Bulls

Celtics' Rondo: UC fans most obnoxious in NBA

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Celtics' Rondo: UC fans most obnoxious in NBA

Give Rajon Rondo credit for honesty. When interviewed at the Red Bull "King of the Rock" event on notorious Alcatraz Island, the speedy Celtics All-Star point guard named the fans at Chicago's United Center as the league's most obnoxious crowd.

"Id say Chicago," Rondo told RedBull.com. "Ever since a couple years back in the playoffs, me and Kirk Hinrich got into it and theyve been booing me and heckling me ever since."

At least Rondo put his answer into a personal context. Bulls fans have a long memory and now that the hometown team has ascended to an upper-echelon squad following Rondo's dust-up with fan favorite "Captain Kirk," in the Bulls and Celtics historic first-round series in 2009. Chicago supporters have let him hear it.

The fact that Rondo faces off with league MVP Derrick Rose in a matchup of two of the game's premier point guards also puts a target on his back. However, while fans at the UC may have a personal animus toward Rondo, it would be unfair to call the "Madhouse on Madison" crowd the league's most obnoxious, although the likes of Pacers veteran big man Jeff Foster might disagree.

Passionate? Yes, but when it comes to over-the-top behavior, the fans at Rondo's own home arena in Boston have to be up there, along with the crowds in Salt Lake City, New York, Denver and Philadelphia. Rondo is on the money when he cites Golden State's fans -- despite the Warriors' perennially losing ways -- as the NBA's loudest. Though fans in Portland and Oklahoma City could give them a run for their money.

Really, this debate comes down to semantics. One man's "obnoxious" is simply another man's "intense," which is what Rondo calls the crowd at Boston's TD Banknorth Garden. How would his former Celtics assistant coach, Tom Thibodeau, compare the two arenas now?

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

2018-19 NBA Power Rankings: Opening Week edition

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USA TODAY

2018-19 NBA Power Rankings: Opening Week edition

The theme of the 2018-19 NBA season will be: “old faces in new places”. Like a season-long game of the NBA on TNT crew’s “Who he play for?” game, this year will be about fans trying to get used to the idea of LeBron James in purple (I won’t call it ‘Forum Blue’)-and-gold, DeMarcus Cousins being on a championship-contending franchise and Kawhi Leonard being the new face of Toronto.

The Warriors are still the easy favorite to make it four NBA championships in five years, but they will be tested perhaps more than any year before in a loaded Western Conference, where even the lowliest of teams (here’s to you Phoenix and Memphis!) made solid offseason moves geared towards winning games.

Over in the now-LeBron-less East, there is hope amongst at least four-to-five teams that they could actually have a shot to win the conference. The Pacers still have budding superstar Victor Oladipo, the Sixers still have Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, and the Raptors and Bucks made head coaching changes that could lead to deep playoff runs. But with the rest of the Eastern conference being stuck between lottery contention and middle of the pack, expect the half-experienced, half-youthful Celtics to takeover as East juggernaut.

But whether or not your favorite franchise is aiming for a high draft pick or a postseason berth, there is tons to be excited in a 2018-19 NBA season that will surely be an intriguing one. Check out Week 1 of our NBA Power Rankings right here.

Deadline passes as Bulls, Bobby Portis fail to reach agreement on contract extension

Deadline passes as Bulls, Bobby Portis fail to reach agreement on contract extension

The Bulls and Bobby Portis were unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension by today’s deadline, which will make the power forward a restricted free agent next offseason.

According to The Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson, Portis’ agent Mark Bartelstein and Gar Forman had “lengthy face-to-face negotiations” on Monday prior to the deadline. The two sides weren’t able to come to an agreement.

The negotiations – and lack of a deal – come after a summer and training camp in which Portis continued to show progression. After beginning the preseason coming off the bench Portis quickly played his way into the starting lineup alongside rookie Wendell Carter Jr. Portis finished five preseason games averaging 17.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals in just 22.4 minutes.

Portis, the 22nd pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, has seen his role increase each of his three seasons. He made a jump last season in Year 3, averaging 13.2 points and 6.8 rebounds in 22.5 minutes. He was one of three players, including DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Love, to average 21 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 3-pointers per 36 minutes.

Though the Bulls certainly had the room to sign Portis to an extension, there were obvious reasons on both sides to wait on a deal. For starters, the Bulls will still be able to match any deal Portis receives in free agency next July, much like what happened with Zach LaVine and the Sacramento Kings. The Bulls maintain their abundance of cap space for the 2019 offseason, when they’ll be able to offer a max contract to the top-tier free agents, and they get to see if Portis makes another jump.

For Portis, it’s a case of him betting on himself. If the Bulls came in with a number he wasn’t satisfied with – to help keep their max cap space – he now finds himself on a contract year playing for his next contract. Still only 23 years old, Portis should cash in in July.

Two players from Portis’ draft class were able to cash in. Pacers center Myles Turner signed a reported four-year, $80 million extension and Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. agreed to a four-year, $45 million deal. Portis likely would have fallen somewhere in between those two deals had an agreement occurred.

The Bulls are hardly in an easy situation with Portis. Though they value the versatile power forward, Lauri Markkanen is entrenched at the position for the foreseeable future and the team just spent last year’s No. 7 overall pick on center Wendell Carter Jr. Portis realistically is stuck behind both those players, though he certainly has starting level NBA talent.