Bulls

Gar Forman finally comes through on promise

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USA TODAY

Gar Forman finally comes through on promise

"We felt we needed to start getting younger and more athletic..."

It was 2016 when Bulls general manager Gar Forman made this statement, drawing ire from many Bulls fans for what felt like—at the time—a disingenuous statement. A swap of Derrick Rose for Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant making you younger and athletic? No one was buying it.

But fast forward to July, 2018, and it is clear that at the very least, Forman has finally made good on his promise. The signing of Jabari Parker has been met with mostly positivity, as a short-term commitment to a former No. 2 overall pick is something that is difficult to hate. But when you factor in the rest of the pieces currently on the roster, it is OK for Bulls fans to be downright giddy over the future.

Lauri Markkanen is 21 years old, Wendell Carter Jr. is 19, Zach LaVine is 23, Jabari Parker is 23 and Kris Dunn is the elder statesmen of the group at 24 years old. If these five become the starting group moving forward, as expected, it would represent one of the youngest starting groups in the league with an average age of 22. 

And athleticism can be checked off the list as well. We know Markkanen has hopsLaVine showed off the explosiveness he was known for last season and Dunn had some dunks last year that legitimately gave fans a Rose flashback

Markkanen and Carter Jr. have both flashed the ability to switch onto guards for a limited amount of time and guard in space, a huge component of any defense that wants to switch a lot. And it also is the type of athleticism that is much more important at their position.

At this stage, Parker represents the biggest question mark athletically speaking. Despite his young age, the two ACL injuries make you wonder if there is any room for him to improve his agility. But at the least, Parker can drive to the basket and finish over the top with authority, even if his defense doesn't catch up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNHi4fmpp_4

So, Bulls fans are starting to become intrigued with this roster.

Fred Hoiberg wants his teams to play an up-tempo game, and last season was the first year during Hoiberg's Bulls tenure where the team actually ranked in the top 10 in pace. So if you have followed the Bulls carefully since Thibodeau's departure, you see a front-office that supports their new head coach, yet wasted a couple years to commit fully to his vision, and to a direction for the franchise.

But the point is Forman finally chose a direction.

The Bulls have a young core, and financial flexibility moving forward. And for all the jokes the "GarPax" regime have endured over the years, they have put the team in a position to have sustained success if they hit on all the young players they have acquired. 

And if they are wrong in their assessment of their young talent? 

The Bulls would be able to let Parker go, now that we know the second year of his contract is a team option. LaVine's offensive skill set will allow him to still have trade value years from now, as his contract won't look nearly as bad over time. 

And if the Bulls flurry of moves make the team significantly worse in a year where many expect them to take a step forward, all it would mean is being equipped with a high lottery pick in what is shaping up to be a top-heavy 2019 NBA Draft.

So Gar Forman wanted the team to get younger and more athletic, and though it took longer than it should've, the front-office made good on their promise. That is something that Bulls fans can believe in. 

NBA, NBPA announce two positive coronavirus tests from Orlando quarantine

NBA, NBPA announce two positive coronavirus tests from Orlando quarantine

It might be working.

The NBA's ambitious plan to restart its 2019-20 season in a so-called "bubble" on the Disney World campus showed a positive sign Monday. The league and National Basketball Players Association jointly announced that of 322 players tested for COVID-19 since teams began arriving in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and entered quarantine with daily testing, only two positive cases have returned.

The statement said those two players never cleared quarantine and are either isolating at home after leaving the campus or in isolation housing.

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This was always the most critical step to getting the restart off the ground — moving teams from their in-market quarantine periods to inside the bubble. That only two positive cases have thus far emerged has to be viewed as an encouraging sign, especially given that players are tested daily once inside the bubble.

The NBA and NBPA also announced that 19 players have tested positive since July 1, when testing began in each team's respective home markets as players gathered for their initial quarantine period.

Those players have remained in their home markets, and will stay there until they are cleared by CDC guidelines and NBA rules for exiting home isolation and entering the bubble. James Harden is one high-profile name that has yet to join the Rockets on the NBA campus, although the team has not specified why, which is each team's right.

Monday's news isn't to suggest the 22-team restart plan is in the clear. Hurdles can arise at any time (two players have already been publicly identified for breaking quarantine), particularly given that workers on the Disney campus aren't subjected to the same daily testing regimens that all NBA personnel are. The NBA and NBPA have instituted rules to limit contact for these workers and league personnel.

The Bulls, like the other seven teams not invited to the restart, are watching what is transpiring at Disney World closely. If the restart succeeds, it increases the chances for a second bubble for the teams left behind, which would be for development purposes and likely take place in Chicago.

RELATED: Sources: NBA considering Chicago, Wintrust Arena for 'Delete 8' bubble

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NBA bubble: Kings' Richaun Holmes 'briefly and accidentally' breaks quarantine

NBA bubble: Kings' Richaun Holmes 'briefly and accidentally' breaks quarantine

On Monday, Richaun Holmes announced via Twitter that he accidentally broke quarantine in the NBA's Walt Disney World bubble, and is currently isolated in accordance with the league's Health and Safety Protocols.


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Holmes cited picking up a food delivery as the reason for his accidentally stepping outside of quarantine lines, and apologized to his teammates in the statement. His mother Lydecia had some fun with her son on social media in the wake of the news:

He'll now have to complete a designated ten-day quarantine period — which he said there are eight days remaining in — accompanied by testing and medical evaluation before returning to team activities. The NBA's Health and Safety Protocols say that such a quarantine period would take place "in a hotel room or other campus property," and can be extended to 14 days if so advised by a consulting infectious disease physician.

Because games haven't started yet, Holmes won't incur any financial penalty for games missed due to his breaking quarantine. But ESPN's Bobby Marks has the details on what those ramifications would have looked like for Holmes if he had made the mistake during the season restart.

ESPN also reported Monday that Rockets forward Bruno Caboclo accidentally broke quarantine, and has eight days remaining in his designated isolation period.

Holmes is a Lockport, Ill. native, and played one season at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills before finishing his college career with three years at Bowling Green State. He was selected in the second round (No. 37 overall) of the 2015 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers.

With averages of 12.8 points and 8.3 rebounds (65.4% FG) in 28.8 minutes per game, Holmes is enjoying the best season of his career with the Kings, who enter the bubble 3.5 games back of the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed in the West.

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