Shootaround (June 22) -- Chicago Bulls wait it out as Draft night approaches
Plus, Chauncey Billups is mulling a job offer from the Cavs and more from around the NBA.
This morning’s headlines:
- Bulls play waiting game as Draft nears
- Reports: Billups mulling Cavs’ front-office job offer
- Jackson says Anthony wants to stay with Knicks
- Report: Clippers may try to buy pick tonight
Bulls in holding pattern as Draft nears — Leading up to the trade deadline, Chicago Bulls star guard Jimmy Butler was the topic of many potential deals. None of them happened and he remains in Chicago. As Draft night nears, Butler is again a popular trade target. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports, however, that no deal has come up (yet) that makes the Bulls want to pull the trigger on dealing Butler:
Now, the energy is focused merely on gauging the merit of the offers coming in for the three-time All-Star.
That’s not to say the Bulls don’t value Butler highly or will trade him. It is to say there appears to be more organizational alignment on a full rebuild if the right trade package arrives for the club’s biggest asset.
As of late Wednesday, it hadn’t. And, according to sources, none were close. And so Butler remained a Bull for another day at least.
The Bulls’ parameters for a Butler trade never have changed. To undertake a full rebuild, they would need rotation players or starters on manageable contracts and certainty multiple high draft picks.
The wild card remains the Celtics, who own the No. 3 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft. Over the weekend, as news broke that they were trading down from the No. 1 pick and gaining another future first-round pick from the 76ers, the Bulls were given the impression the Celtics planned to use the pick.
As of Wednesday, that impression hadn’t changed.
That leaves the Celtics, Suns and Timberwolves as teams with top-seven picks and other assets in the form of either young players or future first-round picks to move the needle on the Butler talks.
The Suns, who own the fourth pick, are trying to offload some unwieldy longterm, deals as part of any trade package, sources said.
Several league executives who spoke to the Tribune believe Tom Thibodeau’s Timberwolves could engage the Bulls on Thursday, although that package likely would have to include young players because the seventh pick falls outside the top impact players. Last year when the Bulls and Celtics engaged in talks centered on Butler, Kris Dunn served as the Bulls’ primary draft target. He wound up with the Timberwolves.
UPDATE, 1:26 p.m. ET: According to USA Today‘s Sam Amick, it doesn’t look like Chauncey Billups will take a job with the Cavs today …
On the Chauncey Billups front, I'm told his decision on the Cavs' front office offer is not likely to be made today https://t.co/PhVhHwu23D
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 22, 2017
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Reports: Billups mulling job offer from Cavs — The Cleveland Cavaliers are in need of a new GM after parting ways with David Griffin earlier this week. Almost as soon as Griffin was out the door, though, rumors began to swirl about the Cavs interviewing former Detroit Pistons star and current ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups for the job. While no hire has been made yet — it appeared Billups got the job last night — he is apparently mulling over the offer. That’s the word from both Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical and ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst:
The Cleveland Cavaliers have offered Chauncey Billups a long-term contract to be the president of basketball operations, but he is conflicted about accepting, sources told ESPN.
Billups met with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert on Tuesday in Detroit and on Wednesday went with Gilbert to Cleveland for meetings with staff at Quicken Loans Arena, sources said.
In the structure being offered, Billups would be able to hire an experienced general manager to work with him, sources said.
The Athletic has reported that Billups had been offered a five-year contract to run the Cavs’ front office.
Billups has known he would be a possible candidate in Cleveland for several weeks, as it became clear a breakup between the Cavs and former general manager David Griffin was likely.
However, Billups is happy living with his family in Denver and commuting to Los Angeles to do television work at ESPN, sources said.
Billups also interviewed for a front-office position recently with the Atlanta Hawks.
Sources: Discussions between Cleveland and Chauncey Billups continue about President of Basketball Ops job, but no formal offer's been made.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 22, 2017
Jackson: Anthony says he wants to stay with Knicks — New York Knicks president Phil Jackson caused a stir last night when he confirmed rumors that the team is open to trading second-year forward Kristaps Porzingis. Lost in that interview he gave, though, was the tidbit that he revealed about Carmelo Anthony (who has also been in trade rumors for months now). Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News has more:
Wielding the power of a no-trade clause and faced with pressure to accept a relocation, Carmelo Anthony informed the Knicks he’d rather stay in New York, according to Phil Jackson.
The team president revealed that significant nugget Wednesday, while simultaneously acknowledging he’s listening to trade offers for Kristaps Porzingis.
In related news, the Knicks are a mess.
“We’ve expressed the fact that we haven’t been successful and it might be time for (Carmelo) to find an opportunity to go somewhere else. He’s come back and said he’d just as soon stay,” Jackson said on the team’s network.
Still, Jackson isn’t giving up on his quest to trade Anthony.
“There’ll be conversations after the draft and after the free agency as teams start reorganizing their rosters. So there will be other conversations in the process,” he said.
“We have not been able to win with him on the court at this time and I think the direction with our team is that he is a player that would be better off somewhere else and using his talent somewhere he can win or chase that championship,” Jackson said immediately following last season.
Anthony, however, has a small list of agreeable destinations, including the L.A. Clippers and Cavaliers. He has no incentive to agree to a trade elsewhere since the alternatives are to collect his paycheck in the comfort of his luxurious Manhattan pad or get bought out and choose his next team in free agency.
Amidst rumors of infidelity and separation from his wife Lala, Anthony has not spoken publicly since the end of last season. But he has received an outpouring of support from fellow NBA players regarding his treatment from Jackson, leaving the Knicks in a situation where top free agents aren’t even considering New York.
Jackson told Knicks fans to keep whatever faith remained.
“Well, I think we know what we’re doing. That’s all I can say to them. Although it’s not been apparent in our record the last couple years, we’ve grown from within,” he said.
“We’ve got young players that are on the move up. It takes time to rebuild with youth. And I think they have confidence in the fact that we’re going to have good players, we’re going to have a good team and we’re going to be on the court competitive.”
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) June 22, 2017
Clippers may try to buy way into NBA Draft — The LA Clippers face a big offseason thanks to the issues of having several key free agents on the roster and a first-round playoff exit in their rear view mirror. The Clippers also do not have a pick in tonight’s NBA Draft, but Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reports they may try to rectify that situation soon:
It could cost the Clippers upward of $2 million to purchase an early second-round pick. But Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is supposed to be the richest owner of an American sports team, worth about $22 billion. So money should not be an issue.
The Clippers want in so they have an additional asset for the future, a young player they would most likely assign to their Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario team, which will play in the NBA’s Gatorade League.
According to several NBA executives who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, the Clippers have been calling teams who have second-round picks in the 35-50 range.
And several NBA teams have multiple second-round picks, which should make it easier for the Clippers to secure one. For example, the Philadelphia 76ers, along with the first overall pick in the draft, have four second-round picks — Nos. 36, 39, 46 and 50.
The Boston Celtics, who pick third in the draft, have the Nos. 37, 53 and 56 picks.
Teams with two second-round picks are the Orlando Magic (33, 35), Atlanta Hawks (40, 60), Houston Rockets (43, 45), New York Knicks (44, 58) and Denver Nuggets (49, 51).
The Magic and Utah Jazz each has two first-round picks, meaning they might be willing to part with one of their second-round picks to the Clippers.
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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Our final Mock Draft as the big night nears … Interesting oral history on the Ricky Rubio era with the Minnesota Timberwolves … Don’t be surprised if the Utah Jazz take some gambles on Draft night … Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr would urge his team to make a White House visit as a goodwill gesture … The Washington Wizards added backup point guard Tim Frazier via a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans last night … Los Angeles Lakers guard Nick Young has opted out of his deal and will be a free agent … The Denver Nuggets are feeling good about the state of the franchise this offseason … The Oklahoma City Thunder have an Enes Kanter conundrum on their hands …