Bulls: Odds on where Tom Thibodeau will coach next season


Bulls: Odds on where Tom Thibodeau will coach next season

It seems to be a foregone conclusion that Tom Thibodeau has coached his last game with the Bulls, citing multiple sources throughout the league.

But one of the game's best coaches doesn't figure to be out of work for long. The New Orleans Pelicans are the only team in the league without a current head coach, while Denver and Orlando have head coaches who finished the year on an interim basis.

With that in mind, Bovada revealed their initial odds for where Thibodeau will be coaching on game 1 of the 2014-15 NBA season.

New Orleans Pelicans 1/1
Orlando Magic 5/2
Chicago Bulls 3/1
Any other NBA team 4/1
Not an NBA head coach 5/1

New Orleans makes the most sense, as getting the chance to coach the game's fastest rising star in Anthony Davis would be at the top of Thibodeau's list. According to Chicago Tribune's KC Johnson both parties have interest in one another, but if the Bulls are looking for compensation in exchange for Thibodeau the Pelicans may not be willing to bite. The Pelicans interviewed Warriors assistant Alvin Gentry on Monday.

Orlando is budding with young talent, too. Last season its top five scorers were 24 years old or younger, and that's not including last year's No. 4 overall pick Aaron Gordon. They also have the fifth best lottery odds and are guaranteed a top-8 pick in next month's draft.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Then there's the Bulls. As bad as the rifts between the front office and Thibodeau have gotten, it's not easy to let go of a coach who has won 255 games and three playoff series in five seasons. Thibodeau is still cream of the crop in terms of NBA coaches, and the Bulls are likely better off keeping him than if they let him go.

The "any other team" scenario is an interesting one, as Denver is still searching for a replacement for interim Melvin Hunt. Also, Cleveland may part ways with head coach David Blatt at season's end. Wouldn't that be something for Thibodeau, who has been knocked out by LeBron James in three of the last five playoffs, team up with the game's best player? Thibodeau also has ties with Kyrie Irving, who he coached on Team USA this past summer.

Johnson also reported in the linked story above that Thibodeau may sit out the year (5/1 odds) and wait for a job to open up next season, potentially in Los Angeles with the Lakers.

Bulls sign local product Tyler Ulis to two-way deal

Bulls sign local product Tyler Ulis to two-way deal

The NBA preseason has finished and teams are finalizing their rosters before the beginning of the regular season.

For the Bulls, that meant claiming Tyler Ulis off waivers and signing him to a two-way contract.

The Athletic's Shams Charania first reported the move.

Ulis, a product of Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, was waived by the Warriors on Friday. He spent two years at Kentucky before getting drafted in the second round by the Phoenix Suns in 2016.

In two years with the Suns, Ulis made 58 starts and played in 132 games. He averaged just over 7 points per game in both seasons. Last season, Ulis also averaged 4.4 assists per game against 1.8 turnovers in 23.4 minutes per game.

The Suns waived Ulis after the season and the Warriors signed him for the preseason. He averaged 3 points and 1.5 assists per game in four preseason games with the Warriors.

The two-way contract means Ulis could be spending more time with the Windy City Bulls than at the United Center on game days, but backup point guard is a question mark for the Bulls. Cam Payne looks like he will get first crack at the role behind Kris Dunn with Denzel Valentine injured. Ryan Arcidiacono just made the team and could also figure into point guard minutes.

Ryan Arcidiacono's persistence pays off with roster spot inclusion

Ryan Arcidiacono's persistence pays off with roster spot inclusion

Cuts during the NBA preseason aren’t exactly as gut-wrenching and tension-filled as they are in the NFL. NBA teams cut from somewhere in the late teens down to 15, and the potential for two-way contracts exist for those players who don’t make the roster. But for Ryan Arcidiacono, Saturday was filled with angst as he waited for a call. It never came.

“I was thinking about it. It’s like Hard Knocks when you’re watching. You don’t want to get that phone call,” Arcidiacono said Sunday before practice. “I was just thinking to myself after the game (Friday), nobody said anything to me. I was talking to (assistant) Pete (Myers) and he said, ‘Just get outta here, man. I’ll see you at practice on Sunday.’ I was still a little nervous on Friday night. Saturday morning I felt better after I talked to my agent and everything became more official.”

It’s quite the journey for Arcidiacono, who spent time both with the Bulls and their G-League affiliate in Hoffman Estates last season. In 37 starts with the Windy City Bulls, Arcidiacono averaged 13.9 points and 8.5 assists in 39.6 minutes. His two longest stints in Chicago came in late January and at the end of the year, and that 24-game audition was enough for the Bulls to re-sign him in July.

Arcidiacono found more comfort this summer in Year 2 with the Bulls. Though his playing time in the preseason was limited he showed enough in camp to warrant a spot on the roster. It also helped that the Bulls find themselves thin at the point guard position behind Kris Dunn, with Cameron Payne struggling and Denzel Valentine on the mend with an ankle injury.

“I think last year really helped me with the two-way, getting acclimated with what Fred wants to do,” he said. “I think getting up and down with the G League. (Head coach) Charlie (Henry) really helped me a lot. Knowing our point guard situation, I just tried to be the hardest playing guy on the floor anytime I step on and the rest will take care of itself.”

It’s unknown whether Arcidiacono’s stint in Chicago will last. His contract will be guaranteed on January 10. He’s an important body for now with Lauri Markkanen out for the foreseeable future and Valentine still recovering from his own injury. But he’ll also have the opportunity to push Payne for that back-up role. Payne struggled much of the preseason, averaging 4.2 points and 3.2 assists on just 25 percent shooting.

“Arci has done a lot of really good things,” Hoiberg said. “I liked the way he looked in the game the other night off the ball. Defensively, made some really good solid plays and again, when there’s an open man on the court Arci’s gonna find him.”

He won’t move the needle on the Bulls’ season, and his minutes will likely be minimal once the season begins. But for now it’s a great story of persistence that gives the Bulls another hard-working body in practice.”

“Whatever our team needs, that’s what they’ll get from me,” he said. “Whether that’s being a backup or the third point guard spot, I’m just here to compete and make our team better and hopefully get us some victories.”