2014 NBA Prospects: Late First/Second Round

Well Bulls Fans, sorry I was not able to hit every prospect I wanted to cover near our current range.  However, I felt I covered as many as possible and want to highlight a few I was not able to get to along with some second round prospects.  One of my next articles will also highlight my suggestions.  A lot can change as honestly I hope we can get a superstar!

1)  Jerami Grant (SF/PF – Syracuse – 6’8, 215 lbs, Sophomore) -  A very good athlete that plays with a high motor.  Limited offensive game right now as he does not have the perimeter jumper nor the driving ability to take small forwards.  Against power forwards, Grant can develop enough of a driving game, hustle plays, and somewhat of a mid-range jumper, he could be serviceable. 

Defense is his calling card as he can cause fits for opposing small forwards and with bulk, guard power forwards from time to time.  To me, his game is Luc Mbah-Moute with a chance for a better mid-range jumper.  At this point, I would rather the Bulls draft a more dynamic playmaker as we already have several offensively challenged defenders.

2)  C.J. Wilcox (SG, 6’5, 200 lbs., Washington, Senior) – One of my favorite players predicted to go late first round/early second.  Wilcox’s calling card is his shooting as he shot near 40% from three on over 7 attempts a game.  He can also shoot from anywhere off the floor and can get shots off picks really well. 

While Wilcox is a very good shooter, he is nothing else to write home about.  Essentially, he is a solid athlete that has potential to be a floor spacer without hurting you on the floor defensively.  If Wilcox could muster some pump fakes and dribble off the fakes when opponents coming closing out on him to quickly, he could be deadly.

3)  Cleanthony Early (SF, 6’7, 210 lbs., Wichita State, Senior) – Good athlete with solid mismatch potential offensively.  Early is somewhat of a tweener at the next level.  While a good athlete, Early played power forward at the college level and can be beat easily by small forwards.  Offensively, Early can post up against smaller opponents or shoot the 3 solidly. 

The issues are whether he is going to be good enough at anything to really play at the next level?  Will he be able to guard small-forwards?   Will his outside shot improve enough and have more arc on it?  Will he be able to post up bigger small-forwards?  With a questionable basketball IQ, I would rather pick other players, even if we traded back into late first-round.

4)  Jabari Brown (SG, 6’4, 205 lbs., Missouri, Junior) – One of my favorite prospects for late first to mid second round.  Brown while slightly undersized can defend quality shooting guards due to his build and quick reflexes.   Offensively, Brown is known as a shooter as he shot 41% from three on near 6 attempts a game. 

Brown improved his game offensively by showing his ability to take players off the dribble to get to the rack or shoot mid-range jumpers.  That said, he is somewhat of a black-hole once dribbling the ball and might struggle to score in the paint against taller defenders.  However, if Brown can accept a role as a 3-and-D guy with occasional scoring, he could be a steal when he is picked.

5)  Jordan Clarkson (PG/SG, 6’4, 185 lbs., Missouri, Junior) – Clarkson is an exciting talent that is a classic combo guard with some point-guard talent.  At near 6’5, Clarkson can score from three, create by using variety of dribbles such as euro step, push off, or crossover dribbles, can finish from mid-range, and has some floaters.  He can also create for others when opportunity is available. 

My concern for Clarkson is whether he is particularly great at any one skill and does he have the basketball IQ to contribute regularly?   While a good athlete, Clarkson did struggle to blow by people, struggled with assist/turnover rates, struggled defensively, and is not a great shooter.  A late first-round pick, Clarkson will either do really well or be a bust if he cannot develop his game further.  I think he is an intriguing talent, but he must improve his floor game for what he is.

2nd round prospects

Justin Jackson (SF/PF, Cincinatti, 6’9, 220 lbs., Senior) – While this kid is very raw offensively and can make some questionable basketball decisions, he is pure energy at 6’9 and can guard both small-forwards and power-forwards.  At 6’9, extremely quick with a great vertical, Jackson just gets after it defensively averaging near 3 blocks a game, near 2 steals a game, and over 7 rebounds a game. 

Combine this with a 7’1 wing-span, and I feel you have the makings of a dynamic defensive player at the next level.   If drafted in late second round, Jackson has the chance to make an impact off the bench as a hustle guy that can provide toughness.

Russ Smith (Louisville, 6’1, 165 lbs., PG, Senior) – One of my favorite players in the second round if he can get up to near 170 pounds.  While slightly undersized as a point guard with more of a shooting guard game, Smith improved much this year in decision-making skills. 

The reason I love Smith is that he really gets after it defensively, is extremely fast, and is aggressive at all times offensively.  While he can be over-aggressive and is more of a scorer off the bench, I feel he can be an energy plug for a team such as the Bulls.   I feel his speed is elite and while he is a streaky shooter, he can shoot.

Deonte Burton (PG, 6’1, 190 lbs., Nevada, Senior) – Like Russ Smith, Burton is not a natural point guard, but is a very athletic scoring guard that would suit well off the bench.  Burton is an athletic freak that can get into the lane at will and is strong enough to finish. 

The issues with Burton are questionable decision making, perimeter shooting (though not broke), and running a team.  If being asked to be a scorer off the bench only, Burton would be a great addition for many teams picking in the second round as he is very aggressive, very athletic, and has a great first step.  he could be a steal if developed by right team.

Joe Harris (SF, 6’6, 215 lbs., Virginia, Senior) – This is one of those guys that the Spurs would pick and develop.  While most people are probably not high on him, I can envision this kid having a game similar to Matt Harpring or Andres Nocioni.  At 6’6 and an average athlete, Harris is a very hard-working and spirited player. 

While he will never be particularly great at anything, Harris is a very good shooter at 40% from three, plays hard, is tough, and is a very smart player.  I just have a gut feeling if picked by the right team and expected to be a role player, he will provide that off the bench.  The question is will he be good enough shooter and not a liability at the other end?  He is not a stiff, but he is not a J.J. Reddick type shooter.  He has just enough ability to play in this league.

Spencer Dinwiddie (SG, 6’6, 205, Colorado, Junior) – Coming off a torn ACL, will Dinwiddie be ready to play by season’s start.  While Dinwiddie is not particularly great at anything, he is very steady at many tasks.  At 6’6, Dinwiddie was Colorado’s starting point guard this year and improved his game until his torn ACL in early January. 

Dinwiddie handles the ball really well for a 6’6 guard and can pass or create off the bounce in solid dosages.  While not a blazing fast guard, he does possess enough versatility and average athleticism to create off pick-and-rolls and either shoot from mid-range, three, or create for others.

The questions for Dinwiddie are whether his well rounded game is good enough to make an impact at the next level.  Dinwiddie, while a steady player, often strayed away from contact in the past and has somewhat of a lean frame.  While an improved shooter, it is hard to judge if his 41% from three will carry over to the next level.  

Defensively, while solid, he could be screened off easily against other two guards and is not quick enough to guard point guards.  I think he could be a solid player, but others may be available that I would want to pick ahead.

Jordan Bachynski (C, 7’2, 255 lbs., Arizona State, Senior) – Bachynski’s greatest strengths for the next level are providing size and shot blocking.  He averaged 4 blocks a game and is a heady player.  While not an offensive threat, he can score occasionally on the low block with a jump hook, but I do not see that happening much in the future.  While I don’t think Bachynski will ever do much, I do think he can be a serviceable space eater that can block shots a few shots.

Kendall Williams (PG, 6’4, 185 lbs., New Mexico, Senior) – Like Dinwiddie, solid at many facets and is a tall point guard.   Williams is a solid athlete, makes good decisions (averaging near five assists a game), and shot near 40% from the college three.  While he is solid across the board, does he do anything really well?  While he has somewhat of a three ball, it is very inconsistent.  While he can pass, he does not have blow by speed to set up teammates regularly.  I think he can be solid at the next level and is an intriguing talent for late second round or undrafted free agent.

Jordan McRae (SG, 6’5, 180 lbs., Tennessee, Senior) – Rail thin shooting guard that is a solid shooter from deep, can take the ball off the bounce occasionally, and is a savvy player.   McRae is a solid athlete for the shooting guard position.  He is a solid passer and possesses a great wing-span at around 7’0.  The question is can he do anything well and is he strong enough to play at the next level.  At his weight and only shooting 35% from three, I have concerns on spending a 2nd round pick when we are trying to gain quick assets right now, but think down the road he can be useful.

Bryce Cotton – (PG, 6’0, 165 lbs., Providence, Senior) – While nothing really stands out about Cotton, he is very quick, is a good shooter, and can pass the ball.  He is pretty small and therefore, I think will struggle getting shots off in the paint or playing defensively.  I think he would be someone to keep an eye on as an undrafted free agent.

Scottie Wilbekin (PG, 6’3, 170 lbs., Florida, Senior) – This cat is an aggressive player and gets after it.  I like him compared to many of the other solid point guards that are similar to him such as Kendall Williams because he plays hard all the time.  The undisputed leader for the mostly ranked #1 Florida last year, Wilbekin is solid at everything and a very good defensive player. 

While he is not a natural point guard, Wilbekin is a solid shooter from three, can get by opponents with a solid first step, can hit mid-range jumpers, and hits floaters all over.  There is nothing that screams out about him, but he is a smart player, plays hard, plays good defense, and can hit big shots.  I think he is a steal for a late second round pick.

Andre Dawkins (SG, 6’5, 205 lbs., Duke, Senior) – He came back to Duke after sitting out a year.  Point blank, the Bulls keep mentioning they need shooters and Dawkins fulfills that role perfectly.  While he is not a very good defender and can’t do anything, but shoot, he is an elite shooter and is an average athlete.   Add this to the fact that GarPax seems to like Dukies and we might be running short of them soon, and I can see Dawkins being a good fit for the second round.

Cameron Bairstow (PF/C, 6’10, 255 lbs., New Mexico, Senior) – Mainly, Bairstow is intriguing for late second round because he can shoot from mid-range and is crafty around the rim.  With quite a bit of bulk compared to today’s NBA game, Bairstow could do a little damage down-low.  Stating this, Bairstow is also below average athletically, below average defensively, and is likely a bit-role player if he makes it.  At his best, he could be a Luis Scola type.  I think he will probably go undrafted, but an intriguing prospect.

Xavier Thames (PG, 6’4, 185 lbs, San Diego State, Senior) – Thames is a hidden talent to me.  While he will never be a natural creator offensively nor a great scorer, he is a very heady player that can get into the lane with some floaters, hit mid-range jumpers, has a decent, though flat, outside shot, and plays good defense.  He does many little things and I think can be a solid backup in the league if he can hone his shot more from the perimeter and focus on defense.  Very heady player.

Stay away from

Johnny O’ Bryant - (PF, 6’9, 260 lbs., LSU, Junior) – This kid will either make it in the league and provide a nice role or be out of the league instantly.  Normally, for a second rounder, he is worth the pick.  O’ Bryant possesses a nice offensive game in that he is able to post up and hit a fade-away or shoot a mid-range jumper. 

The problem for me is that he is a black-hole with the ball, makes low basketball IQ decisions, does not always play hard, is not very good defensively, and is not consistent.  While he has some offensive skills, he settles way too often for a jumper at his size.  If playing for a basketball coach that demands basketball precision such as Coach Thibs, I don’t see the style of play meshing very well.

Isaiah Austin – (C, 7’1, 220 lbs., Baylor, Sophomore) – This player has a ton of skill and is semi-athletic.  He can shoot the three, pass, and is a tremendous shot-blocker.  My concerns are will he ever be able to add weight to his frame as he gets bullied around by college players?   Also, at 7’1, he only averaged over 5 rebounds per game.  I just don’t see Austin making a contribution for a few years at the least.

Glenn Robinson -  (SF, 6’7, 210 lbs., Michigan, Sophomore) – This kid has a lot of talent and is one of the top 5-10 athletes in the draft.  He shows some potential in that he has a solid mid-range game, he can play good defense, can put the ball on the floor a tad, and can shoot on occasion from college three. 

The issue for me with Robinson is that he is not consistent at any particular skill nor does he go all out for a player that should be known defensively.   Playing power forward this year, he averaged less than 5 rebounds a game.   Offensively, while there are some skills there, he is not particularly average at any particular one.  Therefore, until he finds his niche, I see Robinson struggling at the next level.  The talent is there, but can he hone the skills?

International Prospects

I don’t watch enough footage of International Players to give a good enough opinion on many prospects.  However, with the possibilities of the Bulls wanting to stash a player, two that have caught my eyes might be late first round picks or early second round picks. This is on limited date and watching however.

1)  Bogdan Bogdanovic (SG, 6’6, 205 lbs., 21yrs.old)  - Bogdanovic is intriguing to me because he has performed at the highest level and improved as a good combo guard prospect at 6’6.  He is an above average athlete, has a good wing-span at 6’11, is an average 3 point shooter, and can slash a little.  This year at times, Bogdanovic handled point guard duties and while a natural point guard, he can handle the ball and create a little for himself and others.  

He is also a hard-nosed player which is a Bulls staple.  He does have weaknesses though in that while he is a solid athlete, he sometimes does not always play 100% all the time.  While he is skilled at many aspects, he is never going to blow someone away either.  Either way, if we have a late first/early 2nd, I’m intrigued by his potential and especially someone that can handle the ball at the shooting guard position.  One of my favorite players outside of maybe 10-15 players.

Walter Tavares (C, 7’3, 270 lbs., 21 yrs. old)  - Only playing the game for a few years, Tavares shows nice potential defensively with his shot-blocking ability and rebounding.  While not a very coordinated athlete, he plays hard and does hustle all over the place.  Offensively, right now he does not really have many skills. 

With his size and ability to pick up the game quickly, Tavares could be a very nice player in a couple of years if he works on his body and also just honing his defensive skills at NBA speed.  I think Coach Thibs could mold him if we somehow got him in late first.  He could only be a 20 minute type player, but make an impact in those 20 minutes.


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  • This blog software/format sure picks some times to make it look like it's lost your comment. I hope it went through. If not - oh well.

  • As a Bearcat, I was glad to see Justin Jackson on your list. Would you mind sharing your thoughts on Sean Kilpatrick?

  • In reply to Tyler Soze:

    My concern with Kilpatrick is can he do anything good enough to make it in the NBA? He is a tough player, can shoot okay but not great, can handle the ball some but will not be able to bully opponents like in college. If he can hone one offensive skill, then I think he can be good. If not, he is just a solid prospect in a very deep draft. He might be better than some prospects picked ahead of him, but due to NBA teams wanting to take chances on overseas stash and dash players to see if they ever really develop (since second round and no formal committment to money slot needed), I don't see Kilpatrick having enough of an elite skill to be drafted over them.

  • I really like the idea of getting Burton in the second round. I think he could have a Nate Robinson type of impact on the game. Trouble is, I see no way he is there at 48. Bogdanovic is a guy that has really intrigued me over the last few months. Cristiano Felicio is a guy that DraftExpress have the Bulls drafting at 48 and may be a nice stash player to develop.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    Honestly if the Bulls keep a first round pick this year, most likely they are drafting a stash player.

  • Kevin, how do you think the Embiid injury will change the draft? I think that if Cleveland wants Exum (who they are bringing in for a workout) they should make the trade with Philly.

  • Well apparently my entire post was lost. Woo-hoo!

    Annyyway.. as usual really appreciate all the reviews from Kevin.
    At this point in the process if you follow the draft you are probably locking in on your targets. One of my "finalists" so to speak is James Young. At first I thought Kevin didn't sound that high on Young, but then his review was very nice. It's cool when somebody your high on doesn't get bagged by someone else you respect. I hope I didn't do that with Elfrid Payton who Kevin obviously likes. While he would not be one of my top choices I certainly understand his appeal. I hope my response was cool and not harsh/disrespectful.

    As for my top pick at 16(barring Hood, Harris, or Stauskas falling) Cleanthony Early, I would gather he's not somebody of interest to Kevin judging from his remarks. Which is cool. When you think about it, picking draft prospects is somewhat of a crap shoot let's face it. Also, it's a very subjective "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" enterprise to be sure. So really while there are some obvious rejects scouts and fans disparage say a Tony Snell for example, there's always room to disagree sometimes even on guys you really like.

    OK so that said, why in thee hell, Kevin, did you bag on my man Early?? I'm kidding. Seriously you're supposed to laugh. Let me just say this about Early as for why I like him. 1) While DraftExpress's Mike Schmitz did take his long range shooting to ask aka "flat shot" he also noted the following: Early has the sixth highest TS(true shooting percentage) at 63% of the top 100 prospects. Also, 23% of his offense comes from spot ups which is a good volume compared to other wings. If you watch his mid range shooting and even some of his three point shots they do IMO have arc. Is Cleanthony inconsistent as a shooter(like many prospects) Yes. However, when you consider his 84% free throw shooting and 37%plus three point shooting on excellent volume 5 attempts per game those numbers don't lie. Not to mention in the NCAA tournament in the two final games(where they should have beaten Kentucky but for lane driving flops WSU's coaches did not adjust to) Cleanthony Early shot 37% and 66% respectively on high volume three point attempts. Even DraftExpress/Scmitz points to his mid range game as a plus not a negative.

    2) Early's excellent wing span, nearly 6'11", fits with scouts assessment that "his post game should translate" to the NBA level. And while not rated as a good defender which so many prospects come to the pros as not, Early does do well in transition D blocking shots. Plus he gets to the line one of the top per 40 on DraftExpress. Meanwhile NBADraft.net, who personally I value highly when looked at as in historically accurate, rates Early not as an exceptional shooter, but outstanding. Combine this with his lethal coast to coast transition and outstanding speed and athleticism and I don't think that's a guy you see very often. As for his "basketball I.Q." it's true his passing has been sub par along with his awareness overall steals and shot blocking. Though I think some of this may be magnified by a perceived mid major podunk factor even though they obviously did well come tourney time vs the big boys.

    Bottom line: I don't expect to change Kevin or anyone else's mind on who they like, but in the final analysis, what puts this kid over the top in my book is, not only is he a big time winner, his personality in competitiveness and just that shining presence/charisma is outstanding for my subjective outlook anyway. So I'm sticking with Cleanthony Early at 16, and I think he's going to be an exciting, , productive, dynamic as in part of a winning situation, player.

    Of course let's face it, even though he's risen all the way up to No. 18 on NBADraft.net's board, the odds of the Bulls liking the same player I do credentialed or not is not great. So it's likely a moot point anyway. Maybe an Adreian Payne, maybe a James Young, possibly a Cleanthony Early, but if not, I'll still enjoy seeing how their NBA careers unfold ala Reggie Jackson, Klay Thompson etc. i.e guys I liked. By the way I missed on Steph Curry and was unsure about Paul George - somebody shoot me!

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Early is truly one of those players people will love/hate. I see the talent and I see the fire. I see his skills, but I also see someone that I wonder if he will be able to post up NBA small-forwards, shoot against small-forwards, or guard power forwards/small forwards. I see a guy that is skilled, but I see someone that makes questionable decisions too. The guy needs to go somewhere that will develop him. Thibs is a very good coach, but he does not do well with questionable basketball IQ. Early shows questionable IQ sometimes and will be a rookie - which is my biggest concern for this team. I would like him in last year's draft. This year, I don't see it with our current picks.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Also, always appreciate your input and you do always bring up good points.

  • Side note: funny how Doug McDermott has fallen all the way to the Bulls at 16 on NBADraft.net's board. Probably indicates what some have said that he got beat up in team workouts. I wonder who would like him if available? If he were three inches taller he'd probably either the No.1 pick or top three. One thing is his hands width wise are huge which helps maybe his upside maneuvering in the half court NBA.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I'm sure if keeping pick, GarPax would be elated with McDermott!

  • for what it is worth, on the Melo front from a/the Knicks blog.


    A lot of the same old stuff here, except that it sounds like Anthony has more or less told the Knicks that he is gone, and that he wants the Knicks to make something work with either the Bulls or Rockets.

    Basically, he is calling the Bulls the leader in the clubhouse unless Houston can offer something other than Asik and Lin. Despite the money issues($30 million in cash, plus luxury taxes on $16.8 million) that would still seem like a better offer than boozer and just one of our picks, which he suggests would get it done for NY.

    If that is the case, that is the biggest no-brainer in the history of the world. This is also an indication that Melo still wants his money, i.e. max money. Are the Bulls willing to pay Melo $96 million over the next 4 years? That could get pretty ugly in the end, as well as taking us out of any Durrant sweepstakes in 2016. But you pretty much have to take the shot if it is available, even if you had to give up both picks.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Honestly, any superstar you can land, it is worth the chance. Melo even if he declines can be good for another couple of years here. I would love Durant, but that is a very big risk to take. I just would not trade our picks until after July 1 knowing what we are doing!

  • Here is an interesting ceiling vs floor comparison for most of the top prospects.


    Even though it is just one mans opinion for those of us who don't watch college ball but have been long time NBA fans it does give you a nice perspective on each player.

    Gary Harris, ceiling is Joe Dumars, his floor is Randy Foye.

    Rodney Hood, ceiling is Trevor Ariza, his floor is Calbert Cheaney.

    Adrien Payne, ceiling is Rasheed Wallace, his floor is Channing Frye.

    TJ Warren, ceiling is Paul Pierce, his floor is Michael Beasley.

    Elfrid Payton, ceiling is Rajon Rondo, his floor is Darren Collison.

    Zack LaVine, ceiling is Gerald Green, his floor is Wesley Johnson.

    Dario Saric, ceiling is Detlef Schrempf, his floor is Omri Caspi.

    Cleanthony Early, ceiling is Cliff Robinson, his floor is Al Thornton.

    Tyler Ennis, ceiling is Andre Miller, floor is DJ Augustin.

    Sabazz Napier, ceiling is Chauncey Billups, floor is Ramon Sessions.

    Nick Stauskis, ceiling is Klay Thompson, floor is JJ Redick.

    Doug McDermott, ceiling is Wally Sczerbiak, floor is Matt Bonner.

    James Young, ceiling is Kerry Kittles, floor is Brandon Rush.

    Kyle Anderson, ceiling is Hedu Turkoglu, floor is luke Walton.

    PJ Hairston, ceiling is John Salmons, floor is Jodie Meeks.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I don't think many of those are good comparisons - just to be honest.

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    I certainly don't agree with all of them, but like I said, it is just one man's opinion. Don't know if it's your thing, but if you have the time, it would be interesting to see your ceiling vs floor comparison on the players that you have reviewed.

  • Zack Lowe(Grantland) calls the Bulls the best landing spot for Lebron.

    "But let’s assume LeBron opts out and considers some suitors who can contend immediately and offer a reasonable salary without any complex cap machinations. Any fits?"

    #1, Chicago Bulls
    "The Bulls could open up about $13 million of cap room if they use the amnesty provision on Carlos Boozer, though the precise figure would depend on what Chicago does with its two first-round picks, and whether they want to bring Nikola Mirotic over from Europe. They could crack open $5 million more by finding a landing spot for Mike Dunleavy and using one of their two first-rounders on an international draft-and-stash guy. That gets them in range.

    That is exactly what Chicago would do in order to sign Carmelo Anthony in straight free agency, and if you’re chasing Anthony, you might as well at least call LeBron. A core of Derrick Rose, LeBron, Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler, and Taj Gibson would be an overwhelming favorite to get out of the Eastern Conference. If LeBron cared only about winning, this is a better option than Miami.

    And not to restate the obvious, but the East-West split is huge. If your no. 1 goal is to win a title, you should absolutely get yourself into the NBA’s minor league. Critics want to discredit the Heat’s “runner-up” status by pointing out they merely had to prance through the East, and there’s some validity to that. But the Big Three didn’t choose Miami by accident.

    The fit would also be appealing. James can share ballhandling duties with Rose, which would allow Rose to ease back into stardom after two lost seasons. Noah is a skilled high-post passer, meaning LeBron could own the low block when optimal. Working from there would be easier if the Bulls could separate the Noah-Gibson duo a bit; they’ve rarely played small over the past two seasons, but LeBron is the ultimate enabler of lineup flexibility. He’s an elite defender when motivated, and he could adapt to Tom Thibodeau’s conservative scheme — a system that would be a bit kinder to his legs as he ages.

    Winning isn’t the only factor, of course. There is some legitimate bad blood between Chicago and Miami, and joining a Central Division team would mean slamming another nut-shot into the city of Cleveland.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I don't want want to waste time of Lebron who is not coming here. He would just string us along.

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    I totally agree, but if he opts out, wouldn't you rather have him than Anthony? If the answer is yes, you at least have to make an offer, take it or leave it, (IRP) immediate response please.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I see what your answer is, but I feel like it could sway making Melo a number 1 priority and we would for sure lose a chance at Melo too. James is one of the best players of all time, but I really question how well he would win if paired with Rose/Noah/Taj. He is a ball-dominant player and that would make Rose less effective. At least Melo is a shooter all over.

  • Well the latest now daily mock from NBADraft.net has dropped my guys Cleanthony Early and James Young into the mid to late 20's. Payne remains at 19 and C.J. Wilcox a respectable 23. We'll see where these guys are at after the workout feedback (over)reaction subsides. Will Stauskas remain at his lower No. 13 and Marcus Smart who supposedly killed it in workouts all the way back to No.4. Hmm?

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Interesting question. There are a lot of intriguing options this year. Hope GarPax can do it right.

  • Thoughts on the Melo front from the WSJ. The most interesting tidbit is that Anthony sought out several ex Chicago wing players to ask about playing for Thibs. Of course that could be a bad thing just as easily as it could be a good sign.

    Meanwhile, the Chicago Bulls have emerged as the Knicks' biggest threat in this process. Every roster move Chicago has made since February, from the cap-clearing trade of Luol Deng to the seemingly random end-of-season signings of three journeymen, was completed with Anthony in mind. Like the Knicks, the Bulls lack maximum salary-cap space, but possess considerable assets that would help meet Anthony's salary demands via a sign-and-trade deal.

    The Bulls' pitch would be simple: Their defense is so good that it would allow the seven-time All-Star to focus on being what the Bulls desperately lack—a player who can create his own shot and score at will.

    Some have speculated that Anthony would be reluctant to play in Chicago alongside former MVP Derrick Rose. But the Bulls would immediately become a legitimate contender to dethrone Miami in the Eastern Conference with the addition of Anthony, who averaged 27.4 points and a career-best 8.1 rebounds a game this season, even if Rose continues to struggle with knee injuries.

    According to a league source, Anthony is intrigued by the idea of playing for Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. During the season, Anthony sought out multiple ex-Chicago wing players—separate from the widely reported conversations he had with Bulls center Joakim Noah, the NBA's reigning Defensive Player of the Year—about Thibodeau, according to the source.

    It still remains to be seen how far Houston—which is reportedly involved in the trade-for-Kevin-Love sweepstakes—or Miami might go to convince Anthony to join their teams. But based on the steps that Chicago has taken, as well as the quiet steps Anthony has taken to brush up on Thibodeau, there's a very real chance that the Knicks will lose their star.

    And if Anthony opts out, the likelihood of him leaving town moves from a mere possibility to an expectation, largely because there would be no way for the Knicks to maintain the kind of flexibility they want and need going into next summer.

    Write to Chris Herring at chris.herring@wsj.com

  • Bulls are pursuing Arron Afflalo in trade, according to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski.


  • In reply to Edward:

    I'm speculating on Bulls salary matching a trade for Afflalo's $7,500,000 salary:

    - Dunleavy,
    - two of the non-guaranteed trio of Brewer, James, Amundsen.
    - a player Bulls select for Orlando with a 1st round draft pick. (Must execute trade after the player has been drafted as the pick itself has no salary value in trade.)

    This salary match would work, but would add approximately $1,000,000 in salary to Bulls. Therefore the trade may need to be made on or after July 1 or else Bulls could incur luxury tax for the 2013-14 season which ends June 30.

    Another option could be increasing the salary in trade to Orlando by using all 3 non-guaranteeds in trade or an additional player, though not sure Bulls would want to do this.

    Personally, I like the idea of adding Afflalo.

  • Doing actual calculations reveals Bulls can salary match an Afflalo trade using only one of the non-guaranteeds (Mike James).

    - Dunleavy salary $3,326,235.
    - Player taken with 19th pick $1,266,000 rookie scale.
    - Mike James non-guaranteed salary $1,448,490 (Brewer and Amundson are $1,310,286 each).

    TOTAL Salary Bulls send to Orlando is $6,040,725
    $6,040,725 X 125% + $100,000 = $7,650,906
    This more than matches Afflalo's $7,500,000 salary so the trade works.

    Since this trade uses only 1 of the non-guaranteeds, I like it even more! Dunleavy and the 19th for Afflalo? All day, everyday!

    Where does this leave the pursuit of Carmelo Anthony? Sign and Trade! Boozer and the two remaining non-guaranteeds of Brewer and Amundson total $19,420,572 in salary.
    $19,420,572 X 125% + $100,000 = $24,375,715
    That allows Bulls more than enough to S&T Melo, even to a Max contract. It's just a question of draft picks and/or players to compensate Knicks.

    IMO, Afflalo at SG would make Carmelo even more interested in signing with Bulls. Starters: Rose, Afflalo, Melo, Taj, Noah.

    Additionally, by doing two trades (Afflalo and Melo) and not going under the salary cap, Bulls would retain the MLE to use on Nikola Mirotic THIS SEASON.

  • Afflalo rumors seem to have legs reported by multiple outlets/reporters all with same basic facts/scenario.

    If the Bulls can convert the No.19 pick and Dunleavy(or Jimmy Butler) into Afflalo I'll take it. If they picked up Afflalo with No.19 and used No.16 on Young, Early, or Payne that would be tremendous in my book.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I believe Bulls must send at least $5,920,000 in salary to Orlando to salary match Afflalo’s $7,500,000 salary for 2014-15. Here’s the math:
    $5,920,000 X 125% + $100,000 = $7,500,000 exactly.

    So we can mix-and-match the various pieces Bulls have available to arrive at a minimum of $5,920,000. All these salary numbers are for the 2014-15 season.
    - Player taken with 19th pick $1,266,000 (100% rookie scale)
    - Player taken with 16th pick $1,468,900 (100% rookie scale)
    - Dunleavy $3,326,235
    - Jimmy Butler $2,008,748
    - Snell $1,472,400
    - Mike James $1,448,490
    - Brewer and/or Amundson $1,310,286 each

    For dual reasons of Bulls avoiding luxury tax for 2013-14 and for the non-guaranteed salaries of James, Brewer, Amundson to become effective to use in trade, I believe this trade can only take place on or after July 1, which is the beginning of the 2014-15 season. So we fans must be patient...

    If Bulls do this trade they finally fill the starting SG hole that has existed since 1998 and, imo, Bulls become far more attractive to Melo. It then falls on Melo to force a S&T to the Bulls centered on Boozer’s salary and draft picks, plus whatever players not named Taj Gibson or Nikola Mirotic. Possible players to Knicks include Jimmy Butler, Tony Snell.

    If Knicks refuse the trade, as Road Warrior said, Bulls can keep the player they draft with 16th pick, Afflalo, and sign Mirotic. Signing Mirotic with the MLE means Boozer would stay on the roster to potentially use at the February trade deadline. Alternatively, Boozer could be amnestied this July and Mirotic could be signed with salary cap space instead of the MLE.

    If Mirotic refuses to sign for the MLE this season due to his buyout penalty in Europe, I would consider trading his rights to the Knicks for Melo. Perhaps this is a way to encourage Mirotic to sign with Bulls now for the MLE.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Totally agree with everything you said, except for one small thing at the end. After being patient for 3 years already, I doubt that the Bulls would dump Mirotic just because they don't want to wait one more year.

  • Melo and Chandler for Noah, Boozer and Dunleavy? Phil gets an unselfish star to build his team around from NYC. Bulls get a legit scorer. Chandler is about 2 years older than Noah and they are both injury prone. I would probably do the deal and hope to replace Noah's production with a combination of Taj and Chandler. Add Mirotic and Payne in the draft. I love Noah, but think the Bulls can survive without him.

  • Well sure sounds like something's brewing with the Bulls. Whether Gar/Pax get any deals done is another story. Trade developments reported/confirmed by Chicago sources: Afflalo for a pick and player(K.C. Johnson), and reported pursuit of Melo(Thibs reaching out - Cowley). It's one thing to hear these stories from out of Chicago/national "sources," but this is different. Certainly the Afflalo pursuit sounds legit.

    One factor that remains an uncertainty is Nikola Mirotic. The Bulls Gar/Pax need to confirm if the kid wants to play in the NBA as in come over now or not. Financials aside, if he has the talent people think and say he does he'll make back the few million and much more he's sacrificing now. Dude, it's time. make up your mind. Do you want it or not? If yes, then Bulls adjust payroll/roster plans accordingly. If not, then maybe if you retain a pick you take Payne in his place.

    If Mirotic is uncommitted to coming over then do his rights still appeal to somebody if included in a trade?

    If the Bulls end up using both picks in deals that turn into Afflalo and Melo then obviously those are some of the best used middle first picks in the history of the NBA let alone the Chicago Bulls.

  • I didn't think this was going to happen, but Carmelo wants to play for the Bulls according to NY sources.

    Bulls will cut Boozer, trade Butler and Dunleavy for future draft picks on Draft Day.

    Latest rumor on Love is Bulls two top picks this year, and Gibson to Minnesota.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    If the Bulls were able to get rid of Boozer, and give up two players in Butler and Dunleavy who personally are not my favorites anyhow for future picks while landing Melo/and or Love that would put Gar/Pax in the elite category in my book. Does that mean Bulls would have to give up/trade both this year's picks? If it's to bring in Melo or Love then obviously I'm all for it. I hope though were not giving away our picks, in a talent loaded draft, just to dump salary or get someone to take our discarded players.

    If somehow we get Melo(or Love), dump Boozer, lose players in Butler and/or Dunleavy while retaining one or both of our picks I'd be ecstatic. Granted, it's not likely with salary constraints we'd be keeping both picks, but even one would be nice.

    If the Bulls do achieve success in landing a scoring stud i.e win now mode then any selected players would surely be of the "NBA ready" variety as in Adreian Payne, C.J Wilcox etc. as opposed to a James Young or Cleanthony Early who may take a year or two to reach rotation player status.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I get that the Love trade sounds like both our picks would be included. Taj + No.'s 16 and 19 for Kevin Love are there any posters who don't take that deal? I'd honestly throw in Mirotic also if I had to where as I know some wouldn't from comments here. Of course if we somehow we're successfully gunning for both Melo and Love then adding Mirotic('s salary) in the deal(s) might become necessary to get a deal done.

    Let's see: SF Melo, PF Love, Noah C, Rose PG, Afflalo SG?? Maybe not feasible, but if Gar/pax can pull a Riley and shave salary to swing it then you've got best starting five in.. the NBA? That's if Derrick comes back/is able to resume his career injury free as even a pretty good player 18ppg + on 45% and up.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    And with that scenario then there's no doubt you will have ring chasers as in good vet players lining up to join the Bulls. Just have to get Thibs to "Melo" out a little(ha, ha.)

  • Here's the counter possibility? Bulls rumored by some to be trading away both draft picks for future picks to free up salary. What if the Bulls give away both this year's picks, and then land neither Melo or Love? At least if they converted one pick into Afflalo that'd be actually a success in itself. If however they gambled trading away both picks and then couldn't land either Melo or Love that would definitely be.. not good.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I for one would not trade #16, #19, and Taj for Kevin Love, as you suggest above. And throw in Mirotic too? My God, NO!

    Bulls don't need another PF, they need WINGS. Which is why the Afflalo trade makes perfect sense.

    Afflalo on Bulls should make Melo salivate to come to Chicago. But if Melo doesn't choose Bulls even after a trade for Afflalo, Bulls still have many options and assets left. The Afflalo trade is the smart move! It adds a very good wing at low asset cost, and fills the huge SG hole on the roster.

  • In reply to Edward:

    and it moves Butler to small forward, if Melo doesn't come to the Bulls.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    True! Afflalo at SG, Butler at SF.
    And Bulls will have plenty of options and assets remaining. I really hope an Afflalo trade happens first. Then see what else shakes out...

    We don't want Bulls to piss all over themselves over a star free agent only to get jilted again. Trading for Afflalo is the smart first move! It opens up many other possibilities, many other options.

  • Another bursting bubble report, sources/Melo saying he "favors" Bulls is just a ploy to get Knicks to "offer him more money." Also multiple skeptics on Gar/Pax getting big time deals done due to the history/fact that "Bulls usually want everything on their terms." Apparently word is Gar/Pax are saying no go on parting with Taj. Could be B.S., but sure sounds like Gar/Pax's M.O. to me. You have to GIVE something(substantial) as in what the other guy wants, to GET something aka what you want. Please get a deal done! Definitely am doing Taj and both this year's firsts for Love.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Luckily Gar/Pax won't trade Taj + #16 and #19 for Love.
    Just who is Bulls SG and SF after that trade??? And what assets would Bulls have left to add a competitive SG and SF?? Is your plan to go forward with Butler, Dunleavy, and Snell as your wings? Please...

  • In reply to Edward:

    The Magic might take future #1 picks(Sacto, plus the potential swap with Cleveland ) in an Afflalo deal. They already have 2 picks this season, so maybe spreading them out over a couple years is a better option for them. However, I totally agree that we shouldn't give up both Taj and Mirotic and both picks to get Love.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    That's could be true about Orlando, maybe they do want a future draft pick. However, draft picks don't figure into a salary match so it will require Bulls use two of the non-guaranteed contracts + Dunleavy, for example. Bulls won't be able to make the Afflalo trade with only one non-guaranteed (Mike James) like I outlined above.

  • I personally don't want to get my expectations up that we are getting all these pieces. However, we do have some flexibility. I wonder if Taj could land #9 and if we really wanted Love, we could trade #9, Mirotic, and 19 for Love? I don't think we will end up with Afflalo, Love, and Melo though.

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    Minnesota has said they prefer established players over draft picks. That's why they don't like the Boston offers. So they would likely prefer Taj over the 9 pick.

    As for Afflalo, Love and Melo (plus Rose and Noah), that starting lineup will cost like 120 million in 2 years. Not to mention the luxury taxes. It is silly talk. Besides, all this sudden interest from Melo is staged. He wants max years and dollars from New York and is playing us, LeBron-style.

  • In reply to sfpaper:

    Melo could very well be playing Bulls. Which is why trading for Afflalo is the best first move Bulls can make! We don't want a replay of 2010 free agency.

  • I don't get it. What is it with all you guys wanting to trade away Taj and Mirotic and multiple picks on one free agent from a non-playoff team. You're nuts, all of you! Bulls won't be any better if they were to squander all those assets for one free agent.

    Luckily, I don't think GarPaxDorf are going to piss down their leg over any free agent this off-season. They'll pursue deals, but be smart about it. Smart starts with SG Arron Afflalo. Smart starts with filling one huge gaping SG hole in the roster before even pursuing the big FAs.

    Bulls become that much more appealing to FAs with Afflalo at SG. Then its up to a FA to choose Bulls..., not for Bulls to fall all over themselves sucking up to a FA, or squandering all their assets on one FA. That won't build a championship team.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I would only trade Taj for Love essentially because they are PF's. I'm not saying it would happen. I also agree that Minnesota probably would want Taj - just saying that there might be some flexibility in getting a star (not just Love).

  • Has anyone driven by the United Center lately? I drove by this week and the new Advocate Center practice facility is up and construction is being completed. This autumn Bulls will abandon the suburban Berto Center and its hellish commute to the UC. Bulls will now practice within 100 yards of the UC at this gorgeous new facility. It's on the east side of the UC just across the parking lot from the Jordan statue. SE corner of Madison and Wood to be exact.

    Combined with a downtown condo or townhome, I can see this being an appealing lifestyle to any free agent. Now Bulls players can roll out of bed to both practice and games.


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