We have talked the talk for months about this revamped roster and the potential that surrounds it. Now, I think we are all just ready to see Zach LaVine and Co. walk the walk.
Fortunately, that process will begin in a little over two weeks, which means our Bulls hunger can be satisfied with training camp quotes and footage as opposed to arguments about Lonzo Ball’s assists per game and daydreams about lobs to LaVine. I have a number of things lined up that I can not wait to discuss when training camp arrives.
As I said, however, it’s still two weeks away. So in the meantime, I guess we can check in on how some old friends (complicated past relationships?) are doing.
• Lauri Markkanen has arrived in Cleveland. The man has posted some workout footage on his Instagram, and he recently spoke with reporters about what it’s like to have a new home.
“He [J.B. Bickerstaff] wants me to be me. Just play the game the way I know how,” Markkanen told The Athletic. “I know what I can do on the court, and I’m glad he’s seen that too. He wants me to be aggressive and play freely. Just make the right basketball plays every time.
• In a different conversation with Evan Dammarell of Right Down Euclid, Markkanen preached a similar sentiment about his new job. He, once again, used the words “freely” to describe his upcoming style of player and claimed, “I feel like I get to play basketball the way I know rather than just having to play one role.” I’m not going to spend a dumb amount of time dissecting his quotes and digging up gripes that are now in the past (*proceeds to do just that*), but … come on. He was a cornerstone of this Chicago team for a long time. While I understand it is not easy to go through all the changes he did (especially when some of that change was led by the head coach that shall not be named), the opportunity to step up and play basketball the way he wanted was there for a while, right?
• We all waited for Markkanen to take the next step and be that aggressive versatile talent he claims he can now be in The Athletic’s article. Again, I get that Chicago has not been the most healthy environment to develop in over the last couple of seasons, but they did use him as the franchise’s poster boy right alongside Zach LaVine. It was not really until the end of this last season that Markkanen was pigeonholed into a specific role via his first-ever benching.
• Oh, well! At least he said there is no bad blood in the Windy City, and fans should feel the same way in regards to him. It simply became obvious both sides needed a fresh start, so I’m glad that happened.
“I have nothing against Chicago or anything like that. I’m just coming here, new start, so I’m excited and trying to show everybody, but most importantly to my teammates and myself that I can play at a high level every day.”
• Let’s hop from one former lottery big man to another! The Athletic’s Josh Robbins spoke to a number of scouts about the future of Wendell Carter Jr., and it’s clear the verdict remains out. The 22-year-old seems primed to carry plenty of responsibility in Orlando this upcoming season, but the question is whether or not all that liberty will finally unlock the potential we saw on draft night. Not to mention, can he stay healthy while unlocking that potential?
• Anyway, I wanted to share what I thought was the most telling quote from one of those scouts:
“Is he a starter on a playoff team? I’m not sure about that. But I do think that was an overall good move (for Orlando): getting him.”
• In my opinion, the first two sentences display exactly why this Bulls team partied ways with Carter. All of these recent moves have made it clear that the front office wanted to play a competitive brand of basketball sooner than later. If they did not believe Carter could turn into a reliable big who could eventually start games in the playoffs, then it only made sense to send him elsewhere. When we boil things down, I believe this is one of the many questions Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley asked themselves about each previous player on this Bulls roster. Can they help me in a big way during the playoffs (let alone, help me make the playoffs)? If the answer is no, it’s probably time to move on. Meanwhile, for a team like Orlando who is in full-rebuild mode, I agree it is good to take a gamble on a guy like Carter.
• Zach LaVine Drinking Mountain Dew is Coming Soon to a Screen Near You.
Breaking: Zach LaVine has signed a deal with Mountain Dew.
LaVine’s debut with MTN DEW includes his appearance in NBA 2K22 — officially out today — where he will serve as the brand’s in-game host and take fans through a variety of three-point challenges. pic.twitter.com/KicmmQ6K9L
— Boardroom (@boardroom) September 10, 2021
• I know it’s just a silly endorsement deal (one that appeared to be hinted at when he was working with Zion Williamson a couple of weeks back), but it’s yet another example of his growing stardom. More eyes will be on the All-Star this upcoming season than ever before.
• Don’t worry, the Bulls will help them add to their loser column.
Good God. The Bucks are 38-4 in division games under Budenholzer.
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) September 10, 2021
• Ugh, you hate to see it. Wishing him a speedy recovery.
Pacers‘ Edmond Sumner suffered a torn Achilles tendon during workout today.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 9, 2021
• You don’t have to rub it in. Jerks.
OFFICIAL 📝 The Nets have signed four-time All-Star Paul Millsap!
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) September 10, 2021
• The vibes are strong.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) September 9, 2021
• Hey, I know a guy who plays for the Giants.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) September 10, 2021
• Mark your calendars!
The 2021-22 NHL season is right around the corner, and that means important dates are being lined up. https://t.co/XEZWS8Z7Gc
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) September 9, 2021
• He pushed off.
Brady vs. Dak vs. the Referees, Nagy’s Play Calling, Montgomery’s Best Value, and Other Bears Bulletshttps://t.co/JLhu8YI0mt
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) September 10, 2021