Bulls

Five reasons the Bulls were right to trade Derrick Rose

Five reasons the Bulls were right to trade Derrick Rose

Everyone's got an opinion on whether the Bulls were right in trading away point guard Derrick Rose.

What's not up for debate is that the deal has benefits for the Bulls. Here are five reasons the Bulls got it right in dealing the former MVP when they did:

1. Rose's stock is in constant flux, and it's high right now

Bulls fans know all too well that Rose is one awkward landing or misstep away from serious injury. Last season he played in 66 games, five more than he played the previous three seasons combined. While not a clean bill of health - Rose will likely never have that again - he's currently as healthy as he's been since before he tore his ACL in the 2012 playoffs. Yes, the Bulls could have gone into the season with Rose and bet on his contract-year status pushing him to play even better than he did a year ago, boosting his trade value. But what if Rose were to re-injure his knee in early November, crushing his trade value as February's trade deadline came and went? Then the Bulls lose him for nothing at season's end. It was a gamble the Bulls rightfully didn't take.

2. The Bulls found their answer to Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah leaving

It's easy to look at Rose's expiring deal and wonder why the Bulls are giving up a talent like him AND taking on more salary. But with Gasol and Noah essentially out of the team's plans, the Bulls were going to need to sign a center this offseason or plug in the No. 14 pick in the middle, always a risky proposition. Instead they get center Robin Lopez, someone who has played in 82 games three of the last four years, provides solid rim protection and can go for a double-double each night. He's signed through 2019 at an average of $13.5 million. That may seem steep, but with the salary cap increasing each of the next two years that'll be the going rate for a starting center. Lopez is a safe bet on a team-friendly deal.

3. If it really was between Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose, this was a no-brainer

Reports surfaced Tuesday night that the Celtics were unable to reach a deal with the Bulls for Jimmy Butler. And for that Bulls fans should breathe a sigh of relief. It's the right move for the Bulls to stick with a 26-year-old, two-time All-Star about to enter his prime. Yes, the return for Butler would have been far greater than what the Bulls received for Rose. But regardless of the kind of leader Butler is or whether he gets along well with head coach Fred Hoiberg, it's unwise for any team to ship out that kind of talent. There's no way the Bulls could have received equal value in any deal, including one with the Celtics that included the No. 3 pick. Butler is locked in to a relatively cheap deal (given the contracts about to be handed out this offseason) and isn't fading anytime soon. If the Bulls had to choose between Rose and Butler, even with the potential return in a Butler deal, this was a no-brainer.

4. The Bulls get the guy they wanted last year in Jerian Grant

The Bulls reportedly were high on Grant before last season's draft, only to see him selected three picks before they their No. 22 slot. Instead, the Bulls were gifted Bobby Portis, who appears to have a bright future in the Windy City. And following Wednesday's trade, the Bulls now get a 23-year-old point guard with the ability to play off the ball. The Bulls are getting younger and more versatile at a position of need, with Aaron Brooks and E'Twaun Moore both free agents. Whatever Jose Calderon is able to provide will be an added bonus after Lopez's and Grant's contributions.

5. They now have more options in Thursday's draft

With Lopez and Grant in tow, the Bulls can approach the draft in a variety of ways. It's not imperative they find a center, or at least one who can play right away. If they want to focus their attention on more of a pure point guard they're able to do so, knowing Grant has the ability to play off the ball. Should they opt for a shooting guard or a wing they can feel good knowing they've got Grant and Calderon as a 1-2 combination at the point. Gar Forman said the Bulls feel as though they added another first-round pick with Grant, so they may be able to roll the dice on a high-upside prospect at No. 14.

Bulls Talk Podcast: The ultimate Bulls briefing to get you ready for Opening Night

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: The ultimate Bulls briefing to get you ready for Opening Night

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski sits down with Kendall Gill and Will Perdue to discuss all the need-to-know topics to get you ready for the season opener. The guys analyze how Lauri’s injury will make its mark on the early season rotation, whether Jabari will return to the starting unit or embrace the 6th-man role and why Portis betting on himself is the right move. Plus, Kendall has the key to unlock a “6th Man of the Year” award for Portis this season.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below:

'Underdog' Tyler Ulis will fit in just fine with these Bulls

'Underdog' Tyler Ulis will fit in just fine with these Bulls

It's been a whirlwind of a summer for point guard Tyler Ulis, but he finally feels like he's found a home. Literally.

The 5-foot-9 point guard was cut by the Suns in late June, latched on with a training camp invite by the Warriors and was subsequently waived on Friday. It was then that Ulis, working out in California, received a call from his agent. He had been claimed on waivers by the Chicago Bulls. His hometown Bulls.

"I grew up watching (the Bulls)," he said after his first practice on Tuesday. "Growing up in this city, you always want to be a Bull and you’re always willing and hoping that you’ll be here one day...I'm home now. It's a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to it."

Ulis is back in Chicago for the first time since he was breaking records for Marian Catholic High School. Ulis became a five-star recruit for the Spartans and in 2014 signed on as the next point guard in the long line of successful floor generals under John Calipari and Kentucky.

Ulis backed up the Harrison twins, Andrew and Aaron, as a freshman but saw his role increase as a sophomore. He blossomed, earning Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors in the SEC. Only Anthony Davis had ever earned both honors in a single season.

He declared for the 2016 NBA Draft with hopes of becoming a first-round pick. But unlike the Calipari point guards before him, Ulis slipped all the way down to the second round before the Phoenix Suns scooped him up with the 34th pick.

"Honestly I really did think (the Bulls) were going to draft me," Ulis said on Tuesday when recalling the 2016 NBA Draft. The Bulls took Denzel Valentine with the 14th pick. "But I'm here now so that's all that matters."

In 132 games, Ulis averaged 7.6 points and 4.1 assists in 21.1 minutes. He started 58 of those games, and while his shooting left plenty to be desired he handled the offense well and brought that same pesky defense he showed off at Kentucky. It wasn't enough, even for the guard-deprived Suns. They released Ulis before free agency this summer - which ruffled the feathers of franchise guard Devin Booker - in a rather unexpected move.

"My Mom always taught me (to) never expect anything," Ulis said of his release from the Suns. "When you're on a losing team like that anything can happen. I feel like I showed I could play at this level but they went a different way."

The Suns' loss - they may resort to starting 38-year-old Jamal Crawford at point guard this year - could be the Bulls' gain. Expectations should be harnessed for Ulis, especially with him joining the roster this late in the preseason, but the Bulls, like Phoenix, have question marks at the point.

Kris Dunn is entrenched as the starter, but Cameron Payne struggled mightily in the preseason and Ryan Arcidiacono doesn't project as a contributor. That leaves an opening for Ulis to potentially fill on the second unit, and apparently he's making a statement early in practice.

"Tyler had a real good practice," Fred Hoiberg said. "I think I think he changes the pace when he’s out there on the floor. He picks up full-court, he gets up underneath you. He can make a shot. He’s got good vision and can make a play with the ball in his hand. So I was very impressed with his first workout."

Ulis is working on a 45-day two-way contract, so it's unknown how much he'll contribute. He could be shuttled back and forth between Chicago and the Windy City Bulls, but there's certainly an opportunity for him to stick. He'll be playing catch-up and learning on the go, but doing so in his hometown wth friends and family around him for support will work to his advantage.

"Being a smaller guard growing up in a big man’s sport, you get looked over. So I’m the underdog," he said. "And I feel like this team is an underdog, so we should all be excited to get the season started and prove people wrong."