Carlos Douglas Jr.: Source close to Jimmy Butler: "If J…

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KC Johnson: Wade said he wants clear direction from organization. "I respect Gar and Pax." Said management told him they want defined direction too.
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.
“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.”
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.
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October 1, 2022 | 6:40 am EDT Update

Klay Thompson skipping both preseason games in Japan

 Klay Thompson will not play in either of the Golden State Warriors’ preseason games in Japan, coach Steve Kerr announced. Kerr said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution as the Warriors go through a condensed training camp. “Just feel more comfortable giving him a little more of a ramp up,” Kerr said ahead of the Warriors’ 96-87 win over the Washington Wizards on Friday. “He’s just not quite ready to play at this point just based on where, you know, we’re so early in camp. We just want to be safe and make sure he gets a good ramp up before he plays in games.”
“Just coming off the two years with the injuries, this is really unique to play a game after 3½ practices so we’re just being cautious and trying to do the smart thing,” Kerr said. Thompson was under a strict game restriction last season — starting under a minute restriction and never playing in back-to-back games — after missing two consecutive seasons with leg injuries.

Klay Thompson addresses 'mental block' during summer

Anthony Slater: Klay Thompson didn’t play pickup this summer. Called it a “mental block” he will eventually get over because of torn Achilles in summer ball. But that’s slowed his preseason ramp up. Called next week a “big week” as he revs back up for regular season. Here he is explaining it pic.twitter.com/0ZCCmWYFO1

LeBron James playing at least four preseason games?

James was asked after practice Friday how many preseason games he wants to participate in. “More than I played last year,” James said. “How many did I play last year? More than I played last year.” Last season, James played in three of the Lakers’ six preseason games. With a new coach in Darvin Ham, a new system and just six players returning from last season’s team, the plan for James playing preseason games is being worked out.
Ham said that they will “figure all of that out” in the coming days. “Obviously we have those type of things on our board and on our laundry list of things to get done,” Ham said. “But our focus has totally been on trying to establish a style of play on both sides of the ball, establish our principles and make sure we’re executing the basic foundation of who we are and what our identity will be. But definitely my coaching staff and I, we have had light discussions about what that’s going to look like, how many preseason games, how many minutes.”
Ham noted Nunn’s ability to score at all three levels, from three, to the mid-range, and at the rim, while praising his work defensively as well, showing that he can squeeze through pick and rolls, avoid screens and contest shots on the perimeter. It takes time for some players to learn how to play alongside a defensive magnet like LeBron, but that process has begun. “You deal with it by getting on the floor, getting in the game, logging minutes,” said LeBron. “You start to get more and more into the game, watching more and more film, more and more practices and it starts to come with time. I think that will continue to happen with the new guys we have this year.”
Cam Thomas had a promising rookie season in 2021-22, but his playing time evaporated when the Nets added Seth Curry and then Goran Dragic. If Thomas found minutes hard to come by down the stretch last season, he’s going to be facing an even more uphill climb to start his sophomore campaign. “We’ll see how it goes after training camp. But he clearly is on a veteran team with a lot of guys who can play, have had a lot of success,” Nets coach Steve Nash admitted. “We know Cam’s talented, and just trying to continue to develop him and see if he can keep pushing and getting better at certain things that’ll help him get minutes.