Krause believed in Chandler before a lot of folks. At the 2001 NBA draft, he traded Elton Brand to the Clippers for Chandler and forward Brian Skinner. Even though Chandler had been the No. 2 overall pick, the move wasn’t universally accepted. At the time, Chandler was just out of high school, while Brand was a budding star, the 2000 Rookie of the Year. “He made a huge leap, (took) a risk,” Chandler said. “Elton was Rookie of the Year and so you’re trading away something that was guaranteed, something you can see. He was a polished 20 (points) and 10 (rebounds) and you saw him at Duke. With Elton, you knew what you were getting and he traded him for a young, skinny high school kid. I definitely respect him and appreciate his vision, everything he did to get me into the Bulls organization and to trust me at the No. 2 (draft) position.”
Krause always called himself a scout at heart, and his success as a talent evaluator in two sports over such a long career spoke as much to his work ethic as his skill and love for his craft. "He had a real ability to see how people ticked," said Bill Cartwright, the starting center on the first three Bulls title teams whom Krause later hired as head coach. "He knew exactly what he was looking for in players and personalities to fit a role on that particular team. "What kind of person you were, how tough you were, played a lot into what he thought of you. If he believed you were a good person, he had your back. Character really mattered to him."
When asked if he felt the front office wanted him to return next season, thus picking up his option worth almost $24 million, Wade was noncommittal. "I don't know," Wade said. "I haven't had that conversation about next season with the guys. I think we all understood when I came here I signed a two-year deal with a one-year [player] option. And both sides wanted it that way. And when that time came, no matter what the season or what teammates I had, it was going to be my option. I take my option seriously and I always look into what's the best thing for me to do.
As Dwyane Wade watches the Bulls' front office try and figure out the direction it wants to go for the future, the 35-year-old says he just wants to focus on what he can control and leave the personnel decisions to the executives. "I just want to play basketball," Wade said before Friday's overtime 128-121 win over the Phoenix Suns, his first in two weeks after sitting out two games because of a bruised wrist and a third because of an illness and the injury. "And do my best job as a player that I can do. Then from there, let them look at me and my talent and what I did and let me look where the team's at and on what I did this season and go from there."
Sources have indicated that privately Butler differs from that opinion. But he was willing to dance the dance with his boss on Friday. “No, I don’t,’’ Butler said, when asked if he took those comments of simply being a piece to build with personally. “No organization is the same. Everybody operates differently. Everybody has different personnel. I don’t care if anybody wants to build around me. Just win. At the end of the day, when you win, everything is fine whether you’re built around or not built around. Everybody’s happy. All of that is just background noise. I just want to win at all costs.’’
Hamilton told a story on NBA Crossover (in the video above) about a Bulls film session in 2011-2012, the first of his two seasons with the team. "One of the coaches, assistant coaches, spits out, 'Randy has nothing to do with this team, he doesn't need to be around the players.' Looked at every man that was in that film session and pretty much told them, 'Hey, don't listen to him. When he comes and talks to you, don't listen to him.' And for me, as a veteran guy just coming from Detroit, I was like, 'What is going on around here?' Because every conversation I had with Randy was always good, was always love. So it's kind of like a situation where, like, man, I don't know what's going on between management and the coaches. And now, as you see, it's coming out again."
Butler and other Bulls have had issues with the “spying’’ that goes on in the locker room. He warned new players that if they didn’t want Forman to hear criticism, they shouldn’t talk in front of certain assistant coaches such as Randy Brown. The belief is that the Bulls love to gather as much ammunition as they can on players, so they can win the news conference when the breakup comes, whether it’s a trade or free agency.
Jeff Zillgitt: Rondo apologizes and team says they've cleared the air as front office tries to trade Rondo or waive him. twitter.com/highkin/status…
Nick Friedell: Rajon Rondo says he has a meeting with Bulls GM Gar Forman later tonight. Says he will talk to Forman about his future in Chicago if he continues to stay on the bench.
“Gar (Forman, Bulls GM) and I will have a talk. We’ll talk tonight and go from there. I don’t know if it’s right now, maybe the next 30, 18, 45 minutes. Tonight, before ’17 (the clock strikes midnight).”
A source told CSNChicago.com early Saturday evening a buyout hadn’t been discussed, but that was before the game and things can change quickly. “I’m gonna explode…No, I’m not,” said Rondo when asked what he’d do if the benching continued. “I’m gonna continue to work, get some work in, play some one on one. Take care of my body, lift and give these young guys as much advice while I’m on the bench.”
Rondo signed a two-year, $27.4 million deal, but the second year carries only a $3 million guarantee. If the Bulls chose to waive Rondo — and there aren't yet indications they plan to do so — that $3 million can be stretched over three seasons for an annual $1 million salary-cap hit. Hoiberg met with Rondo, who holds little trade value, Saturday morning at the Advocate Center.
By then, one wonders if the Bulls and Rondo will be working on a buyout to free him from the remainder of his contract — one that includes a $3 million buyout that has to be exercised before next July. “No, I’m not surprised. Not surprised,” Rondo said. “It’s been a tough season. Certain buttons are being pushed and the Bulls are trying to figure things out.”
He also addressed the team’s biggest need directly. “The area we really do need to improve is with our athleticism,” Paxson said. “That’s been evident this year. We’ve got some vets who know how to play and can score. But when you look around the league and the way the game is now, that’s an area we have to address. That is a part of the plan. We’ll try to do that obviously through the draft and free agency if we can. You always have the trade option. Right now, our roster is what it is.”
Thibodeau swears he didn’t need the dual roles, though given the public friction between Thibodeau and Bulls management during his tenure in Chicago from 2010-15, it’s understandable that he might want it. “It wasn’t an absolute,” Thibodeau told The Vertical. “The biggest thing for me was alignment. Not that you have to agree on everything. When you put competitive people together, there are going to be disagreements. But once a decision is made, you have to be aligned. There has to be a belief system. [Boston’s] Danny [Ainge] and Doc [Rivers, who coached the Celtics from 2004-13], they were very much together. Danny was very inclusive. Danny talked to me every day. I learned a lot from that. And I have that here.”
KC Johnson: Bulls officially announce Chip Schaefer hire as Director of Sports Performance reported last month.
But Butler's emboldened state after landing a max contract led to several disruptive moments throughout the season, in film sessions and on the practice floor, sources said. That they continued sometimes unchecked throughout the season didn't bode well for team chemistry, which started to fray in Thibodeau's last season. In fact, that reason is why there's optimism for Hoiberg's future. Even management now believes this core was held together one season too long, that any coach would've struggled to overcome this tired team's tendency to give in to adversity.
All indications are executive vice president John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman will lead that attempt. Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf long has valued management continuity and praises Paxson in any rare interview. Forman has cultivated a strong relationship with Michael Reinsdorf, the team's president and chief executive officer. Their wives run the Bulls' charity arm.
Hoiberg is viewed as his hire, though it was signed off on unanimously. Forman prevailed in the internal debate over whether to try to finalize a Pau Gasol-to-the-Kings trade deadline deal, though there was sentiment that with Mike Dunleavy just back the team could make a run as well as not loving the return from the Kings. Forman then publicly doubled down on re-signing Gasol, calling him part of the core. That stance has softened with Noah a priority, sources said, and Gasol also will entertain free-agency options.
January 26, 2021 | 6:38 pm EST Update
Jonathan Feigen: Christian Wood is out for the Rockets with an excused absence but still dealing with the sprained ankle. Rockets starters: Wall, Oladipo, Tate, Tucker and Cousins.
Mirjam Swanson: Ty Lue on Kawhi and PG’s absence due to health and safety protocols: “It’s so much uncertainty with the COVID situation, you never know, it’s tough… It’s a tough time, but thankfully those guys are feeling well and they can get better and come to join the team soon.”
January 26, 2021 | 6:25 pm EST Update
Andrew Greif: Per the most recent injury report for tonight’s game, there are no additional players listed for the Clippers. Still Beverley, Leonard and George listed out.