Latest posts by Ashish Mathur (see all)
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CHICAGO — The Bulls had a record of 27-55 in 2017-18, the first season of the team’s rebuild project after they traded star forward Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Everyone in the organization knew the Bulls were going to be putrid after moving Butler, but that doesn’t mean all members of the franchise were pleased with it.
According to report from Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and owner Jerry Reinsdorf privately struggled with what went on last season. Reinsdorf was furious with the Bulls’ record, even though he was forewarned about it.
Now that LeBron James is out of the Eastern Conference, many teams in the East believe this is the time to take risks and make a run, and it appears that’s what the Bulls are doing.
The Bulls signed Chicago native Jabari Parker to a two-year, $40 million deal Saturday. Parker has suffered two ACL tears, which is why the second year of Parker’s deal is a team-option.
Essentially, Parker is getting a one-year tryout with his hometown Bulls and the hope is that he can stay healthy and be productive for Chicago at the small forward position.
In 31 games in 2017-18 with the Milwaukee Bucks, Parker averaged 12.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists while shooting 48.2 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from three.
The Bulls can throw out a starting lineup of Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Parker, Lauri Markkanen and Robin Lopez. They drafted Duke big man Wendell Carter Jr. with the seventh overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft and Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison with the 22nd pick and both players were impressive in summer league.
Carter Jr. finished summer league with averages of 14.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.6 blocks, shooting 55.1 percent from the field. He showed great patience and footwork while operating in the post and will add rim protection to the Bulls’ defense.
Hutchison, meanwhile, averaged 11.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists. He shot 50 percent from beyond the arc.
Bulls general manager Gar Forman was satisfied with what he saw from Carter Jr. and Hutchison.
“What I’ve been impressed with is Wendell is a very instinctive player on both ends,” Forman told K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. “A lot of times you talk about instincts offensively. But he’s got really good defensive instincts — recognizing plays, reacting to situations, coming from the weak side to help. We thought he’d be a plus defender because he’s got size, mobility and length. But Duke played a lot of zone in college. So we were speculating he’d make that adjustment with his tools.
“Chandler has been up-and-down. But just watching him play-make, handle (the ball) in the open floor, push it out, has been encouraging. He’s been a little hesitant with his shot. But that will come. We need to get more guys who can playmake off the bounce. And as he matures, I think he’ll be able to do that.”