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Bulls Rumors: Hottest Trade Reports Surrounding Chicago

Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

While the Bulls could move some of their players ahead of the trade deadline, it appears Thaddeus Young will be staying with the team for the rest of the season.

According to ESPN's Zach Lowe, Chicago is signaling that Young is "not available" to teams that have inquired about the 32-year-old forward. The Bulls believe that Young is "too valuable to both their on-court play and their locker room," per Lowe.

That doesn't mean other teams haven't been trying to trade for Young, though. Lowe reported that Chicago could likely get a first-round draft pick in exchange for Young, who is under contract through the end of the 2021-22 season.

Young is averaging 12.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 38 games this season for the Bulls. He's been with Chicago since the start of the 2019-20 campaign, as he signed with the team as a free agent prior to that season.

A valuable veteran role player coming off the bench for the Bulls, Young appears to be staying in Chicago and will look to help the team make a push into the postseason.  


Zach LaVine on Bulls Not Extending His Contract: 'It's Business'

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

All-Star guard Zach LaVine suggested Friday he isn't taking it personally the Chicago Bulls decided not to offer him an extension this offseason with his contract set to expire at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season.

Speaking to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, LaVine called it a "business" decision and noted he has no shortage of motivation to thrive on the court during the upcoming campaign:

After Chicago acquired LaVine from the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2017, the Bulls matched the four-year, $78 million offer sheet the Sacramento Kings signed him to in 2018.

While LaVine, who will make $19.5 million during the upcoming season, said there were no hard feelings about an extension not getting done yet, Goodwill pressed him about having a chip on his shoulder, and LaVine admitted "it grows every year."

The 26-year-old reached new levels of production last season, averaging career highs across the board with 27.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 3.4 three-pointers made per game.

He also shot a career-best 50.7 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from beyond the arc, making him one of the NBA's best and most efficient scorers.

LaVine was also part of the United States men's basketball team that won gold at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Despite that, the Bulls have not made signing him to an extension a priority, opting instead to acquire guards DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball in separate sign-and-trade deals.

Now, the Bulls have a potential starting lineup of LaVine, DeRozan, Ball, All-Star center Nikola Vucevic and second-year man Patrick Williams with the likes of Coby White, Alex Caruso and Derrick Jones Jr. coming off the bench.

That should be enough to place them squarely in playoff contention in the Eastern Conference after missing the postseason the past four years. But things may get complicated after that if they're unwilling or unable to lock up LaVine.

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Bulls Trade Rumors: Coby White Viewed as Trade Candidate by NBA Execs

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

As Coby White continues to recover from surgery to repair a torn labrum, the Chicago Bulls could look to make a deal involving their third-year point guard. 

Per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, multiple executives around the NBA think that White is a potential trade candidate "because he was a part of the old regime, and he’ll move to that bench role as a combo guard."

The Bulls announced in June that White had surgery on his left shoulder to repair an injury he sustained "while engaged in basketball activities away from the team."

K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago reported last month that the Bulls are "hopeful" for a mid-November return from White. 

Johnson told Scotto on the podcast that White could still have a "pretty big role" with the Bulls when he returns because the team has struggled to find scoring off the bench through the first four games of the season. 

Per, Chicago's 24.3 points per game from the bench is tied with the Indiana Pacers for 26th in the league. Alex Caruso is the team's highest-scoring non-starter (8.0 points per game). 

Even though head coach Billy Donovan wasn't with Chicago when White was drafted in 2019, the two did get to work together last season.

The 2020-21 campaign was the best of White's still-young career. He averaged 15.1 points per game in 69 appearances and shot 41.6 percent from the field. The 21-year-old did significantly increase his free-throw percentage (79.1 as a rookie to 90.1) and assists per game (2.7 to 4.8). 

Chicago is off to a 4-0 start for the first time since the 1996-97 season. The Bulls will put their undefeated record on the line Thursday night when they host the New York Knicks at the United Center.    

New York Knicks vs Chicago Bulls Full Game Highlights - October 28 - 2022 NBA Season

Bulls Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Chicago Entering 2021 Deadline

David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The Bulls are one of several teams interested in acquiring Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, according to Chris Fedor of

Drummond was in the middle of a hot streak mid-February, peaking with a 70.6-percent field goal average against the Bucks on February 6, before trade talks led to the big man sitting out. He has not played since February 12, but that has not hurt his value.

The Bulls join the Nets, Celtics, Knicks, Raptors and Heat as potential suitors, according to Fedor.

Though surrounded by genuine playoff contenders, this is not the first time the Bulls have been linked to Drummond. Shams Charania of The Athletic reported the team had inquired about acquiring Drummond earlier this season, when head coach Billy Donovan and management were looking to make a splash in the Eastern Conference.

An Eastern Conference in which the team can still make the playoffs.

To get there, the Bulls will have to right some wrongs in the glass, where they have played subpar ball and could use a force like Drummond, who might be having somewhat of a down year overall but is still very capable of being the X-factor in the paint the team has not had in quite some time.

Factor in the considerable rest Drummond has enjoyed having sat out for well over a month at this point, and there is plenty of reason to be intrigued by what the center could bring to a team just on the outside-looking-in on the postseason.


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Winners and Losers from Bulls, Cavs and Blazers' Lauri Markkanen Sign-and-Trade

Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen plays during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, March 21, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

One of the last dominoes in the 2021 NBA offseason fell Friday. Chicago Bulls restricted free agent Lauri Markkanen is headed to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the earliest details on the deal:

But that wasn't all. To get the cap space necessary to absorb that four-year, $67 million deal, the Cavs had to unload veteran forward Larry Nance Jr., who is set to make $10.7 million in 2021-22.

Chicago is rerouting Nance to the Portland Trail Blazers for Derrick Jones Jr. The Athletic and Stadium's Shams Charania has the full breakdown of the trade:

With three players, three teams and some picks involved, we have plenty of winners. And it's not hard to see the logic behind the move from the perspective of any of the organizations. Still, a couple of losers may emerge.

Winner: Lauri Markkanen

Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Compared to offseasons of the past, teams around the NBA had little spending power this summer. Cap space was scarce, and minimums, cap exceptions and sign-and-trades became the norm.

That meant some players were squeezed early. The biggest example was Dennis Schroder, who missed out on around $80 million after declining an in-season extension and then signing a one-year, $5.9 million deal with the Boston Celtics.

Following that move may have brought trepidation to Markkanen's camp, but the optimistic perspective held out hope for a sign-and-trade that would land him on a decent contract. That's exactly what happened.

Would Markkanen have made more in a different, more cap-rich summer? Perhaps, but it's tough to imagine he'd get much more than an annual salary near $17 million.

He's young (24), has plenty of size (7'0", 240 pounds) and can shoot (40.2 percent from three last season), but his averages for points and minutes have declined in each of the last two seasons. Little evidence exists to suggest he can move the needle in the right direction on defense.

He may well prove to be worth more over the next four years, but getting this kind of a long-term deal that takes Markkanen to his prime is a win.

Loser: Cavs' Roster Construction

Phil Long/Associated Press

Despite the departure of Nance, the frontcourt rotation in Cleveland remains crowded. And after feeling the money squeeze of the 2021 offseason, Markkanen may experience something similar with his playing time (though he may have gotten used to that in Chicago).

The power forward and center positions have 96 available minutes in an NBA game. Divide that by four players and then shift a few minutes to whoever lands the starting jobs, and you can see how awkwardness over playing time may be brewing.

Evan Mobley was the No. 3 pick in the draft. That alone often commands some preference. Jarrett Allen and Markkanen are both on long-term deals with significant salaries. That can factor into rotational debates too.

Of course, Kevin Love appeared in just 25 games last season and could be a candidate for a buyout. Remove him from the equation and things look a lot simpler. But he and his agent may be hoping for some time to rehab his trade value (he'd likely prefer to keep that massive, $30 million-plus salary than to be waived).

Cleveland has plenty to sort out, and too much talent is generally a good problem to have. But it could be a problem nonetheless.

Winners: Larry Nance Jr., Blazers' Versatility

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

As is the case with Cleveland, Portland could be in for a struggle to establish a rotation that makes everyone happy.

Jusuf Nurkic and Robert Covington figure to remain the starting 5 and 4, respectively, but they have two starter-quality bigs behind them in Cody Zeller and Nance.

On the bright side, both Nance and Covington have experience at small forward. Covington has spent more time there than he has at the 4. A starting lineup of Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Covington, Nance and Nurkic might make as much or more sense than the assumed group that has Norman Powell at the 3.

At the very least, this gives the Blazers additional lineup versatility. Portland can shape-shift a little depending on opponent. And regardless of where he plays, Nance helps in the versatility department.

He's never been a big-time scorer, but Nance does everything else the game calls for. He can defend multiple positions, including centers. He's a solid rebounder, high-flying finisher and underrated passer.

Over the last three seasons, Nance is top-70 in box plus/minus ("a basketball box score-based metric that estimates a basketball player's contribution to the team when that player is on the court," according to Basketball Reference) with averages of 10.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.8 steals per 75 possessions.

No one in the league matched or exceeded all three marks over the same span.

Being able to deploy that multifaceted game for the Blazers is a win for Nance individually too. Cleveland could be due for an improvement because of internal development, but it won't be more competitive than Portland. And though the Blazers probably aren't in the West's top tier of contenders, this is much closer than Nance has been since LeBron James left the Cavs in 2018.

Potential Loser: Blazers' Chances of Keeping Damian Lillard

John Bazemore/Associated Press

Yes, Portland is a winner for now. Nance is an upgrade over Derrick Jones Jr., and he allows for more creativity in the frontcourt.

But this isn't an earth-shattering improvement for the Blazers, and if they appear well shy of contention in the early part of the season, those Lillard rumors may creep up again.

Things appear to have calmed down since the June report from Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes that suggested Lillard might push his way "out the door," but we've seen situations like this turn in a hurry.

If Lillard eventually asks for a trade, Friday's deal may look worse in hindsight. Nance is four years older than Jones. Having the latter and that protected first-round pick would be nice for a rebuild (which is where Portland would be after a Lillard move).

Still, the word "potential" is in this subheading for a reason. It assumes a lot. And whatever the Blazers would get in return for Lillard would likely make us forget about the price for Nance.

Winners: Derrick Jones Jr. and the Chicago Bulls

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Jones isn't as good as Markkanen right now. Last season, he averaged 6.8 points in 22.7 minutes and shot 31.6 percent from three.

But Markkanen wasn't a part of Chicago's long-term plans. Picking up Jones feels more like a free-agency addition than a trade for Markkanen, who hasn't figured into analysis of the Bulls for weeks.

Even if viewed through the lens of a swap, Jones might fit the overhauled Chicago roster better than Markkanen does.

With Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic all in the starting lineup, this team should have plenty of offense. What it really needed was defenders. And that's where Jones can shine.

At 6'5", he may be undersized on the wing, but top-tier athleticism and a 7'0" wingspan overcome that. He can provide above-average to good defense against three positions, which could go a long way toward sparing stars like LaVine and DeRozan on that end.

If Chicago can get him to even average three-point shooting, he has a chance to be an effective reserve or fifth starter.

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Will Chicago's Bold Move Keep Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen in Town?

Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen (24) and Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 19, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

There's growing optimism the Chicago Bulls are starting to put a squad together that will allow them to shed the losing franchise label that has dogged them for years.

No, these Bulls will not be confused with "The Last Dance" Bulls who dominated the NBA in the 1990s with six title runs (1990-91 to 1992-93, 1995-96 to 1997-98) or even the Tom Thibodeau-coached teams that averaged 51 wins in his five seasons (2010-11 to 2014-15).

These Bulls have made the kind of strides that have placed them on the outskirts of relevancy, a squad that in the eyes of rival executives and scouts is closer to breaking through as a playoff contender than it is to remaining in bad basketball purgatory, which had been Chicago's home for the previous three seasons.

"They still got some pieces to add and some guys of their own to figure out what to do with," an Eastern Conference scout texted. "But for a change, things are starting to look up for the Bulls."

The most tangible indicator of Chicago's direction stems from its trade-deadline acquisition of two-time All-Star Nikola Vucevic from the Orlando Magic.

The 6'11", 260-pounder has been among the better inside-outside centers in recent years.

Vucevic is averaging a career-high 24.0 points and 11.4 rebounds per game through 54 contests this season with the Bulls and Orlando Magic.

The addition also bodes well for keeping the franchise's best player happy.

Convincing Zach LaVine the Bulls are building a playoff contender is important when you consider the 26-year-old's "big focus" coming into the season was to get Chicago into the playoffs.

That's why rival executives anticipate the Bulls will try to lock up LaVine with a contract extension (he will make $19.5 million this season and next) but know he'll likely let his deal lapse, become an unrestricted free agent and sign what will be a more lucrative multiyear max pact.

The only question among rival executives is whether his next deal will be with Chicago.

"That's why them getting Vooch was a really big deal," an Eastern Conference executive said. "Players want to get paid, just like we all do. But they also want to win, and guys like Zach have been around the block long enough to know they can't win in this league by themselves. LeBron's the best to do it, and he couldn't win it all by himself. Even he needed help."

The exec added, "Them getting Vooch sent a clear message to Zach that yes, Chicago is serious about trying to put together a winner here and now."

But the addition of Vucevic has also meant a reduction in playing time for Lauri Markkanen, a soon-to-be restricted free agent.

The 7-foot Markkanen, the seventh pick in the 2017 draft, did not come to terms on a contract extension prior to the season. The sides were reportedly about $4 million apart in the first-year salary of a multi-year deal.

Vucevic and Markkanen are above-average scorers for bigs but struggle mightily as a defensive tandem.

That's why the Bulls have limited their time together on the court, and why rival executives are bullish on the idea Markkanen will play elsewhere next season.

"In the right kind of system, Markkanen could be a really good player," the East exec said. "I don't know if Chicago is it; it's certainly not it if they think him and Vucevic can play together."

Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

According to, Vucevic and Markkanen have played together for 89 minutes. Their offensive rating during that stretch is 105.2, while their defensive rating is a woeful 122.3.

It remains to be seen if Markkanen will accept a reserve role beyond this season or pursue a more prominent role elsewhere.

The pool of teams that will have the salary-cap space to make a run at Markkanen is limited, but multiple executives and scouts anticipate the San Antonio Spurs will make a strong offer this summer.

Without LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio has a need for a stretch big with Markkanen's size and skill set.

Chicago can match any offer to retain him, but teams have gotten creative in making it harder for squads to keep their coveted restricted free agents without paying steep prices.

The Sacramento Kings went into last offseason feeling good about their chances to re-sign Bogdan Bogdanovic. But the Atlanta Hawks offered him a four-year, $72 million contract that included a player option for the fourth year, a 15 percent trade kicker as well as a no-trade clause for the 2020-21 season.

Retaining Bogdanovic would have significantly impacted Sacramento's short-term cap flexibility, limiting what it could do in terms of roster building, and made it extremely costly to trade him. And then he could have left after three seasons.

So, the Kings let him go without getting anything in return.

In addition to Markkanen, the Bulls have also moved Coby White to a reserve role in the last month. With the Markkanen decision, it created a stronger second unit.

Chicago head coach Billy Donovan last week talked about Markkanen's and White's new roles.

"They're probably not going to be featured guys; just calling it like it is," he said. "But they're very important pieces to our team, and we need them to play at a high level."

The Bulls have the pieces to form a solid nucleus that could catapult them into a playoff team with room to grow.

But can they find a way to keep their youthful talent both connected and content with the roles they're being asked to play?

Welcome to the land of relevancy, Bulls.


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Zach LaVine, Bulls Expected to Agree to New Contract: 'Match Made to Move Forward'

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

All-Star guard Zach LaVine and the Chicago Bulls seem destined to agree to a new contract in the near future, according to a Bulls insider.

Appearing on the HoopsHype Podcast with Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, NBC Sports Chicago's KC Johnson gave his take on LaVine's contract situation.

Johnson said those with knowledge of the situation on both sides have indicated to him that LaVine and the Bulls are a "match made to move forward together."

Because of that, Johnson suggested the two sides are likely to agree to a long-term contract extension at some point.

The 26-year-old LaVine is in the midst of his fifth season in Chicago, and his current contract is set to expire at the end of the season.

He is coming off a career year in 2020-21 that saw him average 27.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 3.4 three-pointers made per game, while shooting 50.7 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from beyond the arc.

LaVine was named an All-Star for the first time and he was chosen for the gold medal-winning United States men's Olympic basketball team as well.

While there was some thought that Chicago not signing LaVine to an extension this past offseason meant it wasn't interested in him long term, Johnson suggested it had more to do with wanting to put more pieces around him.

By delaying the extension, the Bulls were able to acquire center Nikola Vucevic from the Orlando Magic last season, as well as guard DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball from the San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Pelicans, respectively, during the offseason.

Johnson also noted that the Bulls likely wouldn't have traded so many draft assets to land those players if they didn't intend on keeping LaVine.

The Bulls are off to a 4-0 start this season, which likely puts even more pressure on the front office to keep the team together moving forward.

No team can offer LaVine more money than the Bulls with the supermax extension, and Johnson's comments suggest it is only a matter of time before that happens.


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