Hinrich has flashback performance against Lakers

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Hinrich has flashback performance against Lakers

Bulls veteran point guard Kirk Hinrichs performance in Monday nights 95-83 home win over the Lakers was like a blast from the past, back in the old Captain Kirk days.

Hinrich isnt viewed as much of a scorer these days, as his primary role on offense is being a facilitator, as well as making opposing floor generals work hard on the other end of the floor. But every once in a while, the Kansas product shows that hes still capable and while it helped that he was guarded by the defensively-deficient Steve Nash, Hinrich rose to the occasion, scoring a season-high 22 points, the high total in the contest, on 9-for-11 shooting, as well as dishing out eight assists and grabbing seven rebounds.

Just hit a couple early and we played a lot of pick-and-roll in the second half, and I would come off screens and get some good looks, Its been a while. Its more like about time. Just had it going. We felt like that was our advantage. We could put them into pick-and-rolls in the second half and get the ball hopping, and obviously, we did a good job, he said in typically modest fashion, before explaining why he doesnt look to score more on a regular basis.

I think that injuries and its kind of an afterthought for me all year. Im trying to run the team and do my job, and I got a few more looks than I normally do tonight. The pick-and-rolls, I was able to come off clean and let it go.

Every games different and I think you have to have the feel of the game. A lot of games, it seems like early in the games, we have guys who have it going, the Iowa native continued.

I feel like its my obligation as a point guard to make sure the ball gets there and especially with Luol out tonight, we needed a little bit extra. It just happened to kind of be me.

While Hinrich downplayed his night, his teammates were ecstatic for the veteran.

Im very happy for Kirk because I know how bad he wanted it. We worked so much together this summer and to see Cap have a game like that in such a big game, it was huge, Joakim Noah said.

When Kirk plays like that, were very, very hard to beat because not only is he a great floor general, but when hes putting the ball in the basket like that and making playsbecause you know defensively, hes one of the best in the leagueits all positive.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau has championed Hinrichs contributions to the team all season and Monday, while it was more obvious, was no exception to the rule, according to the coach.

Hinrich has really played well all year, in terms of running the team and his defense is always outstanding. I felt it was just a matter of time until he starts knocking shots down and hes played very well for us all season long, he explained.

I think its important for him to shoot the open shots and I think sometimes, he gets so caught up in running the team that he sometimes passes up the open shot and when you dont take the open shot, sometimes what it leads to is taking a guarded shot, so I liked his aggressiveness. I thought his reads were very, very good and Nate, as well. I thought the two of them played a very efficient game.

Carmelo Anthony: 'I'm glad (Derrick Rose) is on my team'

Carmelo Anthony: 'I'm glad (Derrick Rose) is on my team'

by Jonathan Joffe

Derrick Rose has a new fan now that he's in New York: Carmelo Anthony.

Rose's new teammate and fellow multi-time all-star is a happy to be teaming up with the former Bull.

In addition to complimenting Rose's game, Anthony applauded the Knicks' front office for making moves that allow the team to be competitive in the upcoming season.

It was once thought that Melo and D-Rose could sport the same uniform aside from Olympic competitions. While it won't be in Chicago, the two will be making that thought a reality in New York.

Report: Pau Gasol tells Bulls he has declined option, becoming a free agent

Report: Pau Gasol tells Bulls he has declined option, becoming a free agent

It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, but Pau Gasol is hitting the market.

Gasol told the Bulls that he has declined his option for the 2016-17 season and will become a free agent, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.

The 35-year-old signed a three-year, $22.3 million deal with the Bulls in the summer of 2014.

In two seasons with the Bulls, he averaged 17.6 points per game and 11.4 rebounds and made an All-Star appearance.

Bulls: NBA Validation for Valentine came in the United Center last season

Bulls: NBA Validation for Valentine came in the United Center last season

Denzel Valentine’s annual growth had long been noticed by NBA executives but perhaps fittingly, it was a game in Chicago that served as the reinforcement he needed to know the NBA was in his sights.

On a national stage and on the United Center floor last November, Valentine put up one of the best stat lines in college basketball, leading Michigan State to a comeback 79-73 win over Kansas, a team ranked No. 4 in the nation at the time.

If he had any doubts about his future, a 29-point, 12-rebound and 12-assist performance served as the confirmation he was on an upward trajectory.

“I knew I could play in the NBA when I started my career at Michigan State,” Valentine said to CSNChicago.com after his introductory news conference. “Playing against guys like (Victor) Oladipo, (Cody) Zeller and those guys, I knew I could play in the NBA but I didn’t know I would be a first round, 14th pick. But I realized that this year after my triple double against Kansas.

“I realized I could be the best player in the country. It was very important because I got off to a good start and it helped me throughout the year.”

That night, the Bulls were rolling right along at 7-3, headed out West for a four-game trip and looking every bit like a team that would be in the thick of Eastern Conference contention. The likelihood of a marriage between a player billed as a mid-lottery pick and the Bulls seemed improbable if not damn near impossible.

But the Bulls hit several roadblocks and landed in the draft lottery, while Valentine put together one of the more complete statistical seasons in recent memory, averaging nearly 20 points and almost eight rebounds and eight assists.

Valentine hit a roadblock of his own with draft preparation, as word about prospective teams red-flagging his left knee began to trickle out, raising questions about his long-term availability.

At least one team in the lottery definitively passed on Valentine because of fears surrounding his knee, which was surgically worked on in high school and followed by a minor procedure in December, causing him to miss four games.

“It did surprise me because I’m healthy now,” Valentine said. “I only missed four games. I can control what I can control and let the chips fall that it may. I was a little surprised, a little angry that people were texting me asking if I were hurt. And I was like ‘what?’ But at the same time, I could control what I could control and I’m happy to be here.”

Missing a few practices here and there seemed to be the biggest side effect for Valentine through the season, as accolades followed nonetheless with him winning National Player of the Year over Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield, who went sixth in last Thursday’s draft.

“He’s gonna go out there and fight,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He’s been in so many high-pressure games at Michigan State. For a guy that played in Final Fours, made big play after big play. He’s been a part of winning cultures since high school. That’s huge, great experience for Denzel. If he can suit up, he can play.”

The awards are certainly not a precursor for pro success, as more than a few collegiate POY’s have wound up as professional carcasses in an unforgiving game.

But the qualities Valentine was noted for in college could translate to the NBA, and from the sounds of things he’ll get every opportunity with the Bulls to show off his versatility.

He’ll be thrown into the shallow end of the pool, so to speak, in Summer League next month. New acquisition Jerian Grant (via the Derrick Rose trade), Cristiano Felicio, Bobby Portis and Spencer Dinwiddie (acquired for Cameron Bairstow) will also join Valentine in Las Vegas.

“He's a basketball player,” Hoiberg said. “That's the big thing I got from talking to coach (Tom) Izzo, is you can play him all over the court. He's a facilitator. He's an excellent positional rebounder. He can bust out with the ball. And he gives you the opportunity to play in so many ways.”

Valentine wasn’t given a definitive position, and perhaps there’s no natural one over the other. But having the ability to be a floor-spreading point guard with Jimmy Butler handling or even a small-ball power forward leaves Hoiberg and the Bulls plenty of options.

“And I think how we want to play with our young core, how Fred we wants to play, we think it's a perfect fit in regards to his skill level and his basketball IQ and what he brings to the floor,” Bulls GM Gar Forman said.