Bulls' Johnson set for D-League stint

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Bulls' Johnson set for D-League stint

Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2011
Posted: 11:00 a.m. Updated: 3:34 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

As first reported by AOL Fanhouse, Bulls forward James Johnson is set to be assigned to the D-League's Iowa Energy Thursday, a source with knowledge of the situation tells CSNChicago.com. Johnson, a second-year player, requested the assignment, which will last 14 days, according to the source.

Assigning James to the D-League gives an opportunity to play an extended amount of minutes and will be good for his overall growth, Bulls general manager Gar Forman said in a statement Thursday.

Johnson, a 6-foot-9 forward drafted 16th overall in 2009 NBA Draft, has seen action in 12 games this season and has averaged 3.5 points and 2.0 rebounds per game, with his last playing time in the team's Jan. 4 win over Toronto. As a rookie, the Wake Forest product averaged 3.9 points and 2.0 rebounds in 65 games.

Although Johnson won acclaim for transforming his body in the offseason, he hasn't been able to crack first-year Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau's rotation and was reportedly on the trading block earlier this season. An extremely athletic player, Johnson views a stint with the team's D-League affiliatethe Bulls haven't assigned a player to the team since the 2007-08 seasonas an opportunity to at least gain experience, according to the aforementioned source.

Thibodeau positive about Johnson's assignment

Bullshead coach Tom Thibodeau shed more light into the organizationsdecision to assign second-year forward James Johnson to the IowaEnergy, the teams D-League affiliate.

James has done aterrific job. His attitudes been great, he worked extremely hard inpractice and we just felt because of the way things were going, hewasnt playing much, so we wanted to give him an opportunity to get himsome playing time, said Thibodeau. Games are different than practice,so I think it will be good for him.

I think hes made goodprogress, Thibodeau continued. Defensively, hes improving. Hesworked very hard on his shot and hes got to continue to do so. Theonly way you can get playing time is by playing. Right now, were setin our rotation and this is an opportunity for him to play in somegames.

Thibodeau referenced Johnsons chances to get minutes earlier in the Bulls seasonprior to power forward Carlos Boozers debutand how the situation has changed since then.

Theopportunity was there when Johnson was playing earlier. We had gottendown big in those games and we were looking for a change in energy andthat was basically the role that he was in. Luol Denghas played exceptionally well and he hasnt been hurt or anything, sothere just havent been a lot of minutes there, Thibodeau explained.It wasnt really anything that he did. There just werent minutes. Wehave Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver and Luol who are really playing that position and then weve moved C.J. Watson some to the two shooting guard, so if you look at the wing minutes, theres not a lot of them there.

Thibodeauadded that Johnson wasnt opposed to the assignment, while a sourcepreviously told CSNChicago.com that Johnson requested to play in theD-League.

It was probably a combination of both a teamdecision and Johnsons request, said Thibodeau. When guys do godown, its important that they want to go downyoure seeing more andmore teams use it that way, when guys arent getting playing time. Youlook at the schedule and if it makes sense to give a guy an opportunitywhere you get 30, 35 minutes to play.

He wanted to do it. Itwasnt a case of him not wanting to go and its not a punishment. Itsjust an opportunity for him to get some playing time and develop, headded. The main thing for me is I just want to see him play. I thinkhell play well and I think thatll give him some confidence. The mainthing is the playing time and the only way hell get it is to go downthere right now.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Windy City Bulls fill out roster in D-League expansion draft

Windy City Bulls fill out roster in D-League expansion draft

The Windy City Bulls are beginning to feel more like a real team.

On Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls' new NBA D-League franchise that will play games in Hoffman Estates beginning this season participated in the league's expansion draft.

As one of three new expansion teams joining the NBA D-League this season, the Windy City Bulls were allowed to select 12 players from the other 19 teams in the league. Each returning D-League team was allowed to protect the rights to 10 players on each roster with two players being available to the Bulls, Long Island Nets and Greensboro Swarm.

The Bulls acquired the rights to 12 players as here's the rundown of who they selected.

Round 1: Wesley Saunders, G/F, Harvard (Austin Spurs)
Round 2: Kiwi Gardner, G, Midland College (Santa Cruz Warriors)
Round 3: Ralph Sampson III, C, Minnesota (Maine Red Claws)
Round 4: Booker Woodfox, G, Creighton (Texas Legends)
Round 5: Jerel McNeal, G, Marquette (Northern Arizona Suns)
Round 6: Akeem Richmond, G, East Carolina (Reno Bighorns)
Round 7: Casey Prather, G/F, Florida (Northern Arizona Suns)
Round 8: Jon Octeus, G, Purdue (Canton Charge)
Round 9: Justin Dentmon, G, Washington (Texas Legends)
Round 10: Jamal Jones, F, Texas A&M (Delaware 87ers)
Round 11: Xavier Thames, G, San Diego State (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)
Round 12: Ian Chiles, C, Morgan State (Salt Lake City Stars)

It's important to note that although the Bulls have the rights to these 12 players for two seasons that many of them might never suit up for the team. Many players from this expansion draft group will head overseas to pursue professional opportunities there. If they do end up signing a D-League contract, the Bulls will have right of first refusal, giving the Bulls rights to these players for two seasons.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Among the notables picked by the Bulls include the 5-foot-7 Gardner, who has had a successful D-League stint in the past as well as some experience in the Saudi Premier League. Local college hoops fans will probably recognize the 6-foot-3 McNeal from his days at Marquette where he played for one season with Bulls star Jimmy Butler. McNeal also has more NBA experience than anyone on the expansion list as he most recently finished out the 2014-15 season with the Phoenix Suns. Former Washington product Justin Dentmon is also a native of Carbondale as the 6-foot-0 guard helped Carbondale High School to a fourth-place finish in the 2004 IHSA Class AA state basketball tournament.

Windy City will tip off the season with a home opener at Sears Centre on Friday, Nov. 11. The 2016-17 D-League schedule was released earlier this week as Windy City will have 24 home games, including 16 that will be played on Friday or Saturday night. 

While the Windy City roster will look very different from this expansion draft list, the Windy City Bulls should help the main Bulls franchise develop young talent in a nearby location as it will be the start of a very intriguing dynamic.  

Derrick Rose is really, really confident with the Knicks

Derrick Rose is really, really confident with the Knicks

Derrick Rose has never been shy about voicing his opinion. And that didn't change once he was dealt to the Knicks in late June.

He told NBA.com in late July that the Knicks, who also signed Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings, had formed a "super team" with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. Rose said both the Knicks and Warriors, who won 73 games and then added this generation's greatest scorer in Kevin Durant, were the two super teams in the NBA.

Rose then doubled down on those comments earlier this month, saying every player should "believe in yourself" enough to feel as though you're playing on a super team.

That confidence didn't waver in the last week, as Rose made headlines once again for saying the Knicks have a chance to do something pretty special.

"I think (the Knicks) have a chance to win every game, and in the league, that's rare," he told Yahoo! Sports.

Now, it's important to recognize that Rose is not saying the Knicks are going to go 82-0, or even that they have a realistic shot at doing so (though Rose's other super team in the NBA, Golden State, may have a shot). It'd be even more odd to hear Rose say there were games the Knicks had no shot at winning this season, even though their 32-win season from a year ago would suggest otherwise.

What Rose's comments really show is that he hasn't lost any of the confidence that made him the league's youngest MVP. Even while battling through his myriad injuries Rose maintained that he'd get back to the level he once showed as a dominant point guard in the NBA. And with a fresh start in New York, he's hoping that becomes a reality.

The Knicks have a decent shot at getting back to the postseason for the first time since 2013. But with new head coach Jeff Hornacek and many new pieces needing to mesh, there's bound to be a few games early in the year that the Knicks have no real shot at winning (like Opening Night in Cleveland).

Bulls Talk: SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell on Olympic gold for Team USA, Jimmy Butler's role in Rio

Bulls Talk: SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell on Olympic gold for Team USA, Jimmy Butler's role in Rio

As part of a joint collaboration between CSNChicago.com and SBNation.com's Blog a Bull, Mark Strotman and Ricky O'Donnell are breaking down the latest happenings on the Bulls. Check back all season long for more video hits and features.

On the first edition of the collaboration, Mark and Ricky break down USA Basketball's road to a third consecutive gold medal in this month's Rio Olympics.

It marked the third consecutive gold for Carmelo Anthony, the first man to accomplish that feat, and head coach Mike Krzyzewski finished his career as USA Basketball head coach 88-1, including a 76-game winning streak to end things.

Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler was on that squad and provided crucial defensive work on the team's second unit. The guys break down whether or not he'll be a part of the 2020 team that heads to Tokyo looking for a four-peat.

And Butler wasn't the only member of the Bulls participating in Rio. Mark and Ricky look at Nikola Mirotic's encouraging play for the Spanish national team, as well as Cristiano Felicio getting his feet wet for the host country, Brazil.

See all of what they had to say in the video above, and be sure to check out Blog a Bull all season long for Bulls news and analysis.