Rose getting closer to full-contact in practice

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Rose getting closer to full-contact in practice

Jimmy Butler will make his second regular-season NBA start Monday night, as Luol Deng will miss his second consecutive game with a strained right hamstring, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said before his team hosted the Lakers at the United Center.
But Dengs status wasnt the only injury news the coach discussed in his pregame availability. Thibodeau updated the progress of sidelined point guard Derrick Rose, indicating that the former league MVP could begin full-contact practices this week.
Rose is very close. That full-contact practices will be the next step, Thibodeau said with a wry smirk on his face. It could happen this week.
He has to go through that for an extended amount of time. Thats not going to be, Okay, one or two days of contact and hes going to be out there. Thats not going to happen. Everyone has to be patient. Hes doing his part. Hes showing great patience. Everyone else has to, he continued. Hes got to continue to focus on the rehab. Our guys have to focus on their improvement and our opponent, and then when hes ready whenever it is when hes ready, thats when he comes back. Not earlier than hes ready, not later. Its when hes ready and our doctors have been on top of it from Day 1, so everyone just has to show patience.
Hes done great.
Perhaps sensing that the focus of the assembled media had shifted to Rose rather than the matchup with the star-studded Lakers, Thibodeau refocused the agenda to how his team has performed without the superstar.
I like our team. You guys, I guess you dont believe me, but I believe we have more than enough. If we do the right things, were capable of beating anyone, anywhere. We have to continue to do that and I still think we have a lot of room for growth, and thats the way I want us to be. We went through half a season last year without Derrick and so, the big thing, as I said, is you begin with the end in mind and for us, we want to be playing great basketball at the end of the season and we want to be as healthy as possible. So, with Derrick, its just being patient, let him handle the rehab, continue to listen to what our doctors have to say and then, we go from there, he explained, before delving into his preparation for the current season.
"The thing is, in terms of planning, we knew what the injury was last year, so we had all summer to map out how we were going to approach this. Sometimes it may be different when an injury occurs during the season and thats not something youre planning on, but we knew we could plan on this, so we mapped out what we thought would give us our best chance to succeed.

Fred Hoiberg, Jimmy Butler rave about Rajon Rondo's voice, basketball IQ

Fred Hoiberg, Jimmy Butler rave about Rajon Rondo's voice, basketball IQ

With one Bulls practice in the books and one more to go in the night session, it was evident from the primary parties that Rajon Rondo has earned instant trust and credibility with his play.

Or more pointedly, his brain and his mouth.

“He’s got the best voice on the team,” head coach Fred Hoiberg said. “When you have point guard out there who can get you into something and talk the way he does, that sets the tone for everybody.”

Apparently the ultra-intelligent point guard has been a galvanizing force since the team starting convening last month for informal workouts, as Hoiberg believes Rondo has grasped his system instantly and brought some of the younger teammates along.

“The biggest thing that I’ve been most impressed with with Rajon is the minute he stepped on this floor when he got back here in August is he pulled everybody together,” Hoiberg said. “If you have a guy not only offensively getting you into something but defensively making sure guys are pointing and talking and making sure guys are pointing and talking and getting back and matched up in transition, that’s where it starts. He’s been here. He’s been great. He’s a guy who you can watch film with in September before we got rolling here in camp. He got us off to a great start.”

Needing Rondo to be vocal will be a plus for Hoiberg considering the coach’s soft-spoken approach, and those two being on one accord will be a key considering Rondo’s history with coaches over time.

Rondo’s intelligence, which most consider to be genius-like, has already come in handy and will help with the perimeter adjustment of fitting himself, Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade together.

“Like I always say, when you put good basketball players out there on the floor you just go,” Butler said. “Everything just falls into place, falls into line. You don’t have to worry about too much of anything. And with him he’s an incredible leader. He just wants everybody to be successful. He’s going to put you in position to be just that.”

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Rondo has led the league in assists three times and his career 8.7 assists-per-game average is third among active players behind Chris Paul (L.A. Clippers) and John Wall (Washington Wizards).

“He has been around the league a long time,” Hoiberg said. “He studies the league. If he sees a small guy guarding Jimmy, he’s going to find a way to get him the ball on the block. The more you can have those guys recognizing things on the floor---if Robin Lopez is coming down and I have to yell, ‘Get the ball to Robin’ then we have issues -- and Rondo obviously will be a big help with that.”

So yeah, he’ll have the ball in his hands plenty.

“He’s super-smart. He really sees things before they even develop out there on the basketball floor, so it makes everybody’s job a lot easier," Butler said. "And not only is he leading the team on offense, but he’s constantly talking on defense, so he’s letting everybody know where they have to be. Wade’s the same way, so he makes everybody’s job easier as well, and you learn from that, so you just follow suit for the most part.’’

Butler joked that there will often be times where a Rondo pass zigs while he’ll be zagging early in camp while chemistry is developing, saying “I’m sorry, Rajon, because you’re going to definitely get a turnover from me one game,” and that he won’t be opposed to Rondo getting on him or anybody else in the meantime.

“I’m good with that,” Butler said. “I’ll challenge him right back if I see something that he’s not doing correctly. I want him to hold me accountable, me hold him accountable, everybody holding everybody accountable, because then everybody is going to learn from their mistakes and not to it again.”

Stan Bowman mum on Artemi Panarin contract talks

Stan Bowman mum on Artemi Panarin contract talks

In July, when asked how contract talks were going with star forward Artemi Panarin, general manager Stan Bowman said he wouldn’t negotiate through the media.

He reiterated that on Tuesday.

“Obviously Artemi's a big part of our team. We're excited for the season he had. We're looking forward to him building on that as well. Then the negotiations will be what they are between his agent and myself,” I respect Tom [Lynn, Panarin’s agent]. He's a very knowledgeable guy, and Artemi put a lot of faith in him. And Tom and I will work to get something done.”

Panarin is entering the final year of his current contract and is coming off a monster rookie season in which he recorded 77 points and took home the Calder Trophy. Panarin took home plenty of bonus money thanks to that season, too.

The 24-year-old could certainly command a hefty price, which would once again be a major concern to the cash-strapped Blackhawks. The salary cap is at $73 million for this season, a small increase from 2015-16 ($71.4 million). Factor in another likely small increase next season and the large contracts the Blackhawks are already doling out – Brent Seabrook’s eight-year deal with a cap hit of $6.875 kicks in this season – and could Panarin be another one that gets away?

But Bowman remains optimistic.

“We're always confident,” he said. “You go into a negotiation expecting to get a deal done. That's the way I've been in the past and that's the way I am now.”