Bulls sign Goran Dragic

The Chicago Bulls yesterday signed guard Goran Dragić.

A native of Ljubljana, Slovenia, Dragić (6-3, 190) has appeared in 888 career games (530 starts) recording averages of 13.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.0 steals in 27.9 minutes per game while shooting 46.0 percent from the field, 36.2 from three-point range and 76.7 from the free-throw line. Over the course of his 14-year NBA career, Dragić has made stops in Brooklyn (2021-22), Toronto (2021-22), Miami (2015-21), Houston (2011-12) and Phoenix (2008-11, 2012-15).

Dragić has also appeared in 60 playoff games (37 starts) across six postseason appearances, recording averages of 14.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 26.9 minutes while shooting 44.2 percent from the field, 34.6 percent from three-point range and 76.3 percent from the free-throw line – helping lead the Heat to an NBA Finals appearance in 2020 and the Suns to the Western Conference Finals in 2010. During his 2017-18 season with the Heat, Dragić was named an NBA All-Star. He also earned All-NBA Third Team honors, as well as the NBA Most Improved Player Award with the Suns in the 2013-14 campaign. Dragić was originally drafted by the San Antonio Spurs with the 45th overall pick in the second round of the 2008 NBA Draft, and his draft rights were traded to Phoenix.

Prior to the NBA, Dragić competed professionally in Europe for four years (2004-08). He also has a decorated international career playing for Slovenia. In 2017, he led his home country to its first-ever FIBA European Championship at the 2017 EuroBasket. Dragić was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and earned Slovenia’s Sportsman of the Year award.

Dragić will wear No. 7.

Michael Jordan rookie card sells for huge money in auction

The basketball card game is still incredibly strong – but only for really, really rare cards. Via ESPN.com:

A rare Michael Jordan rookie card sold with auction house Christie’s for $1.008 million, including fees and premiums — a record for the 1986-87 Fleer Jordan that set the sports card industry aflame in the wake of “The Last Dance.”

Fleer’s 2006-07 basketball release (Fleer was purchased by Upper Deck in mid-2005) included a 20th anniversary buyback autograph program: 23 numbered 1986-87 Fleer Jordan rookies were rereleased, signed by Jordan, into 2006-07 boxes along with certificates of authenticity.

Bulls and Pistons to play a January 2023 NBA regular season game in Paris, France

The NBA Paris Game 2023 will feature the six-time NBA champion Chicago Bulls and the three-time NBA champion Detroit Pistons playing a regular-season game at the Accor Arena in Paris, France on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023.

The NBA Paris Game 2023 will mark the Bulls’ third game in Paris, having played two preseason games in the French capital in 1997. Chicago currently features five-time NBA All-Star DeMar DeRozan, two-time NBA All-Star and Slam Dunk champion Zach LaVine, and two-time NBA All-Star Nikola Vučević (Montenegro). The Bulls won six NBA championships spanning eight years, becoming only the third franchise in league history to win three consecutive titles twice (1991-93 and 1996-98).

The Pistons will be playing their first game in France, having previously played regular-season games in London (2013) and Mexico City (2019). Detroit currently features 2021 No. 1 overall draft pick Cade Cunningham, 2020 Olympic gold medalist Jerami Grant, 2020 No. 7 overall draft pick Killian Hayes (France), and 2021 NBA All-Rookie Team members Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart. The Pistons won NBA titles in 1989, 1990 and 2004 and made six consecutive Eastern Conference Finals appearances from 2003 to 2008.

The NBA Paris Game 2023 will mark the first NBA game in Europe since 2020 and the league’s 12th game in France since 1991. The NBA Paris Game 2020 – the first regular-season NBA game in Paris – took place Jan. 24, 2020, and featured the Charlotte Hornets and the Milwaukee Bucks.

In addition to The NBA Paris Game 2023, the league and its partners will conduct interactive fan activities, NBA Cares community outreach initiatives and Jr. NBA youth basketball development programming that will bring the NBA experience to fans in the French capital.

The NBA’s presence in France spans more than 35 years. NBA games and programming have aired in France since the 1984-85 season, and the league played its first game in France in 1991. In addition to 12 preseason and regular-season games in France, the league has hosted interactive fan events, appearances by current and former players, NBA Cares community outreach initiatives and, in 2007, Basketball Without Borders, the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program that has seen seven French players drafted into the NBA or signed as free agents, including Hayes.

Opening-night rosters for the 2021-22 NBA season featured 12 French players. During the 2021-22 season, live NBA games and programming air in France on beIN SPORTS and NBA League Pass, the league’s premium live game subscription service, including 48 weekend games in primetime as part of the league’s “NBA Saturdays and NBA Sundays presented by NBA 2K22” primetime initiative. The Jr. NBA “Challenges Benjamin(e)s” program in partnership with the French Basketball Federation (FFBB), now in its 12th year, has reached more than 260,000 boys and girls across the country since the 2009-10 season. In addition to FFBB, the NBA has also collaborated with the Union Nationale du Sport Scolaire (UNSS), a government body that oversees the organization and development of sports activities in schools, to operate the 2022 Jr. NBA FFBB UNSS League for boys and girls in Marseille.

Chicago Bulls Executive Vice President – Basketball Operations Artūras Karnišovas: “It is a great honor to bring Chicago Bulls basketball back to Paris for The NBA Paris Game 2023 – an event that illustrates the league’s commitment to amplifying the national and global impact of basketball. Having played several games in Paris during my career, I know how special this will be for our players, our organization, and our international fanbase. We look forward to representing Chicago overseas and are grateful for the opportunity to do so.”

Detroit Pistons General Manager Troy Weaver: “The Detroit Pistons organization is excited to take on the Chicago Bulls and play our first-ever game in France. Playing a regular-season game in Paris will be a great experience for our players and coaches and we look forward to showcasing Detroit Basketball to an international audience.”

NBA Europe and Middle East Managing Director Ralph Rivera: “The Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons are two of the most historic franchises in the NBA and feature an exciting mix of rising young players and established All-Stars. Welcoming the Bulls and Pistons to Paris for our second regular-season game will be a highlight for fans in France and across Europe, and with Paris hosting the Summer Olympics in 2024, basketball and the NBA are well-positioned for continued growth in France for years to come.”

Deputy Mayor in Charge of Sport for the City of Paris Pierre Rabadan: “The City of Paris is extremely proud to host these two iconic teams in the Chicago Bulls and the Detroit Pistons. This is an exciting match-up that brings to mind the historic showdown between these Eastern Conference franchises. Basketball fans in France have been looking forward to seeing a game of this magnitude again, and I would like to thank our NBA partners for once again choosing Paris for this regular-season game. Paris vibrates with the sport of basketball all year long and this major event will contribute to further developing what is such a dynamic sport, so I have no doubt Parisians will be excited by this news.”

Accor Arena CEO Nicolas Dupeux: “The Accor Arena proudly hosted the first-ever regular-season NBA game in France in 2020, which captivated fans and showcased our world-class facility to a global audience. It is therefore an honor to once again host a regular-season game in 2023, which will provide fans with a great show of sportsmanship and entertainment as boldness and excellence continue to guide our programming.”

Bulls guard Zach LaVine undergoes knee surgery

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine underwent left knee arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday May 24th at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles.

Per the Chicago Tribune, “the left knee was already a concern for LaVine, who tore his ACL in 2017. He spent the week before this season’s All-Star break in Los Angeles to receive cortisone and platelet-rich plasma injections, missing two games. LaVine continued to miss games throughout the final third of the regular season, struggling with pain and discomfort during games and on the bench.

And per the Bulls, LaVine is expected to make a full recovery.

Bulls forward Patrick Williams has big defensive role against Bucks in playoffs

Young Patrick Williams has a big role on the Chicago Bulls as they face the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs. Via the Chicago Tribune:

Patrick Williams is well aware that guarding two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is a difficult task.

Williams is seven years younger, four inches shorter, 30 pounds lighter, and four inches shorter than Milwaukee Bucks star Nikola Mirotic. He has never participated in the NBA playoffs and missed the entire regular season with the Chicago Bulls due to a wrist injury.

But the Bulls forward can not let uncertainty enter in if he wants to slow down one of the league’s top players.

“I feel like a lot of people in this league are scared or nervous to guard guys like that,” Williams said Wednesday ahead of Game 2. “Obviously (Antetokounmpo) is good. He’s a two-time MVP. But he puts his pants on the same way I do. He is good, but he’s not God.”

Despite his youth, Williams is a perfect match for Antetokounmpo’s defense. Williams is long enough to hinder Antetokounmpo’s shot around the rim while also being quick enough to disrupt his straight-line drives to the rim. [But] no one expected to slow Antetokounmpo down in a one-on-one matchup.

Game 2 of the series is tonight in Milwaukee at 9:30 PM ET on TNT TV.

Bulls guard Lonzo Ball will not play again this season

Via the Chicago Sun-Times:

The Bulls officially ruled point guard Lonzo Ball out for the remainder of the season on Wednesday morning, including any sort of hope for the playoffs, focusing on getting his left knee right for the 2022-23 season.

The Sun-Times reported on Tuesday that this news was coming for Ball, after he was experiencing pain in the knee during a morning rehab workout.

And per ESPN.com, “Ball, who has not played since Jan. 14, had surgery on his left knee on Jan. 28 to repair a slight meniscus tear. The team said he is still experiencing pain “with high-level physical activity.”

Chicago Bulls sign Tristan Thompson, waive Alfonzo McKinnie

The Chicago Bulls have signed veteran big man Tristan Thompson.

Also today, the team released forward Alfonzo McKinnie.

In his eleventh season in the NBA, Thompson (6-9, 254 pounds) owns career averages of 9.1 ppg (.518 from the field), 8.5 rpg (3.3 orpg) and 1.0 apg in 27.1 mpg. For his career, he has played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers. This season, he has appeared in 34 games (three starts) with the Kings and Pacers, and has tallied 6.3 ppg and 5.3 rpg (2.3 orpg) in 15.3 mpg.

Thompson’s teams have also made five trips to the NBA Playoffs, including four consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals from 2015-18. In postseason play, he has played in 83 playoff games (70 starts) and posted 7.8 ppg (.566 from the field) and 8.6 rpg (3.8 orpg) in 29.6 mpg.

McKinnie saw action in 17 games (three starts) with Chicago, and averaged 3.5 ppg and 1.9 rpg in 12.1 mpg.

Health update on Bulls guard Zach LaVine

Here’s the Chicago Tribune with the latest on star Bulls scoring guard Zach LaVine:

The short-handed Chicago Bulls could lose yet another key player ahead of the All-Star break after Zach LaVine will reportedly fly to Los Angeles to receive special treatment on his left knee, according to ESPN.

LaVine sat out Saturday’s 106-101 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder due to an aggravation in his left knee. The guard previously played two games through back spasms before finally sitting out the next two games.

Bulls guard Lonzo Ball reportedly may need knee surgery

The Bulls are having a fantastic season, but they could soon face a temporary setback. Via the ESPN.com:

Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball may need arthroscopic surgery on his left knee for a meniscus tear, and a decision on the procedure is expected to come this week, sources told ESPN on Thursday.

The scope would sideline Ball for four to six weeks, sources said.

The Bulls and Ball’s agent — Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul — are discussing options with doctors, but the procedure looms if a recent change in nonsurgical treatment won’t allow Ball to play through what’s described as a slight meniscus tear, sources said.

The Bulls are 28-15 this season, which is the best record in the Eastern conference.

Their leading scorers so far in 2021-22 are DeMar DeRozan at 25.7 ppg, Zach LaVine at 24.9 ppg, and Nikola Vucevic at 16.3 ppg.

Ball this season is averaging 13.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg and 5.1 apg.

Chicago Bulls sign Ersan Ilyasova and Mac McClung to 10-day contracts

The Chicago Bulls have signed forward Ersan Ilyasova and guard Mac McClung to 10-day contracts pursuant to the NBA’s COVID-related hardship allowance.

Ilyasova (6-9, 235) is a 13-year NBA veteran with stops in Milwaukee, Detroit, Orlando, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Utah. Drafted 36th overall by the Bucks in 2005, he made his NBA debut in the 2006-07 season, and then played two seasons overseas in 2007-08 and 2008-09 before coming back to the NBA in 2009-10. He owns career NBA averages of 10.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 23.0 minutes per game over 825 games (424 starts). Ilyasova has shot .443 from the field in his career, as well as .367 from three and .777 from the free throw line.

Most recently with the Jazz in 2020-21, he averaged 3.8 points through 17 games. Ilyasova played a career-high 82 games in 2016-17 as he moved between the Thunder, 76ers and Hawks. He also posted a near career-high 13.1 points per game that season. His career high season in scoring came in 2012-13 as a member of the Bucks with 13.2 points per game. Ilyasova has eight season of postseason experience, including a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals with Milwaukee in 2019. He has averaged 7.7 points and 5.5 rebounds over 52 playoff games (25 starts). Ilyasova was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week on March 11, 2012, and he has been top-5 in the NBA in 3-point percentage two times: 2011-12 (2nd, .455) and 2012-13 (4th, .444).

McClung (6-2, 185) joins the Bulls from the South Bay Lakers of the NBA G League, where he has started all 13 games in which he’s played this season, averaging 19.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.15 steals per game. After going undrafted in 2021, he joined the L.A. Lakers’ Summer League squad and played in five games during the Las Vegas tournament with averages of 4.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. McClung then played in three games with the Lakers in the 2021 preseason, averaging 1.3 points per game, before being waived on Oct. 13.

McClung played his first two years at the collegiate level with Georgetown before transferring to Texas Tech ahead of the 2020-21 season, where he posted averages of 15.5 points and 2.1 assists over 29 games (29 starts) and was named an AP All-American Honorable Mention.

Ilyasova will wear number 77 and McClung will wear number 00.