The three teams that make the most sense as landing spot for Derrick Rose

The three teams that make the most sense as landing spot for Derrick Rose

Basketball Insiders writer Steve Kyler wrote this morning that the “Bulls are actively open to moving guard Derrick Rose."

The news that the Bulls are shopping Rose is not surprising given his injury history and that the former MVP has one year left on his contract. If the Bulls believe he will leave (or if they have no intention of re-signing him) then it makes sense to try and get something in return for him now before his value diminishes. As a rule, even if Rose has a great season, you won’t get much in return for him as a trade deadline rental next February.

The main question then becomes, which teams make sense as a landing spot for Rose? Here are the criteria for any team that would realistically approach the Bulls in trade talks for the Chicago native.

1. Cap space, and plenty of it.

Reason: Rose is due $21.3 million next season. The Bulls don’t want to take on a bad contract in return, so any team trading for Rose would have to be able to absorb his contract into its 2016-17 cap space.

Eliminates: Thunder, Spurs, Raptors, Warriors, Cavs, Clippers

2. Lack of a star already at point.

Reason: Let’s be honest. Any team that trades for Rose believes that he’s an upgrade over their current point guard. The Blazers aren’t trading for Rose just to backup Damian Lillard.

Eliminates: Blazers, Pistons, Celtics, Hawks, Heat, Wizards, Hornets, Pelicans, Rockets, Suns, Mavericks, Grizzlies (Note: Memphis may lose Mike Conley in free agency. If they do, they’ll need PG help)

3. No potential star that a team is trying to develop.

Reason: A team that is trying to develop a young point guard isn’t going to trade for Rose unless they believe that adding Rose will catapult them from the lottery into the playoffs.

Eliminates: Lakers, Nuggets, Magic, Jazz

4. No central division teams.

Reason: Can you imagine if Rose plays 70 games next season and puts up 20 and 6 a night in a different uniform? The last thing the Bulls front office wants is to trade Rose to a division opponent and get torched by him four times a season.

Eliminates: Pacers, Bucks

5. Your new head of basketball operations is a former Bulls coach who had a messy divorce with the Bulls front office.

Reason: Do your job

Alternate reason: More than enough to win

Eliminates: Wolves

6. Must have worthwhile asset to offer.

Reason: Unless the Bulls want to just dump Rose’s salary, they will want some compensation in return. Likely a mid-to-late first round pick or a rotation player.

Eliminates: Nets (seriously, have you looked at their roster?)

This leaves us with just three teams that are viable trade options: the Kings (who will likely lose Rondo), Sixers, and Knicks. All things equal, the Bulls would likely prefer the Kings because you only have to play Rose twice and there’s no threat of facing him in the playoffs.

The Kings are also interesting because the Bulls reportedly rejected a trade deadline offer for Pau Gasol that centered around Ben McLemore and big man Kosta Koufos. The Bulls could request that the protection be lifted off the 2017 pick that the Kings owe Chicago (top-10 protected) but the Sixers would have to get involved since they have the right to swap picks with Sacramento courtesy of the Nik Stauskas trade. It’s messy, and wouldn’t be an easy part of the deal to pull off.

The Knicks and Sixers have both the assets and cap space. Philadelphia is especially intriguing because they have the 24th and 26th picks in the first round and could be willing to part with one (or both) for Rose. It’s well-known that Philly believes it can be a playoff team next season and drafting two projects at the end of the first round doesn’t fit into its post-process plans. The danger here is that it’s widely considered to be a weak draft but Gar Forman and John Paxson have shown they can pick gems at the end of the first round.

There is no pressure to trade Rose, he is still loved by the average fan, and he believes he has a lot left to give a team. For any trade to work, both teams have to feel they are getting good value in return. This is not a Deng-salary-dump-to-Cleveland situation. Trading Rose would be a bold move, especially for a front office that is not known for making ‘big’ trades.

Bulls will sign player to 2-way contract, but NBA roster is set for now

USA Today

Bulls will sign player to 2-way contract, but NBA roster is set for now

The Bulls waived Milton Doyle, Justin Simon and Simisola Shittu Saturday, which is minor news since they were mostly camp bodies competing for possibly a two-way contract.

The bigger development is that the Bulls’ roster is basically set, pending the signing of one player to the second two-way contract still available. No Iman Shumpert. No Alfonzo McKinnie. And that’s just naming two hometown products recently linked to the Bulls via the rumor mill.

The Bulls still want to see what they have in Chandler Hutchison, who did some individual shooting Saturday but missed all training camp with a hamstring injury. Denzel Valentine, currently out of the rotation, is staying ready.

And Shaq Harrison, who missed all five preseason games with his own hamstring injury but now is fully practicing, remains a Jim Boylen favorite.

And that’s what the roster staying set for now is about as much as anything. The buy-in Boylen has received from players dating to voluntary September workouts and bonds that have formed could be disrupted by the waiving of someone like Harrison, whose contract isn’t fully guaranteed but his commitment is.

While the Bulls recognize proven wing depth is a question mark, they value Harrison’s toughness and defensive ability. If Hutchison or Harrison or Valentine---if he gets an opportunity---don’t produce, perhaps a move could be made at a later date.

But expect only the signing of a second player to a two-way contract to join Adam Mokoka for now.

“We’ve been talking about that,” Boylen said. “We’re working on that. We’ve got our list and have reached out to some people. We’re actively in process.”

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Lauri Markkanen is focused on team, not individual, goals for Bulls

Lauri Markkanen is focused on team, not individual, goals for Bulls

You can’t put Lauri Markkanen in a box.

Just as you can’t pigeonhole one of the faces of the Bulls’ franchise offensively, you won’t get him to bite on any statistical goals for himself. As the outside world clamors for him and Zach LaVine to represent the Bulls at All-Star weekend in Chicago, Markkanen is focused on team goals.

“We haven’t made it to the playoffs and haven’t won many games since we’ve been here,” Markkanen said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago following Saturday’s practice, alluding to himself, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn. “That really bothers us. So we want to win first.”

In fact, as Markkanen fielded questions about a preseason that featured him playing more as a spot-up shooter than the dynamic, double-double machine that defined his February 2019, he shifted the focus to defense and rebounding.

Ho and hum, indeed.

“You’re trying to get me to say 22 (points) and 12 (rebounds) and 3 assists,” Markkanen said, smiling. “I don’t have those kinds of goals. I want to get our wins from 22 to whatever. And I want to get our home wins from nine to whatever. I’m not putting a number on those either. But I think guys are doing a good job of making unselfish plays and making the extra pass. We’re coming together as a team.”

In fact, Markkanen said, at least for now, his only individual goals are to “stay healthy and be consistent.” He reiterated his stance from media day that his goal is to play all 82 games after averaging 60 games his first two seasons.

“I wanted to focus on defense more this preseason and I was a little disappointed in myself in that regard early in preseason. But I watched a lot of film and I think I had my learning moments and I think I got better as preseason moved on,” Markkanen said. “I’ve talked to Coach. We both expect rebounding from me. I think we’re going to be really good offensively. It’s at a high level now, and we’re deeper. If we rebound and can limit their possessions, we have a chance to be really good.”

Don’t mistake Markkanen’s aversion to setting statistical goals for submissiveness. Early in the interview, he called his preseason “maybe not as great as I wanted to play” and acknowledged he needs to increase his free-throw attempts by getting to the rim more.

Of Markkanen’s 42 shots, 24 came from beyond the arc and he attempted just seven free throws in close to 91 preseason minutes. That average of 1.8 free-throw attempts in his four preseason games pales in comparison to the 3.8 he averaged last season.

“I haven’t got to the rim as much. I’m conscious of that. Those are easy points for us,” Markkanen said. “(Driving) is still available to me. But defenses are loading up on me more and trying not to let me get downhill. And we’re not in the post as much (offensively) as we used to be. We’re shooting a lot of 3s.”

Markkanen smiled again as he said this, so it’s clear he likes the Bulls’ approach. He also remains confident his varied offensive game will be on display at some point.

“I don’t always talk to him about his offense to be honest with you,” coach Jim Boylen said. “I talk to him about defending and rebounding and handling the ball. I’ve shown him some of his decisions in transition where he’s handled the ball.

“I want him to compete at the defensive end, rebound, handle the ball and everything else to me takes care of itself. I know he’s going to make shots. Historically, he’s been better when the lights come on.”

Those lights get flipped on for real Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. You can’t put Markkanen in a box. But he can put pressure on himself to help the Bulls make the playoffs.

“I have really high expectations of myself,” he said. “That’s what keeps me going. I want to win."