Bulls reportedly sign Daequan Cook

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Bulls reportedly sign Daequan Cook

MIAMI According to an ESPN report, the Bulls have claimed shooting guard Daequan Cook off waivers. Cook, a three-point specialist, was waived by Houston after being acquired in the Rockets trade with Oklahoma City for James Harden in October.

Cooks agent, Mike Conley, Sr. the former track star and father of the Grizzlies point guard of the same name confirmed the signing. A six-year NBA veteran, Cooks best season was with the Heat, in 2008-09, when he averaged 9.1 points per game.

He played sparingly in Houston, his third professional team, and was waived by the Rockets on New Years Eve, according to reports. The Ohio State product is already familiar with some of his new teammates, having played with both Nazr Mohammed and Nate Robinson on the Thunder.

Shooter. Nate Robinson told CSNChicago.com before Fridays Bulls game in Miami. Thats what he does. Hes knockdown shooter. He can bring that fire and thats something that obviously theyre looking for, somebody that can put the ball in the basket, spread the defense, stuff like that. He plays hard and hes a competitor.

Mohammed concurred: Unbelievable shooting ability. Daequan, hes a great guy, shoots the leather off the ball. Hes a hard worker -- its a great program in OKC -- so it can definitely helps us.

Hes always been a good rebounder for his position. He battles, he can get off the bench and get you six, seven boards, the backup center continued. Were a defensive team, so hell be all right.

Predictably, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau didnt want to discuss the acquisition before the contest, saying, When it happens, Ill have thoughts.

Cook, who will be the 14th player on the Bulls roster, will receive the pro-rated veterans minimum for the remainder of the season, which wont put the team past the hard cap. To some observers, acquiring another shooting guard signals that the Bulls are committed to trading starter Rip Hamilton before next months league-wide trade deadline, a move that would bring the team under the luxury tax, something they historically havent paid.

Doug McDermott's return boosts Bulls' bench

Doug McDermott's return boosts Bulls' bench

Doug McDermott wasn’t exactly hunting for his first shot, but the first time he touched the ball in an NBA game in nearly a month wasn’t the optimal situation for him to let one fly.

It wasn’t in transition where he runs to an opening behind the 3-point line, nor was it a drive-and-kick situation where the help defense collapsed and left him open. It was a regular, simple, pass to the perimeter and McDermott’s defender was in reasonable proximity with 3:23 left in the first quarter.

He launched and the crowd soon roared its approval as his sweet jumper was sorely missed by the Bulls bench brigade—and moments later when he ran the floor for a fearless layup that caused Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to call a timeout, McDermott showed he missed the United Center crowd too, calling for more noise on his way to the bench.

“Anytime you have a guy like Doug, he comes back and makes his first 3, that’s hard to do,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He stepped up with confidence on that first shot. I’m sure he had a lot of nerves getting back out there.”

Missing 12 games and suffering two concussions, McDermott looked right at home in 25 minutes of run Thursday as the Bulls were able to rely on their reserves in some form in their 95-91 win over the previously perfect road warriors known as the Spurs.

“We defended and kept them off the foul line,” McDermott said. “Coach (Jim) Boylen was with them, so we feel we know them and I think all this time they were missing my defense.”

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The last statement was certainly tongue-in-cheek, but the Bulls’ bench production was certainly missing in action while he was out with the concussion protocol. So much so that his return prompted the Bulls’ coaching staff to call out the reserves in the morning shootaround, demanding more.

“It’s definitely Dwyane (Wade) and Jimmy (Butler) and (Rajon) Rondo (but) the coaching staff kinda called out our bench like, we gotta have you tonight, bench,” McDermott said. “We took that to heart, we were really locked in.”

Seemingly his presence aided the Bulls’ spirits and production, as the Bulls’ bench had the least effective scoring bench in the NBA since Nov. 13, the day after McDermott hit the unforgiving floor against the Wizards for his second concussion this season.

Their net rating ranks ahead of only the Wizards, Mavericks and Nets, who are a combined 17-45 this season. Their effective field goal percentage, which takes into account 3-pointers, is worst in the league in that span (42.3 percent).

When McDermott was healthy for that smaller sample size, the Bulls’ bench ranked fifth in offensive efficiency, seventh in net rating, and fifth in efficient field goal percentage. Whether McDermott – and his absence – was directly related to those numbers, it’s clear the Bulls are better when they have their best reserve – and only true floor spacers on the second unit – on the court.

“We’re all professionals and we want to help the guys who are busting their butts in the first unit to get us the leads,” McDermott said. “Tonight we did a great job of sustaining it. We take it personal when teams come back on us.”

[MORE: Pau Gasol relishes consistency with Spurs he couldn't find with Bulls]

Nikola Mirotic was four of eight from the field, and Cristiano Felicio seems to be back in Fred Hoiberg’s good graces as he’s carved out a rotation spot for himself with nine points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes.

It seems as if Hoiberg will stick with this rotation of players, at least for a little while until Michael Carter-Williams returns from his injuries. If McDermott is the mark of the Bulls’ bench going from bottom feeder to adequate, it should show this month.

“When he’s out there on the floor and we get him coming off screens, it forces the defense to shift as another person they need to be aware of,” Hoiberg said. “It opens up driving lanes for our guys. It was great to have Doug back with us.”

Morning Update: Bulls beat Spurs in Pau Gasol's return to Chicago

Morning Update: Bulls beat Spurs in Pau Gasol's return to Chicago

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