Mohammed’s return came as no surprise, as the backup center, even in the latter stages of his career, was increasingly important to the Bulls as last season wore on and given that it’s his hometown team. He already has a defined role behind Noah, so the Chicago native had no reason to consider leaving in free agency.
A respected locker-room presence, while the moment fans and national observers might remember him for, unfortunately, was his uncharacteristic retaliatory shove of LeBron James, Mohammed is one of the more high-character players on a team full of them. Playing little early last season and his body language starting to reflect it, instead of sulking further, the veteran put in the work, before and after practice, staying ready until Thibodeau called his name and then responding, never leaving the rotation after that.
Playing his role precisely, he’s a physical presence in the lane, an effective shot-blocking presence, a solid rebounder and possesses a better scoring touch than expected, capable of playing more than serviceably for 10-15 minutes per evening. At the Berto Center all summer to ensure he’s ready to contribute, while the Bulls undoubtedly would like to add more depth at center, if and when they do, that player — whether it’s Pittman or fellow journeyman D.J. White now, or familiar face Kurt Thomas later, when he’s certified as healthy from an offseason medical procedure — will have to beat out Mohammed, a formidable task, to see the floor.
Make sure to check out all the Bulls previews, each spotlighting this season's expectations for individual players and head coach Tom Thibodeau: