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Bulls announce promotions in their basketball operations department

The Chicago Bulls have promoted Brian Hagen to Associate General Manager, Steve Weinman to Assistant General Manager, Jim Paxson to Director of Pro Personnel and Miles Abbett to Manager of Minor League Scouting and Analytics.

Hagen is entering his seventh season with the Bulls, as he spent the last six seasons as Assistant General Manager and third as General Manager of the Windy City Bulls. Before joining the Bulls, he spent nine seasons in basketball operations with the New Orleans Hornets, most recently as the team’s Director of Player Personnel. In that role, he was responsible for coordinating the team’s amateur and professional scouting operations and assisted in the evaluation of free agents and prospective trade acquisitions. While with the Hornets, he also spent time as the team’s video coordinator, Director of Basketball Operations, Director of Scouting and Assistant to the General Manager.

Weinman, set to begin his seventh year with the Bulls, was previously the team’s Manager of Basketball Operations and Analytics, after spending two years working for the NBA. In his new role, Weinman will continue to manage the team’s salary cap and oversee the organization’s planning for future initiatives, while remaining the team’s lead for all basketball analytics efforts. Weinman will also shift his focus toward pro scouting and draft personnel.

Paxson will begin his 13th season with the Bulls and has spent the last 12 seasons serving as the Director of Basketball Operations. Prior to Chicago, he spent seven seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, first as Vice President of Basketball Operations (1998-99), and then as President and General Manager of the club (1999-2005). Paxson also served as Assistant General Manager of the Portland Trail Blazers for three seasons (1995-98), as well as Offensive Skills Coach during the 1993-94 season. He was a two-time NBA All-Star and earned All-NBA Second Team honors in 1984.

Abbett, about to embark on his fifth season with the Bulls, formerly served as the team’s Basketball Operations Coordinator. He will now build upon his analytical contributions for the organization, while also focusing on scouting the G League and international professional leagues.

Bulls sign Derrick Walton Jr

Bulls sign Derrick Walton Jr

The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Derrick Walton Jr., presumably just to their training camp roster.

According to the Chicago Tribune, “the Bulls have 14 guaranteed contracts, including two point guards in starter Kris Dunn and backup Cameron Payne. Ryan Arcidiacono, who split time between the Bulls and the G League on a two-way contract last season, also signed to battle for a roster spot in training camp.”

According to the Detroit News, “Walton, 23, faces long odds and could be left battling for a two-way contract with guard Antonius Cleveland and Arcidiacono, with Chicago’s other two-way deal already taken by guard Rawle Alkins.

Walton (6-1, 189) was undrafted in 2017, but signed with the Miami Heat on a Two-Way contract on July 24, 2017. In the 2017-18 season, he played in 16 games for the Heat and averaged 1.8 points, 1.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 9.2 minutes per game. Walton posted a season-high seven points and five assists in a win against the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 22, 2017. During his time in the NBA G League with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Walton started in all 27 games in which he played, and he posted 16.1 points, 7.1 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.48 steals in 32.4 minutes per game.

The Detroit native played four seasons at the University of Michigan, where he holds career averages of 11.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.15 steals in 31.9 minutes per game. Walton is the only player in Wolverine history to record 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists in his career. As a senior in 2016-17, he was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team and the Big Ten Tournament Most Valuable Player.

Bulls re-sign guard Ryan Arcidiacono

The Chicago Bulls re-signed free agent Ryan Arcidiacono today.

In his rookie season, Arcidiacono, a 6-foot-3, 208-pound guard, appeared in 25 games for Chicago and averaged 2.0 points, 1.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 12.7 minutes per contest, and shot .415 from the field and .833 from the foul line. In G League action, he appeared in 37 games (all starts) for the Windy City Bulls and averaged 13.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 8.6 assists and 1.73 steals in 39.5 minutes per game, and shot .457 from the field, .451 from three and .833 from the foul line.

Arcidiacono was a member of the 2018 Chicago Bulls MGM Resorts Summer League squad, and he averaged 7.2 points, 4.2 rebounds 4.0 assists and 1.20 steals in 30.8 minutes per game. He shot .394 from the field and .476 from three.

Arcidiacono played four seasons at Villanova and was named the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player in the Wildcats’ championship run in 2016. He went undrafted in 2016, and appeared in three preseason games for the San Antonio Spurs and eight games for the Austin Spurs of the NBA Development League that season.

Bulls sign Rawle Alkins to two-way contract

The Chicago Bulls signed guard Rawle Alkins to a two-way contract today.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound native of Brooklyn, New York went undrafted in 2018 after playing two seasons of college hoops at Arizona. He was named a Pac-12 All-Conference Honorable Mention in his sophomore season, and was a Pac-12 All-Freshman Team member in 2016-17.

Overall, in his career at Arizona, he averaged a modest 11.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists over 60 games (57 starts) with the Wildcats. He scored a career-high 26 points in a win at New Mexico on 12/16/17.

Alkins, whose full name is pronounced “RAW-lee ALL-kins,” played in six games (4 starts) for the Toronto Raptors MGM Resorts Summer League squad this year and averaged 9.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.33 steals in 21.3 minutes per contest.

He will wear No. 20 for the Bulls.

Bulls add guard Antonius Cleveland

Bulls add guard Antonius Cleveland

The Chicago Bulls claimed guard Antonius Cleveland off waivers today.

Cleveland (6-6, 195) was waived by the Atlanta Hawks on July 21. He appeared in four games for the Hawks last season and averaged 3.3 points and 1.0 rebounds in 10.5 minutes per game. Cleveland signed a multi-year contract with Atlanta on March 14 after signing consecutive 10-day contracts on Feb. 22 and March 2. Earlier in the 2017-18 season, Cleveland had a two-way contract with the Dallas Mavericks where he appeared in 13 games. He also saw action in seven NBA G League games and averaged 13.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.71 steals in 26.4 minutes per game.

The Memphis native played four years at Southeast Missouri State University where he posted career averages of 12.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.31 steals in 28.8 minutes per game.

Bulls sign Antonio Blakeney

The Chicago Bulls on Thursday signed guard Antonio Blakeney.

Blakeney (6-4, 197) went undrafted out of LSU in 2017 but was tabbed for the Bulls MGM Resorts Summer League roster last year. After leading that squad with 16.8 points per game, he earned a Two-Way contract from Chicago. In 2017-18, he was named the NBA G League Rookie of the Year after averaging 32.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.22 steals per game for the Windy City Bulls. With the NBA Bulls, Blakeney averaged 7.9 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 16.5 minutes through 19 games. In this year’s Summer League action, Blakeney again led the team with 21.0 points per game, along with averaging 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists in five games.

Bulls waive Sean Kilpatrick

Bulls waive Sean Kilpatrick

The Chicago Bulls waived guard Sean Kilpatrick today.

During his time with Chicago, Kilpatrick (6-4, 210) appeared in nine games and averaged 15.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.70 steals in 23.8 minutes per game. He shot .439 from the field, .396 from long range and .813 from the foul line. Kilpatrick originally signed with Chicago as a free agent on March 26, 2018.

Charlotte Hornets President of Basketball Operations & General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced today that the team has acquired center Bismack Biyombo and two second-round draft picks from the Orlando Magic.

In a three-team trade with the Orlando Magic and Chicago Bulls, Charlotte received center Bismack Biyombo and two future second-round picks in the 2019 and 2020 NBA Drafts while sending Timofey Mozgov to the Magic and Julyan Stone to the Bulls.

Additionally, Orlando received guard Jerian Grant from Chicago in the deal.

Biyombo played in all 82 regular-season games with Orlando last season (25 starts), averaging 5.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and a team-high 1.2 blocks in 18.2 minutes per contest. With 95 blocked shots in 2017-18, he ranked 19th in the NBA. Biyombo scored in double figures 14 times, including a career-high 21 points at Washington on Jan. 12. He also recorded seven double-doubles last season.

The seventh-year center began his NBA career in Charlotte after being selected by Sacramento in the first round (seventh overall) of the 2011 NBA Draft and sent to Charlotte in a draft night trade. Biyombo has appeared in 529 career NBA regular-s‎eason games (210 starts) with Charlotte, Toronto and Orlando, averaging 5.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 20.9 minutes per game, while shooting .513 (992-1933) from the floor. He has also played in 23 career NBA playoff contests (11 starts), averaging 5.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 24.1 minutes per game.

Biyombo, who played for Charlotte from 2011-14, remains fifth in Hornets history in career blocks (443) and blocks per game (1.6), and ranks seventh in career offensive rebounds (571).

Mozgov was acquired by the Hornets in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets on July 6, 2018. Mozgov holds career averages of 6.8 points and 4.9 rebounds in 18.0 minutes per game over the course of eight NBA seasons with the New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets.

Stone (6-6, 200) has played in the NBA for four seasons with career averages of 1.1 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. He went undrafted in 2011, but signed with the Denver Nuggets as a free agent and made his NBA debut on Jan. 11, 2012. Stone has also seen time with the Toronto Raptors (2013-14), and most recently with the Hornets, where he played in 23 games in the 2017-18 season. He also has G League experience with the Idaho Stampede, Iowa Energy and Greensboro Swarm.

Here’s Bulls.com reporting on the results of last night’s draft, which saw Chicago drafting Wendell Carter Jr. with the 7th overall pick:

“A year ago draft night, we made a decision to trade Jimmy Butler and start a rebuild and we thought we got a jump on that with the three pieces we got, Lauri being the seventh pick, the cornerstone of our direction and with Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn,” said Bulls Executive Vice-president of Basketball Operations John Paxson Thursday after the NBA draft. “Tonight is just an extension of that and we walk away feeling really good about the two players we drafted and the direction we are heading, two positions of need and two players we feel fit us and hopefully help us grow, hopefully quickly. And though we are going to be patient, maybe more quickly than some of the teams in the past have in rebuilding situations.”

That’s perhaps because with the additions of Carter Jr. with the No. 7 selection and Hutchison with the No. 22 pick, the Bulls hope they have the outline of a future starting five to develop and grow together, a quintet that could even be starting together before the end of the 2018-19 season…

Carter Jr., was the main figure for the Bulls Thursday, a rugged all-around big man who has drawn comparisons to players like Al Horford and Elton Brand. Perhaps not athletically dominant, but with a wide variety of skills on offense and defense. He appears to be a seamless fit with Markkanen as both can switch off on defense, shoot from three-point range and defend centers. Carter Jr. at 6-10 and about 250 pounds, played center to complement No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley…

Full article

Bulls waive Jaylen Johnson, sign CJ Fair

The Chicago Bulls signed forward CJ Fair today. And in a related move, prior to signing Fair the Bulls waived forward Jaylen Johnson.

This season, Fair (6-8, 218) appeared in 47 G League games (25 starts), splitting time between the Windy City Bulls and the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. On the year, he averaged 10.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 25.4 minutes per game.

Bulls sign Jaylen Johnson

The NBA season is winding down, but teams are still adding to their benches. Even teams that won’t be in the playoffs.

Today, the Chicago Bulls signed forward Jaylen Johnson.

Johnson (6-9, 230) has played in 49 games (37 starts) this season for the Windy City Bulls. He holds G League averages of 11.7 points, 7.6 boards and 2.9 assists in 29.0 minutes per game.

Bulls guard Antonio Blakeney underwent an MRI today on his left wrist, followed by an examination by the team’s hand specialist, Dr. John Fernandez. Initially diagnosed with a left wrist sprain, the MRI confirmed that he sustained a non-displaced scaphoid fracture in his left wrist. As a result of the injury, Blakeney will miss the remainder of the season.

Blakeney incurred the injury in Chicago’s game at New York on Monday night. A two-way player who split time this season between the Bulls and the Windy City Bulls, Blakeney saw action in 19 games with Chicago and averaged 7.9 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 16.5 minutes.

The Chicago Bulls have signed free agent forward Jarell Eddie to a 10-day contract.

Eddie (6-7, 218) is currently in his third year in the NBA and has four years of G League experience. He has played in 18 games for Windy City in 2017-18, averaging 16.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.00 steals in 35.1 minutes per game. Eddie has shot .480 from the floor, .475 from 3-point range and .918 from the free-throw line during his time in the G League this season. The four-year Virginia Tech product was also signed to a 10-day contract by the Boston Celtics on Jan. 20 and saw action in two games.

In 2016-17, Eddie played in five games for the Phoenix Suns while on a 10-day contract and averaged 4.8 points and 1.4 rebounds in 12.4 minutes per game. He also appeared in 45 contests in the G League for the Austin Spurs and Windy City Bulls. The Tampa, Florida, native played in 26 games for the Washington Wizards in 2015-16, scoring 2.4 points in 5.7 minutes per game, and spent time with the Austin Spurs in both 2014-15 and 2015-16.

Chicago’s roster now stands at 17 players.

Future of Bulls looks bright

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The Bulls are 20-36 this season, a record that is 12th best in the Eastern conference. They’re rebuilding, and little success was expected this season. Their main goal needed to be to find a bunch of young building blocks that have legitimate potential to do big things in the future. That mission has mostly been accomplished. Here’s NBC Sports Chicago on reporting on Zach Lavine and more:

Over his last five games, LaVine is averaging around 25 points while shooting 46 percent from the field and the 3 point line. He also has emerged as the team’s closer, scoring the Bulls’ last 11 points in the thrilling win over Jimmy Butler and the Timberwolves last week, then coming up with a late steal and breakaway dunk in the closing seconds to give the Bulls a win over Orlando on Monday.

Clearly, LaVine was the centerpiece of last summer’s draft night trade sending Butler to Minnesota. He was coming into his own as an NBA player in his 3rd season with the Timberwolves before the ACL injury, averaging nearly 19 points a game as the team’s third scoring option, while improving his 3 point shooting to right around 39 percent. There’s no way Tom Thibodeau would have included LaVine in the Butler deal if he hadn’t suffered the injury.

Now, the Bulls are able to center their rebuild around the talents of the 3 players they acquired from Minnesota. LaVine turns 23 next month, Kris Dunn turns 24 on March 18th, and Lauri Markkanen is only 20. Dunn has emerged as a quality NBA point guard whose defensive skills and toughness bring out the best in his teammates and the 7-foot Markkanen could be a future All-Star with his smooth shooting stroke and versatile offensive game.

Still, even after just a 13-game sample size, it’s clear LaVine is the player that figures to shine brightest on the NBA stage. The two-time slam dunk champion hasn’t lost any of that explosive leaping ability and he has the charisma and self-confidence necessary to accept the responsibility of being “the man” in a major market like Chicago. Going head to head with Butler down the stretch of a close game shows LaVine won’t back down from a challenge and isn’t afraid of his team’s fate resting on his shoulders.

With the Eastern Conference struggling to produce 12 All-Star worthy candidates this season, LaVine and Markkanen could inject themselves into that conversation as soon as next year.

Full article

Bulls waive Tony Allen

The Chicago Bulls waived veteran guard/forward Tony Allen today.

Allen was acquired on February 1 in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans. The Bulls are undergoing a youth movement, building for the future, so they apparently didn’t see a need for Allen’s services.

A defensive-minded player, Allen was playing just 12.4 minutes per game for the Pelicans this season prior to being traded to the Bulls.

Chicago’s roster now stands at 16.

The Chicago Bulls have acquired forward Noah Vonleh and cash considerations from the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for the draft rights to Milovan Rakovic.

Vonleh (6-9, 245) is in his fourth NBA season, having seen time with Charlotte (2014-15) and Portland (2015-18). He was originally selected ninth-overall by the Hornets in the 2014 NBA Draft. Vonleh has posted career averages of 3.9 points and 4.5 rebounds through 210 games (109 starts) with a career field goal percentage of .450. In 2017-18, Vonleh is averaging 3.6 points and 5.1 rebounds through 33 games (12 starts). The Indiana University product was a McDonald’s All-American in 2013.

Rakovic, 32, was selected with the 60th overall pick in the second round of the 2007 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks. A native of Serbia, he currently plays for Neuchatel in Switzerland.

Chicago’s roster stands at 17.

The Chicago Bulls in a trade today acquired Willie Reed and the right to swap second-round picks in the 2022 NBA Draft from the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Jameer Nelson.

In an immediate subsequent move, the Bulls waived Reed.

Nelson, 6-0, 190, has averaged 11.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 28.0 minutes in 871 career NBA games with Orlando, Dallas, Boston, Denver and New Orleans. A 13-year NBA veteran, he’s played in 44 career playoff games and averaged 15.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists. Selected 20th overall in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Nuggets, Nelson was part of a draft-day trade that sent him to the Magic where he played 10 seasons, including from 2007-12 for head coach Stan Van Gundy. A 2009 NBA All-Star, he averaged a career-best 16.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.2 steals during the 2008-09 season and helped the Magic reach the 2009 NBA Finals.

A native of Chester, PA., Nelson played collegiately at Saint Joseph’s University where he was named the Consensus National Player of the Year as a senior (2003-04) by earning the Associated Press, Wooden, Naismith, Rupp, Robertson and Chevrolet Player of the Year Awards, after leading the Hawks to a perfect regular season (27-0), the school’s first #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a trip to the Elite Eight. Nelson averaged 20.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 3.0 steals as a senior in 32 games. He was also chosen as Player of the Year by The Sporting News, ESPN.com, SI.com and Foxsports.com and garnered First Team All-America selection and Atlantic 10 Player of the Year.

Reed, 27, was acquired from the L.A. Clippers on January 29, 2018. He saw action in three games with the Pistons and averaged 0.7 points and 0.3 rebounds. The 6-foot-11 center has career averages of 4.9 points and 3.8 rebounds in 152 games with Brooklyn, Miami and Detroit. The former Saint Louis University product averaged 5.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 0.66 blocks and 14.5 minutes in 71 games with the Miami HEAT last season while shooting 56.8 percent from the field.

Bulls trade Nikola Mirotic to Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans have acquired forward Nikola Mirotić (KNEE-coal-uh MIR-oh-tich) and a 2018 second-round pick from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for center Omer Asik, guards Tony Allen and Jameer Nelson, and a 2018 first-round draft pick. In addition, Chicago will have the right to swap its 2021 second-round pick with New Orleans’ own 2021 second-round pick.

Mirotić, 6-10, 220, has appeared in 25 games this season for the Bulls, posting averages of 16.8 points, while shooting .429 from three-point range, 6.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 24.9 minutes. Originally drafted by the Houston Rockets with the 23rd overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Montenegro native has appeared in 243 career regular season games for Chicago, averaging 11.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 23.0 minutes per game.

Asik, 7-0, 255, has appeared in 14 games this season for New Orleans, averaging 1.3 points and 2.6 rebounds. Originally acquired by the Pelicans in the summer of 2014, Asik has appeared in 189 regular season games for New Orleans, averaging 4.9 points and 5.0 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per contest.

Allen, 6-4, 231, who was signed this past summer by New Orleans, has appeared in 22 games this season for the Pelicans, averaging 4.7 points and 2.1 rebounds.

Nelson, 6-0, 190, who was originally signed by the Pelicans in October, appeared in 43 games for New Orleans, posting averages of 5.1 points, 2.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.

Mirotić will wear #3 for the Pelicans. New Orleans’ roster now stands at 15, including two two-way players (Charles Cooke and Mike James).

Kris Dunn injury update

Kris Dunn injury update

Bulls guard Kris Dunn has had a rough couple of days.

After more evaluation today (Thursday, January 18), the Bulls say that Dunn’s two dislocated front teeth have been stabilized and are now splinted with braces. He was also re-evaluated for concussion symptoms, and the results weren’t good, so he’s been placed in the NBA Concussion Protocol.

Dunn won’t travel with the team to Atlanta. He’ll be back in action when cleared of concussion-related issues.

The Bulls are 17-28 this season. Dunn is tied for 3rd in scoring for the squad this season, averaging 13.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 2.1 steals in 29.7 minutes per game. Individually, he’s enjoying an excellent season.

Bulls waive Kay Felder

The Chicago Bulls waived guard Kay Felder today.

Standing just 5-foot-6, the 176-pound underdog played in 14 games for the Bulls, averaging 3.9 points, 1.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 9.6 minutes. Felder also played in three games in the G League for the Windy City Bulls, averaging 17.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists, shooting 45.2 percent from the field (19-of-42).

The Bulls roster is now at 16 players, including two signed to two-way contracts.

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