Bulls

Dwight Howard's wish list

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Dwight Howard's wish list

Dwight Howard's name has been all over the news lately as trade rumors have once again picked up full force surrounding the superstar center.

It doesn't help matters that the Orlando Magic, Howard's current team, has gone from a perennial contender to a team that has struggled to score even 60 points in a game over the last week.

Yes, you read that right. Sixty points.

Last Monday, Jan. 23, the Magic scored a franchise-low 56 points against the Boston Celtics, who were missing Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo, among others.

Orlando is now mired in a four-game losing streak in which it is averaging just 76 points per contest. The slump forced Howard into a clubhouse rant in which he said he felt like players on the Magic didn't even act like they wanted to play.

So it's no surprise trade talks have picked up again.

Josh Robbins from the Orlando Sentinel joined David Kaplan on Tuesday's Chicago Tribune Live to discuss the possibility of Howard coming to the Bulls.

"I don't think much has changed," Robbins said. "Right now, Dwight's list of preferred destinations remains the Nets, Lakers and Mavericks. Those are the only three teams that the Magic have given Howard's rep permission to speak with. And so while Dwight might say -- and I'm paraphrasing here -- 'if God tells me to go to the Bulls, I'll go to the Bulls,' that's not really saying much. That's not really something that's new.

"So at this point, I don't really see his position changing, which probably bodes ill for Bulls fans, unfortunately for them."

There's plenty more from Robbins so be sure to check out the video.

Kobe Bryant reportedly dies in helicopter crash in Calabasas

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USA Today

Kobe Bryant reportedly dies in helicopter crash in Calabasas

According to Yahoo Sports, Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash over Calabasas Sunday morning.

TMZ Sports first reported the news. Shortly afterwards, the Los Angeles County Sheriffs confirmed the crash:

ABC 7 News and ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski both later confirmed the report that Bryant was among those that perished:

Bryant played 20 years in the NBA, all with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five NBA championships, two MVPs and appearing in 15 All-Star games. He is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and four daughters.

The story appears to still be developing, but this is heartbreaking and stunning news for the basketball world at large, and, above all, Bryant's family.

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Bulls VP John Paxson says Zach LaVine 'deserves' to be an All-Star

Bulls VP John Paxson says Zach LaVine 'deserves' to be an All-Star

On Thursday, Zach LaVine will find out whether he makes his first All-Star game as a coaches’ reserve selection.

“Zach deserves to be an All-Star,” executive vice president John Paxson said. “I know we don’t have as many wins as we all would like. But nobody can ignore what he has done and it would be [an oversight] if he doesn’t get recognized.”

If he doesn’t, LaVine, and the Bulls, will be disappointed. But missing out shouldn’t obscure what is becoming a special season for LaVine.

Saturday’s masterpiece of 44 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in a road victory over the Cavaliers is just the latest example. With averages of 30 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists in January, he’ll also draw strong consideration for Eastern Conference player of the month.

Each summer, LaVine tries to add something to his game. This season, his focus centered on consistency and improving defensively. The 14 straight 20-point games is a sign of the former. And while he admittedly still occasionally drifts off the ball, his 1.4 steals per game mark is a career-best.

LaVine is on a streak of 14 straight 20-point games. His fourth 40-point effort of the season came with all defensive attention on him because Lauri Markkanen missed his second game of an extended absence with a hip injury. And that’s on top of the Bulls playing without Otto Porter Jr. and Wendell Carter Jr.

LaVine’s eight assists highlighted the improved decision-making that is defining this breakout season. And it also allowed him to join Michael Jordan as the only Bulls in franchise history to record at least 44-10-8 in a game.

That’s not the only time LaVine is getting mentioned in the same sentence as Jordan this season. He became the second-fastest player in franchise history behind Jordan to score 3,000 points in a Bulls uniform, needing 24 more games.

And he became the first player in franchise history to sink 300 3-pointers in 132 or fewer games.  He’s on pace to set the single-season franchise record for 3-pointers this season.

LaVine is averaging career-highs in scoring at 25.3 points per game, 3-point percentage at 38.9 and rebounding at 4.9. After a slow start, LaVine has increased his free-throw attempts to 5.6 per game, just .4 off last season’s career-high. He has increased his free-throw attempts per game every season he has been in the league.

Some critics still paint LaVine’s accomplishments as empty calories. There’s another line of thought that LaVine needs to be ball-dominant — his usage rate of 31.7 ranks 10th — to be successful.

LaVine still takes the occasional heat check. But his forced shots are way down and he’s carrying such an offensive burden mostly because he has to for this Bulls team. An example of his do-whatever-it-takes mentality: He has led the Bulls in rebounding since Carter went down to his sprained ankle.

LaVine has said he'd be more likely to participate in Saturday's slam dunk contest — and the 3-point shootout if he's invited — if he lands in Sunday's real All-Star game. What a weekend it could be. But even if it doesn't happen, LaVine is focused on this goal for the right reasons. He wants the Bulls to win.

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.