Ah, training camp. A time for fans to frolic through optimism and for players to cherry-pick cliche comments: the atmosphere is unlike anything we’ve had; we just think we are ready to take the next step; we’re going to surprise folks this season; we’re going to do whatever it takes to win; our practices have been amazing; blah blah blah.
As much as I try to temper expectations, I eat up these comments as much as anyone. I’m a sucker for some good old fashion positive vibes and, all things considered, there are some legitimate reasons to believe in those vibes this time around.
• We still must proceed with caution, though. The last thing we want is to step into Arturas Karnisovas’ Hoops Factory and end up magically turning into a giant basketball. There is no room for cockiness or entitlement. Fans may have gotten the change they wanted, but the new Bulls haven’t earned anything yet, and that’s why we must find our way through these next couple of weeks with caution and patience. Hopefully, last season only reaffirmed that we shouldn’t get our hopes up about this roster. A new coaching staff and management team is nice, but this is still the same group of players. Add the fact that these guys haven’t played competitive basketball in nearly nine months, and we could be in for a very underwhelming start to the season. At the end of the day, that’s okay. Rome wasn’t built in a day (there is my cliche training camp comment) … but let’s hope this new front office can build it a whole lot faster and better than the last front office.
• While both Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen addressed the media on Tuesday, Markkanen walked away with the most interesting quote …
Lauri Markkanen Is “Putting Some Pressure” on His Agent to Work Out an Extension https://t.co/mMiu9jq2iN
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) December 1, 2020
• How badly does Markkanen want a deal? The comments shared in the post above would insinuate pretty darn bad, and that’s great news for Arturas Karnisovas and Co. The more eager he is to get an extension locked-down before December 21st, the more likely he is to sign a team-friendly deal. I think we all know that the two sides probably didn’t start negotiations on the same page. The front office isn’t about to hand over a huge chunk of change for a player that is (1) not a guy they hand-picked and (2) is coming off a career-worst season. Meanwhile, Markkanen’s camp is probably hardcore selling potential, which they could easily view as All-Star-caliber for the 23-year-old. I still find it a bit hard to believe a deal can get done, but if Markkanen values long-term security and is truly putting pressure on his agents, he might be ready to compromise.
• The Athletic Darnell Mayberry wrote up five very important questions that the Bulls must answer in training camp, and it’s recommended reading. We also wrote up some thoughts on what these next couple of weeks could tell us about the Bulls future, which is also recommended reading (*very selfishly types the guy who wrote it*):
Four Thoughts Ahead of Bulls Training Camphttps://t.co/3Z0iizetkN
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) November 30, 2020
• FACTS. If LaVine was on a contender, people around the league would love the guy.
I always enjoy it when we talk to Zach LaVine. He'd be a very popular player on a national level if he were on a winning team.
— jon greenberg (@jon_greenberg) December 1, 2020
• Can the Bulls just wear these?
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 1, 2020
• Bulls had Max Strus on a two-way contract before he tore his ACL last season. The former DePaul standout played some real solid ball in the G-League, and he’ll now take his talents to south beach.
OFFICIAL: The Miami HEAT have signed guard/forward Max Strus.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) November 30, 2020