Chicago Bulls

Bulls not getting overconfident against undermanned Nets: 'Our team understands what's at stake'

Bulls not getting overconfident against undermanned Nets: 'Our team understands what's at stake'

The Bulls are treating the season finale against the Brooklyn Nets like any other game, even though a playoff berth is on the line.

Same preparation, same way they're going about things and despite the Nets resting the top six players on a team that's only won 20 games, the Bulls are saying all the right things about respecting their opponent.

But it's difficult to do so when the Nets are letting their main talent, guys like Jeremy Lin and Brook Lopez for starters, sport their finest threads as opposed to trying to play spoiler for the Bulls at the United Center.

It certainly seemed probable the Nets could beat the Bulls for the second time in five days but the talent that they'll roll out tonight doesn't match up with what the Bulls have, even if the talent is underachieving.

"Well, the big thing is, it doesn't change our approach," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "We have a gameplan in place for whoever takes the floor for Brooklyn. We know it's a group that's going to come out and play extremely hard and they're going to play with great pace. Our coverages change a little bit just based on some of the things we think they'll do, but it's going to be a high-level game. We need to go out and approach it just like last week. Get a defensive mindset, hopefully get off to a great start and sustain it for 48 minutes."

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No word on whether Hoiberg sent Nets coach Kenny Atkinson a gift basket to the team hotel when the Nets arrived, helping Hoiberg likely clinch his first playoff spot since taking over as Bulls coach in 2015.

But whatever Hoiberg's internal feelings are, he's telling his team it can't let its guard down against an undermanned ballclub. Even though it seems highly unlikely, the Bulls could lose and miss out on the postseason for the second straight year—but that would be outright lunacy at this point.

"Our team understands what's at stake. It's obviously a win or go home type game," Hoiberg said. "They understand the urgency, the effort that we have to come out with. Again, I loved our approach in the game the other night. We have to do the same thing, the same mentality, coming out, hopefully getting off to a great start. We're a much better team when that happens. Hopefully our guys, you know, again, they've done a good job in this recent stretch and hopefully that doesn't change."

Bulls reach buyout agreement with Dwyane Wade

Bulls reach buyout agreement with Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade's Bulls career is set to end just over a year after it began.

According to the Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson, the Bulls and Wade have reached an agreement on a buyout.

CSN Chicago's Vincent Goodwill confirmed the report.

Wade signed a two-year, $47.5 million deal with the Bulls last July and averaged 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game in 60 games with the Bulls. This summer, Wade exercised his player option for the second year of the contract, worth $23.8 million.

Wade picked up his option just two days before the Bulls traded Jimmy Butler on draft night and went into rebuild mode. According to Goodwill, Dwyane Wade is giving back $8.5 million.

The Bulls will go into next year without any of the 'Three Alphas' the team had last year Wade, Butler and Rajon Rondo.

The news comes a day before Bulls Media Day, which will be live on CSN at 2:30 p.m., and on the same day the team agreed to a two-year deal with Nikolia Mirotic.

Wojnarowski also reported Cleveland, San Antonio, Miami and Oklahoma City are the contenders to sign Wade.

Bulls bring back Nikola Mirotic on two-year deal

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USA TODAY

Bulls bring back Nikola Mirotic on two-year deal

The Bulls and Nikola Mirotic ended their summerlong impasse by agreeing to a two-year, $27 million deal on the eve of training camp, sources tell CSNChicago.com.

Mirotic was a restricted free agent and was at risk of not being at Media Day Monday had he and the Bulls not come to an agreement, but the sides came away with a deal both will probably say is advantageous. Mirotic has a no-trade clause in the first year of the deal and the second season is a team option according to sources, preserving the big cap space the Bulls have when Dwyane Wade's $23.8 million contract comes off the books.

Mirotic and his representatives were looking for an offer sheet in the $16-17 million range when free agency first began, hoping the Bulls would match on what was expected to be a boom market.

But the boom went bust very quickly and free agent money dried up, leaving Mirotic with a $7.2 million qualifying offer the Bulls seemingly weren't budging from. But the Bulls reversed course, apparently relenting on the qualifying offer to sweeten the deal, which also helps the Bulls get to the salary floor for the coming season.

Mirotic's tenure with the Bulls has been tantalizingly frustrating after a promising finish to his rookie season in 2014-15. Unable to put together consistent stretches under Fred Hoiberg, there was question as to if Mirotic fit in the short-term plans, let alone the big picture as the Bulls are gearing up for a long rebuild.

But letting the 6-foot-10 Mirotic go was a little too much for the front office to stomach, as they appear to hold onto the slightest bit of hope Mirotic can develop into a versatile scorer without having the burden of big pressure around him. Unfortunate circumstances and injuries have played a part in Mirotic's inconsistencies, as he's played considerably better after the All-Star break in his three seasons. 

If not, they can cut bait with Mirotic after the season and start over, yet again.