The Vasilije Micic Rumor, Revisiting the Gafford Trade, Thibs Wins COY, and Other Bulls Bullets
The Chicago Bulls might be searching far and wide for their next point guard.
In case you missed it, a report dropped on Monday from overseas publication Mozzart Sport that the Chicago Bulls were sniffing around EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micic. The European standout has been on the NBA radar since 2014 when his draft rights were obtained by the Philadelphia 76ers. Most recently, the Oklahoma City Thunder acquired those draft rights as part of their trade for Al Horford in December of 2020.
Report Out of Serbia Says Bulls Are Interested in Acquiring EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micichttps://t.co/AH8OGfkLea pic.twitter.com/tqUK6Qbjkw
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) June 7, 2021
• Considering Micic, 27, is coming off his best season and headed toward free agency, this would be a natural time for the veteran to finally test out his skills at the NBA level. However, whether or not he would be interested in playing for the rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder is a fair question. Micic’s most recent resume gives him at least some power to wait for a more competitive environment. But, regardless of Micic’s team preference, I do think his rights could be acquired relatively easily. While the Thunder might be interested in his services as a veteran presence, the organization is likely far more focused on acquiring and developing younger talent. So maybe a second-rounder or something gets the job done?
• The EuroHoops’s piece that shared the original report also noted that Micic’s agent will “not allow his client to head to the NBA just to be a bench guy.” Sure, Jan. I tend to believe this is more “agent speak” than anything else. No matter where Micic goes, even if it’s Chicago, there is a decent chance he begins his career coming off the bench. Perhaps he can make enough of an impact in training camp to get a more immediately impactful role, but I still think most franchises would ease him into things. The NBA is a different ballgame. And, with that being the case, I also highly doubt this would be Arturas Karnisovas’ Plan A at the point guard position. Micic would likely be nothing more than a decent and relatively cheap shot in the dark to pair with whomever else the Bulls try to acquire.
• Daniel Gafford may have found himself a long-term home. The Athletic’s Fred Katz wrote that Gafford is now viewed “as a legitimate part” of the Wizards’ future, and I’m sure that line is enough to make some Bulls fans the tiniest bit twitchy – myself included. But the Gafford trade still has my overall support for two key reasons: (1) Troy Brown Jr. remains a highly intriguing prospect, and (2) Gafford is a pretty situational player.
• We only got to see 13 games from TBJ when he arrived due to a non-serious ankle injury, but even those 13 games were enough to raise our ears. He played tremendous defense off the bench in short stints, and he flashed some of the versatile offensive playmaking that helped make him a Top-15 pick in the first place. Next season should make everyone feel better about what the Bulls got back in that trade (or, at least, I hope). As for Gafford’s continued success, I expect he’ll have plenty of it alongside Russell Westbrook. While the former MVP isn’t fully what he once was, he is still one of the most elite table-setters in the league. A lob(ster) and rim-rocker like Gafford is bound to thrive alongside that elite of a point guard. Don’t get me wrong, Gafford surely deserves a bulk of the credit, but role and situation matter. Chicago clearly wants to run a system where their big men do a bit more (*motions toward Nikola Vucevic*), and I’m cool with that.
• I hope Zach LaVine is just hate-watching Devin Booker during these playoffs. Feed off that energy.
DEVIN BOOKER 🔥
21 PTS (8/12 FG), 8 AST, W
He's shooting 64% over his last 3 games. pic.twitter.com/Uxzl8an3Bi
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) June 8, 2021
• I also hope Billy Donovan was just hate-watching Thibs during the first round.
This is Tom Thibodeau’s second NBA Coach of the Year award (first was 2010-11 with Chicago). Thibodeau is the first coach to win the award in his first year with two franchises and he’s the first Knick to win it since Pat Riley in 1993. Here is the NBA Coach of the Year voting: pic.twitter.com/pybbjQJCOi
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) June 7, 2021
• Feel what you will toward Thibs, but there is no question he knows how to establish a winning culture (maintaining it? Well, that’s a different story). Taking the Knicks from a 21-win team to a 41-win team and 4th-place in the East with basically the same key players is absolutely worthy of this acknowledgment. I look forward to the Bulls improving to the point where they crush the Knicks on a regular basis and restore order to the universe.
• So Blake just decided to start doing Blake things again, huh?
BLAKE GRIFFIN OVER GIANNIS! 😳
— RingerNBA (@ringernba) June 8, 2021
• THEY GROW UP SO FAST!!
Fresh cut 🔥
(via @CobyWhite’s IG) pic.twitter.com/0ALmr54TWw
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) June 7, 2021