Bulls Rumors

Bulls Preparing For Front Office Changes?

7:57pm: K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago echoes many of Cowley’s points in his own report, writing that talk has been “rampant throughout All-Star weekend” about the changes the Bulls are expected to make to their front office. The team is seeking someone to take on the day-to-day basketball operations and become a “fresh voice and face of the franchise,” writes Johnson.

7:21pm: The Bulls are in the early stages of adding a new executive to their front office, sources tell Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. According to Cowley, vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and COO Michael Reinsdorf have begun to do legwork – through back channels – on potential candidates.

Cowley, who suggests the Bulls are in the market for a general manager “with a louder voice,” writes that the search is expected to be widespread. Gar Forman still holds the GM role in Chicago for now, but senior advisor Doug Collins is among those who are in favor of a change, according to Cowley.

As Cowley explains, the idea would be for Paxson to “slip into the background” as the new general manager assumes media duties. Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf likes the model employed by the Chicago White Sox, with Ken Williams in the background as the VP while Rick Hahn has been more empowered in his GM role. For the Bulls, Paxson would take on a Williams-esque role, with the new GM playing Hahn’s part.

Forman, meanwhile, would likely be reassigned to a scouting position rather than being fired, per Cowley, who notes that the team wants to build up its scouting department this spring.

Paxson and Forman have headed the Bulls’ front office for over a decade, much to the chagrin of a significant faction of Bulls fans. During Friday’s episode of ESPN’s First Take, when guard Zach LaVine was asked whether he has confidence in Chicago’s decision-makers, the fans in attendance began to boo and a chant of “Fire GarPax!” broke out (link via Madeline Kenney of The Chicago Sun-Times).

Assuming the Bulls do move forward with the front office changes Cowley outlines in his report, it’ll be interesting to see whether the club sticks with head coach Jim Boylen, who has received the full support of the current group. Boylen’s current contract isn’t a long-term deal, so it’s possible a new GM would be given the go-ahead to make the call on his future.

Jimmy Butler Does Not Rule Out Return To Bulls

In Chicago to play in the 2020 All-Star game, Heat All-Star Jimmy Butler said it’s a “definite possibility” he could suit up for the Bulls once again later in his career, tweets Cody Westerlund of 670TheScore.

Butler spent his first six seasons in the Windy City, transforming from a 30th overall pick into a perennial All-Star. Chicago traded Butler to the Timberwolves in June 2017. Butler’s time in Minnesota lasted just over a season before he was dealt to the Sixers. He signed a four-year, $141MM deal with the Heat as part of a sign-and-trade this past summer.

The 30-year-old is committed to Miami for three additional seasons after 2019/20. However, he had praise for Chicago’s front office and what the team is building.

“I got faith in (Bulls) management,” he said, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link). “They have a lot of young talent.”

In 46 games this season, Butler is averaging 20.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG and 6.1 APG for Miami.

Wendell Carter Jr. Hopes To Return After All-Star Break

A January 6 game against Dallas was the last time Wendell Carter Jr. suited up for the Bulls. The former No. 7 overall pick, who has been recovering from a high ankle sprain since then, feels like he is close to making his return to the court.

“I’m definitely feeling a lot better, I’m continuing to do rehab and therapy on my ankle every day,” Carter said (via Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports). “Just trying to get it feeling right. And I want to be back next game, that’s what I’m shooting for right now. I don’t know if that’s gonna happen, but that’s what I’m shooting for.”

It’s worth noting that this is not the official timeline set by the team but rather WCJ’s feeling of the situation. The Bulls’ next contest is February 20 vs. the Hornets. Returning that night would put him in line with the team’s initial 4-to-6 week recovery timeline.

Home Stretch For Bulls Season Offers Future Intrigue

  • The slumping Bulls, losers of six straight games and owners of a paltry 19-36 record, offer more intrigue over the rest of this season than meets the eye, per Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Cowley notes that head coach Jim Boylen, several young prospects, and even Chicago’s front office decision-makers might be fighting for their futures with the franchise during the 2019/20 home stretch.

Bulls Notes: LaVine, Roster, Young, Valentine

  • Although the Bulls have acquired a handful of promising young players in recent years, it remains to be seen whether any players on the roster will develop into true stars. Eric Woodyard of ESPN takes a closer look at whether Zach LaVine is capable of becoming that sort of player.
  • Here’s what executive VP of basketball operations John Paxson had to say about the Bulls developing and evaluating their roster and seeking star-caliber players, via Woodyard: “We know what we have to get … in this business, you win with stars. Every team does. We went into a rebuild. You draft and you hope that those guys develop. We’re still trying to get to that phase of being a relevant, legitimate team. … The time after the All-Star break will be us evaluating who fits going forward, but we’ve not given up on our young guys. A lot of people make mistakes in this league. I know the balance is not hanging on too long, but it’s not giving up on guys too early.”
  • Bulls forward Thaddeus Young and swingman Denzel Valentine heard that there were teams interested in them leading up to the trade deadline, as Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago details. Both players suggested they’re happy to have the deadline behind them so they can move forward and focus on pushing for a playoff spot down the stretch.

Forbes Releases 2020 NBA Franchise Valuations

The Knicks have had a miserable 12 months, finishing the 2018/19 season with a league-worst 17 wins, missing out on their top free agent targets, and then firing head coach David Fizdale and president of basketball operations Steve Mills during the 2019/20 season.

None of that seems to have had a noticeable impact on the team’s market value though. Once again, the franchise is considered the most valuable of any of the NBA’s 30 clubs, according to a report from Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes. The Lakers and Warriors aren’t far behind, having both surpassed the $4 billion mark for the first time this year.

For the first time, all 30 NBA teams have a perceived worth of $1.3 billion or more, per Forbes’ annual report. Every team’s value increased by at least 6% since Forbes put out their 2019 valuations last February, with a handful of franchises jumping by 20% or more.

The NBA-wide average of $2.12 billion per team in 2020 is also a new record — that league-wide average surpassed the $2 billion mark for the first time. NBA franchise values are up almost sixfold over the last decade, according to Badenhausen.

Here’s the full list of NBA franchise valuations, per Forbes:

  1. New York Knicks: $4.6 billion
  2. Los Angeles Lakers: $4.4 billion
  3. Golden State Warriors: $4.3 billion
  4. Chicago Bulls: $3.2 billion
  5. Boston Celtics: $3.1 billion
  6. Los Angeles Clippers: $2.6 billion
  7. Brooklyn Nets: $2.5 billion
  8. Houston Rockets: $2.475 billion
  9. Dallas Mavericks: $2.4 billion
  10. Toronto Raptors: $2.1 billion
  11. Philadelphia 76ers: $2 billion
  12. Miami Heat: $1.95 billion
  13. Portland Trail Blazers: $1.85 billion
  14. San Antonio Spurs: $1.8 billion
  15. Sacramento Kings: $1.775 billion
  16. Washington Wizards: $1.75 billion
  17. Phoenix Suns: $1.625 billion
  18. Denver Nuggets: $1.6 billion
  19. Milwaukee Bucks: $1.58 billion
  20. Oklahoma City Thunder: $1.575 billion
  21. Utah Jazz: $1.55 billion
  22. Indiana Pacers: $1.525 billion
  23. Atlanta Hawks: $1.52 billion
  24. Cleveland Cavaliers: $1.51 billion
  25. Charlotte Hornets: $1.5 billion
  26. Detroit Pistons: $1.45 billion
  27. Orlando Magic: $1.43 billion
  28. Minnesota Timberwolves: $1.375 billion
  29. New Orleans Pelicans: $1.35 billion
  30. Memphis Grizzlies: $1.3 billion

The Raptors are among this year’s big “winners,” with their value rising 25%, from $1.675 billion a year ago to $2.1 billion this year following their first NBA championship. The Clippers also had a noteworthy bump, moving from ninth place on Forbes’ list to sixth after landing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George last summer.

Although every franchise’s value increased, the Nets had the smallest jump, just 6%. The Magic‘s modest 8% increase resulted in the team slipping from 23rd on last year’s list to 27th this year.

It’s worth noting that when a franchise has been sold in recent years, the price often exceeds Forbes’ valuation, so these figures are just estimates.

Scotto’s Latest: Gallinari, Nunn, Pacers, Nuggets, More

When the Thunder and Heat discussed a potential Danilo Gallinari trade leading up to last week’s deadline, James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Kendrick Nunn, and draft compensation were among the various assets that came up in talks, league sources tell Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report. Miami reportedly wanted to extend Gallinari’s contract as part of a deal, but couldn’t agree to terms with his camp, which is one main reason the trade didn’t happen.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote last week that he believed the Heat could’ve acquired Gallinari without surrendering any of their young players like Nunn. So even though his name came up in discussions, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Thunder would have insisted on his inclusion, depending on what other pieces were involved.

While Gallinari remained with the Thunder for this season, Scotto suggests the Heat and Knicks could be among his potential suitors this summer. Miami clearly has interest, and created some cap flexibility for 2020/21 by moving Johnson and Dion Waiters last week. New York, meanwhile, will have cap space and is hiring veteran CAA agent Leon Rose as its new president of basketball operations. Gallinari is a CAA client.

Here are a few more noteworthy tidbits from Scotto’s look at the post-deadline landscape:

  • The Knicks and Pacers discussed a possible Marcus Morris trade. According to Scotto, a package that featured Aaron Holiday, Doug McDermott, and T.J. Leaf was “briefly kicked around,” but didn’t end up going far.
  • McDermott’s name also came up in discussions about a potential Pacers trade with the Bucks involving Ersan Ilyasova, says Scotto. It’s not known which team initiated those talks.
  • Before the Cavaliers traded for Andre Drummond, they called the Pacers to ask about Myles Turner‘s availability, per Scotto. Indiana has remained firm on keeping Turner, though many executives expect the team to eventually break up its Turner/Domantas Sabonis frontcourt.
  • The Nuggets discussed the possibility of trading Gary Harris, Malik Beasley, and Juan Hernangomez as part of a package for Bulls guard Zach LaVine or Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, sources tell Scotto. New Orleans set a very high asking price for Holiday, while LaVine was said to be “off-limits” for Chicago, so Denver didn’t get far on either front.

Deadline Rumors: Warriors, Oubre, Valentine, J. Robinson

The Warriors remain in the market for further deals after reaching agreement on a trade that sends D’Angelo Russell to Minnesota for Andrew Wiggins, tweets Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. If nothing else happens today, more roster shake-up is expected this summer.

Antony Slater of the Athletic notes that Golden State has traded six of the 14 players on its roster in the past two weeks (Twitter link). In addition to Russell, Willie Cauley-Stein, Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson III, Omari Spellman and Jacob Evans have all found new homes.

There’s more deadline-related news to pass along:

  • The Suns are listening to offers for Kelly Oubre, but aren’t close to making a deal, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Post. The Magic are among the teams that have made a call to Phoenix.
  • The Bulls aren’t any closer to trading Denzel Valentine, relays K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, (Twitter link).
  • The Wizards are hoping to acquire Jerome Robinson from the Clippers, tweets David Aldridge of TNT. They liked Robinson in the 2018 draft, but he wound up in L.A.
  • The Knicks contacted the Pacers about point guard Aaron Holiday, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv. The attempt was made before Steve Mills was fired as team president, and it’s unclear if there has been any more discussion. Indiana reportedly brought up veteran forward Marcus Morris, who is headed to the Clippers, as part of the return.

Trade Rumors: Knicks, Holiday, Lakers, Bulls, Warriors

Although the Knicks remains interested in D’Angelo Russell, he’s far from the only point guard the team is eyeing as the trade deadline nears. One player the Knicks has inquired on, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, is Pacers guard Aaron Holiday.

As Berman notes, the Knicks liked Holiday in the 2018 draft, working him out that year. Now in his second season, Holiday has built on a promising rookie season. He’s averaging 10.2 PPG and 3.5 APG with a .420 3PT% in 47 games (23.3 MPG) for the Pacers.

Acquiring Holiday won’t be easy for the Knicks, despite Indiana’s crowded backcourt. ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported earlier in the week that the Pacers could probably acquire a first-round pick in exchange for Holiday, but haven’t shown any real interest in moving him.

Here are a few more trade rumors and notes from around the NBA:

  • On ESPN’s trade deadline special on Wednesday, Zach Lowe suggested that Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie and Thunder guard Dennis Schroder are among the players the Lakers have inquired on as they look to add a play-maker (Twitter link via Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype). Their conversation with Oklahoma City on Schroder didn’t get very far, since OKC’s asking price is high, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. I imagine that’s the case with Brooklyn and Dinwiddie as well.
  • Lakers guard Alex Caruso is drawing some trade interest, with multiple teams inquiring about his availability, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).
  • The Bulls have received some trade calls today on Denzel Valentine, but nothing of substance, a source tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link). Cowley adds that the Thaddeus Young market is “surprisingly quiet,” though Chicago thinks it could pick up as the deadline nears.
  • The Warriors might not be done after last night’s trade with Philadelphia. Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report hears that Golden State has shopped both Kevon Looney and Jacob Evans for tax reasons. The Dubs are still slightly above the tax after moving three minimum-salary players in trades this season.

Trade Rumors: Clippers, Herro, LaVine, Poeltl, More

Chris Mannix of SI.com is among the latest reporters to weigh in this week on the Clippers‘ search for a center. According to Mannix, Los Angeles’ coaching staff has some concerns about the team’s rebounding. We heard on Monday that the Clips are also wary of facing star centers like Rudy Gobert or Nikola Jokic in the postseason.

Sources tell Mannix that there’s some interest within the Clippers’ front office in Tristan Thompson, whom the Cavaliers have put on the trade block. Mannix also names disgruntled Kings big man Dewayne Dedmon as a possible target, though he cautions that Dedmon wouldn’t be a preferred option for L.A.

The Clippers have Maurice Harkless‘ $11MM+ expiring contract available to use as a salary-matching piece for a trade target earning an eight-figure salary, but the team will have to be careful about how it fires that bullet. Acquiring a pricey center like Thompson or Dedmon using Harkless’ deal could take the team out of the market for a wing in the same salary range, such as Marcus Morris or Robert Covington.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Heat have told teams that Tyler Herro is unavailable at this time, according to Mannix. If Miami wants to do something major, Herro would likely be the first player a potential trade partner asks about, but the Heat have no interest in moving him.
  • The Bulls have received some trade feelers for Zach LaVine, but a source tells Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link) that the 24-year-old is “off-limits.” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe said essentially the same thing on a podcast this week.
  • Teams are calling the Spurs to ask about Jakob Poeltl, but the asking price is believed to be too high, tweets Jabari Young of CNBC. Poeltl will be a restricted free agent at season’s end, so it’s possible San Antonio will lower its price by Thursday if the big man isn’t in the team’s long-term plans.
  • Nuggets power forward Juan Hernangomez is among the players of interest for the Rockets, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Denver is reportedly seeking a second-round pick for Hernangomez.