Bulls launch 39 triples, open Hoiberg Era with preseason win over Bucks


Bulls launch 39 triples, open Hoiberg Era with preseason win over Bucks

It was ugly and intense in all the ways one would expect of two teams separated by only an expressway and experience, in a first preseason game.

But despite all that familiarity, there was something different about the Bulls’ exhibition opener.

Namely, the 3-pointers.

They came from the top, the wings, the corners, and they came fast in their 105-95 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday at the United Center.

Of course, long-term prognostications are useless based on a preseason opener where both teams are merely happy to stop bumping and banging with their teammates, but the Bulls have preached to any and everybody that their product would look different under Fred Hoiberg than his predecessor, Tom Thibodeau.

And in the first morsel of the Hoiberg Era, the Bulls attempted 39 triples, and despite missing 11 of their first 12, they kept shooting. Aside from Joakim Noah and Cristiano Felicio, every participant who played more than two minutes launched at least two.

[MORE BULLS: Bulls staff visited Derrick Rose, Hoiberg said he's 'in great spirits']

It didn’t yield great results initially, as the Bulls went 3-for-20 in the first half, then 10-for-19 in the second half against a defense not nearly as stingy. Hoiberg didn’t hesitate when asked if 39 attempts would be the norm this season.

“If they’re open and they’re good looks, yeah,” he said. “Once we get Pau (Gasol) out there, we’ll have more of a post presence. Doug (McDermott) got it going in the second half, which was great to see him get that ball in the basket.”

McDermott put up a whopping 11 attempts, and after rushing the first three shots, he settled in the second half to hit five, accounting for 18 of his 23 points.

“For him to come out and continue to shoot was a great sign,” Hoiberg said. “He might’ve put his head down in the past.”

A matchup against the team the Bulls had a chippy series with this past spring produced its share of moments, albeit fleeting, as the Bucks rolled out their impressive collection of youthful talent and defensive length that seems to cover every bit of available space in the half court.

Rookie guard Rashad Vaughn scored 20 in 35 minutes, while free agent addition Greg Monroe scored six in 17 minutes, putting both Noah and rookie Bobby Portis in a blender with spin moves for layups on separate occasions.

[MORE BULLS: Rose celebrates 27th birthday with questions, at a crossroads]

The Bulls offense didn’t get going until the Bucks sat their starters after halftime, and the Bulls feasted to score 40 in the third quarter to make the overall number look respectable. The difference in ball movement and pace was noticeable, even when the shots weren’t falling.

“Second half I thought our pace was better. Early on, we were lagging,” Hoiberg said. “Then we got the ball out and moving. Generally good things happen. Overall first game, especially in the second half I liked what I saw.”

Jimmy Butler didn’t attempt that many 3-pointers but found every other way to score, putting up 23 and playing with regular-season intensity, getting into a competitive go-round with emerging swingman Khris Middleton, who scored 10 in 17 minutes.

Butler caught himself on the unfortunate end of a Middleton poster, when he sized Middleton up on the fast break but couldn’t quite get a blocked shot when Middleton cupped it and jammed it, much to the buzz of the United Center crowd.

The turnovers were plentiful, but the effort and intensity will likely be to Hoiberg’s contentment, especially as Portis seemed to agitate everyone wearing green on the glass, grabbing 14 rebounds in 24 minutes.

Ugly it was, and the Bulls will take the game tape to find some positives among the muck — then they’ll likely burn it.

Antoine Griezmann professes his love for Derrick Rose after winning World Cup


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.