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#pounditSunday, November 28, 2021

Articles tagged: Chicago Bulls

Bulls players hilariously screwed up their own team’s giveaway

Alex Caruso shoots a basketball

The Chicago Bulls got a big win on Monday over the Los Angeles Lakers, but they still managed to let their fans down in one regard.

Before the game, the Bulls announced on Twitter that they would be giving away a Zach LaVine jersey to a lucky fan who correctly answered which player would score first between Alex Caruso and Coby White.

Unfortunately however, there ended up being no Zach LaVine jersey for Little Johnny on Monday night. In a cruel twist of fate, both Caruso and White finished scoreless against the Lakers. The former missed his only shot attempt in 34 minutes of action, and the latter went 0-of-2 in his 11 minutes.

Caruso and White both poked fun at the giveaway mishap after the game.

The Bulls next play against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, so maybe the team will still honor the giveaway for that game. While we have seen many cases of players screwing up the other team’s giveaways, this is probably the first time that the culprit has been a team’s own guys.

Photo: Apr 3, 2018; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso (4) warms up prior to the game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Scottie Pippen says Michael Jordan was ‘selfish’

Scottie Pippen smiling

Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan enjoyed tremendous success together as teammates on the Chicago Bulls. But ever since “The Last Dance” documentary was aired, Pippen has not played nicely with MJ in comments to the media. Pippen’s criticism of MJ has increased due to his memoir, “Unguarded,” which hits shelves on November 9.

In the new book, Pippen escalates his war of words with Jordan, calling the NBA legend “selfish” after Jordan levied those very same claims against Pippen during the 2020 ESPN documentary.

“You want to know what selfish is? Selfish is retiring right before the start of training camp when it is too late for the organization to sign free agents,” Pippen wrote about Jordan, via the New York Times.

Pippen was talking about Jordan retiring just before the 1993-1994 season to go play pro baseball. Jordan’s father had unexpected passed away, and the future Hall of Famer decided to call it quits for the first time.

Pipped also called Jordan “hypocritical and insensitive” over the way MJ talked about teammates in the documentary. Pippen took aim at the six-time NBA champion for how he treated his teammates.

“Seeing again how poorly Michael treated his teammates, I cringed, as I did back then,” Pippen wrote. “Michael and I aren’t close and never have been.”

All of that comes over the first dozen or so pages in Pippen’s new book, so one can imagine what else is contained within. A separate excerpt has already been released “wherein Pippen calls Jordan condescending.”

“Even in the second episode, which focused for a while on my difficult upbringing and unlikely path to the NBA, the narrative returned to MJ and his determination to win,” Pippen wrote. “I was nothing more than a prop. His ‘best teammate of all time,’ he called me. He couldn’t have been more condescending if he tried.”

In addition to the criticism of Jordan, Pippen also takes shots at Charles Barkley, Phil Jackson and Isiah Thomas, among others.

Pippen isn’t the only former Bulls player chapped with Jordan over the way they were portrayed in the documentary. Another former teammate had an even bigger gripe.

MJ’s documentary may have been successful in teaching a new generation of fans about Jordan’s greatness. But the documentary was apparently unsuccessful in highlighting the great contributions Jordan’s Bulls teammates had to the team’s success.

Photo: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Bulls already embracing Alex Caruso memes

Alex Caruso shoots a basketball

It did not take long for Alex Caruso to make his impact on the Chicago Bulls, both on the court and as a meme.

Caruso had a successful preseason outing for the Bulls on Friday against the New Orleans Pelicans. He came off the bench and stuffed the stat sheet with ten points, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals in a 36-point Chicago victory. On Saturday, the Bulls touted Caruso by posting a tweet that read, “Respect the headband.”

For those unfamiliar, the headband look is a big part of ancient Caruso lore. From the very first time that he donned it as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, legend has it that the headband is the source of Caruso’s powers, almost akin to Calvin Cambridge’s magic sneakers in “Like Mike.”

In signing Caruso to a four-year, $37 million contract this summer, the Bulls guaranteed themselves an absolute goldmine of viral Internet content. They are clearly wasting no time in tapping into that content already.

Could Bulls lose first-round pick in Lonzo Ball tampering case?

Lonzo Ball

The NBA is investigating the Chicago Bulls over its acquisition of Lonzo Ball this summer. One report says that the Bulls could be subject to significant discipline.

The Bulls agreed to a four-year, $85 million deal with Ball. Terms of the deal were reported as soon as the free agency negotiation window opened on Aug. 2. By Aug. 7, we learned that the Bulls were being investigated for potentially tampering with Ball given how quickly news of his Bulls contract was reported.

The New Orleans Pelicans ended up working a sign-and-trade with the Bulls for Tomas Satoranský, Garrett Temple, cash and a 2024 2nd-round draft pick.

The results of the tampering investigation have not yet been announced. But on Monday, 670 The Score in Chicago’s Cody Westerlund reported that “there’s a belief in some NBA circles that the Bulls could be docked a first-round draft pick.”

The Bulls being stripped of a first-round pick over their Ball sign-and-trade would be extreme. But some apparently think such a punishment is in the cards.

Recall that two years ago, the NBA said it was making an effort to crack down on tampering. Whether the Bulls end up being penalized harshly is a different matter.

Bulls not in danger of losing Zach LaVine?

Zach LaVine

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 looking to sign with Bulls?

LaMarcus Aldridge

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 traded to Cavaliers as part of three-team deal

Lauri Markkanen

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.

Charles Barkley shares which NBA team had best offseason

Charles Barkley

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.

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.