All Bull - Chicago Bulls
Several outlets reported Sunday that New York forward Carmelo Anthony has officially informed the Knicks he will opt out of his contract and become a free agent.
Anthony indicated this was his plan long ago, so the news is no surprise. And Anthony could still re-sign with the Knicks, either long term or for a single season.
But since pursuing Anthony is part of the Bulls' summer plan, opting out is good news. They can't chase Carmelo if he's not available.
Everyone wants to know whether the Bulls will end up with Anthony. They have a legitimate shot, but there are plenty of unknowns. Is Anthony willing to leave New York? How much of a salary trim would he accept to join the Bulls? Would the Knicks be open to doing a sign-and-trade if Anthony is set on leaving?
The Bulls are interested in trading for Orlando shooting guard Arron Afflalo, according to a report by yahoo.com.
This isn't surprising news or anything. The Bulls are clearly in the market for a scoring two guard and Afflalo figures to be available with Orlando in rebuilding mode.
The Magic was widely expected to draft Australian guard Dante Exum this week to pair in thre backcourt with second-year guad Victor Oladipo. But the foot injury to projected No. 1 pick Joel Embiid might scramble the early picks of the draft, with Exum now projected to go third to Philadelphia.
Just when everyone seemed confident Cleveland would select Kansas center Joel Embiid with the No. 1 pick of the June 26 NBA Draft, injury news arrived.
According to multiple reports, Embiid will need surgery to repair a stress fracture to the navilcular bone in his right foot. What this means for his professional career is anyone's guess, which is why it seems unlikely now Embiid will go No. 1.
Bill Walton, Yao Ming, Brook Lopez and Zydrunas Ilgauskas are some of the big men who were plagued by foot problems. The Cavaliers endured Ilgauskas playing just 29 games over three seasons early in his career, then he managed to stay healthy.
Here's some perspective on Tim Duncan's season and his ability to keep playing.
During the regular season, Duncan averaged 15.1 points and 9.7 rebounds. He turned 38 on April 25, so he played most of the season at 37.
One thought that immediately comes to mind is Duncan seems to have more left in the tank than former teammate David Robinson did late in his career. In fact, Robinson retired at 37 after averaging 8.5 points and 7.9 rebounds in 2002-03.
What about some of the other great big men late in their careers; guys who played in the post.
--Shaquille O'Neal averaged 12.0 points and 6.7 rebounds at 37 and played one more year.
--Hakeem Olajuwon averaged 11.9 points and 7.4 rebounds during the season he turned 38 and played one more year.
After San Antonio dominated the 2014 NBA Finals, everyone is wondering whether this is the wend of the road for Tim Duncan, 38, who won his fifth title 15 years after getting his first.
The answer is unclear, but Spurs coach Gregg Popovich provided some insight to Duncan's mindset before playing the Bulls at the United Center in March.
"It's all about two things: His character and his love for the game," Popovich said of Duncan. "He's someone who loves to play basketball and truly loves the camaraderie of the locker room and the practice sessions, the competitiveness of the games. Because of that, he's done everything he can do to prolong his career.
A story by Adrian Wojnarowski, posted today on yahoo.com, suggests New York's Carmelo Anthony is targeting the Bulls and Rockets as possible destinations, assuming he opts out of his contract and becomes a free agent.
According to reports, Anthony needs to tell the Knicks of his decision by June 23 and he met with New York president of basketball operations Phil Jackson on Friday.
In order to make a run at Anthony, Houston needs to trade Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin, who are both scheduled to make $15 million this season, thanks to those restricted free agent balloon payments the Rockets devised in 2012. Needless to say, that will be a challenge.
There's no better way to establish NBA Finals dominance than winning Game 3 on the road, especially when the series is tied 1-1.
Back in 1991, most local fans probably braced for failure when the Bulls headed out to Los Angeles tied 1-1 with the Lakers. But the Bulls set the tone right away with a 94-86 victory in Game 3 at the Forum and won three in a row.
There are other memorable examples of Game 3 road wins, especially in that era – Bulls at Blazers in '92; Pistons at Blazers in '90; Lakers at Pistons in '88.
So Tuesday's result seems to bode well for the Spurs, who scored 71 points in the first half on the way to a 111-92 victory at Miami.
LeBron James was the leading scorer in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, hitting 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting. But the dominant storyline after Thursday’s 110-95 win by San Antonio was James cramping in the hot conditions.
The air conditioning broke at the AT&T Center, bringing sweltering south Texas conditions inside the arena. James left the game at the 7:31 mark while Miami led 86-84. He tried coming back a few minutes later and scored on a driving layin, but immediately cramped up and had to be carried to the bench.
Obviously, this opened up a new genre of LeBron bashing, including some pointed Tweets from the official account of Chicago-based Gatorade.
“We were waiting on the sidelines, but he prefers to drink something else.”
The Minnesota Timberwolves made a move Thursday – deciding on Flip Saunders as the new head coach (expected to be official Friday). He’s not entirely new, having coached the T’wolves from 1995-2005 and working as president of basketball operations since May, 2013.
But it doesn’t do much to change their biggest issue, what to do with Kevin Love?
People have been trying to turn Love into breaking news, but the situation is straight common sense. The Timberwolves need to either convince Love to sign an extension, trade him by February or risk losing him as a free agent in 2015. Love has never made the playoffs during six seasons in Minnesota.
It’s been quite an awards season for Joakim Noah.
He was named defensive player of the year and was the leading vote-getter for all-defensive team. Now he’s the All-NBA first team center, a very prestigious honor.
Noah is just the fourth Bulls player to ever make first team All-NBA, joining Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Derrick Rose. Jordan made the first team 10 times, Pippen three times and Rose once.
The voting was not close. Noah received 101 of 125 first-team votes. Houston’s Dwight Howard received nine and Charlotte’s Al Jefferson got four.
Noah will get a contract bonus of $500,000 for making All-NBA first team, but that payment will not push the Bulls into luxury tax territory, which could bring benefits down the road.