Why despite owning valuable trade assets, the Bulls dealing for Anthony Davis is unlikely

Why despite owning valuable trade assets, the Bulls dealing for Anthony Davis is unlikely

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski dropped one of his biggest bombs to date on Monday morning when he reported that Pelicans All-Star Anthony Davis wants out of New Orleans. His agent Rich Paul reportedly told the Pelicans that Davis is requesting a trade and has no intention of re-signing with the team in 2020.

Davis, who is currently out with a finger injury, is averaging a career-high 29.3 points and 13.3 rebounds this season. He’s been named an All-Star in each of the last five seasons and has been an All-NBA First Team member three of the last four seasons. He’s one of the most valuable trade chips in the NBA at just 25 years old and will command a steep price for whichever team wants to deal for him.

Wojnarowski reported that Davis wants to play for a winner after suffering through five losing seasons and just one playoff series win in New Orleans.

Before getting into trade packages and which teams can offer the Pelicans the most, it’s important to understand this: the Pelicans are only trading Davis to a team that he will sign an extension with, because it’s an almost guarantee that no team is trading for Davis without a long-term commitment from the 25-year-old. Davis is eligible to sign a five-year, $240 million extension this summer.

This isn’t the Timberwolves trading for Jimmy Butler or the Thunder trading for Paul George or the Raptors trading for Kawhi Leonard. Given the assets that will be needed to acquire one of the game’s best players just about to enter his prime, it’s incredibly unlikely a franchise is going to package together their most valuable assets just to see Davis leave in free agency in the summer of 2020.

Because of that, the leader for Davis’ services right now has to be the Los Angeles Lakers. For starters, Davis wants to win and the Lakers employ LeBron James. Davis and James share an agent in Rich Paul, which makes the courtship even more likely. What’s more, the Lakers have been stockpiling young assets the last five seasons, and while none of them are can’t miss, home run prospects, they’re certainly good enough to entice New Orleans.

A combination of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac and Brandon Ingram would be a starter in any deal, and the Lakers also have all future draft picks, for whatever that’s worth.

Next in line is the Celtics, a team that was hoping these trade discussions would stay dormant until the summer. That’s when Kyrie Irving can opt out of his contract and become a free agent. Both Irving and Davis signed their current contracts under the Rose Rule, named after Derrick Rose hat allows a player to make 30 percent of a team’s salary cap if he’s a two-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA player or an MVP. Teams are only allowed to have one “Rose Rule” contract, meaning Irving and Davis can’t play for the same team this season. Put a different way: any deal between the Celtics and Pelicans before July 1 would need to include Irving, and that seems highly unlikely to happen.

If the Pelicans do stand their ground and wait until the offseason, Boston’s surplus of young assets would be enticing. Jayson Tatum has future All-Star written all over him, while Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and, to a lesser degree, Robert Williams and Semi Ojeleye are potential pieces.

The real kicker is Boston’s embarrassment of draft picks: the Celtics have three first round picks in the 2019 NBA Draft (their own, Sacramento’s and the Clippers’) and a future first round pick from Memphis that is top-8 protected this year, top-6 protected in 2020 and unprotected in 2021. With the Grizzlies about to enter a rebuild that pick could be among the highest in 2021, when high-school prospects may be able to bypass college and enter the league, creating a Super-Draft.

Then there’s the Bulls. Any deal for Davis begins with Lauri Markkanen, by far the Bulls’ best asset. Beyond him, their 2019 draft pick could yield a franchise-changing player in Zion Williamson or R.J. Barrett. That’s why the Bulls should also be hoping that no deal gets done before the Feb. 7 trade deadline; the Bulls’ offer gets substantially better on May 14 when the Draft Lottery occurs (or worse if the ping pong balls bounce the wrong way).

Beyond that, Wendell Carter Jr., Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn are also potential pieces to include in the deal. The Pelicans could have their choice of going super young with Carter included in the deal, or taking a more sure bet in LaVine to pair with Jrue Holiday in the backcourt. Dunn has had his struggles in Chicago but is still three years removed from being a top-5 pick. Either way, they’re the smaller pieces of a potential deal after Markkanen and the 2019 first-round pick.

But remember that small caveat? That Davis is only going to sign an extension with a team he feels he can win a title? That could be a real issue. Aside from the fact that Davis reportedly has no desire to play in Chicago, whatever package the Bulls put together is going to decimate their roster. They’ve won 11 games this season and just finished off a week in which they lost to the Hawks and Cavaliers at home.

Yes, they have intriguing young pieces who could form a nice core. But their supporting cast is one of the weakest and shallowest in the league; dealing for Davis while including a combination of Markkanen, Carter and LaVine (plus the 2019 first round pick) guts the Bulls roster. It turns them into the current Pelicans team, middling below .500, lost without Davis in the lineup and going nowhere fast. There’s little reason for Davis to believe the Bulls would be capable of building the same kind of winner he’d find in L.A. with LeBron or in Boston with a perennial winner and one of the game’s best head coach.

Because of all that, despite what the Bulls could potentially offer in a deal, it’s unlikely it happens. There’s always a chance that John Paxson and Gar Forman decide to roll the dice and deal for Davis without the guarantee that he re-signs.

But even that feels a little too far-fetched, especially after they watched that same strategy backfire from the other side of the fence two years ago with the Timberwolves and Jimmy Butler. The assets needed to deal for Davis would be even larger, meaning the loss would be even greater if the Chicago native walked and the Bulls were forced to sell for fewer cents on the dollar than they acquired him for.

In expected move, Bulls name Tomas Satoransky starter over Kris Dunn

In expected move, Bulls name Tomas Satoransky starter over Kris Dunn

In quite the clever move, the Bulls solved their so-called point guard controversy by renaming the position “lead guard.” This is a nod to Jim Boylen’s multi-ballhandler system.

Whatever it’s called, Tomas Satoransky will start in it for Thursday’s preseason finale and the Oct. 23 regular-season opener in Charlotte.

In an expected move, Boylen made that news official following Wednesday’s practice. Satoransky will start alongside Zach LaVine, Otto Porter Jr., Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. Kris Dunn and Coby White will come off the bench.

“I’ve been happy with both of them. They’re both in good places. I think this is what’s best for our team, and I think it will be great for both of them individually,” Boylen said of Satoransky and Dunn. “Kris has to be kind of our defensive force in that second group. He can impact the game coming off the bench. He’s embraced it, I’ve spoken with him, and we had a good conversation about it. He’s all about winning, and I’m really proud of him.’’

Boylen cited Satoransky’s shooting ability to space the floor and quick and accurate decision-making as primary factors behind the decision. He reiterated the organization’s belief in Dunn, who had six steals and 11 deflections in last Friday’s preseason game in Indiana and can be a defensive force with the second unit.

“You know I’ve always said he’s a terrific kid. I’ve always said he’s for the team. I’ve always said he’s very coachable,” Boylen said of Dunn. “Those things haven’t changed how I feel about him and what he’s done. But I do think that he’s in a really good place. I do think he had some introspection and got some time away, and it was good for him. He said it, we’ve said it, he’s prepared to help the team win, and that’s his mindset. That’s what we need. We talked earlier in the year, it’s going to be about sharing and sacrifice, and he’s going to come off that bench and help us win.”

Barring foul trouble, Satoransky likely will play in the range of 30 to 32 minutes, while Dunn could be in the 18 to 22 minutes range. Boylen consistently has talked about the need for sacrifice for the Bulls to make the jump to a contending team.

The Bulls aggressively pursued Satoransky during July free agency, acquiring him in a sign-and-trade transaction with the Wizards and agreeing to a three-year, $30 million deal whose final season isn’t fully guaranteed. He quickly endeared himself to Boylen by not asking about starting during the recruiting period, merely saying he wanted to be a part of what the Bulls are building.

“I love the way he throws the ball ahead,” Boylen said. “I love his command of our offense already. He’s obviously a terrific shooter. He can play off those guys, he can play on the ball and off those guys and create space. Him and I have a real good connection and he’s got a really good feel. And I feel confident in him running that first group.”

Satoransky averaged 11.2 points and 6.6 assists in 46 starts at point guard for the Wizards last season after John Wall went down with a season-ending injury. He also started eight games at small forward. It’s this versatility that Boylen envisions using in a backcourt rotation that includes LaVine, Dunn and White.

“I’ve felt really good with them on the floor,” Satoransky said of minutes with the starters. “For me, it was getting used to every player, not only with certain lineups. But I felt really good, especially last game. I think we have a lot of shooters on the floor. That gives us an advantage and spacing to attack, especially for Zach. Hopefully we can continue to get better and have options there.

“I try to run the team, put them in the best position where they can succeed. Run with pace. Keep the spacing. Try to organize the team. That’s what I’ve been trying to do for my whole career. And do the little things. I think it’s expected for me to come up with energy on the defensive side. I’m trying to do that and compete for every ball.”

Boylen favorites Ryan Arcidiacono and Shaq Harrison also are available, as are Denzel Valentine and Chandler Hutchison, who has yet to play with a hamstring injury.

Dunn remains the team’s best on-ball perimeter defender and has returned to the Bulls saying and doing all the right things after an offseason of reflection that briefly involved him wanting a change of address. In fact, sources said in July that the Bulls held substantial trade talks centered on Dunn, at one point trying to re-acquire Justin Holiday from the Grizzlies in a sign-and-trade transaction.

Instead, Dunn reported to September voluntary workouts with a strong work ethic and clear mind. He has drawn raves from coaches and teammates alike for his team-first attitude.

“We’re developing Coby White as a basketball player,” Boylen said. “We’re not going to put him in this situation where he’s a 1, he’s a 2 or he’s a 3, he’s a this, he’s a that. He’s a basketball player; he’s a baller. He plays well off other people. He plays well with the ball in his hands. He plays well off a live catch. He can run pick-and-roll. He has positional size, toughness, physicality. Not concerned about somebody saying he needs to be this or that, he just needs to play.”

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Jason Goff to join NBC Sports Chicago's Bulls coverage team

USA Today

Jason Goff to join NBC Sports Chicago's Bulls coverage team

Chicago, IL (October 16, 2019) – NBC Sports Chicago - THE NEW, EXCLUSIVE HOME FOR EVERY BULLS GAME - has announced Chicago sports media personality/NBA expert JASON GOFF will be joining the network as host of Bulls Pregame Live/Bulls Postgame Live beginning this season.  The announcement was made by Kevin Cross, Senior Vice President/General Manager, NBC Sports Chicago.

Goff’s first official appearance on NBC Sports Chicago takes place on Wednesday, October 23 for the network’s multi-platform coverage of the 2019-20 NBA SEASON OPENER, as the Bulls travel to face the Eastern Conference rival Charlotte Hornets (an expanded, one-hour Opening Night edition of Bulls Pregame Live presented by Coors Light begins at 5:00 PM CT, Bulls-Hornets tip-off at 6:00 PM, Bulls Postgame Live presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois immediately follows the game).  NOTE: Every Bulls game will also stream live on NBCSportsChicago.com and the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app.  

In addition to his Bulls Pre/Postgame Live hosting duties, Goff will also make additional appearances throughout the season on a variety of NBC Sports Chicago’s programs and cross-platform portals, including SportsTalk Live and the network’s “Bulls Talk” podcast.  

“Jason is an impact player who joins our already outstanding Bulls content team,” said Cross.  “His deep knowledge and lifelong passion for the NBA, especially the Bulls, will benefit all of our fans on all of our platforms.  We couldn’t be more excited for the upcoming NBA season as the only home for Bulls basketball.”

“I’m looking forward to joining the NBC Sports Chicago team and the exceptional Bulls coverage we provide to Bulls fans all year round,” added Goff. “I was that kid watching Bulls games in his basement on SportsChannel and now I have a chance to help cultivate that same energy to Bulls fans old and new on NBC Sports Chicago, it’s just a dream come true.”

Goff, a native of Evanston, Ill., has been a fixture on the Chicago sports media scene for close to two decades.  After attending Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Goff began his sports broadcasting career at WSCR AM 670 “The Score” in 2000 and quickly escalated to become one of the station’s top producers.  In 2007, Goff was named producer of WSCR’s “The Boers and Bernstein Show,” a role he held through 2012 before leaving Chicago for Atlanta to become the WZGC-FM 92.3 “The Game” new full-time evening host, along with handling pre/postgame hosting duties on the Atlanta Hawks Radio Network.  Also, while in Atlanta, Goff was an integral part of SiriusXM NBA Radio’s national relaunch, as he hosted the station’s popular midday show featuring former NBA greats Sam Mitchell, Malik Rose, and Kenny Smith.

Goff returned to Chicago in 2014 as a primary host for national NBA shows on both SiriusXM NBA Radio and Bleacher Report on SiriusXM.  In 2015, Goff returned to WSCR and was named midday co-host with Matt Spiegel on “The Spiegel and Goff Show” and later moved to afternoons joining Dan Bernstein on “The Bernstein and Goff Show.”  Most recently, Goff continued hosting stints with SiriusXM NBA Radio, along with SiriusXM Big Ten Radio, and also with ESPN Radio’s “The Spain and Company Show” featuring host Sarah Spain, and the “GTL Show” featuring Goff, Taylor Twellman and Rachel Lindsay.  In addition, Goff has made numerous appearances local television appearances on WFLD-TV’s (Fox 32 Chicago) “The Final Word with Lou Canellis,” along with “Windy City Live” on WLS-TV (ABC 7 Chicago).

NBC Sports Chicago, a partnership between the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), Chicago Bulls (NBA), Chicago White Sox (MLB) and the NBC Sports Group, features over 275 live pro games in high definition each year.  In addition, NBC Sports Chicago delivers extensive pre/post-game coverage for its core pro team partners, as well as Chicago Bears and Chicago Cubs multi-platform coverage, plus - local sports discussion programs that includes SportsTalk Live, and massive cross-platform coverage provided by the network’s growing digital platform, NBCSportsChicago.com, the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app, and its variety of fan-focused social media outlets. Fans can follow the network on Twitter via @NBCSChicago.  

NBC Sports Regional Networks is NBC Sports Group’s portfolio of nine regional networks that delivers more than 2,200 live sporting events and original content to more than 35 million homes. Aligned within Eastern and Western Divisions, the NBC Sports Regional Networks are: NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Philadelphia +, NBC Sports Washington, NBC Sports Washington + and SNY; and NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California, NBC Sports Chicago/NBC Sports Chicago+, and NBC Sports Northwest. For more information on NBC Sports Group properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios, headshots and logos, please visit www.NBCSportsGroupPressBox.com.