Zach LaVine is already the longest-tenured player on the Chicago Bulls, and he may be sticking around for some time longer.
David Kaplan of ESPN Chicago said this week that LaVine has indicated he wants to stay with the Bulls, despite his contract being up after next season.
“He has told people that I know, ‘Hey man, if they want me here, I’m not going anywhere,'” said Kaplan. “‘I’m building this thing. I’m the first guy in the door. I wanna be part of this.’”
Kaplan’s co-host, Jonathan Hood, added that LaVine was out recruiting for Chicago in free agency this offseason, as the team signed the likes of Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan, and Alex Caruso.
The All-Star LaVine, who is entering his fifth season with the Bulls, is one of the NBA’s most dynamic guards. He has become a legitimate 25-5-5 guy and finished seventh in the league last year in scoring, ahead of players like Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum.
But instead of extending LaVine this summer, Chicago moved to upgrade the roster around him instead. Now the 26-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason and some top teams already have interest. Still, as long as the Bulls are willing to do what it takes to keep him, which will likely mean offering a max contract, LaVine sounds like he is in Chicago to stay.
H/T NBA Reddit
LaMarcus Aldridge officially has the green light to return to the NBA, and he may have a surprising destination in mind.
KC Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago reported this week that Aldridge has been linked to the Chicago Bulls, the team that originally drafted him in 2006. Johnson adds that Aldridge has told associates that he has always wondered what it would be like to play for the Bulls.
Chicago selected Aldridge with the No. 2 overall pick in 2006 but traded his draft rights to the Portland Trail Blazers for the rights to Tyrus Thomas. The now 36-year-old Aldridge then spent the majority of his career in Portland. He briefly had to retire last season due to a heart condition but has since passed all necessary tests to return to basketball.
The Bulls are paper thin at power forward after trading seven-footer Lauri Markkanen to Cleveland in a multi-team deal. 20-year-old Patrick Williams is also undersized at 6-foot-7. But elsewhere, Chicago just signed Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan, and Alex Caruso to join Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic. That could create a quality opportunity for the seven-time All-Star Aldridge.
Lauri Markkanen has said he wants a fresh start with a team other than the Chicago Bulls, and he will officially get one now.
Markkanen was sent to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday as part of a sign-and-trade deal that also involves the Portland Trail Blazers. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Markkanen has agreed to a four-year, $76 million contract with the Cavs. The Bulls will get Derrick Jones Jr., a lottery protected future first-round pick from Portland and a future second-round pick from Cleveland. The Blazers are getting Larry Nance Jr. in the deal.
Markkanen posted career-lows across the board last season with the Bulls, averaging 13.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 25.8 minutes per game. The 24-year-old was reportedly hoping to join another team, but that never came together.
Nance averaged 9.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game last season. While acquiring him is not exactly a huge splash for Portland, it should make Damian Lillard at least slightly more pleased about the team’s offseason.
There was a ton of movement this NBA offseason, with players being traded and signing with new teams. The Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks are among the teams that made several moves. But one team’s offseason stood above the others, according to Charles Barkley.
Barkley was a guest on “Waddle and Silvy” on ESPN 1000 in Chicago. During the interview, Barkley shared that he felt the Bulls had the best offseason. He also expects them to make the NBA playoffs.
“I’ll be totally shocked if they don’t make the playoffs. And I’m not just saying this … I think it’s fair to say the Chicago Bulls have had the best offseason in the NBA,” Barkley said.
The Bulls surprised this summer. They added DeMar DeRozan in a sign-and-trade. They signed Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso. Don’t forget, they also made a big move at the trade deadline by acquiring Nikola Vucevic too. Between all their new players, they will be much improved entering 2021-2022.
Barkley has really been on a roll with his predictions, so maybe we shouldn’t doubt his analysis here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.