The Bulls clinched the Eastern Conference No. 1 seed with the Miami Heats 78-66 loss to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.
The race for home-court throughout the playoffs is still up for grabs, though, as the Bulls and the San Antonio Spurs share identical 48-16 records. Chicago owns the tie-breaker courtesy of 96-89 Bulls win in the only matchup between the two this season.
To me, you go step-by-step. You try and put as many things in your favor as possible, said coach Tom Thibodeau. Were not changing the way we prepare or the things that we do. The same things go into winning for every game. Right now, just continue to improve, correct the things that need to be corrected and just stay focused on your next opponent. Once you start skipping steps, thats when you get in trouble in this league.
Thibodeau was asked if his strategy regarding resting his players for Wednesday's game in Indiana would change if the Heat indeed lost, saying only, "If we get there, Ill make those decisions. Right now, were approaching it as a normal game."
He did say the starters might not play extended minutes, but there is still the chance to earn the leagues best record for the second consecutive season and securing home-court throughout the playoffs.
We like to have it all the way throughout in case theres a Game 7, we want to have it in our building, said Carlos Boozer after practice on Tuesday.
Its also important for us to get our cohesion. We got D-Rose back. Hes not 100 percent, but hes working through it. We got Rip back and he looks like hes 100 percent, hes playing great, so getting our cohesion back is more important than anything else right now.
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.
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.