Bulls

Bulls asking for players and first-round picks in Gibson, Gasol trade talks

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Bulls asking for players and first-round picks in Gibson, Gasol trade talks

With the trade deadline less than a day away, activity has picked up around the NBA as teams are looking to unload and reload with an eye to the playoffs or to the draft in June.

The Bulls have been lightly involved in trade talks involving Taj Gibson and more recently Pau Gasol, although a league source cautioned that the Bulls aren’t “shopping” Gasol, but that they’re open to trading him.

Gasol will opt-out of his contract this offseason to hit the free-agent market one last time for a long-term contract that will likely carry him into retirement.

As for Gibson, the Bulls have reportedly been asking for players and a first-round pick, which was confirmed by a couple front office executives around the league.

However, a source said of Gibson, “he’s not going anywhere."

Gibson discussed the trade rumors at Wednesday's practice.

“It could be worse. People could not be saying your name at all,” he said. “But it comes with it when the team is underachieving, you gotta kind of shake up things. I see what’s out there. But I’m no stranger [to this]. Since my rookie year I’ve been in trade rumors a lot, so it’s nothing new for me.”

[MORE: Nikola Mirotic on the mend as Bulls gear up for final stretch]

The Bulls’ motivation appears to be shifting from win-now to avoiding the luxury tax and punitive repeater tax, as they were last in the luxury tax in 2012-13, being nearly $4 million over.

With their current salary around $88.5 million, it places them a little more than $4 million over the luxury tax apron of $84.7 million, which was set in the offseason. The Bulls once had champagne dreams in the offseason and even into the season, but the recent tailspin has perhaps changed things and could not be as willing to be in the luxury tax for a team that could tumble out of the playoffs.

For now, though, it’s been all talk. For now.

Teams have been reluctant to give up valuable, cost-controlled first-round picks as the cap is scheduled to rise exponentially this summer. 

“That’s a great question, this time of year, I know those guys are up there making their calls,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We’ll see what happens. First two trades happened yesterday, has anything else happened today? We’ll see what happens, how things progress over the next 24 hours.”

Hoiberg spent time in the Minnesota Timberwolves' front office before going to coach at Iowa State, paving the way to take over in Chicago last summer. Clearly he knows how these conversations work.

“People just lie to each other up until those last 48 hours and then conversations finally become serious,” he said.

[SPORTSTALK LIVE: Can the banged-up Bulls turn things around?]

In other words, a team could get desperate or the Bulls could lower their asking price for Gasol or Gibson. There appears to be a large gap between the best teams in the NBA and the ones striving for elite status, so the thought of a two-month rental for Gasol could be worth it for some teams.

“An offer could be made and things could be shaken up. It’s a part of the business,” Gibson said. “It doesn’t mean they don’t like you or don’t appreciate you. It’s just that it’s a business. I totally understand it.”

But never discount the Bulls’ thinking that when they get healthy, they could make a run in the Eastern Conference, fearing no team this side of Cleveland. Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen.

“We had stretches when we won games and everyone was completely healthy,” Gibson said. “And it’s tough. You gotta understand. We got a new coach. We have the same players, but new little young guys. We still gotta work through it. Every team goes through this.”

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.