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Chicago Bulls small forward Otto Porter Jr. has only played nine games this season and hasn’t played since November 6, and today it was confirmed by the team that he will miss at least a few more weeks.

An MRI on Porter’s left foot this Wednesday revealed continued bone edema.

Following a brief period of immobilization, Porter will engage in a program of non-impact activities and targeted therapy.

In two weeks, he will be examined again, and his status updated.

This season for the 8-14 Bulls, Porter in nine games, all as a starter, is averaging just 11.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 25.1 minutes per outing.

The team is being led in scoring by Zach LaVine at 22.5 points per game, but no other Bull is scoring as much as 14 PPG.

Chicago’s defense has been above average this NBA season, but their offense has been one of the least efficient in the league.

 

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An MRi performed yesterday confirms that Chicago Bulls guard/forward Chandler Hutchison has a right shoulder contusion.

The injury occurred this past Tuesday in the team’s road game against the Warriors.

The team says Hutchison will be re-evaluated next week, after their current road trip is completed.

Through yesterday’s games, the Bulls are 6-13 this season, which places them 12th in the Eastern conference. They’re being led in scoring this season by Zach LaVine at 21.8 PPG. But no other Bulls players are scoring as much as 14.0 PPG.

Hutchison is averaging 7.1 points and 3.7 rebounds in 17.1 minutes per game.

The Chicago Bulls today signed Brandon Sampson to a Two-Way contract. This just after the team waived Two-Way player Tyler Ulis.

Sampson, a 6-foot-5, 184-pound guard, played three seasons at Louisiana State University, then went undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft . This season, he has played in 18 games (18 starts) in the G League for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, averaging 17.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 35.1 minutes per game. In college at LSU, Sampson played in 85 games (40 starts) between 2015-18, averaging 7.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game. He scored a career-high 24 points twice in the 2016-17 season.

A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he was named Mr. Basketball for the state of Louisiana in 2015.

Sampson on the Bulls will wear jersey No. 44.

Injuries have been a season-long problem for the 2018-19 Chicago Bulls.

Bobby Portis, who has played in just nine games so far this season, injured his right ankle in the fourth quarter of yesterday’s game against the Nets. An MRI and repeat physical exam were performed this morning, and he was diagnosed with a sprained ankle.

Portis will be out two-to-four weeks.

The Bulls are 7-25 this season, which as of today is the worst record in the NBA.

Zach LaVine injured his left ankle in the fourth quarter of the Bulls game against the Orlando Magic in Mexico City on Dec. 13.

Additional medical opinions taken since then agreed with the original diagnosis of a medial ankle sprain.

LaVine will be out approximately two-to-four weeks from the date of the injury. So, he could be out around one-to-three more weeks.

The young, rebuilding Bulls are 7-25 this season. ZaVine at 23.8 points per game has been their leading scorer.

Oklahoma City Thunder guards Raymond Felton and Dennis Schroder have each been suspended one game without pay for leaving the bench area during an altercation and participating in the altercation which spilled over into the spectator stands, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

As part of the same incident, Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez has been fined $25,000 for escalating the altercation, Thunder forward Jerami Grant has been fined $20,000 for escalating the altercation, and Bulls guard Kris Dunn has been fined $15,000 for instigating the altercation by shoving Thunder guard Russell Westbrook.

The incident, for which Dunn, Westbrook, Grant and Lopez each received technical fouls, occurred with 4:27 remaining in the third quarter of Oklahoma City’s 121-96 victory over Chicago on Dec. 17 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Felton and Schroder will serve their suspensions tonight when the Thunder visits the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center.

Changes to new Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen’s coaching staff were made today.

Assistant coach Nate Loenser has been elevated to the bench, while director of player development Shawn Respert, has also been elevated to the bench, as he now joins Boylen’s staff as an assistant coach. Longtime NBA coaching veteran Dean Cooper comes to the Bulls after starting the season as an assistant coach with Chicago’s G League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls. Assistant coach Randy Brown notified the Bulls today that he has resigned from his post with the team.

In summary, Boylen’s coaching staff is now comprised of Pete Myers, Loenser, Respert, Cooper and Karen Stack Umlauf.

Loenser is in his second season as an assistant coach with the Bulls. He served as head coach of the Windy City Bulls during the team’s inaugural season in 2016-17. He spent the 2015-16 as Chicago’s video coordinator, after having coached at the University of Southern Mississippi and Iowa State. “Nate is a very bright, young coach who has earned this opportunity,” said Boylen.

Respert most recently served as the team’s director of player development since the start of 2017-18 season. Prior to coming to Chicago, he was a regional scout and assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies. While with the Grizzlies, he was a member of David Joerger’s staff for three seasons (2013-16). He also spent three seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he worked as an assistant coach with an emphasis on player development. He worked four seasons with the Houston Rockets as an assistant coach (2008-11). “Shawn is in charge of our player development and I feel it is vital that he is on our bench with our players,” said Boylen.

Cooper reunites with Boylen having worked together on Rudy Tomjanovich’s staff with the Houston Rockets. Before his term in Hoffman Estates with the Windy City Bulls, he was the head coach of the Salt Lake City Stars/Idaho Stampede for three seasons (2014-2017). Prior to his time with Salt Lake City, Cooper enjoyed a second stint with the Houston Rockets as an assistant coach for Kevin McHale (2012-14). His first tour with the Rockets spanned nine seasons (1999-2008) where he held several roles, including video coordinator, assistant coach, personnel scout, director of scouting and vice president of player personnel. He also spent time with the Minnesota Timberwolves as the director of player development for two seasons (2010-12). “Dean is a veteran coach who has a ton of experience and someone I have a great comfort level with,” said Boylen.

Brown, an assistant coach with the Bulls since 2015, was offered an opportunity to remain on the staff, but declined the post. “I’m disappointed Randy has made this decision, but I understand he has to do what is best for him,” said Boylen.

The Chicago Bulls fired head coach Fred Hoiberg today, and immediately promoted associate head coach Jim Boylen to head coach.

Often, when a head coach is fired, a temporary (interim) coach is named, but the Bulls decided there was no reason to wait and immediately gave Boylen the job.

Hoiberg was named Chicago’s head coach on June 2, 2015 after spending five seasons as head coach at Iowa State. During his time with the Bulls, he coached the team to a record of 115-155 (.426). In 2017, he guided the team to the First Round of the NBA Playoffs, where they were ousted by the Boston Celtics in six games.

According to the Chicago Tribune, “Paxson also put to rest any questions about general manager Gar Forman’s job security, saying, “Gar is absolutely safe.”

More from the Tribune: “Hoiberg, who compiled a 115-155 record and one playoff berth in his three-plus seasons, arrived at the team’s practice facility Monday morning prepared to run the 11 a.m. practice. Paxson and Forman were there to relieve him of his duties.”

In a statement released this morning, Bulls Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson said:

“Decisions like this one are never easy to make, however I felt this was the right choice for our organization at this time. After a thorough evaluation, I elected to make this move with the overall development of our team in mind. As a team, I believe it is imperative that we make unfaltering strides in the right direction and build the right habits to help put our players in the best position to evolve not only now, but into the future. I want to thank Fred for his dedication and efforts, as well as for his enduring commitment to our team.”

According to NBC Sports Chicago, “yes, the Bulls are 5-19, on an NBA-worst six-game losing streak and headed toward the NBA Draft Lottery for a third time in four years. They’re 29th in the NBA in offensive efficiency and 28th in net rating. But no team has suffered more injuries than the Bulls this season, especially to key contributors, and at one point last month Fred Hoiberg was forced to start a backcourt of Cameron Payne and Ryan Arcidiacono. What chance did he have of surviving this? The answer, Paxson said Monday afternoon at the Advocate Center, was a lack of “energy and competitive spirit” the front office noticed in games, practices and the locker room the last few weeks. That passion, Paxson said, had been evident even during last year’s tank-inspired 27-win season.”

Boylen joined the Bulls on June 17, 2015. With 33 years of coaching experience, that includes 20 seasons in the NBA, Boylen has been a part of three NBA Championship teams. He entered the NBA in 1992-93 with the Houston Rockets, where he broke in as the team’s video coordinator/scout. Following four seasons in that role, he was promoted to assistant coach on Rudy Tomjanovich’s staff. He has also served as an assistant coach with Golden State (2003-04), Milwaukee (2004-05), Indiana (2011-13) and San Antonio (2013-14). Additionally, he has coached collegiately at Michigan State, where he served on the staffs for both Jud Heathcote and Tom Izzo. Most recently on the collegiate level, he was head coach at the University of Utah, where he led the Utes to the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

The Chicago Tribune reports: “Jim Boylen is the new Bulls coach and never has been the Bulls coach (if you don’t count that one day on Easter; see below). Jim Boylan, however, was the Bulls interim head coach in 2007-08. The two actually worked together at Michigan State. Boylan was Scott Skiles’ longtime right-hand man and went 24-32 down the stretch of the 2007-08 season. Boylan almost fared well enough to keep the job. But as the Bulls lucked into drafting Derrick Rose that offseason, John Paxson began a coaching search that ultimately netted Vinny Del Negro.”

 

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It’s easy to give a head coach a pass when multiple key players on his team are injured. But once they return to action? And then go ahead and play for a while? Then increased attention shifts not just on the team, but also on the head coach to make the most of the health-filled opportunity. Here’s the Chicago Sun-Times with some Bulls discussion:

There is nothing set in stone that this is absolutely Fred Hoiberg’s last year coaching the Bulls.

The Sun-Times confirmed that over the weekend.

What can’t be denied, however, is the growing whispers coming from atop that the next month will be crucial for Hoiberg even finishing out the rest of this season in that coaching seat.

The Saturday debut of Lauri Markkanen was a critical first step in that evaluation process, as the second-year player was sidelined throughout the first 23 regular-season games, recovering from a right elbow injury suffered the first week of training camp.

Once Hoiberg gets the remaining injured pieces back in Kris Dunn (left knee) and Bobby Portis (right knee), there needs to be results. Wins and losses will carry weight for Hoiberg in his fourth season, but not as much as this group showing some serious forward strides in development and quickly.

Full article

Lauri Markkanen takes a step forward in recovery

The Bulls could really use some good news, especially in the health department.

This isn’t big, but it’s something. It’s a step. Here’s the Chicago Tribune with an update on one of the team’s key young building blocks:

Lauri Markkanen had an individual shooting workout and participated in non-contact portions of Bulls practice Monday, the next step in his recovery from a right elbow injury.

Thursday marks eight weeks since Markkanen suffered a high-grade lateral sprain while battling for a rebound in the first week of training camp. The Bulls originally estimated Markkanen would miss six to eight weeks and later revised it to eight to 10 weeks.

“We’ll see how he responds and if we can up his activity level after that,” coach Fred Hoiberg said.

The Bulls through Sunday’s games have a 4-13 record and are the current East 12-seed. The team is off today and tomorrow, and on Wednesday has a chance to add to that win total as they host a struggling Suns squad.

Denzel Valentine to undergo surgery, out 4-6 months

Chicago Bulls guard Denzel Valentine has been diagnosed with ongoing ankle instability. After being evaluated by Dr. Bob Anderson, a foot and ankle specialist in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Valentine will undergo a surgical reconstruction by Dr. Anderson the week of Nov. 26 with an anticipated recovery time of four-to-six months.

The team says that Valentine is expected to make a full recovery and have a normal summer of offseason training leading into training camp for the 2019-20 season.

According to the Chicago Tribune, “it’s the second ankle surgery in three seasons for Valentine, a critical reserve floor spacer, and playmaker and leader.”

Bulls vs Knicks pregame thoughts

Chicago Bulls vs New York Knicks
Madison Square Garden
7:30 p.m. ET

PREGAME INFO

Entering the game, the Knicks have a 3-7 record (2-3 at home), while the Bulls are 2-8 (1-3 on the road)

Leading scorers for the Knicks: Tim Hardaway Jr. at 23.3 ppg, Enes Kanter 14.5 ppg, Damyean Dotson 12.6 ppg and Allonzo Trier 10.6 ppg.

Leading scorers for the Bulls: Zach LaVine at 26.6 ppg, Jabari Parker 14.3 ppg, Justin Holiday 12.1 ppg and Antonio Blakeney 11.4 ppg.

NOTES

The Bulls have had a tough time at Madison Square Garden of late: Chicago is 3-7 over its last 10 games in New York City, including losses in five of the last six road matchups with the Knicks.

Zach LaVine scored 21 points vs. Houston on Saturday. It was his 11th game in a row to score at least 20 (3/15-11/3/18), which is a career-long streak. The last Bulls player to post a double-digit streak of 20-point scoring was Jimmy Butler with 15 such games from Nov. 7 to Dec. 6, 2016.

Justin Holiday has made at least three 3-pointers in each of the last five games, which is a career-long streak. Over that span, he has shot .465 from long distance (20-of-43).

Wendell Carter Jr. blocked a career-high four shots vs. the Rockets on Saturday. His 1.90 blocks per game leads all rookies. He has recorded at least one block in nine of 10 games this season.

PREGAME THOUGHTS

This is a golden opportunity for the Knicks, who are still playing without Kristaps Porzingis, to put together a good game and impress the home crowd. Both the Knicks and Bulls have extremely young rosters, but the while the Knicks are without their leading star, the Bulls have a host of injuries. The Knicks just yesterday lost to a struggling Wizards team. Teams are often tired on the second night of a back-to-back, but if the Knicks can grab a win today, they then face a beatable Hawks team Wednesday in Atlanta and gather up some momentum before heading to Toronto for a tough matchup against an excellent Raptors squad.

The Chicago Bulls have exercised the third-year option on Lauri Markkanen, and fourth-year options on guards Kris Dunn and Denzel Valentine.

By exercising their options, all players will be under contract with the Bulls for the 2019-20 season.

“According to the Chicago Tribune, “all three players, who are currently injured, are on their rookie scale contracts. Exercising the team option is a formality to keep them on those rookie scale deals for another season.”

Markkanen came to the Bulls in a Draft-night trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves on June 22, 2017, in which his rights were acquired, along with Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine, in exchange for Jimmy Butler and the rights to the 16th selection in the 2017 NBA Draft. Markkanen was selected to the All-Rookie First Team last season after playing in 68 games (68 starts) and averaging 15.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 29.7 minutes per game. Markkanen set a Bulls’ franchise record for most 3-point field goals made in a rookie season (145) and was the fastest rookie in NBA history to reach 100 3-pointers made when he hit 101 through his first 41 games. Markkanen was also a participant in the 2018 Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Game and a finalist in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge during All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.

The Bulls acquired Dunn in the Draft-night trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves on June 22, 2017. Last season, he played in 52 games (43 starts) and averaged 13.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.00 steals in 29.3 minutes per game. His career averages are 7.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.39 steals over 131 games. Dunn scored a career-high 32 points to go along with nine assists on Jan. 5, 2018, at Dallas, and he joined Michael Jordan as the only two players for the Bulls to have a game with at least 20 points, 12 assists, four steals and two blocks on Dec. 26, 2017, at Milwaukee. Dunn has played in one game this season on Oct. 22 at Dallas, and he scored nine points with four rebounds and seven assists.

Valentine was selected 14th overall by Chicago in the 2016 NBA Draft. He played in a team-high 77 games in 2017-18 (37 starts), and averaged 10.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 27.2 minutes per game. He has averaged 8.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists in his career over 134 games. Valentine’s 143 3-pointers made last season rank as the 11th-highest single-season total in Bulls history. On March 17, 2018, vs. Cleveland, he recorded career highs in points (34), field goals made (13) and 3-pointers made (eight).

Bobby Portis injured, out 4-6 weeks

Bobby Portis injured, out 4-6 weeks

The Chicago Bulls say that an MRI has confirmed that forward Bobby Portis sustained a moderate sprain of the MCL of his right knee during the October 24 game against the Hornets.

It is estimated that Portis will be out for 4-6 weeks.

Starting all four games that he played in so far this season, Portis in 28.3 minutes per contest has been averaging 10.5 points and 10.0 rebounds.

The 1-3 Bulls have been led in scoring by Zach LaVine, who is posting big numbers: 32.3 ppg on impressive 57.1% shooting. But no one else on the team is scoring more than 14.8 ppg.

But so far the team’s offense has been fairly average for the league. The problem early this season has been defense.

On Chicago Bulls point guards

The Bulls finally know who their main point guard is. It’s Kris Dunn. Except, he’s now injured. So it’s back to the drawing board for the next month or so, approximately. Here’s NBC Sports Chicago reporting:

Over the last couple seasons we’ve had some fun on our Bulls Pregame Live shows with the ever-changing cast of characters at the point guard position. We even brought the point guard roulette wheel to the show a couple years ago when Rajon Rondo, Isaiah Canaan, Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne all saw significant time at the position.

Grant began last season as the starter, followed by Kris Dunn and Payne with a little Ryan Arcidiacono mixed in.

But this season was supposed to be different. Dunn showed enough in his 52 game stint (13.4 points, 6 assists per game) in 2017-18 that he entered training camp as the unquestioned starter, with Payne and Arcidiacono as backups. The front office and coaching staff expected the 3rd year guard out of Providence to establish himself as a quality starter with elite skills at the defensive end.

Now, after playing just one regular season game, Dunn has been sidelined again, this time with a sprained left MCL suffered in his debut at Dallas Monday night

Full article

Bulls sign Shaquille Harrison, waive Omer Asik

The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Shaquille Harrison. And in a preceding move, the Bulls waived center Omer Asik.

Harrison (6-4, 190) was waived by the Phoenix Suns on Oct. 15, 2018. He played in four games (three starts) for the Suns during the 2018 preseason and averaged 7.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.25 steals and 1.25 blocks in 22.4 minutes per game. Harrison first signed with Phoenix on Feb. 21, 2018, and averaged 6.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.13 steals in 23 games last season, his first in the NBA.

In college, Harrison was a four-year letter-winner at the University of Tulsa from 2012-16. He is the only Tulsa player to start every game his team played during his career, averaging 11.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.83 steals over 133 games. Harrison left school ranked second all-time with 461 career assists, third all-time with 244 career steals, and second with his 133 starts. He was the only Tulsa player to ever compile at least 1,300 points, 400 assists and 200 steals, and the only player with 50 or more steals in all four seasons.

Asik came to the Bulls in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans on Feb. 1, 2018. He also played for Chicago in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 NBA seasons. He has career averages of 2.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in 152 games for the Bulls. Asik has not played during the 2018-19 season due to illness.

The Chicago Bulls have claimed guard Tyler Ulis off waivers to bring their roster to 17 total players. And in a subsequent transaction, the Bulls exercised the Two-Way player conversion option on Ulis.

Ulis (5-10, 150) was waived by the Golden State Warriors on Oct. 12, 2018. He appeared in four games (one start) for Golden State this preseason and averaged 3.0 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 10.2 minutes per game. Originally selected by Phoenix with the 34th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Ulis played for the Suns for two seasons. He has averaged 7.6 points, 1.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists through 132 games (58 starts) in his NBA career. Ulis was named Rookie of the Month in April of 2017.

The Chicago native played for Kentucky for two seasons (2014-16) and posted career averages of 11.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 30.1 minutes over 72 games. While in high school, Ulis was a two-time Illinois All-State selection and Southtown Star Player of the Year. He ended his career at Marian Catholic High School as the all-time leading scorer (2,335), leader in assists (578) and leader in steals (283).

The Chicago Bulls have waived guards Antonius Cleveland and Derrick Walton Jr., and forwards JaKarr Sampson and Kaiser Gates.

Chicago’s roster now stands at 16, including one Two-Way player.

Legendary coach Tex Winter has died

Legendary coach Tex Winter has died. Several NBA teams who enjoyed long relationships with Winter have issued statements on the sad news:

LAKERS STATEMENT

On behalf of the entire Lakers organization, I’d like to express our sadness at the passing of Tex Winter,” said Lakers CEO and Controlling Owner Jeanie Buss. “Tex helped lead the team to four NBA Championships and was a mentor to many of our coaches and players. In addition to his numerous contributions to the game of basketball, Tex was a wonderful man and he will be dearly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Winter family.”

An innovator of the “triangle offense,” Winter joined the Lakers staff prior to the 1999-2000 campaign after spending 13 seasons with the Chicago Bulls, including eight under head coach Phil Jackson. Winter was a member of six championship teams in Chicago (1991-93, 1996-98) and four in Los Angeles (2000-02 and 2009).

BULLS STATEMENT

The following statement is from John Paxson, the Chicago Bulls Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, on behalf of the Bulls:

“Tex Winter was a basketball legend and perhaps the finest fundamental teacher in the history of our game. He was an innovator who had high standards for how basketball should be played and approached everyday. Those of us who were lucky enough to play for him will always respect his devotion to the game of basketball. His contributions to the Bulls organization will always be remembered.”

Big game for Bulls from Zach LaVine

It’s just preseason, but still, a big game is a big game. Here’s NBC Sports Chicago reporting on Bulls guard Zach LaVine, who now has big responsibility on his young shoulders:

The Bulls once again struggled defensively in Monday night’s 110-104 loss to the Charlotte Hornets…

Jabari Parker will have better nights: At least we hope he does. It was a second (third, really) consecutive disappointing outing - for the Bulls’ top free agent…

Zach LaVine still looks like it’s all coming together

On the flip side, the Bulls’ other large offseason investment continues to produce. Zach LaVine was arguably the best player on the floor (when taking the Bulls’ defense into consideration). He scored 26 points on just 15 shots, a serious improvement in the efficiency department. Ironically he was at his best after an ugly long missed 2-pointer that was tightly contested early in the shot clock. It looked like 2017-18 Zach LaVine.

Then the new school LaVine showed up. He looked comfortable coming off screens and pulling up from beyond the arc, finishing in transition and getting to the basket. He did a little bit of everything, which is a far cry from what he did last season. An aggressive LaVine and a smart shot taking LaVine is a tough one to stop on the offensive end. Another night, another positive for the $78 million man.

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