Bulls

Report: Bulls exploring trades involving Doug McDermott, Robin Lopez for first-round pick

Report: Bulls exploring trades involving Doug McDermott, Robin Lopez for first-round pick

With just 10 days remaining until the NBA trade deadline, rumors, smokescreens and potential deals are heating up.

To this point the Bulls have reportedly considered dealing Jimmy Butler and, according to our Insider Vincent Goodwill, are interested in aquiring Chicago native Jahlil Okafor from the Philadelphia 76ers.

The latest rumor comes from Basketball Insiders' Michael Scotto, who reported Monday evening that the Bulls "are exploring the trade market in search of a first-round draft pick in exchange for either...Robin Lopez or...Doug McDermott," according to league sources.

The report is interesting on multiple levels. First, dealing either of those two players would almost certainly indicate the team going into selling mode at the trade deadline. And while that's long been assumed - the Bulls have lost eight of 13 and stand at 26-29 - trading a key rotation piece for a draft pick would signify a waving of the white flag on the 2016-17 season.

[BULLSTALK PODCAST: Latest on Jahlil Okafor, Jimmy Butler trade rumors]

McDermott hasn't necessarily taken that next step the Bulls would have hoped for, but the 25-year-old is connecting on 38 percent of his 3-pointers and has heated up of late, shooting 48 percent from deep in his last seven games, tallying double-digit point totals in five of them. McDermott has one year remaining on his rookie year as well as qualifying offer the year after that, so he'd come at a bargain for a team looking to add another 3-point specialist - though his shortcomings on defense and as a passer cap his ceiling.

Lopez also has clear value. The 7-footer has averaged 9.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 55 games for the Bulls. He's the only player to have played in each game for the Bulls this season (and played in all 82 games for the Knicks a year ago) and is shooting 50 percent from the field on a career-high 9.0 field goal attempts per game.

Whether the Bulls could secure a first round pick for either player is another story, and there's a chance they would use any first-round pick to then go after Okafor from the Sixers.

For now it's yet another rumor in what should be a very busy 10-day stretch as far as reports and sources regarding the Bulls go.

Stay tuned.

Instant reaction: 4 takeaways from Bulls' preseason victory over Hawks

Instant reaction: 4 takeaways from Bulls' preseason victory over Hawks

The Bulls concluded their preseason schedule at 2-3 following Thursday’s 111-93 win over a Hawks team playing their regulars limited minutes at the United Center. Here are four takeaways:

Coby White is a baller

Those aren’t our words. They’re Jim Boylen’s.

“We’re developing Coby White as a basketball player,” Boylen said Wednesday. “We’re not going to put him in this situation where he’s a 1, a 2 or a 3. He’s a baller.”

White certainly was with a dominant second half in which he scored 21 of his 29 points and finished 6-for-8 from 3-point range.

At this point, it doesn’t matter if White ever passes the ball. This is the all-time leading scorer in North Carolina high school history and someone who even North Carolina coach Roy Williams didn’t expect to turn pro after one season.

White is clearly more a scorer than point guard at this point. And that’s fine. Give the Bulls credit for recognizing that and letting him play to his strengths rather than force-feed him.

Welcome to the preseason, Wendell Carter Jr.

With his status unknown until shortly before tipoff because he tweaked his surgically repaired left thumb, the second-year big man started and endured a slow first stretch in which he looked winded. Then, Carter made his presence known in a big way.

He blocked Brandon Goodwin’s driving layup and sprinted the floor to dunk off a Kris Dunn dish. He drew a taunting technical for dunking all over Bruno Fernando. He blocked Alex Len’s dunk attempt. He made a nice touch pass to Otto Porter Jr. for a basket.

In short, he showed why the organization remains so high on him. And in the process, he almost made people forget the sprained ankle, bruised tailbone and now tweaked thumb he has had this preseason.

Almost.

Carter still needs to prove he can stay on the floor. As coach Jim Boylen often says, reliability and availability are skills. But it’s a good sign for Carter to finish the preseason on a high note with eight points, eight rebounds and three blocks.

Kris Dunn dominated defensively before enduring foul trouble

The guard continues to say all the right things about his reserve role, embracing his identity as a disruptive defensive force.

Whether it was motivation to do right by that or memories of Trae Young scoring 49 points in these teams’ epic, four-overtime thriller from last season, Young had a first-half stretch in which he was all over the court. He had three steals and two assists before sitting with three fouls.

“I’m a professional, as we all are in here,” Dunn said. “We have to approach it in a professional manner. I’m with the Bulls. I’m going to play hard each game and each practice and try to help the team win.”

Dunn’s three quick fouls isn’t an issue either. He’s now in a role where he can afford to be that aggressive defensively.

Jim Boylen used a regular-season rotation

Carter started alongside Tomas Satoransky, Zach LaVine, Otto Porter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen. Dunn played with a second unit that featured Coby White, Ryan Arcidiacono, Thad Young and Luke Kornet.

That means, at least for now, Denzel Valentine is the odd man out. Chandler Hutchison and Shaq Harrison have yet to play this preseason because of hamstring injuries. So perhaps the rotation will change.

But Boylen said pregame that he planned to use the final preseason game as a dress rehearsal for the regular season. Along those lines, the Bulls kept their newfound approach of launching 3-pointers intact. They took 46 overall, including Zach LaVine’s deep heave that beat the halftime buzzer as part of his 23 points in 25 minutes. LaVine continued to score almost effortlessly.

Jordan gets emotional at opening of 'The Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinic'

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USA TODAY

Jordan gets emotional at opening of 'The Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinic'

Michael Jordan is by no means new to philanthropic work, as the NBA Hall of Famer and owner of the Charlotte Hornets has long donated to many different causes, including rather recently, a $1 million donation to the relief efforts for Hurricane Dorian. In a new charitable effort, Jordan has gone and made a huge difference in the Charlotte community, helping to open up a  brand new Novant Health Medical Clinic.

“It’s not the financials but ... from the heart — a passion from what this city, this state has given back to me ... I can never repay what you have given to me. But this is a start.”

Jordan donated $7.2 million in order to help open up the two new Novant Health Clinics in Charlotte. He acknowledged that while he will always have his connections to "Illinois and other places", he knows "where it all begins", referring to North Carolina, as MJ grew up Wilmington. 

The Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Clinic features aluminum strips on the outside of the building that form an image of Jordan slam-dunking, but despite the Jordan branding on the building, he made it clear that the great day was not about him. 

“You see my name, but yet you see a lot of people behind me and the commitment, especially from my mom, about caring for other people and being a part of a community that matters.”

We saw the oft-reserved MJ start to tear up while discussing how important the cause was to him, “I can only give in gratitude for what I can never repay.”

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