Bulls

Rose won't change style of play vs. Howard, Magic

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Rose won't change style of play vs. Howard, Magic

ORLANDO, FLA. He knows the track record and a bruised left elbow doesnt help matters, but dont expect Derrick Rose to do anything different when he drives to the hole and faces imposing Magic center Dwight Howard on Friday night.

Im still going to attack, go to the hole, Rose said after the Bulls morning shootaround. Theres no change.

Rose has been taken down by the All-Star big man and three-time reigning league Defensive Player of the Year twice in the past -- and subsequently was forced to miss time due to injuries suffered on the mid-air collisions -- but although he has no plans to alter his game, he is aware of Howards presence.

Im a drive-first guy, but when you play him, youve definitely got to know that hes going to contest everything, he said.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau preferred to focus on how his team would guard Howard.

He commands so much attention and he plays so unselfishly that thats really what opens up their three-point game. Hes very difficult to guard. You cant guard him one-on-one, said the coach. You need your team help and you have to make multiple effort against him, but you have to be able to get out and challenge their threes.

Thibodeau is also wary of the Magics dangerous supporting cast.

Theyve got a lot of weapons, said Thibodeau, who cited sharpshooting forwards Hedo Turkoglu and Ryan Anderson, as well as shooting guards Jason Richardson and J.J. Redick as players the Bulls would have to focus on. Theyre a deep team and theyre a good team. Theyre a well-balanced team, they play great defense, they share the ball offensively, so its going to be a tough matchup for us.

Roses point-guard counterpart, Jameer Nelson, is another Orlando player Thibodeau considers underrated.

Hes a fierce competitor and all the guy has done is win his whole life, he lauded. He can shoot the ball, he makes unselfish plays, hes tough, can create havoc getting into the paint.

Thibodeau is familiar with one of the Magics offseason acquisitions, power forward Glen Davis. Thibodeau coached Davis, who has gotten off to an uneven start with his new team, with the Celtics.

I think hes fine. Hell figure it out. Hes a really good player. Hes a great defensive player, both individually and as a team defender. He can hit spot-up shots, post up some, he said. He gives them a different look. You have Howard and Davis up front, a very physical presence.

Although Rip Hamilton is still getting comfortable with his new squad, the Bulls shooting guard is well aware of what Orlando brings to the table, having battled the Magic for several seasons as a member of the Pistons.

Ive been playing against them for years, said Hamilton, who is a game-time decision because of a groin injury. Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy has done a great job with them, Dwight has been awesome every year.

Following the Bulls shootaround, Thibodeau chatted with Van Gundys brother Jeff, his former boss with both the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets.

2018-19 NBA Power Rankings: Opening Week edition

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USA TODAY

2018-19 NBA Power Rankings: Opening Week edition

The theme of the 2018-19 NBA season will be: “old faces in new places”. Like a season-long game of the NBA on TNT crew’s “Who he play for?” game, this year will be about fans trying to get used to the idea of LeBron James in purple (I won’t call it ‘Forum Blue’)-and-gold, DeMarcus Cousins being on a championship-contending franchise and Kawhi Leonard being the new face of Toronto.

The Warriors are still the easy favorite to make it four NBA championships in five years, but they will be tested perhaps more than any year before in a loaded Western Conference, where even the lowliest of teams (here’s to you Phoenix and Memphis!) made solid offseason moves geared towards winning games.

Over in the now-LeBron-less East, there is hope amongst at least four-to-five teams that they could actually have a shot to win the conference. The Pacers still have budding superstar Victor Oladipo, the Sixers still have Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, and the Raptors and Bucks made head coaching changes that could lead to deep playoff runs. But with the rest of the Eastern conference being stuck between lottery contention and middle of the pack, expect the half-experienced, half-youthful Celtics to takeover as East juggernaut.

But whether or not your favorite franchise is aiming for a high draft pick or a postseason berth, there is tons to be excited in a 2018-19 NBA season that will surely be an intriguing one. Check out Week 1 of our NBA Power Rankings right here.

Deadline passes as Bulls, Bobby Portis fail to reach agreement on contract extension

Deadline passes as Bulls, Bobby Portis fail to reach agreement on contract extension

The Bulls and Bobby Portis were unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension by today’s deadline, which will make the power forward a restricted free agent next offseason.

According to The Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson, Portis’ agent Mark Bartelstein and Gar Forman had “lengthy face-to-face negotiations” on Monday prior to the deadline. The two sides weren’t able to come to an agreement.

The negotiations – and lack of a deal – come after a summer and training camp in which Portis continued to show progression. After beginning the preseason coming off the bench Portis quickly played his way into the starting lineup alongside rookie Wendell Carter Jr. Portis finished five preseason games averaging 17.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals in just 22.4 minutes.

Portis, the 22nd pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, has seen his role increase each of his three seasons. He made a jump last season in Year 3, averaging 13.2 points and 6.8 rebounds in 22.5 minutes. He was one of three players, including DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Love, to average 21 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 3-pointers per 36 minutes.

Though the Bulls certainly had the room to sign Portis to an extension, there were obvious reasons on both sides to wait on a deal. For starters, the Bulls will still be able to match any deal Portis receives in free agency next July, much like what happened with Zach LaVine and the Sacramento Kings. The Bulls maintain their abundance of cap space for the 2019 offseason, when they’ll be able to offer a max contract to the top-tier free agents, and they get to see if Portis makes another jump.

For Portis, it’s a case of him betting on himself. If the Bulls came in with a number he wasn’t satisfied with – to help keep their max cap space – he now finds himself on a contract year playing for his next contract. Still only 23 years old, Portis should cash in in July.

Two players from Portis’ draft class were able to cash in. Pacers center Myles Turner signed a reported four-year, $80 million extension and Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. agreed to a four-year, $45 million deal. Portis likely would have fallen somewhere in between those two deals had an agreement occurred.

The Bulls are hardly in an easy situation with Portis. Though they value the versatile power forward, Lauri Markkanen is entrenched at the position for the foreseeable future and the team just spent last year’s No. 7 overall pick on center Wendell Carter Jr. Portis realistically is stuck behind both those players, though he certainly has starting level NBA talent.