Bulls reportedly signing Stanley Johnson and Alize Johnson

The Chicago Bulls are reportedly adding a pair of forwards to their roster. Via the Chicago Sun-Times:

A source confirmed that the Bulls got some much needed frontcourt depth by adding wing Stanley Johnson and power forward Alize Johnson…

Stanley Johnson, who was the No. 8 overall pick from the 2015 NBA Draft, might have the bigger upside, showing promise in his early days with the Pistons, before an inability to shoot from outside caught up with him.

Alize Johnson is another explosive leaper and he will join former dunk contest winners Zach LaVine and Derrick Jones Jr.

Three-team NBA trade sends Lauri Markkanen to Cavs, Larry Nance Jr. to Trail Blazers

As part of a three-team NBA trade, the Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired forward Lauri Markkanen (LAU-ree MARK-a-nin) in a sign and trade agreement from the Chicago Bulls, Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts.

In the deal, Cleveland traded forward Larry Nance Jr. to the Portland Trail Blazers and a protected 2023 second round pick (via Denver) to Chicago. The Bulls also received forward Derrick Jones Jr. from Portland and the Trail Blazers’ lottery-protected 2022 first round pick as part of the trade.

“We are extremely fortunate as an organization to be in a position to acquire another young and talented player with the skill-set of Lauri Markkanen,” said Altman. “He has the proven ability to play multiple positions and stretch the floor from the perimeter and, at 24-years-old, we believe his best basketball is in front of him. We are committed to establishing a winning culture in Cleveland that can be sustained over time and Lauri helps elevate that description. I also want to thank Larry for his outstanding and impactful contributions to our team, both on and off the court. His selfless acts of kindness and support for small businesses in Northeast Ohio during a global pandemic says a lot about his character. He remained steadfast in his commitment to helping others in their time of need and it was an inspiration to us all. Larry truly embraced the community, its fans and his teammates and he will be missed. The Cavaliers have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for Larry as a person and a player, and we wish him and his family all the best in Portland.”

Markkanen (7-0, 238) played in 51 games (26 starts) for the Bulls last season, averaging 13.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 25.8 minutes per contest. He also shot career highs in field goal percentage (.480) and three-point percentage (.402), while going .826 from the foul line. Markkanen connected on 119 three-pointers in 2020-21, his fourth consecutive season with over 100 triples. He also became just the fourth player in Bulls franchise history to shoot a perfect 7-of-7 from beyond the arc, accomplishing that feat against Philadelphia on March 11, 2021.

A native of Finland, Markkanen was originally drafted out of the University of Arizona by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Traded on draft night to Chicago, he spent his entire four-year NBA career with the Bulls, averaging 15.6 points and 7.1 rebounds in 29.5 minutes over 221 games (195 starts). Markkanen was an All-NBA Rookie First Team selection in 2018 and leaves the Bulls ranked sixth all-time in franchise history in three-pointers made with 493.

“Larry is a talented and versatile player that impacts winning on both ends of the floor,” said Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey. “We welcome him and his family to Portland and look forward to his contributions on the court and in our community.”

Originally selected by the L.A. Lakers with the 27th overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, Nance (6-7, 245) holds career averages of 8.3 points (52.9% FG, 33.3% 3-PT, 68.75 FT), 6.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.26 steals and 24.2 minutes in 350 games (123 starts) with the Lakers and Cleveland. A native of Akron, Ohio, Nance played collegiately for four seasons at Wyoming.

Pelicans trade Lonzo Ball to Bulls

The New Orleans Pelicans have acquired guard Tomáš Satoranský, guard Garrett Temple, a 2024 second round pick and cash considerations from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for guard Lonzo Ball.

“Tomáš and Garrett will bring incredible veteran presence, feel and versatility to both sides of the floor for our lineup,” said Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin. “Both have also distinguished themselves as teammates and leaders in their communities. We couldn’t be happier to welcome them to New Orleans.”

Satoranský, 6-7, 210, appeared in 55 games (18 starts) for the Bulls last season and averaged 7.7 points, 2.4 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 22.5 minutes per game. Originally drafted 32nd overall in the 2012 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards, Satoranský has appeared in 333 career games (169 starts) over five seasons with Washington and Chicago, averaging 7.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 23.2 minutes per contest.

Temple, 6-5, 195, who is entering his 12th NBA season, has appeared in 632 career games (272 starts), averaging 6.5 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 21.7 minutes per contest. The LSU product appeared in 56 games (25 starts) for Chicago last season and averaged 7.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 27.3 minutes per game.

“In his two seasons with us, Lonzo has had a profound impact on this team and upon this community,” added Griffin. “His growth and development as a player have been evident and his charitable works, while largely unheralded, have been every bit as impressive. We appreciate his total contributions to the Pelicans’ family and wish him every success moving forward.”

Ball, 6-6, 190, appeared in 118 games (109 starts) over the last two seasons with the Pelicans, averaging 13.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game. Originally drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Ball has appeared in 217 career games (204 starts) over the last four seasons with the Lakers and Pelicans, holding averages of 11.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game.

Bulls sign-and-trade Daniel Theis to Rockets

The Houston Rockets have acquired center Daniel Theis via a sign-and-trade from Chicago in exchange for cash considerations.

“Daniel is a versatile center who impacts both ends of the court,” said Rockets general manager Rafael Stone. “We’re looking forward to adding his skillset to our young core and giving Coach Silas even more flexibility with his lineups.”

Theis’ Rockets contract is reportedly a four-year, $36 million deal.

Theis (6-8, 245) spent his first three and a half seasons with Boston prior to being acquired by Chicago as part of a three-team trade with Washington on March 25, 2021. For his career, Theis has appeared in 259 games with 120 starts while averaging 7.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 19.3 minutes per game.

Over the past two seasons, Theis was one of four players to have averaged at least 9.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, and 1.00 bpg in fewer than 25.0 mpg. He joined Anthony Davis and Robert Covington as the only players over that span to have recorded at least 1,200 points, 700 rebounds, 200 assists, 140 blocks, 70 steals, and 80 3-pointers made. Since entering the league in 2017-18, Theis joins Giannis Antetokounmpo and John Collins as the only players to have shot 55.0% or better from the floor with at least 100 3-pointers made.

Prior to joining the Celtics, Theis spent seven seasons playing professionally in his home country of Germany. He won three straight German league championships with Bamberg from 2015 through 2017.

Team USA member Zach LaVine has placed in USA Basketball’s health and safety protocols

USA Basketball Men’s National Team member Zach LaVine has been placed under USA Basketball’s health and safety protocols and will not travel with the team to Tokyo today. Per USA Basketball, this is being done “out of an abundance of caution.”

USA Basketball hopes that LaVine will be able to join the team in Tokyo later this week.

Per ESPN.com, LaVine “is the third player to be affected in the past week, as Bradley Beal had to leave the team because of the protocols and Jerami Grant was in contract tracing quarantine for four days.”

Zach LaVine will reportedly play for Team USA in 2021 Olympics

Chicago Bulls scoring guard Zach LaVine will reportedly be going international this offseason. Via the Chicago Tribune:

LaVine committed to joining Team USA for the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, securing the final roster spot on the 12-man team, the Athletic reported Wednesday. LaVine will make his first Olympic appearance alongside some of the NBA’s best.

Other players who have pledged to play in the 2021 Olympics include Kevin Durant, Bam Adebayo, Bradley Beal, Jayson Tatum, Draymond Green, Devin Booker, Damian Lillard, Khris Middelton, Jrue Holiday, Jerami Grant and Kevin Love.

As usual, Olympic bball will be must-see TV. And as usual, hit our site for daily coverage.

Bulls in tight race for play-in tournament spot

It’s a tight race in the East to stay alive for the playoffs, and the play-in tournament that proceeds it. Via the Chicago Sun-Times:

The Bulls are one game behind the Wizards, who lost to the Spurs, for 10th place in the East and the last play-in berth.

The Raptors won, so they’re tied with the Bulls, and they face each other one more this season.

“We’re definitely aware of where we are and what’s going on,’’ Young said. “[The Wizards are] playing really good basketball, and we’ve got to figure out ways to win basketball games. Our approach to every game has to be the same: Win at all costs because everything is on the line from this day forward.

“It’s been on the line.’’

Through yesterday’s games, the East seeds are Heat at 7, Hornets 8, Pacers 9, Wizards 10, then the Bulls and Raptors right behind the Wizards. Way off in the distance are the Cavs, Pistons and Magic.

Three-way trade sends Chandler Hutchison to Wizards, Troy Brown Jr. to Bulls, Moe Wagner to Celtics

The Washington Wizards announced today that they have acquired center Daniel Gafford and forward/guard Chandler Hutchison from the Chicago Bulls in a three-way trade that sends forward Troy Brown Jr. to Chicago and center Moe Wagner to the Boston Celtics.

The complete trade details include Boston acquiring Luke Kornet from Chicago, with Daniel Theis and Javonte Green going from Boston to Chicago.

“This trade will help us both in the short term over the second half of the season and in the long term with two young, athletic players who we can continue to develop,” said Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard. “Daniel brings rim protection and the ability to finish around the basket while Chandler brings toughness on the defensive end, all attributes that complement our current roster.”

Gafford (6-11, 246) has averaged 5.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game while shooting .697 from the field in 74 career games (18 starts) in two seasons with the Bulls. He is currently averaging 4.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks while shooting .690 from the field in 31 games (11 starts) this season. Gafford scored a season-high 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field against the Wizards on December 31.

Originally selected 38th overall by the Bulls in the 2019 NBA Draft, Gafford averaged 14.3 points and 7.4 rebounds during his two seasons at the University of Arkansas. He was named to the 2019 SEC All-Defensive Team and First Team All-SEC following his sophomore season at Arkansas.

Hutchison (6-7, 208) holds career averages of 5.8 points and 4.0 rebounds in 79 career games (24 starts) in three seasons with the Bulls. He has appeared in seven games this season. Hutchison averaged 7.8 points in 28 games for Chicago last season.

Originally selected in the first round (22nd overall) by the Bulls in the 2018 NBA Draft, Hutchison averaged 20.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.48 steals in 31 games as a senior at Boise State to earn Mountain West Player of the Year, All-Mountain West First Team and Mountain West All-Defensive Team honors. He was also named All-Mountain West First Team as a junior and finished his career ranked first in school history in double-doubles and 20/10 games.

“We thank Troy and Moe for their contributions on the court and their commitment to improving our community,” said Sheppard. “We appreciate their efforts and wish them the best as they continue their careers.”

Brown Jr. was originally selected by Washington with the 15th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. In three seasons with the Wizards, he averaged 7.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 142 games (32 starts). Wagner was acquired from the Lakers in a three-team trade involving the Pelicans on July 6, 2019. He appeared in 70 games (18 starts) with the Wizards over two seasons, posting averages of 8.2 points and 4.2 rebounds.

Magic trade Nikola Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu to Bulls for Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr., draft picks

The Orlando Magic have acquired center Wendell Carter Jr., forward Otto Porter Jr. and two future first round draft picks from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for center Nikola Vučević and forward Al-Farouq Aminu.

“Anytime you trade a player like Nikola (Vučević), it is a tough decision to make,” said Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman. “’Vooch’ will go down as one of the best players to ever wear a Magic uniform and we can’t thank him enough for all the contributions he made to the organization, both on and off the court.”

“Wendell (Carter Jr.) is a talented, young player, who is just starting to blossom,” Weltman added. “We are excited not only to add him to our team, but to watch him continue to develop into the player we think he can become. We’re happy to welcome Wendell and Otto (Porter Jr.) to the Magic family.”

Carter Jr. (6’10”, 268, 4/16/99) has played in 32 games (25 starts) this season with Chicago, averaging 10.9 ppg., 7.8 rpg. and 2.2 apg. in 24.7 minpg., while shooting .512 (129-252) from the floor. He has led (or tied) the Bulls in rebounding 12 times and in assists twice. Carter Jr. has scored in double figures 18 times and 20+ points twice, including a season-high 23 points on Jan. 8 @ L.A. Lakers. He has pulled down 10+ rebounds nine times, including a career-high 17 rebounds on Jan. 6 @ Sacramento, and recorded a team-high seven double-doubles.

Originally selected in the first round (seventh overall) of the 2018 NBA Draft by Chicago, Carter Jr. has appeared in 119 career NBA regular season games (112 starts), all with the Bulls, averaging 10.8 ppg., 8.1 rpg. and 1.7 apg. in 26.5 minpg., while shooting .509 (492-966) from the floor. He was named to the U.S. Team for the 2020 NBA Rising Stars, but did not play due to injury.

Carter Jr. played and started in 37 games during his only collegiate season (2017-18) at Duke University, averaging 13.5 ppg., 9.1 rpg., 2.0 apg. and 2.05 blkpg. in 26.9 minpg., while shooting .561 (179-319) from the floor. He finished second all-time among Duke freshmen in rebounds (335), blocked shots (76) and double-doubles (16). Carter Jr. was a Second Team All-ACC selection and a unanimous pick to the ACC All-Freshman Team.

Carter Jr. will wear #34 with the Orlando Magic.

Porter Jr. (6”8”, 228, 6/3/93) has played in 25 games (six starts) this season with Chicago, averaging 9.9 ppg., 5.5 rpg. and 2.0 apg. in 21.6 minpg., while shooting .400 (38-95) from three-point range and .838 (31-37) from the free throw line. He has led (or tied) the Bulls in scoring once and in rebounding four times. Porter Jr. has scored in double figures 12 times and 20+ points twice, including a season-high 28 points on Dec. 31 @ Washington. He has pulled down 10+ rebounds twice and had two double-doubles.

Originally selected in the first round (third overall) of the 2013 NBA Draft by Washington, Porter Jr. has appeared in 438 career NBA regular season games (301 starts) with Washington and Chicago, averaging 11.0 ppg., 5.0 rpg., 1.5 apg. and 1.14 stlpg. in 26.5 minpg., while shooting .404 (589-1,459) from three-point range. He has also played in 31 career NBA playoff games (18 starts), averaging 10.0 ppg., 6.3 rpg., 1.6 apg. and 1.26 stlpg. in 29.8 minpg.

Porter Jr. will wear #22 with the Orlando Magic.

Vučević (7’0”, 260, 1024/90) played and started in all 44 games this season with Orlando, averaging 24.5 ppg., 11.8 rpg. and 3.8 apg. in 34.1 minpg., while shooting .406 (117-288) from three-point range and .827 (91-110) from the free throw line. Originally selected in the first round (16th overall) of the 2011 NBA Draft by Philadelphia, he has played in 642 career NBA regular season games (581 starts) with Philadelphia and Orlando, averaging 16.7 ppg., 10.3 rpg. and 2.6 apg. in 30.5 minpg., while shooting .497 (4,621-9,294) from the floor.

Vučević was acquired by Orlando on Aug. 10, 2012 as part of a four-team, 12-player trade. He played in 591 career games with the Magic (566 starts) from 2012-21, averaging 17.6 ppg., 10.8 rpg. and 2.8 apg. in 31.8 minpg., while shooting .499 (4,490-9,903) from the floor. Vučević leaves as the Magic’s all-time leader in field goals made (4,490) and ranks among the franchise’s all-time leaders in double-doubles (2nd, 354), rebounds (2nd, 6,381), points (3rd, 10,423), blocked shots (3rd, 550), games played (4th, 591), minutes played (4th, 18,791), steals (6th, 537) and assists (8th, 1,668). He was named an NBA All-Star in 2019 and 2021.

Aminu (6’9”, 220, 9/21/90) played in 17 games (14 starts) this season with Orlando, averaging 5.5 ppg., 5.4 rpg., 1.7 apg. and 1.00 stlpg. in 21.6 minpg. Originally selected in the first round (eighth overall) of the 2010 NBA Draft by the L.A. Clippers, he has played in 705 career NBA regular season games (445 starts) with the Clippers, New Orleans, Dallas, Portland and Orlando, averaging 7.6 ppg., 6.0 rpg. and 1.2 apg. in 25.0 minpg.

Zach LaVine scores 40 points in Bulls win over Thunder

Zach LaVine dropped 40 in a Bulls win over the Thunder tonight. Via the Chicago Tribune:

While playing professionally in Europe, Chicago Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky became used to constantly shuffling in and out of the starting lineup. So even though the Bulls elevated him into the starting five this week, he took it in stride.

“I’m the guy who never really overreacts to starting,” Satoransky said. “Where I came from, we always changed the different lineups in European basketball. I said this to (coach Billy Donovan): I am ready for whenever he puts me in. I never overthink that too much.”

The Bulls were plus-28 with Satoransky on the floor Tuesday as their new-look starting lineup — and a 40-point performance from Zach LaVine — helped carry them to a 123-102 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder at the United Center.

LaVine put up his points with efficiency, going 15 of 20 from the field and 7 of 12 from 3-point range. He was aided by strong performances from the two veterans inserted into the lineup: Satoransky, who had 13 points and seven assists, and Thad Young, who had 17 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

The Thunder, who are undergoing a rebuild, were missing a number of key players tonight.

The Bulls are 18-20 this season. They’re being led in scoring by LaVine at 28.1 points per game, Lauri Markkanen at 19.1 ppg in 17 games played, Coby White at 16.0 ppg, and Young at 12.1 ppg off the bench.