Bulls' Robinson, Radmanovic excited about NBA's potential return to Seattle

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Bulls' Robinson, Radmanovic excited about NBA's potential return to Seattle

With reports that the Sacramento Kings could sell their franchise to a Seattle-based ownership group in the near future, two Bulls in particular were especially pleased with the news.

Seattle native Nate Robinson and Vladimir Radmanovic, a member of the SuperSonics the name of Seattles franchise until its 2008 move to Oklahoma City for the first five seasons of his career, shared their enthusiasm about professional basketball returning to the city.

For our city, its big-time. Theyve been waiting for that for a few years now and the fans pretty much got their prayers answered, so for me, of course Im happy, just because my familys out there. My kids love to watch me play basketball, so going back home for me, Ill be ecstatic, said Robinson, who grew up in Seattle, is the son of a former Seattle Seahawks football player and attended the University of Washington, which is located in Seattle. I went to Gary Paytons basketball camps, Shawn Kemps basketball camps, Detlef Schrempf, I did it all, so I grew up a big Sonic fan and Im happy theyre back.

I was kind of ticked off when the Sonics moved, but it happens. But be patient and now look, were back, added the Bulls backup point guard, who admitted that while he rooted for the Sonics in the 1996 NBA Finals, he wasnt heartbroken when they lost to the Bulls, due to being a Michael Jordan fan. They have to give the franchise back its original name, which was ceded by Oklahoma Citys ownership. Thats a must. It wouldnt be the same. Seattle Kings? No way. The city wouldnt let that happen.

Radmanovic chimed in: Im excited. Im glad they got the team back. That town deserves to have a basketball team and Im sure theyll make the best out of it.

It was great. I was lucky enough to be there with some great players and we had some success. Not as good as we wanted to be, but we had a lot of support from the people in Seattle, continued the seldom-used reserve, who had perhaps the best years of his career with the Sonics, playing alongside the likes of Ray Allen on the organizations last playoff team in Seattle. That was a little disappointing, knowing that Seattle had a great fanbase already and to take away a team from them was a bad thing to do, in my opinion. But obviously, not many people from Sacramento are going to be happy about taking a team from Sacramento, so thats how it goes.

Even Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau seemed pleased about the potential move, saying before Wednesday nights game, Its a great basketball city and I dont want to speculate on teams being sold until it happens, but Seattle itself is a great city and I think it would be great for the league, so hopefully, at some point, there will be a team there again.

Jimmy Butler trade presents more questions for futures of Nikola Mirotic, Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo

Jimmy Butler trade presents more questions for futures of Nikola Mirotic, Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo

Lauri Markkanenn will be a Chicago Bull once the trade between the Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves is finalized sometime Friday when the trade call is sent to the NBA, as he’s the first domino to fall in what could be an interesting offseason to come.

A stretch-shooting big man from Arizona who shot 42 percent from 3 last season, Markkanenn is a native of Finland who’s more of an offensive threat rather than a defender and rebounder at seven-feet tall. He averaged 15.6 points and 7.2 rebounds for Arizona and has been regarded by many scouts as the best shooter in the draft.

With the Bulls bringing up the rear in that category, one assumes he’ll add a level of versatility if he can see the floor—which brings the Bulls to some offseason decisions they’ll have to make once free agency begins and even before. Markkanenn conceivably brings Nikola Mirotic’s future into question, as Mirotic is a restricted free agent this summer and Mirotic was on the trade block by the Bulls for the better part of last season as he had an underwhelming year trying to fill the role of a stretch-shooting big man.

But officials with the Bulls say Mirotic is still a priority for the Bulls and because he’s restricted, they control the process of his free agency. Mirotic shot 41.3 percent and averaged 10.6 points and 5.5 rebounds, as the Bulls still consider him an asset for the present and future as they’ll play a new style of basketball next season.

One would think Mirotic will command a salary at least around $10 million as the NBA’s salary cap will balloon to $99 million with a luxury tax line of around $119 million.

Rajon Rondo’s future has yet to be decided, as the Bulls acquired a point guard in Kris Dunn they’ve long eyed and presumably one they feel will be their future at the position.

Bulls officials stated they’ll wait until next week before making a decision on Rondo, but one wonders if they’ll go full youth movement, especially with wanting Dunn to succeed after a rocky rookie year in Minnesota and already having Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne under contract for next season.

Rondo has a $3 million buyout the Bulls can exercise that will make Rondo a free agent or they’ll pay Rondo $13.3 million next season.

[MORE: After trading Jimmy Butler, Bulls select Lauri Markkanen] 

And then there’s Dwyane Wade, who opted in to his deal of $23.8 million for next season. Wade came to Chicago for a number of reasons, notably the salary and chance to play with Butler. With Butler gone and the Bulls changing their direction of the franchise, one wonders how Wade sees himself next season and how the Bulls see Wade with their young players.

Unless Wade wants out, the Bulls are headed into the free agency period thinking he’ll be back next season, and considering the Bulls have to spend up to 90 percent of their salary cap, his money helps them keep their books afloat, even as Butler’s affordable max salary exits and the controlled rookie-scale salaries of LaVine, Dunn and Merkkanenn enter Chicago for a future unknown

After trading Jimmy Butler, Bulls select Arizona PF Lauri Markkanen

After trading Jimmy Butler, Bulls select Arizona PF Lauri Markkanen

The Bulls enterted their rebuilding phase on Thursday night after trading Jimmy Butler. And with the No. 7 pick they received in that deal, they selected Arizona power forward Lauri Markkanen.

Markkanen, a 7-footer from Finland, played one season for the Wildcats, averaging 15.6 points and 7.2 rebounds in 30.8 minutes per game. Markkanen was a sharpshooter, connecting on 42.3 percent of his 163 3-pointers.

His defense is a question mark but his pick-and-pop ability should fit in well in Fred Hoiberg's offense.

The Bulls also received shooting guard Zach LaVine and point guard Kris Dunn in the deal for Butler. The Bulls sent the No. 16 pick along with Butler. They still have the No. 38 overall pick in the second round.