Storyline: Bulls Front Office

123 rumors in this storyline

The Bulls are planning changes to their management structure this offseason and have spent weeks gathering input on potential additions for what one source described as “an empowered presence.” And while a team source insisted the process is in the early stages, multiple league sources indicated one name is gaining momentum—Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan.

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Buchanan is widely known for his embrace of analytics. If the Bulls ask for and receive permission to interview Buchanan, his longstanding working relationship with Pritchard would seemingly indicate an ability to mesh with Bulls executive vice president John Paxson. As previously reported, ownership still values Paxson’s leadership and vision for the direction of the franchise. Paxson long has publicly stated he’s willing to accept any role the franchise thinks is best for the Bulls.

Here’s a list of some potential problem-solvers for the Bulls to look at: • Mark Bartelstein: The former investment banker turned super agent founded Chicago-based Priority Sports and Entertainment, which represents 24 NBA first-round picks. Bartelstein has represented stars such as Bradley Beal, Gordon Hayward and Kyle Lowry. And with franchises such as the Lakers, Warriors and now the Knicks going the way of adding an agent to their front office, Bartelstein makes sense.

Gar Forman on the hot seat?

Jerry Reinsdorf might be waking up — and not in the best of moods. According to several sources, the Bulls chairman is livid about the team’s 6-12 start this season and the continued sinking profile of the organization and is beginning to focus on general manager Gar Forman. The sources indicated this is not a recent change of heart for Reinsdorf, and that his unhappiness has been building after several questionable decisions.

John Paxson believes there is a path out of the basement, and even beyond mediocrity for this roster. The Bulls vice president of basketball operations made that crystal clear last week in his end-of-the-season address with the media at the Advocate Center. And while the line of skeptics is a long one, this is a front office that often tunes out doubt and criticism better than most organizations around the league. So when Paxson was asked just how this roster would be capable of that – especially void of a true superstar – that front office optimism was again on full display.

“The first part of that is through the draft and to get relevant again,’’ Paxson said, in explaining how the Bulls plan to build an elite roster. “I’m not ruling out Zach LaVine or Lauri Markkanen being significant players in this league. Zach just turned 24 and I thought Zach had a really good year, a really good year. He grew in a lot of ways where I think he’s going to get better. Lauri’s just still a young guy. As I’ve mentioned many times, the internal growth of our guys is a key part of that.’’

If that doesn’t happen, however, Paxson still sees a path. “I do believe when we establish winning again, that this city is a draw, that this organization is a draw,’’ Paxson said. “But that’s down the road. That’s why we made the deal at the trade deadline for Otto [Porter]. We felt that was a significant piece to becoming a much better basketball team. Over that stretch where we had him and we healthy, we were playing at a level that I could see us playing at in the future. So we’re trying to build toward what you’re talking about.’’

Michael Reinsdorf: I would say it does go back into basketball operations. We’re always spending money to improve what we do from the basketball side. It’s why we made the decision to build the Advocate Center across the street from the United Center. That was over a $30 million construction. It’s why we have full-time physical therapists on the staff, why we’ve added additional trainers, why we add full-time nutritionists. We added a sports performance coach. We added Doug Collins. It’s why we’ve added to our analytics department the last couple years.


When did you first learn of the trade to Washington and what was your initial reaction? Bobby Portis: “It’s been a crazy two weeks. On Sunday [before the trade deadline], I was seeing rumors and stuff on Twitter and Instagram so I called my agent. I asked him, “Am I in trade talks?” My agent immediately called Gar Forman, who is the GM of the Bulls. Gar Forman said, “No, it would have to be a blockbuster trade. If we were getting [a superstar like] LeBron James or Kevin Durant, then yeah, we’d trade Bobby. But [otherwise], no, we’re not trading Bobby.” So Tuesday comes around and I’m at a G-League game when my agent called me. He said he got a call from Gar and [Bulls VP of Basketball Operations] John Paxson and they were asking questions like, “Does Bobby really want to be here? Does Bobby love being a Bull? Is he fine with his role?” I’ve been having a good year and I guess they were trying to see if I still wanted to be in Chicago. And, obviously, my answer was yes. Who doesn’t want to play for the great city of Chicago? Who doesn’t want to play at United Center and be a Bull?”

Bobby Portis: “On Wednesday, [I’m thinking], “I know for sure that I’m going to be a Bull after the deadline.” We had a game that night, so I went through my pregame routine, got taped, put my jersey on and sat in the locker room. Twenty-three minutes before the game started, one of the coaches told me that our head coach, Jim Boylen, wanted to talk with me. I walked into his office and I see Gar, Pax and Coach Boylen. They told me that they had agreed in principle to trade me. I asked, “Where am I going?” Then, they were hesitant to say. They finally said the Wizards. My heart dropped. My stomach dropped. I didn’t know what to think. I went back to the locker room and I was just hugging everybody, shaking everyone’s hand. Everybody was in shock because nobody knew I was going to be traded. That wasn’t even a thought anyone had considered because they loved me there. It was a crazy feeling. Then, my phone started going haywire, so I guess that’s when the news dropped and everybody found out.”

I saw some of your tweets after the deal and I could tell you were upset with how this played out. Did the fact that the front office said you wouldn’t be dealt make it hurt more? Bobby Portis: “Yeah, it really hurts. They told me how much they valued me – that I was part of our core and that I was in the long-term plans. They told me how much they loved my energy, my heart, how hard I worked, how much I loved playing for the Bulls. Them telling me that I’m going to be there [through the deadline] and telling me that they want to work things out this summer [in restricted free agency]. We weren’t able to agree to a contract extension [before the Oct. 15 deadline], but they said they wanted to agree to something this summer before free agency hits. I think back on everything they told me. All this stuff was said and then I don’t even get notified when I’m getting traded? (pause) It’s just a crazy feeling. I guess I’m getting my first taste of the business. Business is business, I guess. I just don’t think it was done the right way.”

Payne never made excuses for his erratic play. But he felt the fans’ love for Gibson, coupled with their subsequent disappointment in watching him be traded away, played a sizable role in how he was perceived from the start. “It was huge just because that was their guys,” Payne said of Gibson and McDermott. “Those were the fans’ guys. The fact that I come in and nobody knows me because I haven’t really played. And the way Gar and them portrayed me to be just the next greatest thing — you know. I mean, I’m a young guy. I haven’t played that many games. I’ve got to play to get comfortable also. So I feel like that’s all it was. And I came in on a playoff team. So it was also tough there. It’s just a tough situation.”

“We were all on board with (signing Parker),” said Paxson. “That’s all in the past. We’re not even going to worry about that. With the situation the way it is, we’ll look and see if Jabari gets an opportunity. This thing will be fluid. We have a month until the trade deadline. A lot can happen. We feel really good about getting something done a month early. It’s all in building a team. Given where we were at and where we are at today, trying to roll the dice on a young talent (like Parker) is not a bad thing. A lot of teams have had success doing that. The one thing that we continue to do and we think we’re on the right track with is if something doesn’t work, it’s not going to be a long-term issue for us. We’ll continue to operate that way.”

“You make decisions and hope for the best,” Paxson said about releasing Cameron Payne. “The reality is both Arch (Ryan Arcidiacono) and Shaq (Harrison) have outplayed him. They fit what we want to do. Cam had some struggles with his foot and trying to get him back. “What it does is it gives Chandler an opportunity to play. He’ll play some significant minutes I would think,” said Paxson. “He has to live up to the standards that Jim wants and we want. But he’ll get opportunity. We still have some decisions to make with our roster. But our young guys will play. We’re going to be starting a really young team. Looking long term and big picture, this is about the future. We think a year and a half into the big move we made (trading Jimmy Butler), we have to focus on that. It’s hard to lose. You walk into the locker room and guys are competing, coaches are preparing, so that’s hard. But from my seat, Gar’s (Forman) seat, ownership’s seat, we have to keep the big picture in mind. And that’s what we’re doing.

The Bulls have been burned this season, but it is part of the plan. “We’re throwing them into the fire. We knew we were going to get younger,” Bulls Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson told reporters before Friday’s game with Indiana. “We knew there would be struggles. We need to see what our young guys can do. Hopefully they’ll respond in a competitive way. I keep telling Jim (Boylen, coach), ‘This league is always about wins and losses, we always want to win. But right now we have to focus on other things.’ We’ve said that all year long.”

It’s truly the first step forward after several steps back to try to get the franchise going in the right direction again. “We need to see growth,” Paxson said about the young core. “We need to see how they play. We’re a month into Jim’s tenure now and I think they understand what’s expected. So we’re going to go out on the road here after these next two games (five starting in Portland Wednesday). That’s a good time for a young team to get together. They’re going to be hard games. We just need to see development. That’s going to be a big key.”
1 year ago via ESPN

In the second meeting on Sunday, the idea of forming a leadership committee was discussed, multiple sources told ESPN. The idea is that in the future, those appointed to the committee would be able to act as a liaison between the players and coaches. It has been made clear that Boylen has been empowered and encouraged by Bulls management to use a firm hand in changing the Bulls’ culture. The way Boylen handled Sunday’s meetings has reinforced management’s belief in the new coach, sources said. They are fully on-board with Boylen’s tough-love leadership style.

“My job is to try to push our guys to a place they can’t take themselves,” Boylen said. “That’s pushing them outside their comfort zone. That’s what the Reinsdorfs are paying me for.” The fact Boylen cited ownership is telling. Phil Jackson praised Boylen to Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf after Boylen met with the Hall of Fame coach last summer. And according to team and league sources, executive vice president John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman raved to ownership about Boylen’s message during Sunday’s meeting, which Paxson and Forman attended.

Why does ownership have such long-term faith in management’s ability to rebuild this roster to open another championship window? Michael Reinsdorf: I have a lot of confidence in John Paxson and Gar Forman. I think they’ve done a great job. We made the decision to rebuild. And they secured the best possible deal. I was really happy with that trade. We took the 30th pick in Jimmy Butler and turned it into Zach, Kris and Lauri. That is pretty impressive. I think if you look at their history of our drafts over the years and you compare to other teams in the league, we’re near the top. At the same time, clearly you’re going to have failures when you’re picking players in the draft. Not everyone works out. Jerry West was one of the greatest general managers of all time. If you look at his draft record, you’ll see some players he probably regrets having drafted. You have to be foolish if you didn’t look at some of the really good picks that we’ve had. Jimmy Butler was a really good pick. We drafted Taj Gibson at 26. Bobby Portis was 22nd and look at who was drafted after him. You’re going to make some mistakes. But you also have to recognize the successes.

But clearly you’re aware that there’s a vocal segment of the fan base that has strong enmity towards management. The Fire GarPax billboard would be one example. Does that concern you? Michael Reinsford: You have to tune it out. I recognize our fans are passionate. They want the same thing we want — to win. Fans don’t always have all the information we have. Sometimes, you have to have a long-term perspective. When we made the trade for Jimmy Butler, there were a lot of people who didn’t like that trade. If you watched different commentators, it was not well received. I think now, if you go back and look at that trade today, most people would say that was a great trade for the Bulls. Depending on how Zach, Kris and Lauri develop, that could go from being a good trade to being an incredible trade. Time will tell.

Armstrong represents Derrick Rose, Denzel Valentine, Draymond Green and Suns promising rookie Josh Jackson, among many others. He negotiated Rose’s monster, $185 million lifetime deal with Adidas. And ne now gets to do a different kind of business with Reinsdorf and Paxson, his former backcourt competitor on the Bulls’ first three-peat team. “It hasn’t been awkward at all. Actually, it’s been quite pleasant,” Armstrong said of negotiating with the Bulls. “I consider Jerry (Reinsdorf) a mentor. And I consider John a friend. I’ve known John for almost 30 years.”

Pressing the reset button on a franchise can be just as tricky as dealing with a faulty vending machine. Sometimes, the items get stuck in the dispenser, the machine doesn’t respond or the wrong button gets pressed and an unwanted item lands in the bin. When the Bulls decided last summer that it was time to move Jimmy Butler and begin their rebuild in earnest by acquiring LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn in a draft-night deal, they understood the risks and accepted a pending struggle. But they didn’t want to be down for long and bank on a string of lottery picks to elevate them back to relevance. They wanted to stockpile some talent to make the losing more tolerable and the rebuild more manageable — but they might’ve stumbled upon a core. “I think the thing for us now is, we’re not starting from rock bottom,” Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said. “We’ve got these three young talents and you can throw Bobby Portis in, he fits the direction that we’re headed in. We feel we’re headed in the right direction. But we don’t want to oversell anything. We know to win at the highest level in this league you need the great players, and, hopefully, we’ve got one or two of them, somewhere on our roster, that we can grow with and hopefully make the decisions going forward to add to that.”

Paxson, knowing the rebuild projected tough times ahead, wanted to promote transparency and accountability and be around players and coaches more to offer support. Forman, who recently spent 36 of 42 days on the road scouting, is a measured negotiator, valued by Paxson and ownership for his detail-oriented approach. “I picked John to rebuild when (Jerry) Krause left (in 2003) because he’s a leader. Nothing has changed,” Reinsdorf said Tuesday in a phone interview. “He’s a fine evaluator of talent. He’s a long-term thinker. He works well with the general manager. He works well with coaches. I’m a John Paxson fan. “Gar is great with agents. John hates to deal with agents. Gar is good at negotiating with the other general managers, but John was good at that too. Gar is great at cap knowledge and planning ahead. He’s an extremely detailed guy. That’s why we have the two jobs. And that’s a trend that teams are moving too. They realize you need two different skill sets.”

Reinsdorf will turn 82 in two months. Asked why he signed off on another rebuild on top of his White Sox, he chuckled. “I figure I have at the most 15-20 years left and I’d like to win again,” he said. “I don’t like being caught in the middle. I think the rebuild is going great. We don’t want to be fooled by winning six games in a row. But we’re seeing our young players step up. We’re seeing (Nikola) Mirotic show what we thought we had in the first place. (Kris) Dunn is coming on. (Bobby) Portis is having a good year. And (Zach) LaVine hasn’t even played yet.”
2 years ago via ESPN

Thibodeau wanted to maintain the ability to run his program the way he saw fit. Forman and Paxson wanted to have more say, specifically with regard to how many minutes star players such as Noah and Rose were playing in games. One of the things that irked Forman and Paxson most, sources say, was that they didn’t feel they got enough credit for providing Thibodeau with rosters full of professional players. “There was definitely a disconnect between the coaches and management,” Noah says now. “It was a little bit of a mess. And to be a championship team, everybody has to be on the same page. It was definitely a missed opportunity.”

“I met in Treviso, Italy, the head of international scouting Ivica Dukan, who is the man who took Tony Kukoc to Chicago. His opinion has a real value within the Bulls organization. He is practically the no3 decision maker on the team. We talked and he said to me that Milos was the best player they could get. After a few days the GM, Gar Forman, called me. We had agreed to a contract close to $ 30 million for three years, similar to the one Bogdan Bogdanovic signed in Sacramento. My only objection was that I wanted Milos to have the chance to opt out every summer because I believe that he can all-star money. We were ready to sign and Forman wanted the deal for one more reason. There are many Serbs in Chicago”.

While the Bulls haven’t spoken with Wade directly, Paxson did say general manager Gar Forman has had dialogue with Wade’s representatives in recent weeks. Bulls training camp begins Monday with Media Day activities. “Some dialogue is going on,” Paxson said on The Score. “We understand where (Wade) is at this time of his career. We’re more than willing to work with him. But as I said when we had the press conference to introduce the new players after the draft, we have to always do what’s in our best interest. So there has to be something that is mutually agreed upon. It can’t be something the player wins because that’s what he wants.

One of the most respected figures in all of basketball, Collins returns to the Bulls with more than 40 years of experience in the NBA. In this capacity, he will serve as an expert resource for the front office and coaching staff. “Doug will be great in this capacity for our organization. The position of ‘senior advisor’ has proven to work well around the NBA in recent years, and I am confident the same will hold true with the Bulls,” said Chicago Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. “The fact that our relationship goes back more than 30 years certainly helps, but he is especially qualified to assist our leadership in rebuilding the Bulls.”

Bulls shopping Jimmy Butler

The Bulls routinely say they’ll take phone calls from teams about Butler’s availability around this time and at the trade deadline but this time around, multiple sources tell CSNChicago.com the Bulls are doing more than listening: they’re shopping Butler to many teams. It appears the Bulls have made the decision to try to jumpstart their rebuilding process and see what the best offer is for Butler as opposed to just gauging his value.

In that meeting, the Bulls were up front about the likelihood that they will stay the course as opposed to looking at the landscape of the East and making significant changes to the personnel, sources close to Wade tell CSNChicago.com. The Bulls gave the same speech to Butler in their last meeting when Butler came back to Chicago over a week ago, although one wonders if they’ll entertain trade discussions surrounding Butler next week with the draft approaching.

The meeting, which was described as positive and came on the heels of a similar meeting with Butler earlier last week, covered a wide variety of topics, including the possibilities for next year’s team, one source said. Wade has until June 27 to officially decide on his $23.8 million player option to return to the Bulls next season. The Bulls haven’t pressed Wade on his decision out of respect for the process. But the franchise has been preparing for Wade to opt in all along, and most league observers believe Wade will return.

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.”
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February 21, 2020 | 4:49 am EST Update
Harris, who scored 12 points Thursday, will be a restricted free agent this summer, and due to make a raise on his team-friendly $7.6 million deal. The sweet-shooting wing played alongside Irving in Cleveland as a rookie, but he essentially grew up in Brooklyn. He blossomed into a starter and won the 3-point title last season. He’s hoping to re-sign with the Nets, with the lure of playing a full season alongside the likes of Irving and Durant on a contender a strong one. And if he has a disappointment from this season, it’s that both stars, along with LeVert and others, have been in and out of an injury-riddled Nets lineup.
Every year during that stretch, Smart has been to the playoffs, and he played in the Eastern Conference Finals twice. But in his opinion, this Celtics team has the best shot at a title since he arrived. “(Other teams were) potential contenders, but not as much of a contender as this team is,” Smart told MassLive on Wednesday. “I’ve had some where we thought, ‘Maybe we can go.’ That run that we had with Isaiah Thomas, we thought we were a pretty good team, even the two years ago team where we made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, but this year is just a different feeling. We really got that sense of ‘We really, really, really, really have a chance this year,’ and it’s very evident to us. I think it’s starting to be evident to people around the league, and it’s evident to fans around the league.”
Isaiah Thomas: But the biggest memory for me was when Kobe and I sat down after every game of my series against the Chicago Bulls in 2017 and watched film together. I had my people send the film to him and he’d look it over. Then, we’d be on speaker phone and he’d be telling me everything that he saw, breaking the game down the way he would if he was in the series. I think that’s why he started doing that Detail show with ESPN because it was basically just like that, but it was just me and him. I was going through one of the toughest times in my life with the passing of my sister and he took the time out of his day to help me. We were on the phone for about an hour-and-a-half to two hours the day after every game, looking over the film and seeing how I’d adjust for the next playoff game. It was so surreal. It didn’t seem real that Kobe Bryant was really on the phone with me, helping through playoff situations. That was probably my biggest memory of Kobe, taking the time to really be there and help me. He saw what kind of path I was going on and he saw something special in me. For him to nickname me “Mighty IT” and help me so much and to have Player-Edition Kobe shoes, it was a dream come true. I’ve always dreamed of that and it actually came true.
DeMarcus Cousins knows now that he shouldn’t have played for the Warriors in last year’s NBA Finals, but the center said Thursday that he doesn’t regret his decision to rush back from a torn left quadriceps. “I was terrible in the Finals. I was a one-legged bandit on the floor, but I wanted to be a part of it,” Cousins said on Showtime’s “All the Smoke” podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. “In the Finals, you play hurt. If you can go, you can go. That’s when you lay your body on the line. I went out there and gave it what I had. The results were unfortunate. … I wasn’t supposed to be on the floor.”
Storyline: DeMarcus Cousins Injury
Although he averaged just 8.3 points and 4.7 rebounds in the championship series, Cousins said he doesn’t regret his decision. “I had no business on the floor. None, whatsoever,” he said. “… I just kept telling myself: ‘This is what I’ve played for my entire life: to be on this stage and have this opportunity. Whatever I’ve got to do to be a part of that, I’m going to do it.’ I don’t even know how I did it, honestly.”
“I don’t make those decisions, but from my personal standpoint, dealing with him on a daily basis has been absolutely amazing while he interacts with us, how he coaches the game — everything.,” Randle said. “We’ve responded really well to him and he’s done a great job.” Since he replaced Fizdale with Dec. 7’s 104-103 loss to the Pacers, Miller is 13-20 through his first 33 games in charge of the Knicks. Over that span, Randle has been an instant beneficiary of Miller’s tweaks.
“I think, just knowing him and his personality, he doesn’t pay attention to it — he’s focused on us every day, preparing us the best way he can and I really think that’s, honestly, his focus,” Randle said of the possibility that the Knicks replace Miller. “I know, for me, as a competitor and as a player, we deal with it in a different aspect of free agency and trade rumors and all that type of stuff and I don’t focus on it, man. Just focus on the task at hand and NBA is kind of one of those things — you just go with the flow and when something happens, you adjust to it. But he’s been amazing every day, just as far as his focus and what he’s doing.”
Storyline: Knicks Coaching Search
It’s permanent, as much as the Cavs’ head coaching job is permanent. Much like with John, it’s hard to find anyone who will say a bad word about J.B. He has an impeccable reputation around the league. His dad works for the Cavs. He’s been around the NBA for 15 years. He gets it. I wish him all the best, but he has an uphill battle with this organization.
Did you see that Drummond said he never wanted out if Beilein stayed? Jason Lloyd: I did. And I can appreciate and respect Andre defending himself. However, we stand by every word of our reporting and retract nothing. I’m not getting into a social media fight with a player. That serves no one well. I’d be happy to talk to him privately about our reporting when the opportunity presents itself.
Storyline: Andre Drummond Free Agency
NBA star Carmelo Anthony just listed his luxury Manhattan property overlooking New York City’s High Line park. The former New York Knicks player, 35 — who left the team to play for the Oklahoma City Thunder, briefly the Houston Rockets, and now, the Portland Trail Blazers — is asking for $12.85 million for the five-bedroom, four-bathroom condo located in the Chelsea neighborhood. Kevin Mallen and Michael Graves of Compass hold the listing.
I don’t think the NBA is concerned, but I believe the league and other owners had a lot of questions about the stability of ownership following Dan Gilbert’s stroke. Dan is on the mend and is scheduled to make a speaking appearance Friday in Detroit. That’s wonderful to hear. I’ve been extremely critical of his ownership style over the years, but I’m thrilled to know he’s doing better physically. But he still has a long, LONG way to go.
The 10-year veteran addressed the criminal charges that have since been dropped stemming from an audio recording in which Cousins’ ex-girlfriend alleges he threatened to shoot her in the head when it became apparent their child was not going to be present for Cousins’ wedding. “It’s an unfortunate situation. So, you know, I had a special moment in my life. I wanted all my family to be there. A little piece of happiness going through whatever I’m going through. Things didn’t work out the way I wanted it to for my day. I was little upset. So I said some things I shouldn’t have said but that person knew where it was coming from,” Cousins said on the podcast. “I mean, I’ve seen a lot of things, heard a lot of stuff — don’t get me wrong, I’m 100 percent against domestic violence. Like, 100 percent. I watched my mother go through that as a child. So when it comes to that, I’m the first advocate for that. But with that being said, I said the wrong thing. Heat of the moment. We’ve all done it. … We’ve all done it. … “My mama’s said way worse, you know what I’m saying? But when it comes to your kids, it’s a whole other situation and I’m pretty sure anybody with kids can speak on that. But it was still wrong.”
Storyline: Los Angeles Lakers Turmoil?
A youth org. claims LeBron James straight-up jacked their “More Than An Athlete” slogan for his Uninterrupted brand … and now they want more than $33 MIL to make things right! Game Plan — a Maryland based nonprofit, which guides young athletes to achieve professional success in an out of sports — claims they’ve been using the slogan “I Am More Than an Athlete” since 2016 and they obtained the trademark in 2018.
Ben Gordon: This was right after my last year in the league, and I was living in a brownstone up in Harlem. I had lost my career, my identity, and my family all pretty much simultaneously. I was manic-depressive. I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t sleeping. And when I say I wasn’t sleeping, it was like a whole different level of insomnia. Every night, I’d wake up at the same time, like clockwork. And that’s when the demons would come out. When you’re up all night and it’s quiet and it’s just you alone with your deepest thoughts — that’s when the darkness really starts to take over your whole psyche.
Ben Gordon: So the only thing left to do was to get out of purgatory. I was obsessed with killing myself. It’s all I researched, all I thought about. One night my panic attacks got so bad that all I could think about was escape. Man, I’m telling you….. you become like an animal. It’s instinctive. Escape, escape, escape, escape. I took one of those heavyweight jump ropes — the thick rubber ones — and I tied it around my neck. Got a chair. And I hung myself, for real.
Ben Gordon: It got so bad that they had me committed to a mental hospital, and the problem was that I didn’t even understand why it was happening. It was like in the movies. I’m in some white room, and I got doctors and nurses strapping me down on a bed. They got the scrubs on and the gloves on, and they’re sticking needles in my arms, and cutting my pants off at the waist. It was terrifying. I just remember begging them not to hurt me, and really believing that this was all happening for no reason. Really believing that this was all some misunderstanding, and they had the wrong person.
Storyline: Mental Health
Ben Gordon: And that’s when I started disassociating myself completely from Ben Gordon. I was convinced that I was a clone. That this body I’m in is not my real body. It can’t be. My spirit is trapped inside this clone body that’s bugging right now. I created a whole different name for this person. I had a different email address and phone number for him. I was emailing people telling them that I had a different name, like, “Yo — it’s really me. Don’t tell nobody!”
At first, I thought it was useless. What’s some older white lady gonna know about what I’m going through? How’s she going to tell me anything? She can’t tell me NOTHING! Well … she didn’t. She barely said a word as a matter of fact. But I got to sit in my chair and just talk my shit. And you know what? It felt pretty good. I ended up doing an extra six months of therapy, all on my own. Not because I had to. But just because I thought, “You know what? I’m actually fucking with this!”
February 20, 2020 | 9:03 pm EST Update
February 20, 2020 | 8:09 pm EST Update

Giannis likely to stay in Milwaukee?

There’s little doubt that Giannis Antetokounmpo, reigning and likely repeat MVP, has every reason to stick around in Milwaukee over the long term. The Bucks have a sparkling new downtown arena and a state-of-the-art practice facility, a long way from the state of play when Antetokounmpo arrived—back then, the Bucks were in the mostly moribund Bradley Center and practiced on the grounds of a Catholic Diocese headquarters in St. Francis, a few miles south of Milwaukee.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 7 more rumors
February 20, 2020 | 7:09 pm EST Update