Bulls at Raptors game scheduled for Feb. 28, 2021 is postponed

The NBA game scheduled for tonight between the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. has been postponed in accordance with the league’s Health and Safety Protocols.

Because of positive test results and ongoing contact tracing within the Raptors, the team will not have the league-required eight available players to proceed with the scheduled game against the Bulls.

Bulls vs. Grizzlies game scheduled for January 27, 2021 is postponed

The National Basketball Association game scheduled for this Wednesday, January 27, 2021 between the Chicago Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum has been postponed in accordance with the league’s Health and Safety Protocols.

The game is being postponed due to contact tracing within the Grizzlies and the length of time preceding the game during which Memphis will be unable to practice.

Lauri Markkanen set to return for Bulls

The Bulls are worth paying attention to these days. They have an interesting young core of talent and are putting up some wins lately. Here’s the Chicago Sun-Times on the latest twist:

To say that Lauri Markkanen entered this season with a lot to prove is a major undersell, especially considering the Bulls organization and the forward’s camp couldn’t even agree on anything close to an extension price.

Markkanen’s response was to take an almost “bet on myself’’ approach, and through the first three games he seemed to do just that, averaging 20 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. In all losses, however.

Then the calf flares up in Washington, Markkanen is put on the shelf, and then stays on the shelf when the league’s coronavirus protocol red flags him through contract tracing.

What’s happened since?

The Bulls won three of their next four without the 7-footer, and then went toe-to-toe with both Los Angeles teams last weekend.

Along the way, coach Billy Donovan has developed a closing unit of Coby White, Zach LaVine, Garrett Temple, Thad Young and – when the back spasms aren’t acting up – Otto Porter Jr.

But now Markkanen has been cleared to practice, is getting his conditioning back, and is expected to return to the starting lineup on Friday when the team plays in Oklahoma City.

NBA postpones two games for coronavirus reasons: Pelicans vs. Mavs, Celtics vs. Bulls

The NBA games scheduled for tonight between the New Orleans Pelicans and Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Arena and tomorrow between the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls at United Center have been postponed in accordance with the league’s Health and Safety Protocols.

The NBA and NBPA will be meeting today about modifying the league’s Health and Safety Protocols.

Billy Donovan coaching era begins in Chicago

NBA preseason began yesterday, and the Chicago Bulls began it with a 125-104 loss to the Houston Rockets, who played without James Harden but welcomed new team members John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins. The Bulls are now under the helm of former OKC Thunder head coach Billy Donovan, who finds himself in a rebuilding situation. Per the Chicago Sun-Times:

So while new coach Billy Donovan wasn’t exactly thrilled with what he saw in Friday’s preseason debut of this 2020-21 team, he’s holding out on passing judgment.

After all, just four contact practices, two non-contact practices, and one bad debut against the Rockets in, questioning the heart of this Bulls team wouldn’t do anyone any good.

“I think it’s too early for me to say that right now just because again, these guys have been really, really good workers,’’ Donovan said on Saturday, when asked if this roster did display too much softness. “They’ve tried to come every day with energy and enthusiasm. They’re trying to work extremely hard. But I’ve always said this, the minute the ball gets thrown up in the air, to me it’s about how you handle adversity. And I think adversity is one of the greatest teaching tools that we have because generally, you improve and get better when things are hard.’’

The Bulls started Coby White and Zach LaVine at guard, Otto Porter and Lauri Markkanen at forward, and Wendell Carter at center.

Rookie forward Patrick Williams came off the bench and played well.

Hawks sign former Bulls guard Kris Dunn

The Atlanta Hawks have signed free agent guard Kris Dunn.

“Kris is an elite defender and an intense competitor who will bring real value to our group,” said Hawks President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Travis Schlenk. “We are happy to add him and believe his presence will improve our club.”

In 51 games (32 starts) with the Chicago Bulls last season, the Providence College graduate swiped 1.98 steals per game (second-best in the NBA), adding 7.3 points, 3.6 boards and 3.4 assists in 24.9 minutes. Dunn shot a career-best .444 FG% in 2019-20, including .630 FG% (29-46) over his final eight games played.

Originally selected by Minnesota with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Dunn holds career averages of 8.3 points, 4.2 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.55 steals in 24.3 minutes through 227 contests (126 starts) with the Timberwolves and Bulls. Among players from his draft class, Dunn ranks second in career steals (351) and fourth in assists (948). Since the beginning of the 2016-17 season, Dunn’s 1.55 steals per game rank 15th among all qualifying players and his 351 total steals rank 25th.

The New London, Conn. native will wear jersey No. 32.

Hawks and Kris Dunn agree to a contract

Free agency began yesterday and the Hawks have been as active as any team in the NBA, making moves both yesterday and today. Here’s the Atlanta Journal Constitution with the latest:

On Friday night, they added Danilo Gallinari, an experienced veteran whose 3-point shooting will shore up the offense (they were the worst 3-point shooting team in the NBA last season at 33.3%). On Saturday morning, they agreed to terms with Chicago Bulls guard Kris Dunn, the AJC has confirmed, who is sure to give them a boost on defense. It’s a two-year, $10 million deal, with a player option on the second year. ESPN first reported the move…

Improving the team’s 3-point shooting, as well as team defense, were both absolutely necessary if the Hawks wanted to take a step forward this season. They went 20-47 last season, but feel they’re nearing the end of their rebuild, as their young players gain more experience and as they have the most cap space in the league to add more talent via trades/free agency.

Although Trae Young is an offensive marvel, he ranked last in the league in ESPN’s defensive real plus-minus stat at minus-6.17. Dunn, 26, is one of the best guard defenders in the league and figures to balance out the backcourt with his defensive prowess and intensity. From a fit standpoint, this move makes plenty of sense – the Hawks had the third-worst defensive rating last season (114.4), and tended to try and outscore opponents instead of getting stops.

Bulls reportedly agree to deal with Garrett Temple

The Bulls are rebuilding, have some nice young talent, but have a long way to go. For immediate short-term help, they are reportedly adding a solid veteran role player to their mix. Via the Chicago Tribune:

The Chicago Bulls and veteran guard Garrett Temple have agreed to a one-year contract, his agency Priority Sports announced Friday night.

The deal, which was first reported by ESPN, is said to be worth $5 million. The acquisition of Temple adds an experienced player to one of the youngest rosters in the league and creates some wing depth off the bench. For a young team that struggled to close out games last season, Temple’s addition in the locker room should be beneficial.

Temple, 34, started 35 games for the Brooklyn Nets last season and averaged a career-best 10.3 points with 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. His shooting percentage from three was down last season (32.9%), but he has been solid from beyond the arc in his career (34.7%).

Bulls select Patrick Williams with No. 4 pick in 2020 NBA draft

With the 4th overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, the Chicago Bulls selected Florida State forward Patrick Williams.

Here’s Bulls.com on the move:

Edwards, who doesn’t turn 20 until next August as the second youngest player in this draft, is a physically imposing 6-8, 225 pound forward with a defensive mentality.

One of the concerns about the Bulls in recent seasons was the lack of physical, dominating play.

Williams would presumably address that with an aggressive game, a long seven-foot wing span and in perhaps a tribute to the late Jerry Krause a wide frame and broad shoulders that suggest ample room to grow. Krause, the longtime Bulls general manager, was known for spotting the extreme physical characteristics, which led the Bulls to Scottie Pippen.

Though Williams comes with warnings signs, in part, because of his youth and inexperience.

He’s primarily, at least for now, a scorer with a spot up mid range game and cutting to the basket scoring. He didn’t attempt many threes and shot just over 30 percent. But making more than 80 percent of his free throws suggests he will be a capable shooter.

Williams will have plenty of opportunity to earn minutes quite immediately on a Bulls squad with plenty of holes to fill.

Bulls hire Maurice Cheeks, Josh Longstaff, John Bryant, Damian Cotter and Billy Schmidt as assistant coaches

The Chicago Bulls have announced the hires of Maurice Cheeks, Josh Longstaff, John Bryant, Damian Cotter and Billy Schmidt as assistant coaches on Head Coach Billy Donovan’s staff. Additionally, Henry Domercant, Ronnie Burrell, Ty Abbott and Max Rothschild were brought on as player development coordinators.

Hall of Famer Maurice Cheeks returns home to Chicago after completing his ninth total season with Oklahoma City, five in his second stint as an assistant on Billy Donovan’s staff from 2015-20, and four from 2009-13. He brings more than 40 years of NBA experience to the Bulls as both a player and a coach. Cheeks has amassed a head coaching record of 305-315 (.492) with the Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trail Blazers. He was head coach of the Pistons in 2013-14, and from 2005-09, he was at the helm of the 76ers. In Philadelphia, he posted a record of 122-147, securing a playoff appearance in the 2007-08 campaign. Prior to joining the Sixers, Cheeks spent three-plus seasons as head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers (2001-05). During his time in Portland, he posted a 162-139 (.538) mark, accounting for the seventh-highest win total in Blazers coaching history. He helped the Blazers reach the NBA Playoffs twice, and in 2002-03, tied for second in the Pacific Division with a 50-32 record. Before being head coach in Portland, Cheeks spent seven seasons as an assistant coach for the Sixers, and in 2000-01 he helped guide the 76ers to a record of 56-26 (.683) and a spot in the NBA Finals.

A 15-year NBA veteran, Cheeks was selected 36th-overall in the second round of the 1978 NBA Draft by the 76ers and retired from the NBA as its all-time leader in steals after playing with Philadelphia, San Antonio, New York, Atlanta and New Jersey. He was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Team five times (First Team: 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986; Second Team: 1987) and played in four All-Star games (1983, 1986, 1987, 1988). A member of the 76ers’ 1983 World Championship team, Cheeks was honored by the club through having his number 10 retired. He was elected to the 2018 class of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. As an NBA player, Cheeks compiled career averages of 11.1 points, 6.7 assists and 2.10 steals in 1,101 games while shooting .523 from the field and .793 from the free throw line.

Longstaff joins the Bulls after spending the previous two seasons under Mike Budenholzer at the Milwaukee Bucks. He has 11 seasons of coaching experience in the NBA, and prior to becoming an assistant with the Bucks ahead of 2018-19, Longstaff was the head coach of the Erie BayHawks of the NBA G League for the 2017-18 season. As head coach of the BayHawks, Longstaff led Erie to a Southeast Division title and a 28-22 (.560) record before reaching the Eastern Conference Final. This marked the BayHawks’ first playoff appearance since the 2011-12 season and first-ever Eastern Conference Final appearance. Longstaff was awarded NBA G League Coach of the Month in January 2018 after leading the BayHawks to an 8-3 record. Prior to his time as head coach with Erie, Longstaff was an assistant coach with the New York Knicks for three seasons from 2014-17. He began his career in the NBA with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2010 as a player personnel and video coordinator before being promoted to video analyst and player development coach. While Longstaff was with Oklahoma City, the Thunder made the playoffs all four seasons, including two appearances in the Western Conference Finals and one appearance in the NBA Finals. A native of Portland, Maine, Longstaff played collegiately at Bryant University in Rhode Island, and following his graduation in 2005, he coached high school basketball in Maine for five years, including two years as a varsity head coach. Longstaff and his wife, Kerri, recently welcomed their first child, Leo.

Bryant comes to Chicago after spending four seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, the last two with the title of assistant coach. He joined Philadelphia in 2016 as a player development coach after completing the two prior seasons as an assistant coach with the Delaware Blue Coats of the NBA G League. During those two seasons, he was also an assistant coach with the Nigeria men’s national team, which won the 2015 African Championship and competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Currently, he also serves as an assistant coach with the Angola men’s national team, which recently competed in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. Bryant served as associate head coach and head strength and conditioning coach with the Bakersfield Jam of the G League for three seasons before joining Delaware. Prior to his coaching career, he played professionally in the NBA G League with Bakersfield, as well as in Australia, England, Germany and the ABA. Bryant played his collegiate ball at St. Joseph’s University from 2001-05, where he started on the 2003-04 team that went 27-0 in the regular season and reached the Elite Eight. He is married to Allison, and they have three children: Miles, Vera and Moses.

Cotter was head coach of the Windy City Bulls in 2019-20 after being the lead assistant coach at the G League’s Capital City Go-Go in 2018-19 and with the Long Island Nets in 2017-18. The Australian native has 10 years of FIBA coaching experience with Australia, including five World Championships and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Cotter began his coaching career in 2000 as head coach of the Knox Raiders Senior Men’s Team in the South East Australian Basketball League. From 2007-14, he moved up to the New South Wales Institute of Sport in Sydney and was a head coach there. From 2006-13, he was involved with the Australian Junior Men’s Team as an assistant coach and then head coach, before joining the Australian Senior Women’s Team as an assistant coach from 2013-16.

Schmidt joins the Bulls after serving the past five seasons with the Thunder as a director of quality control. Previously, he had spent two decades coaching at the collegiate level, including the 2014-15 season at the University of Florida under Billy Donovan as assistant to the head coach. Before Gainesville, Schmidt spent the prior three seasons at Georgia Tech and eight seasons at the University of Dayton. During his tenure at Dayton, Schmidt was named associate head coach prior to the start of the 2009-10 season. During his eight seasons with Dayton, he helped lead the Flyers to 172 victories, two NCAA Tournament appearances and three NIT berths. He moved to Dayton after nine seasons coaching in the SEC, Big East and Big Ten. Schmidt also worked at Seton Hall and Michigan. A native of Stamford, Conn., he began his coaching career in the high school ranks, serving as an assistant coach to Steve Smith at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, for two years (1992-94). During his tenure, Oak Hill won back-to-back national championships. Schmidt comes to Chicago with his wife, Caroline.

Domercant was previously an assistant coach for the Windy City Bulls for two seasons from 2018-20. Originally from the Chicago area, he attended Naperville North High School before playing college basketball at Eastern Illinois from 1999-2003. A professional career that started in Europe and spanned from 2003 to 2015 – including an All-Euroleague team selection in 2011 and three European domestic league championships – culminated in a return to the USA in 2015-16 with the G League’s Idaho Stampede. His transition into coaching started with an assistant position for the Maine Red Claws in 2017-18 before returning to Chicagoland to join Windy City. Domercant and his wife, Alexandra, have two children: Gabrielle and Canon.

Burrell was an assistant coach with the Long Island Nets in 2019-20 and was a player development and video assistant for the Brooklyn Nets in the 2018-19 season. He also coached at IMG Academy in the summer of 2018 and Florida Atlantic University from 2016-18, where he earned a Master of Business Administration in Sports Management. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and played professionally overseas.

Abbott has previous player development experience with the Philadelphia 76ers during the 2019-20 season and the Delaware Blue Coats in 2018-19. The Arizona State University graduate played basketball professionally in the G League and overseas.

Rothschild was previously a player development associate with the 76ers during the 2019-20 season. He played college basketball at Penn, graduating in 2019, and was a two-time captain of the team. The Chicago native played high school basketball for the University of Chicago Laboratory School before prepping for a year at New Hampton.