Bulls

Bulls interested in Howard?

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Bulls interested in Howard?

It's no shock that the Bulls are willing to engage in trade discussions about Dwight Howard with the Magic, as reported by the Chicago Tribune, despite not being on the All-Star center's preferred list of destinations. After Howard officially asked for a trade--in the aftermath of an alleged meeting between Howard (or his representatives) and Nets owner Mikhail Prokorov and general manager Billy King, which resulted in the possibility that Orlando could file tampering charges with the NBA; Howard's agent, Dan Fegan, denied the accusation--Magic general manager Otis Smith indicated the franchise would seek out the best option for the organization, not Howard.

That likely includes the Bulls, which could feasibly put together the most attractive package of players--such as a potential combination of Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Ronnie Brewer and the Bobcats' protected future draft pick--for the reigning three-time Defensive Player of the Year. But the chances of Howard coming to an Eastern Conference rival, whether it's the Nets (who will be heavily scrutinized after the aforementioned allegations) or the Bulls, are less likely than Orlando shipping the game's top center to two of his other three preferred landing spots, the Lakers or Mavericks.

Since the Lakers are currently involved in the ongoing potential three-team blockbuster deal involving All-Star point guard Chris Paul--which could send Pau Gasol to Houston and Lamar Odom to New Orleans, leaving injury-plagued center Andrew Bynum as the team's lone major asset (Kobe Bryant isn't going anywhere)--defending champion Dallas could be a dark-horse candidate in the sweepstakes. With center Tyson Chandler now with the Knicks, expect Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to attempt a coup, bringing together Howard and All-Star point guard Deron Williams (who has told the Nets he won't sign a contract extension with them this season); the pair have apparently talked of joining forces, if not in Brooklyn, then with Dirk Nowitzki in Williams' hometown of Dallas.

Orlando made another move Saturday that affects the Bulls, by re-signing shooting guard Jason Richardson, one of Chicago's free-agent targets. The transaction makes sense on all fronts, as Richardson was likely beyond the Bulls' mid-level exception price tag and the veteran could maximize his earning potential by returning to the Magic.

Rip Hamilton continues to be the Bulls' primary focus, but according to multiple reports, the buyout process for the veteran hasn't been completed yet for the veteran, who was waived by Detroit, his longtime employer, Friday. Chicago's incumbent starter at the position, Keith Bogans, could be snatched up by another team before the organization's Dec. 19 deadline to pick up his 1.73 million team option, the Tribune reported Saturday,

Zach LaVine improving his chances for Eastern Conference All-Star spot

Zach LaVine improving his chances for Eastern Conference All-Star spot

Zach LaVine let it be known the moment the NBA announced the All-Star game was coming to Chicago in 2020 that he would love to represent the Bulls in the Sunday night main event.

LaVine’s chances looked pretty slim when both he and the team got out of the gates slowly this season. LaVine averaged 20.2 points as the Bulls finished October with a 1-4 record, and he shot just 42.6% from the field in a 5-10 November.

But since that time, LaVine has picked up his offensive output, averaging 25.1 points in December and 30 points so far in January. He’s also had two of the best fourth-quarter performances of the season, carrying the Bulls to come-from-behind wins at Charlotte and vs. Cleveland at the United Center last Saturday.

In that road game against the Hornets, LaVine scored a career-high 49 points, making 13 of his 17 attempts from 3-point range, including the game-winner at the buzzer. LaVine finished one shy of the NBA record of 14 3-point makes, set by Klay Thompson against the Bulls last season.

Against the Cavaliers, LaVine scored 21 of his 42 points in the 4th quarter to help the home team erase a 15-point deficit heading into the final 12 minutes. Plus, he outdueled All-Star reserve candidate Bradley Beal earlier this month, outscoring the Wizards’ guard 30-23 in a 115-106 Bulls win.

LaVine faces a lot of competition for the four reserve spots that are potentially available for guards (three frontcourt, two backcourt, and two wild card players will be selected by conference coaches), and it could come down to whether the coaches put more emphasis on win-loss record or individual statistics. 

If Atlanta’s Trae Young and Boston’s Kemba Walker get the starting spots, LaVine will be competing with the likes of Beal, Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, Brooklyn’s Spencer Dinwiddie, Detroit’s Derrick Rose, Boston’s Jaylen Brown and Indiana’s Malcolm Brogdon for anywhere between two and four spots, depending on how the wild card selections fall.

Given the recent history of coaches’ votes, you can expect Simmons and Lowry to get the nod for the two reserve backcourt spots, with LaVine and Beal the top candidates for one or both wild card selections. Plus, there’s always the chance NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will have to replace one of the 12 Eastern Conference All-Stars because of injury, with LaVine the likely top choice to represent the home city.

Zach has told reporters he’s more likely to do the Slam Dunk contest Saturday night if he’s selected for the Eastern Conference squad, so a lot could be riding on the announcement of All-Star reserves on January 30th.

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Bulls Talk Podcast: Who makes it to the All-Star Game?

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Who makes it to the All-Star Game?

The NBA All-Star Game voting is almost up and the biggest question is if Zach Lavine make the cut. Jason Goff is joined by Will Perdue, and Kendall Gill as they give their official East and West All-Stars for this season.

(2:05) - If Zach Lavine makes the ASG, who doesn't go?

(3:54) - Eastern Conference selections

(8:12) - Debate on if Trae Young should go to the ASG

(13:48) - Does the League have influence on who makes the ASG?

(15:38) - Should Lavine use Dunk Contest as leverage for the ASG?

(18:23) - How Chicago will react to having All-Star Weekend

(19:15) - Chance that Derrick Rose will make the ASG

(20:51) - Western Conference selections

(22:26) - Fan voting needs to be gone

Listen to the episode here or in the embedded player below.

Bulls Talk Podcast

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