Bulls' Rose, Gibson Enjoy All-Star Weekend

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Bulls' Rose, Gibson Enjoy All-Star Weekend

Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010
3:53 P.M.
By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

With two players actively participating in the NBAs All-Star festivities, the Bulls are represented well in Dallas this weekend.

Rookie Taj Gibson played in Friday nights Rookie-Sophomore Challenge, and while it wasnt necessarily the blue-collar forwards preferred type of game, he did contribute to his rookie teams 140-127 win over some of the leagues best second-year playersminus, of course, his teammate Derrick Rose, who was excused from the game to concentrate on todays event, the actual All-Star Game.

In over nine minutes of action, Gibson came up with six points and two rebounds, and was praised by Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard, a guest analyst during the game, for his shooting ability. Sacramento Kings point guardand current Rookie of the Year frontrunnerTyreke Evans won the games MVP award with a 26-point (on 11-15 shooting), six-board, five-assist effort, while San Antonio Spurs forward DeJuan Blairs 22 points and 23 rebounds was also outstanding. Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings chipped in with 22 points and eight assists, and Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden added 22 of his own for the Rookie team. For the Sophomores, Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook scored a game-high 40 points, and received help from Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley, who contributed 26 in a losing effort.

Rose, Chicagos other All-Star participant, was replaced in last nights Skills Competitionhe won the event last yearby the Thunders Westbrook. Phoenix Suns veteran point guard Steve Nash ended up winning the competition. Despite Roses bruised right hipsuffered in a collision with the Magics Howard in the Bulls home loss to Orlando on WednesdayChicagos first All-Star since 1998 confirmed yesterday that he will play in tonights star-studded contest.

According to reports, Rose didnt show any ill effects from the injury at yesterdays Eastern Conference All-Star practice. Although hes coming off an injury, expect Rosewho was clearly excited to play in his first All-Star Game, as he stated before Wednesdays gameto give it a strong effort in the glorified pick-up game, even if hes not his usual full-throttle self. However, the combination of being a young player on a team with well-established veterans and Magic coach Stan Van Gundywho will coach the East teamperhaps feeling bad about overworking Rose after personally witnessing the injury could limit the Bulls guards minutes, although older players wanting to rest could force his hand.

On another note, the All-Star break is known for being somewhat of a networking party among the leagues executives, especially with the NBA trade deadline coming up later this week. The blockbuster deal between Dallas and Washingtonthe Mavericks sent Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, Quinton Ross and James Singleton to the nations Capital for Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, DeShawn Stevenson and cashmay have broken the ice, with a rumored swap involving Phoenix All-Star forward Amare Stoudemire to Cleveland perhaps imminent.

While teams are fond of blowing smoke and rumored deals more often than not dont happen, Chicago reportedly is considering a variety of moves, according to league sources. The trade most frequently discussed is disgruntled forward Tyrus Thomaswith other pieces, to make the deal work for salary concernsbeing traded to the Knicks for forward Al Harrington and possibly other less notable New York players. Although guard Kirk Hinrich has been bandied about as a likely resident of a new city, sources say reserve swingman John Salmons is more of a preferred option to be moved, say sources, while rumors of Luol Deng being on the block are less about Chicago shopping the small forward than other teams asking about him.

Regardless, with labor negotiations between the players union and the league also occurring over the weekenda new collective-bargaining agreement is another story for another timeteams are especially conscious of clearing salary for this summer, as arguably the most talented class of free agents in NBA history will be on the market. The Bulls are no exception, so while Thomas departure this week is almost a given, it would no surprise to see another core player leave the Windy City, too.

Now, however, isnt the time to worry about that. Enjoy Derrick Roses outing this evening and be thankful for the fact that while the rest of the nation (and world) get to watch him on a big stage tonight, Chicagoans get to marvel at his feats on a regular basis.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.coms 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 and read his Running with the Bulls blog.

Bulls pass out Christmas gifts to Chicago youth on Sunday

Bulls pass out Christmas gifts to Chicago youth on Sunday

It was hard to tell who was more excited Sunday afternoon: the Bulls players or the 400 kids who stopped by the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry as the team passed out Christmas gifts for kids who reside in the Chicago family housing development.

Robin Lopez was carrying about Benny the Bull, much to the surprise and delight of many kids who were in attendance, while Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo took photos and passed out gifts to every child.

Rondo established roots in Chicago long before becoming a Bull, but has become entrenched in the months since signing with the franchise, being a part of the 17th annual holiday party.

“It’s definitely an honor. An honor to be a Bull,” Rondo said. “Since Day 1 when I got here I thought they were the best organization as far as giving back to the community, and it shows. They do it without hesitation.

“Very welcoming. The people have been great. The kids have been here since Day 1 supporting us as well. It’s very exciting.”

Bulls volunteers served lunch provided by Papa John’s, Coca-Cola and Edy’s Ice Cream, as the holiday party is one of the 30 events the Bulls are organizing as part of the team and NBA Cares’ “Season of Giving.”

“It’s no problem for any of us,” Lopez said. “Look at Raj, look at Jimmy, they’re having a blast out there. They’re having as good of a time as the kids out there.”

Being a California native, the newfound snowfall added to the atmosphere for Lopez.

“This really feels like Christmas,” Lopez said. “I can feel the spirit inside with the kids and the looks on their faces when they walk in and see the toys, they see Jimmy Butler and they’re so excited to be a part of it.”

Whether it was Barbie Dreamhouses, or Nerf basketball rims, the kids were ecstatic to see the Bulls and to pick out the toys being distributed by the Bulls’ stars.

“Very humbling. Over 400 kids. And every kid comes through all smiling and excited,” Rondo said. “Some of them don’t get toys all year and this time of year is about giving. I’m very humbled.”

Butler has been around Bulls Charities since being drafted in 2011, so although this is old hat, he hasn’t lost any of the spirit that comes with doing events like this year after year.

He posed with kids for photos and cracked jokes to the younger basketball fans.

“Feels good. I just like being here. It’s what this time of year is all about, seeing these kids smile,” Butler said. “I love kids, I love this city, I want everybody to be happy all the time. However I can make that happen, especially around Christmas and the holidays, I’ll do.”

Lopez is quiet to many who see him on the floor, but his eyes lit up around the kids and made Benny the Bull his personal prop by picking him up and carrying him through the museum.

“Every time I see it, it’s a wonderful feeling. To think I’m a small part of it, I can’t begin to describe it,” Lopez said. “Any opportunity I get to work with kids, that’s always easy yes in my book. I’m a big kid at heart. Any time I can go play, I’m in.

“It’s indescribable. I got so many great gifts as a kid, and blessed in so many ways. Just to be able to give back in any facet, that’s an easy yes.”

Sunday's event leads up to Monday's Chicago Bulls Charities Night at the United Center. The Bulls host the Portland Trailblazers at 7 p.m. on CSN.

Tune in tonight for Chicago Bulls Charities Night

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Tune in tonight for Chicago Bulls Charities Night

The Bulls are looking to bounce back Monday night against the Blazers, with coverage on CSN beginning at 6:30 with Bulls Pregame Live.

And once the game gets underway, make sure you're tuned in as we and other affiliates participate in Chicago Bulls Charities Night.

Throughout the game we'll be highlighting the work that the Bulls organization has done in the Chicago community this past year, including taking part in more than 200 programs that the team says has impacted more than 87,000 Chicagoans.

You too can make an impact by checking out the Bulls Charities silent auction, going on until Dec. 6.

You can also make a donation of any size to Bulls Charities to be entered into a raffle to win a basketball autographed by this year's Bulls team.

Also, Bulls Charities will be hosting a ping-pong tournament next month to raise money. Winners of the tournament will get a chance to play against the Bulls! Learn more about the event, which will take place at Spin, here.

Learn more about Bulls Charities and the work the team does in the community here.