Bulls

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.

Pistons have the look of a playoff team in wide open East

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USA TODAY

Pistons have the look of a playoff team in wide open East

Finishing 9th in the Eastern Conference last season cost Stan Van Gundy his job as Pistons head coach and President of Basketball Operations. Van Gundy was replaced on the bench by 2017-18 Coach of the Year Dwane Casey, who was fired after the Raptors were swept by Cleveland in the conference semi-finals.

Casey’s job in Detroit is to find a way to develop the young players on the roster while getting the team to the playoffs. He has a pair of All-Star caliber players in the front court, Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, along with highly-paid, erratic point guard Reggie Jackson.

Griffin has battled injuries in recent seasons, but Van Gundy decided to roll the dice at mid-season a year ago by trading Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley AND a 1st round pick to the Clippers for the former slam dunk champion in a desperate bid to save his job. The trade didn’t work out for Van Gundy, but it’s possible Griffin could enjoy a resurgence in Detroit this season.

The 29-year-old power forward scored 26 points, pulled down eight rebounds and dished out six assists in the Pistons’ 103-100 win over Brooklyn on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Drummond had a monster game with 24 points and 20 rebounds. As Bulls fans know all too well, Drummond has made the 20 rebound game commonplace when facing Fred Hoiberg’s squad in recent years.

As for Jackson, a severely sprained right ankle limited him to just 45 games last season, probably costing Detroit a chance to make the playoffs. The 8th year pro is lightning quick, with the ability to disrupt defenses by getting into the paint and challenging bigger defenders at the rim. Jackson scored 19 points in the season opener against Brooklyn, and he’ll be a problem for the Bulls Saturday night, especially if Kris Dunn is unavailable.

Casey is still trying to figure out how to use the rest of the roster Van Gundy built, with recent 1st round pick Henry Ellenson and former rotation player Jon Leuer getting DNP-CD’s against the Nets. Meanwhile, two other expected rotation players, small forward Stanley Johnson and swingman Reggie Bullock missed the opener because of injuries.

That left second year guard Luke Kennard and 2018 2nd round draft pick Bruce Brown as the other starters in game one, something that’s unlikely to continue once everyone’s healthy.

So, how do the Bulls even their record at 1-1 on Saturday? Here are my three keys:

1. Keep Drummond and Griffin off the offensive boards. This is much easier said than done. Drummond in particular is relentless going after missed shots, and his bulk will cause problems for 19 year old rookie Wendell Carter Jr. Hoiberg hinted at possible line-up changes on Friday morning, which could include starting veteran Robin Lopez at center to battle Drummond inside. Griffin has turned into more of a jump shooter now and doesn’t have the multiple jump capability that characterized his early seasons in the NBA, but he’s still a threat to create 2nd shot opportunities.

2. Close out on three-point shooters. Of all the defensive issues for the Bulls in Philadelphia on Thursday, losing touch with shooters in transition was probably the most troublesome. Robert Covington seemed to be open at the three-point line throughout the game, and Bulls players struggled to handle cross-match situations. Kennard had one of the best games of his rookie season against the Bulls, and Jackson, Ish Smith and Langston Galloway are all capable of heating up from long distance.

3. Attack Detroit’s interior defense. The Bulls were at their best offensively in the first quarter against Philadelphia when they drove to the basket to set up easy scoring chances. Zach LaVine was getting to the rim at will in scoring 15 of his 30 points in the opening 12 minutes, and his penetration also set up Bobby Portis for open looks from the three-point line. Hopefully, Dunn will return to stabilize the point guard position and give the Bulls' first unit another shot creator so they can sustain their pace and scoring potential over four quarters.

Saturday’s home opener is definitely winnable against a Detroit team still finding its way under a new coaching staff. Better effort and attention to detail on the defensive end along with a fast-paced, drive and kick offensive attack should make for an exciting opening night at the United Center.

Make sure to join Kendall Gill, Will Perdue, Kelly Crull and me for a special one hour edition of Bulls Pre-Game Live at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago and the new My Teams app, followed by the play by play call with Neil Funk and Stacey King at 7 p.m. And, stay tuned after the final buzzer for reaction and analysis on an expanded edition of Bulls Postgame Live.

Lineup changes could be on the way for Bulls: 'It's still up in the air'

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USA TODAY

Lineup changes could be on the way for Bulls: 'It's still up in the air'

It’s tough to call the position battle for the backup point guard spot on a Lottery-bound team important, but here we are two days into the Bulls’ season.

It won’t move the needle in NBA circles and Dwane Casey won’t be putting in additional time getting ready for Saturday’s game, but there appears to be potential for change in Fred Hoiberg’s rotation.

One day after an embarrassing display in a season-opening loss to the Sixers, Hoiberg said the Bulls have yet to make a decision on a potential lineup change for tomorrow’s affair against the Detroit Pistons. Kris Dunn, who missed Thursday’s game for the birth of his first child, was not at practice on Friday and may or may not be available for the home opener.

That could prompt changes after Cam Payne, inserted into the starting lineup, was largely ineffective, failing to score on 0 of 4 shooting in 21 minutes.

“We’re gonna see how practice goes today and then make that decision,” Hoiberg said. “It’s still up in the air on what we’re gonna do.”

The loss certainly can’t fall on just Payne, as the Bulls went lifeless after a 41-point first quarter that had them in the lead after 12 minutes. From there the Sixers outscored them by 29 in the second and third quarters, facing little resistance from a Bulls defense that doesn’t appear to have made much improvement from a year ago, Dunn or no Dunn.

Philadelphia shot 48 percent from the field, scored 20 fast-break points and 46 points in the paint, cruising to 102 points through three quarters before reserves finished things off. Even with Dunn the defensive prospects don’t look good, meaning Hoiberg might have to make changes to ignite the offense that scored just 35 points in those second and third quarters.

The Bulls could go a few different routes. Zach LaVine’s hot hand in the first quarter – 15 points on 6 of 7 shooting – saw the ball in his hands, and he even added two assists.

“It's a collective effort. You've got to have all five guys out there trying to play the right way and again, we found a recipe with Zach, especially in that first unit, where we let him bring the ball up the floor,” Hoiberg said. “We ran a couple actions where he was the facilitator and we put Cam in the corner. So a lot of that will be dictated by who has it going on a particular night and last night it happened to be Zach, so he was the one that was doing a lot of facilitating.”

Past a point guard-less lineup, the backups to Payne – Ryan Arcidiacono and Tyler Ulis – could also see extended minutes going forward.

Arcidiacono had 8 points and 8 assists in 28 minutes, though the majority of those stats came in garbage time. Still, he hit a pair of 3-pointers and didn’t turn the ball over, and five of his assists resulted in makes at the rim.

Ulis, acquired off waivers last week, could inject some life into the second unit.

“He’s ready. He’s done a good job in practice,” Hoiberg said. “We’ve gone through the system with him as far as what we expect and if there’s a point in the game where he can go out there and we feel he can help us, I’m confident that he’ll go out there and give us good effort.”

The point guard rotation isn’t the key to unlocking the Bulls as a lockdown defensive team, or no longer suffering the offensive dry spells that happened Thursday. But in a season that’s already showing signs of adversity, shaking up the lineup might be Hoiberg’s only chance.