Category Archives: NBA

Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan Weighs In on Warriors’ Draymond Green, Jordan Poole

Don’t look now but Chicago Bulls star wing DeMar DeRozan is just 24 points away from 20,000 in his career – he would be the 50th player in NBA history to do so. One does not achieve such a lofty mark without a combination of talent and a strong work ethic.

It also means that player has been around for some time and has witnessed the inner workings of an NBA locker room or two.

DeRozan certainly has his fair share of stories to tell.

But one thing he won’t do is pass judgment on a situation in which he is not privy to all of the details. That is a message he passed along regarding the recent dust-up between Golden State Warriors stars Draymond Green and Jordan Poole, “we don’t know what happened, what was said”.

DeRozan: Fights Not Uncommon

The Bulls’ five-time All-Star sat down with David Aldridge of The Athletic to discuss a wide array of topics spanning his 13-year NBA career. In all that time – like an eternity with the average NBA career lasting roughly 4.5 years – DeRozan has seen a thing or two.

Some of them have been altercations that have gotten physical.

“A lot of times when I’ve been around that, you come back even better,” DeRozan told Aldridge. “Especially when the guys understand what was at hand. So, for me, I definitely look at it from a different light. It just sucks that the perception got out there, and people look at it however they want to look at it. But it’s nothing that’s uncommon. Not saying it happens all the time, or I’m not saying it’s the right (way) to go about it. But when you’re dealing with the ultimate competitors in our league, things are going to happen.”

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Exec Talks Potential Blockbuster Bulls Trade for Anthony Davis

Everyone loves a good sports story – the long-tenured veteran finally winning the big one or the diamond-in-the-rough that goes on to become a superstar. And of course, there is the local talent getting a chance to play for their hometown team which Chicago Bulls fans know well thanks to Derrick Rose.

When it comes to Los Angeles Lakers superstar Anthony Davis, however, the path from dream to reality is not quite clear.

Davis, who is squarely in the middle of a contract that will have paid him nearly $190 million over five years when all is said and done, has entertained the idea. Even more so in recent years than in the past.

But, as one Western Conference executive explained, getting it done is complicated.

‘Hard to See’ AD to CHI

“AD has always talked about playing in his hometown,” the exec told Heavy Sports’ NBA insider Sean Deveney, “but it is hard to see a deal that could come together there. Not sure the Bulls would consider doing Zach LaVine for Davis but that is probably what it would take and that would not be able to happen until later because LaVine signed the new contract.”

Everything the Bulls have done under vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas leading up to this summer was essentially about retaining LaVine.

The Bulls signed him to a $215 million max deal this summer, the largest in franchise history.

They are off to a 2-2 start that featured a pair of disheartening losses sandwiched in between a pair of convincing victories. LaVine missed their first two games, making his debut in the home opener with 23 points on 52.7% shooting.

He will continue to have his workload managed but both he and the Bulls are all-in together.

Davis and the Lakers are off to a rough start, going 0-3 to start the new season amid shaky team chemistry. The Chicago native Davis, however, is off to a solid start averaging 24.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.7 steals, 2.3 blocks, and 1.0 assists.

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Chicago Bulls HC Urged to Make Major Decision on Former Lottery Pick

Insider Suggests Bulls HC Billy Donovan Bench Patrick Williams

It has only been three games but the on-floor product and the record have some imploring the Chicago Bulls to make a significant change to their starting lineup. The rub is, it’s one they have already experimented with.

In fact, the Bulls trotted out variations of this suggestion in two of their four preseason tilts.

“Start Javonte Green on Monday against the Boston Celtics,” says K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

Patrick Williams was a major storyline for the Bulls as they bypassed shaking up their roster despite their competition in the Eastern Conference doing so. With such little room for error – they are without starting point guard Lonzo Ball and are managing Zach LaVine to begin the season – time is of the essence.

Williams Failing to Impress

“This is less about rewarding Green for helping briefly flip the energy of an otherwise desultory, blowout loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Saturday’s home opener,” writes Johnson. “It’s also not about some punitive demotion for Williams. It may not even have to be a permanent play.”

The Bulls fell 128-96 to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first game at the United Center and for LaVine this season.

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Triple Zeros: Rob Schaefer – NBC Sports Chicago

Triple Zeros

Rob Schaefer – NBC Sports Chicago

Happy to welcome Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) of NBC Sports Chicago and the “Bulls Talk Podcast” to this episode of Triple Zeros! Rob shared his thoughts on the Chicago Bulls‘ surprising season-opening win on the road over the Miami Heat led by DeMar DeRozan‘s 37-point effort. He also shared his thoughts on the suddenly murky health status of Zach LaVine, the emergence of Ayo Dosunmu, and the quality additions of Goran Dragic and Andre Drummond. All of that and much more!

Follow the show on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@JoshGBuck, @3ZerosPod, @ClockerSports), and check out today!

Heavy on Bulls/Last Word on Pro Football/Soaring Down South

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Triple Zeros: Ryan Taylor of NBC Sports Chicago

Triple Zeros

Ryan Taylor of NBC Sports Chicago

Happy to welcome Ryan Taylor (@rytay_), Digital Content Producer for NBC Sports Chicago, to Triple Zeros! Ryan joins us to discuss the Chicago Bulls on the heels of a very revealing and eventful Media Day and the first day of training camp. We talk about the impact of Lonzo Ball’s surgery and absence as well as the effect the entire situation appears to be having on him. Ryan later shares who he expects to start in Ball’s absence – and who he would start – after Billy Donovan hinted at a training camp battle

Then, we shift towards how the offense is expected to look after Patrick Williams alluded to major changes this season. Could we see him unlock a new level of playmaking alongside the Bulls’ Big 3? Ryan also gives his assessment of the Arturas Karnisovas-led front office and their approach leading up to and including this offseason. Will their decision to “run it back” pay off? All of that and much more on this episode of Triple Zeros!

Anchor | Apple | Spotify


Triple Zeros. Then this is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. his is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. his is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. Triple Zeros

Follow the show on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@JoshGBuck, @3ZerosPod, @ClockerSports), and check out today!

Heavy on Bulls/Last Word on Pro Football/Soaring Down South

Why the supermax system is flawed – A Portland Trail Blazers study

The Portland Trail Blazers extended Damian Lillard‘s contract for a further two seasons in this current offseason. This is an intelligent move for the franchise at the right price. However, the price is certainly not right for the franchise. This is especially so with the age Lillard will be when the extension kicks in.

The problem is that Lillard is already 32 years old, before the start of this season. He then has two seasons left on his current deal before his extension kicks in. This means that the superstar will be 35 before it kicks in. In the final year, he will be 36. He will earn $58.5 million in 2025-26 and then $63.2 million in 2026-27.

To put this into context, the current salary cap for the 2022-23 season is only $123.6 million. The Trail Blazers are already over the luxury tax, which is set at $150.2 million. The Blazers are going to hope that the salary cap explodes over the next few seasons. Otherwise, they are going to struggle to put a competitive team around him.

The Portland Trail Blazers rebuild is going to be a struggle.

The Blazers had been tied to the Lillard, CJ McCollum backcourt until the trade deadline this season. They had invested almost $80.0 million for the next few seasons. They managed to trade McCollum’s contract to the New Orleans Pelicans. Now, instead of giving over $30 million to one player, they have split that between Anfernee Simons and Jusuf Nurkic.

However, going forward, it is going to be difficult to split the remainder of the salary cap enough to get quality players to stay. The supermax system was designed to help the smaller-market teams keep their star players. What it is actually going to cost them the ability to win championships. The goal was for these franchises to keep their good players. They should have then been able to add solid role players to round out the team

Instead, teams are just paying out huge sums of money to these stars. They have to choose if they want to go into the luxury tax if they want to win a championship. In order for there to be a fairer playing field, these franchises need a new system. What that system is, I can’t tell you. The NBA is still not a level playing field but it is better than it was. Let’s hope the next CBA helps make it even leveler.

The Deandre Ayton saga with the Phoenix Suns has another chapter

The Deandre Ayton saga has been going on for months now. The Phoenix Suns pinned a portion of the blame for their playoff exit on the young star, However, this is not the first part of the story. Ayton believes that he is a max player and the Suns did not believe this to be the case and let him test the waters of restricted free agency. This could have been to save the Suns a heap of long-term money. It may have also been done to continue the Kevin Durant pipedream.

Ayton was the first pick in the 2018 NBA draft and he has seen players like Trae Young, Luka Doncic, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander get rookie-max deals but he has missed out. This has to hurt because he is the only player from his draft to have a key role in a team that has made the NBA Finals. We are quick to point out his deficiencies, every young player has them, but why are his good qualities not praised?

How many other players in NBA history have averaged a double-double over their first four seasons. The answer would not be that many. Thanks to knowing his game, Ayton is also able to hit 59.9 percent of his field goals. He is an excellent offensive rebounder and has averaged one blocked shot per game over his career. These are incredible numbers for the third option of a team.

So why did the Phoenix Suns not offer Deandre Ayton a rookie-max extension?

The rumor is that Ayton did not want to sign anything less than a max deal. On the other side of the fence, the Suns did not believe that he was a max player. There are not many places to go when both parties have such variances of worth. This was the exact scenario that just panned out in Atlanta with John Collins.

In that case, there was no second team that wanted to sign Collins for what he thought he was worth. The Pacers basically forced the issue with Ayton such as his level of talent. Thanks to them making all the moves to sign Ayton. They cleared some players off cap space by waiving players. They then offered Ayton the biggest offer sheet in NBA history, which he signed.

It took the Suns three minutes to match the offer. This means that they had every intention of keeping Ayton. However, the machinations of this move are a thing of beauty. Ayton got close to the maximum that he could get. However, the Suns got their man for a year less and without the usual kickers that are associated with a rookie max deal. This could save them close to $80 million over the term of his contract.

What could the drawbacks of the deal be for the Phoenix Suns?

The drawback of the deal is that the Suns cannot trade Ayton until the middle of January. After this time, Ayton has veto power on any trade until the first year of his deal is complete. So apart from the money savings, the Suns now have the ability to trade players and remain over the cap.

This is going to be crucial if they are to trade for a superstar like Durant. The Suns have not given up any of their first-round draft picks in any trades so they could satisfy any trade requirements to land a superstar. If they put any superstar player with Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Ayton then this is a superpower team.

However, if this does not happen then the Suns have the flexibility to potentially trade him. There is always a team down the bottom of the pack that is looking for a franchise player. They have made sure that they did not lose their former No. 1 pick for nothing.

The impact of Pat Connaughton’s extension with the Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks have extended the contract of wing Pat Connaughton for another three seasons. The contract is valued at $28.5 million per Woj of ESPN. The seven-year veteran played his first three NBA seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers. After those three seasons, he then signed on as a free agent with the Bucks.

Connaughton has a player option for next season which he is obviously picking up. This means that the Bucks have bought back another member of their 2021 championship team. This is going to keep them competitive in the Eastern Conference. Given how much of their salary cap is taken up by the big three, it was crucial to get a rotation piece like Connaughton cheaply.

Given that he has spent the past four seasons with the Bucks, he understands how to play with Giannis Antetokounmpo. This is crucial given how vital he is to the franchise. Playing with Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday is also important. However, without Antetokounmpo, this team is middle of the pack at best. Finding players who can highlight Antetkounmpo’s strengths is the best way forward.

Pat Connaughton gives the Milwaukee Bucks flexibility

Connaughton naturally swings between the two-guard and small forward position. He is a good backup for both Khris Middleton and Grayson Allen. This flexibility has been a huge reason for the Bucks’ success. Their ability to throw a multitude of quality lineups at their opposition with Antetnokounmpo at the heart of it all makes them hard to defend.

Connaughton has come off the bench for all but 35 of his 417 career games. However, he is certainly capable of starting. In the 19 games that he started last season, he averaged 11.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 30.4 minutes per game. These numbers were moderately up from his reserve sats, where he averaged 9.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 24.2 minutes per game.

As long as the Milwaukee Bucks continue to surround Antetokounmpo with players who can play off him, they will compete.

Summer League Simple as 1-2-3 for 2022 NBA Draft’s Top Picks

This needs to be prefaced with the obligatory “it’s still early” disclaimer. There have only been a couple of games played in the NBA 2k23 Las Vegas Summer League. So we do need to temper all reactions accordingly if we are going to make it to the regular season with any sanity.

That does not mean we cannot take some things away from what we have seen from the action so far.

Naturally, the top of this year’s rookie class makes for easy targets.

They had the most fanfare coming in and have garnered much of the discussion even when their respective teams are not in action. That being said, let’s add to the discourse and check in on how they have adjusted through a couple of meaningless exhibition games.

2022 NBA Draft’s Top Picks Thriving in Summer League

1. Paolo Proves Place

If there were any questions as to why the Orlando Magic made Paolo Banchero the first-overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, they aren’t anymore. Banchero is averaging 20.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in his two games.

He has looked so good that the Magic have decided to hold him out of the remaining summer league play.

It has not all been pretty.

Banchero is shooting just 40% from the floor and has averaged nearly as many turnovers (5.0) as assists. He is averaging 2.5 steals and shooting 50% from beyond the arc. The 6-foot-10, 250-pounder has also gotten to the free-throw line for 10 attempts per game.

It’s his combination of size and skills, though, that has still been clear right away. It could spell good things for a Magic organization that has had success picking first overall before.

Of course, we have to hold off judgment until we see him when the games count. Specifically, as it pertains to his physicality and defensive presence. But it’s hard not to like what he has shown at this level already.

2. Holmgren’s Skill Outweighs Frame

Oklahoma City Thunder center Chet Holmgren’s scoring output is a bit more modest than Banchero’s. But the second-overall pick has cast aside aspersions about his slender build to stuff the stat sheet in his first two “NBA” games in Las Vegas.

The 7-foot big man is averaging 14.0 points, 9.0 assists, 3.0 blocks, and 1.0 steals while slashing 50/40/100.

It’s not like the concerns over Holmgren in the post will go away. Not after Memphis Grizzlies second-rounder Kenneth Lofton Jr. manhandled him under the rim in their matchup in Salt Lake.

Holmgren got his too, though, with 11 points, 12 boards, three assists, and two blocks.

He was inefficient. But the fact that he still found a way to be effective is more important than the stats at this point. Holmgren has always presented an air of confidence. And he will surely put on some weight as the years go on.

There are some things you cannot teach, however, such as size and feel for the game. He has both of those things, and they should serve him well as he continues to adjust to the NBA.

3. Smith Slid Home

Jabari Smith was projected to go first-overall my most outlets right up until the night before the draft when word of Banchero’s rise began to spread. The question then became where Smith would ultimately land.

Those questions grew louder when the Thunder took Holmgren as they had been projected all along despite Smith’s availability.

Their decision has been the Houston Rockets’ gain after they took him third overall.

While Smith certainly would have liked to go first, he might have landed in the best situation out of the three given the talent already on the roster, namely second-year guard Jalen Green.

Green has shown signs of stardom while fellow guard Kevin Porter has been a nice find. They also have the added ability to attract free agents in a way that Oklahoma City and Orlando simply cannot.

That probably does not bode well for the Magic and Thunder.
Smith, who faced questions about his motor during the draft process, can fit in as the third option capable of taking over until he fully grows comfortable. When that happens, the Rockets will have a two-way weapon that was in the running for the best player in his class on their hands.

For Smith, the reward could certainly turn out to be worth the wait.

Another Australian is trying to resurrect his NBA career with the Sacramento Kings

After suffering what appeared to be a career-ending, Aron Baynes is working out with teams at the Las Vegas Summer League. However, he is not the only Australian trying to resurrect his career. Matthew Dellavedova has also gone to Las Vegas, he is working out with the Sacramento Kings in an effort to revive his career.

Dellavedova has not been idle in his time away from the NBA. He has been back in the Australian NBL, leading Melbourne United. While his numbers have not been eye-popping, Dellavedova has never really been a numbers man. For the record, the guard averaged 10.3 points, 4.9 assists, and 3.1 rebounds in 25.3 minutes per game.

This is exciting news for the Australian whose career appeared to be over after the 2020-21 season. He was unable to shake injuries, playing in just 13 games for the season. However, thanks to a season in the NBL where he stayed healthy, Dellavedova is trying out for his old head coach, Mike Brown.

The Sacramento Kings could do with Matthew Dellavedova’s experience.

Dellavedova is not going to come into the Kings squad and displace De’Aaron Fox at the point. In fact, if he makes the team, he may not appear in many games at all. He will be bought in to teach the young team about tenacity and hard work.

The fact that Dellavedova has won an NBA championship does not hurt his case either. The Kings have a 16-year playoff drought and they are desperate to make the postseason again. Even if Dellavedova does not make the team’s opening night roster, his work ethic and competitiveness will help prepare the young Kings.

If Dellavedova does not make a team, he still has two years left on his deal with United. At the age of 31, Dellavedova still has a lot to offer the game of basketball. Let’s hope for the veteran guard’s sake, it is back in the NBA.