Bulls

With Trae Young's team workout looming, his trainer clears air on any Bulls rift: 'That's totally false'

With Trae Young's team workout looming, his trainer clears air on any Bulls rift: 'That's totally false'

Trae Young’s intriguing draft status will make a stop in Chicago this week as he’ll work out for the Bulls, who are believed to be enamored with the playmaking point guard.

Young has been trained by Jimmy Butler’s trainer, Travelle Gaines, who had pointed comments about Bulls general manager Gar Forman in the wake of Butler being traded on draft night last year.

In a now-deleted tweet, Gaines said the Bulls have the worst culture in the league, and that he knows drug dealers with better morals than Forman, calling him a liar.

There was a strong belief Butler was misled by the Bulls in his final meeting with the front office before departing for a European vacation days before the draft. Gaines’ tweet only added fuel to that, as Butler was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn.

There’s been whispers Gaines would try to use his influence with Young against the Bulls, and when reached by NBCSportsChicago.com, Gaines strongly denied the claim.

“I would never discourage Trae or any player from working out or talking to the Bulls,” Gaines said by telephone. “I don’t know where the narrative came from but that’s totally false.”

Young is scheduled to have his workout Thursday in Chicago, and Gaines said the two haven’t even discussed the Bulls in their training sessions. Gaines doesn’t regret his tweet, but he said it wasn’t reflective of his thoughts of the organization en masse.

“What I said a year ago, I was in the moment and those were my feelings at the time,” Gaines said. “But I don’t feel the Bulls are a bad organization or franchise. I love the franchise. I was a huge Michael Jordan fan. The league is better when the Bulls, Knicks and Lakers are great. I want the Bulls to be great again.”

Gaines also trains current Bulls Bobby Portis and Denzel Valentine at his facility in Los Angeles, and noted Portis and Young have run into each other a few times during sessions. Again, Gaines said he operates in the best interests of his clients and not personal agendas.

“(Bobby and Denzel) say they want to get back to the playoffs and I’ll tell them, ‘Get the Bulls back to the playoffs,’” Gaines said.

If Young is the player his greatest supporters believe he is, taking him with the seventh pick would be a step in that direction, even though the Bulls employ Kris Dunn at point guard.

Gaines is a big believer in Young and his potential fit with the Bulls, although he doesn’t believe Young will be around at the No. 7.

“I think Trae would be great for the Bulls,” Gaines said. “Playing alongside Lauri Markkanen and also Zach LaVine, he would be phenomenal for the team and the city of Chicago. He’d be great in that market.”

There’s no doubt Young carries a level of star power that would be attractive to the Bulls, who would love to have someone marketable to their fan base.

“With his work ethic and passion for basketball I think he will be great for the city of Chicago and that great market,” Gaines said.

Windy City Bulls weekly roundup: Tyler Ulis

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USA TODAY

Windy City Bulls weekly roundup: Tyler Ulis

Every week we will be looking at one player performing well with the Windy City Bulls in the NBA G League and take a look at how they could help the Chicago Bulls (NBA).

In his two NBA seasons, Tyler Ulis averaged 7.5 points, 4 assists, and 1 steal per game for the Phoenix Suns. The Marian Catholic alum signed a two-way deal with the Windy City Bulls this offseason, looking to prove he is a legitimate, NBA rotation-caliber point guard.

Entering Wednesday night’s game against the Memphis Hustle, Ulis is averaging 23 points, 3 rebounds and 8 assists per game.


Most impressive is the fact that the 5-foot 8 Ulis is getting to the free throw line nine times per game. That kind of volume and accuracy--83 percent from FT line--at the charity stripe can make up for the fact that he has yet to develop a reliable 3-point shot.

Despite shooting 26 percent from the 3-point line, he is still getting up just under five 3-point attempts per game. This can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. I lean towards seeing the positive in this figure. If Ulis is to get the call up to the NBA (Chicago Bulls) at some point, Chicago will benefit greatly from his aggressiveness in getting to the basket. But for him to stick with this team long-term, he will need to keep defenses honest by at least attempting to be a threat from deep.

Overall he is still committing too many turnovers (3 per game) but the advanced numbers suggest his making strides as a player capable of running an offense for at least limited stretches.


He is in the “Zach LaVine-role in the G League--has a sky-high 33 percent usage rate--on a struggling (1-4) team and so it is quite normal that his field goal percentage is not great, even more so since he is taking a bit of punishment at the rim with all the fouls he is absorbing.

A bigger sample size is needed to see if the remarkable (considering his size) free throw attempt rate is sustainable, but right now he is looking like he deserves a shot at spot minutes with the bench unit.

One of the (many) issues with the Bulls defense is the lack of turnovers they generate. Chicago is 23rd in the league in opponent's turnover rate, and Shaquille Harrison and Justin Holiday have been the only players to rate above average in steal percentage.

Ulis has been very good at generating turnovers, which helps mitigate the fact that he is undersized. His two steals per game would lead the Bulls. With the starters, Ulis would be counted on to knock away entry passes in the post if he was to get a bigger man matched up on him. But playing him in lineups with Lopez would benefit both of them since neither are proficient in switching defenses.

Through Wednesday afternoon, the Bulls best two-man pairings in terms of opponent’s effective field goal percentage were:

Lopez-Holiday: 43.9 percent

Lopez-Portis: 44 percent

Lopez-Hutchison: 44.1 percent

When you look further down the list, you notice that the Ryan Arcidiacono-Lopez pairing has held opponents to a lower percentage than Cam Payne-Lopez duo. This by no means shocking, and is a big part of why Fred Hoiberg has went to Arcidiacono over Payne as of late.

With Lopez and Wendell Carter Jr. (to a much greater degree) showing the ability to block shots at a high level, it would be great to see what Ulis can do at the point. Switching is a good defensive strategy but certain teams demand that your guards simply fight over screens to avoid confusion, as well as get hands in the passing lanes on the pick-and-roll early and often.

Ulis is small, but he, Harrison, Holiday, Arcidiacono and Hutchison could make up a solid point guard/swingman rotation that would provide a solid defensive component on a team that has made little strides on that end of the floor. The Bulls are going to be a bad defense until the team is 100 percent healthy and maybe even after that. And with that in mind, Ulis is at least worth a brief call-up on a team that appears to be placing too great of a ball handling demand on LaVine.

Steve Kerr: 'By the way, I kicked MJ's ass'

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Steve Kerr: 'By the way, I kicked MJ's ass'

The story of Steve Kerr and Michael Jordan getting into a fight in training camp has become infamous in NBA history.

It was the undersized guard who was a 3-point specialist standing up to the greatest player ever who was notorious for his competitive nature. Kerr still brings it up every so often, and made a reference to it (to comedic effect) on Tuesday.

"By the way, I kicked MJ's ass," Kerr said.

At the beginning of the clip, the Warriors coach is talking about an on-court confrontation between Draymond Green and Kevin Durant, which carried over to the locker room after the game.

Kerr's altercation with Jordan took place in 1995, the summer before the Bulls went 72-10 and won the fourth of the team's six titles. The two got matched up in a scrimmage and Jordan, ever the trash talker, starting jawwing at Kerr. Kerr didn't back down, which led to the two needing to be separated.

Apparently Kerr can still laugh about the whole thing, too.