Bulls

Latest Nikola Mirotic trade rumor has Jazz offering up Derrick Favors

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USA TODAY

Latest Nikola Mirotic trade rumor has Jazz offering up Derrick Favors

The Utah Jazz seem to be a very interested party when it comes to Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic, and there's a new report out there that indicates what could be coming the Bulls' way in a potential deal.

Three separate reports over the last few days have linked the Jazz to Mirotic — with a couple of those reports listing additional teams, too, namely the Portland Trail Blazers and Detroit Pistons — and it makes sense that Mirotic's name is popping up in trade chatter. After all, the rebuilding Bulls would be wise to cash in on Mirotic now, when he's the team's leading scorer and has helped earn 11 wins since making his season debut.

The new report, from Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune, takes things a step further, however, saying the two teams are engaged in trade discussions and listing big man Derrick Favors as a guy the Jazz are offering up in those conversations.

That wouldn't be all, you would have to figure, as some of those aforementioned reports from the past few days have said the Bulls are looking to acquire a first-round pick, a no-brainer considering the Bulls are trying to strengthen their rebuilding efforts.

The Bulls can't deal Mirotic until Jan. 15, which is now just a few days away. Mirotic also has a no-trade clause, meaning he'd have to approve any deal that sent him out of Chicago. The Bulls could navigate around that by picking up Mirotic's contract option for next season.

Favors was the third-overall pick in the 2010 draft, picked by the then New Jersey Nets and then traded after 56 games to Utah in the deal that sent former Illinois star Deron Williams to the East Coast. Favors has been playing in the Beehive State ever since with varying levels of production. This season, he's averaging 12.5 points and 6.8 rebounds a game. He's two years removed from a career-high 16.4 scoring average, be it in only 62 games. Last season, that number fell off a cliff to just 9.5 points a game in only 50 games.

Favors, though, is a free agent after this season, meaning his expiring contract would come off the books for the rebuilding Bulls should they acquire him. Getting a draft pick would seem to be far more valuable in this hypothetical Mirotic trade.

Expect plenty more Mirotic trade buzz as the league moves toward its Feb. 8 trade deadline. Mirotic has been stellar since returning from the facial fractures sustained when Bobby Portis punched him in the face right before the season began. In 17 games, Mirotic is averaging 17.4 points and seven rebounds a game. He's shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 46.5 percent from 3-point range, averaging 2.5 makes from beyond the arc per contest.

Stay tuned.

Scottie Pippen explains why second half of Bulls' title run was more special

Scottie Pippen explains why second half of Bulls' title run was more special

ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary series is going to get plenty of attention with the rest of the sports world on hold.

The series will focus on the Bulls’ final title season, 1997-98, and was recently moved up to debut on April 19.

Scottie Pippen talked about those title years for the Bulls in a recent episode of his ESPN show, “The Jump.” He explained what it was like knowing the 1997-98 season would be the team’s last run together.

“For me, it was really everything coming to a head for us,” Pippen said. “A great run through the 90s. Dennis [Rodman] had came and joined us the second half of that run, and that part was really the more special part because we were the best team in basketball for a long time, and no one knocked us off. Knowing that that was the end of our run and that we had to end it that way, we made it very special, and we wanted to end it with a championship.”

It’s noteworthy that Pippen says the second three-peat felt more special than the first. It would make sense for the team’s first title to be special because it was the breakthrough, but Pippen likes the fact that the Bulls were able to maintain their throne for so long and never lose a playoff series with a full strength team.

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Dennis Rodman brushed off big-men, trash-talk and curfew during Bulls dynasty

Dennis Rodman brushed off big-men, trash-talk and curfew during Bulls dynasty

Dennis Rodman listened to the question, thought about it for a second and then started brushing his teeth.

After all, he had to catch up with World Championship Wrestling members Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags, who had just declared the Bulls forward an honorary “Nasty Boy.”

Reporters’ notes from 24 years ago don’t shed much enlightenment on what such a title signifies. But if Rodman practiced hygiene for it — this is, after all, a player who often eschewed a postgame shower — then it must’ve been special.

Before a recent re-broadcast of this 1996 Bulls’ title run, which continues with Sunday night’s showing of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals in Orlando, I wrote about Rodman’s “Walk of Shame.” This was the postgame routine Rodman utilized to mimic a red carpet’s entrance, walking down a hallway to answer postgame questions rather than doing so while standing in front of his locker.

Rodman mostly employed this practice at home games, which is why, on this day, he cut short his postgame media session to brush his teeth inside the visitors’ locker room.

One might surmise that Rodman’s trademark outrageousness was the story. That his play overshadowed his behavior makes it time to shift the focus back to on the court.

Man, Rodman was something for the Bulls’ second three-peat, but perhaps never more evidently than during this title run and in this series. After a nine-point, 16-rebound effort in Game 3, Rodman’s averages for the series sat at 12.3 points and 16.3 rebounds.

The Bulls held large rebounding advantages in all three victories.

Plus, what other team could largely utilize single coverage using a 6-foot-7 defender like Rodman on the 7-1 Shaquille O’Neal? In this game, O’Neal, who also matched against Luc Longley and Bill Wennington at times, managed just 17 points on 8-for-19 shooting.

“[O’Neal] can talk all the trash he wants,” Rodman said. “I think his game is totally off. I’m not going to snap either. I got people grabbing me. I got people clawing and scratching at me. It doesn’t matter. I like that.

“Shaq hit me with an elbow twice, but that’s great. I like that kind of physical play.”

Rodman said these words before going to brush his teeth and then meet his wrestler buddies. But he had one more thing to say, reminding everyone that he didn’t have a curfew.

Just when you tried to steer the focus back to Rodman’s sublime on-the-court play, he wouldn’t always let you.

Every other night through April 15, NBC Sports Chicago is airing the entirety of the Bulls' 1996 NBA championship run. Find the full schedule here.

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