Bulls

Would Bynum to Cleveland make Cavs a threat to Bulls?

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Would Bynum to Cleveland make Cavs a threat to Bulls?

File this one away as yet another rumor involving Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard, but ESPN's Chris Broussard reported last night that sources confirmed Howard was "ready to join the Lakers" and that, if traded, would "re-sign long-term with the team."
That move would put into motion a three-team trade that could send Bynum to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Anderson Varejao and a handful of draft picks to the Magic, according to Sports Illustrated.
It's worth noting that David Lee, Bynum's agent, said he had not heard anything about a potential trade involving his client. It's hard to tell who is telling the truth and who is putting up a smoke screen, but it's worth discussion because of what it could mean for the Cavaliers' future.
On the off-chance the final Howard deal sends Bynum to Cleveland, a spot he reportedly would sign a long-term deal with, the Cavaliers core would look promising for the future.
The 24-year-old Bynum has is one of the most talented young players in the league. He averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game last season, but still has some growing up to do. Moving away from the glamour of Hollywood could help him.
Then there's 20-year-old Kyrie Irving, named the NBA's Rookie of the Year last season after averaging 18.5 points, 5.4 assists and 3.7 rebounds. The 2011 No. 1 overall pick looks to have a bright future in the league, and would do wonders with a seven-footer in Bynum.
Tristan Thompson, taken three spots after Irving last year at No. 4 overall, is a work in progress but would be helped out in a big way playing alongside Bynum. At just 21 years old, he, too, would be a building block for the Cavaliers.
Cleveland had two first round draft picks in June's NBA Draft, selecting Dion Waiters at No. 4 and trading up to get North Carolina center Tyler Zeller at No. 17. Waiters has just tapped into his potential as a 20-year-old combo guard, and Zeller, the reigning ACC Player of the Year, is NBA-ready.
The Cavaliers would lose significant draft picks over the next couple of seasons should they be involved in a Bynum trade, meaning less young players coming in. But the core it would produce (Bynum, Irving, Waiters, Zeller, Thompson) may be worth it.
At this point, this trade scenario is yet another rumor in the saga properly named the "Dwightmare," but the Orlando center has to be traded at some point, and it could have serious ramifications in the East.
If the Lakers traded Andrew Bynum to the Cavaliers, would you consider them a threat to the Bulls in the next two or three seasons?

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

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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."