Bulls

Bulls: Dwyane Wade second among guards, Jimmy Butler sixth among forwards in first All-Star voting

Bulls: Dwyane Wade second among guards, Jimmy Butler sixth among forwards in first All-Star voting

Dwyane Wade is second among guards and Jimmy Butler is sixth among forwards in the first NBA All-Star voting returns, the league revealed Thursday.

Wade, who has appeared in 12 All-Star Games (including 10 starts), received 278,052 votes, trailing only Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (543,030). LeBron James (595,288) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (500,663) were the only other players to receive more votes than Wade, who was the leading vote-getter among guards last season.

Wade's 10 All-Star Game starts are tied for 11th most in NBA history. If Wade were to start in 2016 for the Eastern Conference he would move into a tie for 7th most starts in NBA history. Only 12 players have appeared in 13 All-Star Games, though James will make it 13 by the time final votes are counted. Wade would also be the first Bulls starter in an All-Star Game since Pau Gasol in 2015.

Wade won the All-Star Game MVP in 2010 when he scored 28 points on 12-for-16 shooting and 11 assists in the East's 141-139 victory.

One of the most respected and well-liked players in the league, Wade's approval rating among fans - as seen by the sheer number of votes - is hardly surprising. But Wade's numbers have dipped in his 14th NBA season. His 18.5 points per game are the lowest since his rookie season and he's averaging a career-low in assists (3.1) and field-goal percentage (43.3 percent). Wade is ninth among guards in the East in Player Efficiency Rating (19.53).

Butler has received 189,066 votes, trailing James, Antetokounmpo, Kevin Love (250,347), Joel Embiid (221,984) and Carmelo Anthony (189,817) among forwards. Butler has made appearances in the last two All-Star Games and is a lock to make it again this season. There's also a real argument to be made that Butler should make his first start.

In 36 games Butler has averaged 25.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists. He trails only Antetokounmpo and James in Player Efficiency Rating among East forwards (26.34) and has molded himself into a legitimate MVP candidate.

Voting for this year's All-Star Game will be compiled and averaged in three categories. The fan vote will account for 50 percent of the voting, while the players vote and media vote will both count for 25 percent of the voting. Players will be ranked in each conference by frontcourt and backcourt, and their "score" will be averaged among the weighted three categories. The two backcourt players and three frontcourt players with the best score will be named starters (fan votes will be the tiebreaker if two players are tied after their scores are compiled).

Here are the first returns of voting by position in each conference:

Eastern Conference frontcourt

1. LeBron James (CLE) 595,288
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) 500,663
3. Kevin Love (CLE) 250,347
4. Joel Embiid (PHI) 221,984
5. Carmelo Anthony (NY) 189,817
6. Jimmy Butler (CHI) 189,066
7. Kristaps Porzingis (NY) 184,166
8. Paul George (IND) 138,332
9. Hassan Whiteside (MIA) 72,628
10. Jabari Parker (MIL) 64, 141

Eastern Conference backcourt

1. Kyrie Irving (CLE) 543,030
2. Dwyane Wade (CHI) 278,052
3. DeMar DeRozan (TOR) 253,340
4. Isaiah Thomas (BOS) 193,297
5. Derrick Rose (NY) 129,924
6. Kyle Lowry (TOR) 128,940
7. John Wall (WAS) 87,360
8. Jeremy Lin (BKN) 59,562
9. Kemba Walker (CHA) 52,122
10. Avery Bradley (32,822)

Western Conference frontcourt

1. Kevin Durant (GS) 541,209
2. Zaza Pachulia (GS) 439,675
3. Kawhi Leonard (SA) 341,240
4. Anthony Davis (NO) 318,144
5. Draymond Green (GS) 236,315
6. DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) 202,317
7. Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) 125,278
8. LaMarcus Aldridge (SA) 101,724
9. Blake Griffin (LAC) 100,524
10. Marc Gasol (MEM) 97,370

Western Conference backcourt

1. Stephen Curry (GS) 523,597
2. James Harden (HOU) 519,446
3. Russell Westbrook (OKC) 501,652
4. Klay Thompson (GS) 293,054
5. Chris Paul (LAC) 173,830
6. Damian Lillard (POR) 117,857
7. Eric Gordon (HOU) 76,609
8. Manu Ginobili (SA) 65,832
9. Andre Iguodala (GS) 64,247
10. Zach LaVine (MIN) 53,642

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.