Cameron Payne

Reports: Charlotte reaches one-year deal with Michael Carter-Williams for $2.7 million

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Michael Carter-Williams has played with four teams in four different years, and his game has stagnated to the point that he is the first ever Rookie of the Year to not have his fifth year picked up by a team. The Bulls let him walk so they could run out a point guard trio of Kris Dunn, Cameron Payne, and Jerian Grant (in whatever order you wish).

Point guards who can’t shoot and have an injury history are not in high demand, but Carter-Williams will get a chance to prove himself coming off the bench in Charlotte next year. Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer broke the story.

MCW confirmed this himself.

The deal is for one year at $2.7 million. He will come off the bench behind Kemba Walker, and the Hornets likely will add a veteran third point guard to the mix.

Remember back when Sam Hinkie traded Carter-Williams to the Bucks and got the Sixers’ future Lakers first-round pick? The Sixers traded that pick this year to Boston in the deal that got Philly the No. 1 pick and Markelle Fultz. The Bucks traded him to the Bulls in a deal that got Milwaukee Tony Snell, where he had a breakout season.

Carter-Williams averaged 6.6 points and 2.5 assists per game last season, and his length makes him a decent defender. He’s a below-average NBA point guard, but he can give the Hornets some decent bench minutes, and he comes at a price they can easily afford.

Bulls waive Rajon Rondo after no trade can be found

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Back at the press conference he held just after the end of the season, Bulls president John Paxson said there was a, “Really good chance we bring Rajon back.”

Two months later — after trading Jimmy Butler and moving towards a youth movement — the Chicago Bulls decided to waive Rajon Rondo, the team announced Friday. The Bulls also announced they would waive Isaiah Canaan.

Rondo had a $13.4 million salary for next season, but only $3 million of it was guaranteed.

The Bulls had actively tried to shop Rondo in a trade for the past week, but there has been no real interest (and teams that were willing to talk wanted Chicago to throw in a sweetener to take him). Rondo played well for the Bulls the second half of last season (up until his thumb injury in the playoffs sidelined him), but with a glut of point guards on the free agent market teams though they could get a better player or better value elsewhere.

The Bulls want to give the ball to their young point guards Kris Dunn, Jerian Grant, and Cameron Payne and see which one (or ones) can develop into players they can trust down the line.

Now Rondo is a free agent thrown into that point-guard heavy market. He will land somewhere next season, but he’s going to take a pay cut and could be asked to come off the bench.

Rumor: Bulls close to signing Milos Teodosic

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Milos Teodosic – one of the best players outside the NBA – seems ready to come stateside.

In fact, his next team might already be chosen.

Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune:

The Bulls have a glut of young point guards: Kris Dunn, Cameron Payne and Jerian Grant. But it’s nowhere near a lock any of them develops into a reliable starter, let alone can handle that role now.

It might be better for the Bulls, sans Jimmy Butler, to jump both feet first into rebuilding. Give Dunn and Payne and maybe even Grant room to grow.

But with Dwyane Wade and Robin Lopez under contract, Chicago might want someone capable of keeping the team modestly competitive in interim. It appears that won’t be Rajon Rondo. It could be the 30-year-old Teodosic.

Bulls’ Rajon Rondo has fractured thumb, out indefinitely

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Rajon Rondo, after a rough start to the season blending in with the Bulls, accepted his role the second half of the year, grew in importance to the team, and has been crucial to Chicago going up 2-0 on Boston in the first round, setting up a potential 1/8 upset.

Now Rondo is out indefinitely with a broken thumb, the Bulls have announced. Here is the entire press release:

Rajon Rondo injured his right hand in Game 2 at Boston on Tuesday night. Rondo underwent a subsequent exam and x-rays that confirmed a thumb fracture. Surgery is not required for this injury, and he is out indefinitely.

Rondo has averaged 10.2 points and 6.6 assists in the first two games of the playoffs against Boston, running the offense on one end and, more importantly, being a key part of the defense that has stymied the Celtics on the other. Chicago has been +14.5 per 100 possessions with Rondo on the court through the first two games, -5.4 without him (there is other noise in that number, obviously).

Rondo is tough, but it’s obviously unclear when he could return.

This means a lot more Jerian Grant, Michael Carter-Williams, and maybe some Cameron Payne for the Bulls at the point, although in practice it means Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade handling the ball. Coach Fred Hoiberg likely will try some no point guard lineups, but the mid-season trade of Taj Gibson (and Doug McDermott) make that much harder.

After two games where the physical Bulls knocked the Celtics around — in Boston — it was challenging to come up with things the Celtics could do differently to change this series around. Chicago has owned the paint and the glass, and their length and physicality has bothered Boston up and down the roster. But this injury changes the dynamics of the series and opens the door to a Boston comeback that seemed nearly impossible 24 hours ago.

How Rockets, Thunder, Cavaliers, Spurs play with and without their MVP candidates

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The Rockets play like a 58-win team with James Harden on the court, and the Thunder play like a 52-win team with Russell Westbrook on the court.

A clear advantage for Harden in the MVP race?

Not quite.

Houston still plays like a 51-win team when Harden sits, and Oklahoma City drops to an 18-win pace without Westbrook. How much should each factor – the level a team reaches with a player, how far it falls without him – matter?

And what about about LeBron James? The Cavaliers play like a 61-win team with him and a 19-win team without him. Don’t forget about Kawhi Leonard, either. The Spurs reach a 63-win pace – better than the other three main MVP candidates’ teams hit with them on the court – when Leonard plays.

In the NBA’s most fascinating MVP race in years, the on-off win pace for the four major candidates adds perspective. To calculate win pace, I used Pythagorean win percentage multiplied by 82, the number of games in a standard NBA schedule.

Here’s the Rockets’, Thunder’s, Cavaliers’ and Spurs’ win paces with their MVP candidate off (below the bar) and on (above the bar) and the difference (in the bar):

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These are rounded to the nearest win. Hence, Leonard’s seemingly off, but not actually off, marks.

This is meant to be only one piece of a complex picture. Other things to consider:

Should backups matter? Should rotations matter? Should luck matter?

These are not easy questions, but MVP voters must reconcile them.

I see win pace as a useful reference point when comparing these players with elite individual production. Then, it’s about placing the win paces into the appropriate contexts – and going back to individual production, then back to on/off-court impact, then adding adding more context, then…

There’s no easy answer here.

There’s also no easy choice for fifth on the MVP ballot, but I made a similar chart for the main candidates:

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