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#pounditMonday, January 17, 2022

Articles tagged: Chicago Bulls

NBA investigating Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry sign-and-trades over possible tampering

Lonzo Ball

The NBA is notorious for its strict anti-tampering policies, and that could get at least two teams in trouble for moves made this offseason.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, the league has launched an investigation into the Chicago Bulls’ sign-and-trade acquisition of Lonzo Ball, as well as the Miami Heat’s sign-and-trade for Kyle Lowry, over possible tampering. The league wishes to look into whether there was contact prior to 6 p.m. ET on Monday, as such contact would have been prohibited prior to that time.

It’s not clear what punishment the teams involved might face if they are found to have tampered with Ball and Lowry. Commissioner Adam Silver has the power to levy substantial fines and strip teams of draft picks for tampering, which can be thoroughly investigated thanks to a controversial set of rules that came into force in 2019. Silver could even void the deals if he feels that is appropriate.

Free agent tampering has always been an iffy proposition in the NBA. Numerous deals were reported as agreed to within minutes of free agency’s opening, and it certainly seems unlikely that coveted free agents came to an agreement with teams that quickly unless there was some prior legwork done. Lowry, for instance, had long been linked with the Heat before the deal got done. It’s simply a matter of how aggressively the NBA wants to combat it.

DeMar DeRozan signs three-year deal with Bulls

DeMar DeRozan

The Chicago Bulls have been big spenders early in free agency, and they landed another top player on Tuesday when they acquired DeMar DeRozan.

DeRozan has agreed to a three-year contract worth around $85 million with the Bulls. As Shams Charania of The Athletic reported, the deal is actually a sign-and-trade with the Spurs in which San Antonio will get Thad Young, a future first-round pick and two future second-round picks.

The Bulls also signed Lonzo Ball to a four-year, $85 million deal on Tuesday. They’ve now added two new starters to a lineup that already features Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic. Chicago also bolstered its depth by signing Alex Caruso.

There had been talk that DeRozan might take far less than market value to join the Los Angeles Lakers, but that was never realistic. He averaged 21.6 points and 6.9 assists per game with the Spurs last season, so a salary of nearly $30 million is much more reasonable for the 31-year-old.

Lakers fans bid Alex Caruso farewell after $37 million deal with Bulls

Alex Caruso

Alex Caruso is getting paid elsewhere, and Los Angeles Lakers fans have nothing but love for him.

Caruso agreed to a 4-year $37 million deal with the Chicago Bulls in free agency. The Lakers and the team’s fans knew there was a possibility Caruso would leave in free agency, and that time has come. Even though Caruso is headed to the Bulls, Lakers fans were supportive of the 27-year-old guard.

Many Lakers Twitter accounts shared love for Caruso and wished him well.

Even Jared Dudley, who has spent the last two seasons with the Lakers, had something nice to say about Caruso.

Celebrity fan O’Shea Jackson Jr. gave Caruso a big shoutout.

The 27-year-old guard spent the last four seasons with the Lakers. He averaged 6.4 points and 2.8 assists in 21.0 minutes per game last season. Caruso also won a ring with the Lakers in 2020.

It’s a good thing for him that his June arrest didn’t cost him free agent interest.

Lonzo Ball agrees to four-year, $85 million contract with Bulls

Lonzo Ball

The Chicago Bulls are getting their playmaking point guard in the form of Lonzo Ball.

Ball’s agent, Rich Paul, told Shams Charania of The Athletic that Ball has agreed to a four-year, $85 million contract with the Chicago Bulls. Ball is a restricted free agent, so the New Orleans Pelicans have the right to match the offer. However, they are instead closing in on a sign-and-trade that will bring back Tomas Satoransky and Garrett Temple.

Ball addresses a clear need for Chicago. The team leaned on the likes of Coby White and Satoransky at point guard last season, and neither seemed an ideal fit. White is also out for several months after offseason shoulder surgery, making Chicago’s need even more urgent.

The Bulls have been strongly linked to Ball for a while. The 23-year-old is coming off the best season of his career so far, averaging 14.6 points and 5.7 assists per game while shooting 37.8 percent from three-point range. He should operate in a playmaking role for both Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic.

Bulls and Derrick Rose have mutual interest in reunion?

Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose is a Chicago native and won an MVP with the Bulls before multiple knee injuries derailed his career. It had appeared that his story with Chicago ended there, but there might be another chapter.

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report said on “The Alex Kennedy Podcast” that the Bulls want to bring in multiple point guards this offseason to take some playmaking pressure off Zach LaVine. Fischer added that one of the players they’re looking at is Rose, who is set to become a free agent.

“I think there’s real interest from both sides in Derrick Rose and Chicago having a reunion of sorts,” Fischer said on the podcast.

Rose has reinvented himself as a valuable bench scorer, averaging 14.9 points per game after a midseason trade to the New York Knicks. He’s said in the past that he’d be open to a return to the Bulls if the circumstances were right. Chicago is a team seemingly on the rise, so it could be the perfect time for the 32-year-old to return home.

Bulls reportedly the favorite to sign Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball

The New Orleans Pelicans are not expected to bring back restricted free agent Lonzo Ball, and it appears a clear favorite to sign the point guard has emerged.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports said during NBA TV’s free agency special on Saturday that the Chicago Bulls are expected to sign Ball. Haynes added that Ball will only land elsewhere if there is a major “hiccup,” according to Mark Schanowski of ABC-7 in Chicago.

That meshes with what Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer was told this week, which is that there is mutual interest between Ball and the Bulls on a four-year deal worth around $80 million.

Ball averaged 14.6 points, 5.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game with the Pelicans this season. He is not a player that executive David Griffin drafted, which is one reason it has been widely assumed that New Orleans will move on from him.

Dennis Schroder expected to be pursued by Knicks, Bulls

Dennis Schroder

Many Los Angeles Lakers fans might be happy to see Dennis Schroder go, but the guard looks set to attract plenty of interest as an unrestricted free agent.

According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, Schroder turned down a four-year, $84 million offer from the Lakers earlier in the year. The guard appears to want more money and a larger role than the Lakers can offer, and a sign-and-trade may be on the table.

The Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks are mentioned as two teams that are likely to have interest in Schroder. Both have the means to land Schroder via a sign-and-trade, though the Knicks will also have the cap space to sign him outright without negotiating with the Lakers.

Based on other reports, whoever wants Schroder will likely have to pay the guard a lot of money. He has youth on his side, as he turns 28 in September, but he’s never really been a featured option on a team. His play down the stretch with the Lakers convinced some that he never will be, either.

Schroder, an eight-year veteran, averaged 15.4 points and 5.8 assists for the Lakers last season.

Wizards’ Chandler Hutchison trolls former team Bulls after making playoffs

Chandler Hutchison

Chandler Hutchison is having some fun at the expense of his former team.

Hutchison’s Washington Wizards clinched the No. 8 seed in the East with a victory over the Indiana Pacers in the play-in game on Thursday. After the game, Hutchison took to TikTok to troll his old team, the Chicago Bulls. In his caption, Hutchison wrote, “When you get traded and help your new team to the playoffs.”

The forward Hutchison began the season with the Bulls but got traded to the Wizards at the deadline. Washington was behind Chicago in the standings at the time. But the Wizads overtook them to get the final seed in the East while the Bulls did not even make it to the play-in tournament.

But though Hutchison has gotten more minutes with the Wizards, he is still only averaging 5.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game for them. Regardless, this is probably the best troll job of the Bulls we have seen since this one.

Bulls announcers criticize Denzel Valentine for baffling shot selection

Denzel Valentine

Denzel Valentine pulled up for one of the worst shots you will ever see near the end of the Chicago Bulls’ loss to the Miami Heat on Saturday, and the announcers who were calling the game did not hold back with the criticism.

Valentine made some big baskets down the stretch to help the Bulls chip away after being down more than 20 points. However, the bench player got carried away when he grabbed a rebound with Chicago trailing 101-96 and less than a minute remaining. Valentine dribbled up the court and pulled up from about 30 feet. The result was an airball, and Bulls announcers Adam Amin and Stacey King were disgusted.

The mind-boggling shot cost Chicago any real chance to win. Valentine acknowledged that after the game.

“I had made 3 in a row before that. It was a bad shot,” he admitted, via K.C. Johnson of NBC Chicago. “I just kind of got lost in the game.”

Here’s another angle that shows just how badly Valentine missed:

You can understand why Valentine was feeling it after hitting some big shots, but pulling up from 30 feet in that situation is inexcusable — especially for a role player. There are probably only a few players in the NBA (Stephen Curry being one) who could get away with that.

If you remember, Valentine had some issues with the previous Bulls regime over his role on the team. A few more of those shots and there might be some tension with the new coaching staff, too.

H/T UPROXX

Report: Two teams pursuing Lonzo Ball trade

Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball’s name keeps coming up in trade rumors, even as there are questions about whether the New Orleans Pelicans point guard is even available.

According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks have both reached out to the Pelicans about a Ball trade. The Bulls have offered Tomas Satoransky and second-round picks, while talks with the Hawks are centered on Cam Reddish.

There remains skepticism that the Pelicans are willing to trade Ball right now. However, they are also aware of the reality that Ball is a restricted free agent at the end of the season. While they can gamble on some sort of sign-and-trade deal in the summer, there is also the risk of either losing him for nothing or being confronted with matching a hefty contract they would not be enthusiastic about.

Ball’s numbers have improved this year, with the guard shooting 42.5 percent from beyond the arc and averaging a career-best 14.2 points per game. There appears to be at least one other team eyeing him right now, and the 23-year-old will definitely be in high demand this summer no matter what.