Kurt Helin

Derrick Rose says he wants to retire a Bull

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Derrick Rose rumors are starting to bubble up around the league. His contract is up in 2017 and with the emergence of Jimmy Butler and the new offensive system with Fred Hoiberg, there have been questions about how Rose fits in exactly long term. And if the Bulls do keep him, what should his price tag be (he’s not a max player anymore)?

Rose is oblivious to what is said around him — to the point of his detriment at times, as he doesn’t realize the impact of his words and phrasings. He’s not listening to all this trade buzz either. He wants to remain a Bull — because he loves the city and because his son is here, he told Nick Friedell of ESPN in a Q&A.

Friedell: You told me a long time ago you never wanted to play anywhere else. Is that still true?

Rose: That’s still true. Still true. Just having my son [P.J.], I’m doing all this because of my son now, you know? Just wanting to be around him every day, having him come up here, shoot with me or see me shooting til he’s able to become a ball boy. Little things like that I think about long term. Just trying to get him groomed, trying to get him used to being in the environment.

Friedell: You want to retire here still.

Rose: For sure, for sure.

The Bulls are going to undergo some significant roster changes in the next couple of years. For example, this summer both Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol (if he opts out as expected) will be free agents, and there is a real possibility neither of them returns to Chicago.

Rose could be part of that change. The only long-term locks to remain in Chicago are Jimmy Butler and Bobby Portis. When Rose and Butler have been paired on the court this season the Bulls are average — they have both a 101.1 offensive and defensive rating. They are a .500 team with those two on the court together. The questions to be answered are if that number is a matter of Rose’s health, noise from the ill-fitting pieces around the two guards in Hoiberg’s offense, or just they don’t work well as a tandem?

Whether Rose remains a Bull may simply come down to money. The Bulls will have their number and if another team sees more promise in Rose — or is more desperate for a quality point guard — they could come in over the top. Rose says Chicago is where he wants to be, but would he take a hometown discount? The more challenging question may be what is Rose worth in the new, Wild West market created by the coming salary cap spike?

But we know where Rose wants to be — sweet home Chicago.

 

Bradley Beal says he hopes to return to Wizards this weekend

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For 16 games, the Washington Wizards have tread water without two guard Bradley Beal, who is out with a stress reaction in his right fibula. The Wizards are 14th in the NBA in offense and 17th in defense in those 16 games, showing some promise by doing things like beating the Bulls on Monday, but struggling to compete with playoff quality teams from either conference.

This weekend, the Wizards may get Beal back. That is what the player himself told Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post (hat tip Eye on Basketball).

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, sidelined since Dec. 11 because of a stress reaction in his right fibula, said Monday that he hopes to return either Friday against the Indiana Pacers or Saturday against the Boston Celtics.

Beal joined the Wizards on their two-game road trip to Orlando and Chicago, which concluded with a 114-110 victory over the Bulls Monday, to rev up his workload and said he could begin contact activity Tuesday when the Wizards return to Washington.

The Wizards need to get healthy — center Marcin Gortat was out Monday, for example — then try to establish a rhythm.

Particularly Beal and John Wall — when those two have shared the court this season Washington has an offensive rating of just 98 points per 100 possessions (more than three below the team average) and the Wizards get outscored by 3.6 per 100. The problem is the offense, which is seven points per 100 possessions worse with Beal on the court this season.

Those numbers are counter-intuitive (although Beal and Wall have played 520 minutes together, it’s not sample size). Coach Randy Wittman has to bet that if he can get what should be a powerhouse starting backcourt together and healthy, the offense will start to click. The Wizards are just two games out of a playoff spot in the East, they just need a little push and to make a run and they are in the mix.

The Wizards are betting on Beal to be that bump.

Report: Anderson Varejao will not ask Cavaliers for trade

Cleveland Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao battles forward James Jones for a rebound during an NBA baskeball scrimmage Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, in Cleveland. (Gus Chan/The Plain Dealer via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT; NO SALES
Associated Press
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The Cleveland Cavaliers are the only team Anderson Varejao has ever known. For a dozen seasons, he has seen the ups, the downs, and now the ups again in Cleveland.

And he doesn’t want out. Despite getting a DNP-CD in eight of the last 10 Cavaliers’ games and being well out of the rotation.

Here is what Varejao told Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“If I go anywhere else and win a championship, it’s not going to be the same,” he said. “I want to win a championship in Cleveland. That’s where I want to stay. I love Cleveland….

“Of course, it’s not easy,” Varejao said. “It’s a different season for me. I said at the beginning of the season that my goal was to stay healthy and help this team. I’m not getting a lot of playing time, but I know the season is a long season. We still have the playoffs coming and anything can happen. I just have to stay ready and help the team when coach needs me.”

The question is will he have a choice? The Cavaliers are not expected to be major movers at the trade deadline, but they have a big man who, when healthy, can be a solid contributor and will make $10.3 million next season (or can be bought out for $9.5 million), then has a non-guaranteed season after that. The combination is going to get teams to call. The question becomes will the offers intrigue Cavaliers’ GM David Griffin enough to pull the trigger?

Varejao doesn’t want to go anywhere.

“Because Cleveland’s been loyal to me and I’ve been loyal to the team,” he responded. “I had a chance to leave when the team was really bad, going through a rebuilding process when we were losing almost every other game, and it was tough. I said, ‘I’m not leaving Cleveland. I want to win a championship in Cleveland’ and I know now we have a chance.”

You have to admire his loyalty and willingness to put team in front of personal numbers.

 

Report: As expected, Lakers will offer max to DeMar DeRozan this summer

Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) goes up for a dunk in front of Washington Wizards center Nene (42) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Associated Press
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Here are the facts: DeMar DeRozan is a lock to opt out of his contract this summer. He’d be an idiot not to. He has one season left on this deal at $10 million. A max offer for him will start in the four-year, $100 million range. Nobody leaves $90 million on the table.

DeRozan has said he wants to stay with the Raptors. There is every reason to believe he means this — he likes the city, he says this is the best team he’s ever been on, and he wants to see if he can be part of a Raptors team that makes the franchise’s first conference finals (or beyond).

But other teams will make calls. Specifically, the Los Angeles Lakers, as reported by Zach Lowe of ESPN (and echoed by many around the league).

That starts with DeRozan, a lock to decline his option and hit free agency this summer. A bunch of teams, including DeRozan’s hometown Lakers, are prepared to offer him a max deal starting at $25 million per season, and the Raptors know they will have to spend big to keep him.

Of course the Lakers are going to call — they are going to call every Tier 1 and Tier 2 free agent out there, and they will get meetings with almost all of them. That’s the advantage of being the Lakers.

It’s easy to imagine the Lakers’ pitch (which will focus on basketball this time around): We’ll give you $100 million to come home and step into Kobe Bryant‘s spot in the offense, with young talents such as D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and Larry Nance around you. This is the franchise you grew up watching, you played your college ball just down Figuroa during the Kobe/Pau Gasol Lakers, you know how this city treats its stars when they win. Come out of the cold, come home.

It likely is not enough. The Toronto Raptors can offer more money — larger raises and a guaranteed fifth season — plus the team is better and closer to challenging for a title than the Lakers, who even in an optimistic world are a few years away. DeRozan is going to stay put.

Unless the Raptors lowball him. As Lowe notes, if Raptors GM Masai Ujiri decides that the team can get by with Terrence Ross in that slot and use the money they would have spent on DeRozan to upgrade at the four, it’s possible. Unlikely, because Ross isn’t ready, DeRozan is a fan favorite who has improved his game, and he fits well with Kyle Lowry. But it’s not impossible.

But the future of DeRozan is not in the Lakers’ hands, no matter what they offer. This is Toronto’s negotiation to lose.

PBT Extra: Should the Brooklyn Nets offer John Calipari $120 million?

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If you are John Calipari — who still has an NBA itch, no matter how much he denies it — and you are offered total control of a franchise and $120 million, you take it. That includes Brooklyn, where the rebuilding process will be long and hard.

If you are the Brooklyn Nets should you offer it? Not at 10 years, no.

That’s what I tell Jenna Corrado in this latest PBT Extra. More than the Phil Jackson level money annually, it’s the 10 years that would scare me off. Calipari has failed once in the NBA, and I’m not marrying him for that long.