Forman, Bulls want to keep Jimmy Butler in Chicago long-term


Forman, Bulls want to keep Jimmy Butler in Chicago long-term

Though the Bulls were pleased to talk about the selection of Bobby Portis as a first-round pick, a first-round selection from 2011 wasn’t far from anybody’s mind as Gar Forman and Fred Hoiberg addressed the media on Thursday night.

Jimmy Butler’s impending free agency — restricted free agency, it should be said — will be priority No. 1 come July 1, as all the rumors about Butler possibly looking for a shorter contract will be met with intent.

“Our goal all along is to have Jimmy here long-term, and we feel real confident in our situation, how well he fits and that Jimmy’s comfortable in Chicago,” Forman said.

Butler’s supposed friction with Derrick Rose was addressed, as there was loud speculation about the two’s on-court relationship developing issues during the Bulls’ playoff run, most notably in Game 6 of their second-round playoff loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“I’ve read about the friction. I haven’t seen it,” Forman said. “We talked to Jimmy all the time. Jimmy’s been in the building. We talk about a number of things, not only with Jimmy and Derrick but with all our players. There’s no reason at all that those two, their games shouldn’t fit together perfectly. “

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Hoiberg, though he hasn’t coached either yet but has talked with both in his early weeks of taking over, believes he can devise an offensive scheme that maximizes what both can do without leaving one to feel the other is infringing on his territory or space on the floor.

“And I think in both of our minds you have two guys who want to attack, who want to run, who want to play off the dribble, can playmake for themselves or others,” Forman said. “They haven’t had a chance to do it a whole lot because of the injuries. There’s no reason those two shouldn’t be able to play off each other and be one of the best backcourts in the league.”

Hoiberg: “I agree. I think they complement each other beautifully. I’m looking forward to putting those guys in spots where they can continue to be All-Star caliber players.”

It’s believed Butler wants a shorter contract so that he can both maximize his ability to get a larger contract when the salary cap rises starting next summer and perhaps to get out from under Rose’s shadow, if there’s such a thing.

If he wants a two-year deal, it coincides with Rose’s contract expiring as well as Pau Gasol’s deal coming to a close, perhaps not wanting to be stuck through a possible rebuilding process if the Bulls can’t remain competitive.

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“Our goal is on July 1 to sit down with him and hopefully come to a deal in a timely fashion," Forman said. "We’ll sit down and talk about that and talk about what he’s looking for and what we’re looking for and hopefully come to something where it’s beneficial to both sides and go from there. Obviously Jimmy is a huge, huge part of what we’re doing, and we’ll do everything we can and anticipate him being in Chicago.”

The Bulls have control of the situation, to a degree, with Butler’s restricted status. If Butler and the Bulls can’t come to a long-term agreement, Butler can bet on himself, as he did this past fall when he and the Bulls couldn’t agree on an extension, and take the one-year qualifying offer that will grant him true free agency in July 2016.

There’s other options for both sides, such as Butler finding a team that will tie up their cap to sign Butler to an offer sheet that the Bulls will certainly match (not likely) or the Bulls extending what’s called a “maximum qualifying offer,” which has never been done in this era of collective bargaining but could be to the Bulls’ benefit (likely).

As with everything that happens with the Bulls, all roads lead to something Rose-related. And like everything with the Bulls, future dealings have question marks all around, despite the likelihood Butler will be in Chicago for at least one season — they just want the partnership to be an extended, fruitful one.

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.”