shot. He’s just a fluid athlete with great size for a wing player. I love his foot work. I think he is going to fit in just well."

“I like what the Bulls have done. They’ve done a great job with their wing and interior positions.”

It is hard to disagree with Billups' assessment. A lineup of Kris Dunn-Zach LaVine-Hutchison-Lauri Markkanen-Carter Jr. is what the Bulls could be working towards. That lineup may not sound crazy at first, but it packs a ton of scoring punch, and Dunn and Carter—and to some degree Hutchison— theoretically have the defensive chops to cover for Markkanen and LaVine. 

And with floor-spacing being of the utmost importance in today's NBA, it is great that the Bulls were able to grab two players who shot over 35 percent from the 3-point line in their college careers. 

During the end of year press conference, John Paxson referenced not wanting to be a draft lottery team next year, stating  "....we didn’t ever want to ever be in this position again and honestly I don’t think we will..." And with a solid collection of young talent now in tow, the Bulls are definitely trending upwards. It is easy to see why Billups and basketball fans everywhere are excited about the direction of the Bulls. 

Antoine Griezmann professes his love for Derrick Rose after winning World Cup

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USA TODAY

Antoine Griezmann professes his love for Derrick Rose after winning World Cup

Antoine Griezmann, you just won the World Cup, what are you going to do next?

Apparently, profess his love for Derrick Rose.

In the celebrations of France winning the World Cup on Sunday, French forward Griezmann spotted his teammate Paul Pogba getting interviewed by FOX Sports. Recognizing this was the American audience, Griezmann took the mic from FOX's Jenny Taft and had one thing to say:

"I love Derrick Rose."

Griezmann, who scored a goal in France's 4-2 win against Croatia in the final, is a big NBA fan. He has been spotted at multiple games over the years, including Game 5 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals between the Celtics and Cavs.

This also isn't the first time he has made a comment about D-Rose. He recently signed a contract extension with his club team, Atletico Madrid, but a year ago said the only way he would leave was to play with Rose.

"I would only leave Atleti to play with Derrick Rose," Griezmann said through translation.

In 2015 he posted an image of himself in a Derrick Rose Bulls jersey to his Instagram.

Later that year he took in a Bulls game and got a photo with Joakim Noah.

Maybe when the 27-year-old is ready to leave Europe, he will join a Major League Soccer team just so he can watch more NBA games.

UPDATE: Rose tweeted congratulations to Griezmann.

How Jabari Parker impacts Bulls’ salary cap in 2019

How Jabari Parker impacts Bulls’ salary cap in 2019

The Bulls ‘rebuild’ seems to be just a one-year experiment after the team signed Chicago native Jabari Parker to a two-year, $40-million dollar deal on Saturday. Although on first look Parker’s contract would seem to restrict what they can do in free agency next summer, the reality is that the 2nd year team option gives the Bulls plenty of flexibility with—or without- Parker next year.  

If the Bulls pick up the option on Parker, they will still be able to sign a max free agent next July if they make the right moves between now and July 1, 2019.

The NBA projects the 2019-20 cap will rise to $109 million, up from $101.9 million for the upcoming season. The league bases a ‘max’ salary on years of service. A 10-year vet like Kevin Durant is eligible for more ($38.2 million) than his teammate Klay Thompson ($32.7 million), an 8-year vet. If the Bulls keep Parker, they’ll enter free agency with approximately $15.4 million next summer—far short of the cap space needed for a player like Durant or Thompson, but that number is misleading. The $15.4 million also includes cap holds (salary slots assigned to a player based on several factors including previous year’s salary). The cap hold is designed to prevent teams from completely circumventing the soft cap model the league uses. The cap holds for Bobby Portis ($7.5 million) and Cameron Payne ($9.8 million) are just theoretical if the Bulls don’t sign either to a contract extension before the October 31, 2018 deadline. 

Let’s say the Bulls are in line to sign a star free agent like Thompson; all they would need to do is rescind any qualifying offer to Payne or Portis, and then renounce them as free agents. This would effectively take the cap holds off the Bulls’ cap sheet and give them approximately $32.7 million in cap space. Coincidently (or perhaps it’s no coincidence), that’s the exact salary a 7-9 year free agent like Thompson would command.

In order to create enough space for Durant and his increased ‘max’ slot, they would need to waive and stretch a player like Cristiano Felicio or incentivize a trade involving a player by attaching another asset in the deal, like a future 1st round pick.

If the Bulls decline the team option on Parker, then they will enter free agency with anywhere between $35 million and $53 million.