Bulls

Bulls treating Mike Dunleavy return as a trade acquisition

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Bulls treating Mike Dunleavy return as a trade acquisition

SANTA MONICA, CALIF -- It’s probably not the news radical Bulls fans want to hear, but the team is certainly treating the insertion of Mike Dunleavy from his lower back surgery and subsequent setback as if it’s a trade acquisition as opposed to an actual personnel move.

With Joakim Noah’s season-ending injury and Nikola Mirotic’s acute appendicitis putting him on the shelf until after the All-Star break, the Bulls have been stripped of their depth and limiting the resources they have to actively engage in serious talks.

“I don’t know if handcuff is the word or what it is. But there’s nothing out there right now as far as I know,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said at the team’s practice at Santa Monica High School. “Hopefully we can build off a couple good road performances of late. Bobby (Portis) is going to be forced into a role obviously where he’s playing a lot of minutes now. And there are going to be times where we play smaller lineups. We’re comfortable with this group and anticipate this is the team we’ll have.”

Some of the moves other teams have approached the Bulls with has been with the thought of tearing the team down as opposed to remaining competitive in the interim, a thought the front office bristles at.

Whenever Dunleavy comes back, it’s likely the finished product for this season and the franchise will regroup come July as the salary cap rises and the trade market could open up.

“Unless something earth-shattering comes up, I don’t anticipate anything happening,” Hoiberg said. “I know those guys are working the phones, as are the other 29 teams in the league.”

As Hoiberg was talking, Dunleavy was going through his battery of shots after practice, calling himself “close” to returning. He’ll spend a couple days in Santa Cruz, California with the Bulls’ D-League affiliate to practice with them as the Bulls move onto Utah and Sacramento to start the next week.

The final hurdle, he said, is just about comfort level with his conditioning and rhythm.

“I’m getting there. I feel good. I’m getting real close,” Dunleavy said. “I’m going to spend some time down there next week with the D League team, some practices. Try to get a little more rhythm and repetition because obviously our team is playing too many games. Gotta get that done and then see where we’re at.”

After previously stating he would return to play “sometime in February”, he wouldn’t hold himself to that, leaving open the possibility of coming back this trip, which will have six more games on it in the next 10 days, starting Sunday.

“Anything’s possible. The big thing for me is getting through these two practices down there  with those guys and see where I’m at and how I feel and go from there,” Dunleavy said. “Yeah, there won’t be any of that (waiting). If I’m not ready, I’m not ready. But if I’m ready, it’s not like, ‘Let’s take an extra week.’ I’ve been out long enough. It’s time to roll.”

[RELATED: Kobe heaps praise on Butler, Rose]

Hoiberg hasn’t stated how he’ll insert Dunleavy into play, but one has to believe starting E’Twaun Moore on Thursday was done, in part, to get Tony Snell and Doug McDermott acclimated to being back to lesser roles.

Picking up the nuances of the offense and Hoiberg’s system hasn’t been too difficult, as having an able bodied veteran as opposed to the underwhelming performances from Snell and McDermott, could provide some kind of boost.

“Yeah, he picks things up very quickly,” Hoiberg said. “He’s been watching every day on the sidelines. We’ve had him running plays with the second group after practice for the last week and a half. So I anticipate Mike picking things up very quickly.”

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.