Prediction: Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau won't shed much light upon the status of injured forward Luol Deng when he's inevitably asked for updates on the following the team's morning shootaround in advance of Friday evening's game against the Bucks at the United Center. Another prediction: Deng could return to the Bulls' lineup sooner than later.
Deng, the Bulls' starting small forward, indeed has an eye of returning to the lineup Sunday, when the Bulls take on the Heat in Miami in a much-anticipated matchup. According to a source, Deng "shot a lot" during a voluntary workout session Thursday, confirming reports that his left wrist is improving.
Miami could also welcome back a key injured player to the lineup in the near future. Chicago native Dwyane Wade, the Heat's All-Star shooting guard, could play Friday night against the Knicks and is expected to be available by the time Bulls take their talents to South Beach.
Don't expect to see Michael Carter-Williams in the fold for the Bulls guard spots next season.
The organization is reportedly declining the qualifying option for the young guard, according to John Paxson on David Kaplan's radio show:
Carter-Williams, 25, was acquired in a trade with the Bucks last October in a move that sent Tony Snell to Milwaukee. Snell — the Bulls' first round pick (20th overall) in 2013 — turned in a career year with the Bucks, averaging 8.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game while making 80 starts.
Meanwhile, Carter-Williams appeared in only 45 games (19 starts) for the Bulls, suffering through the worst season of his professional career. He was drafted 11th overall in the same year the Bulls took Snell and Carter-Williams burst onto the scene with 16.7 points, 6.3 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game in his rookie season with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Carter-Williams was then traded to the Bucks in February 2015. He shot only 36.6 percent from the field in 2016-17 while averaging 18.8 minutes per game.
The Bulls are stacked at guard with Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo currently under contract plus 2016 first-round pick Denzel Valentine, Jerian Grant (acquired in the Derrick Rose trade), Cameron Payne (acquired in the Taj Gibson deal), Isaiah Canaan and then Kris Dunn and Zack LaVine (who were both acquired in the Jimmy Butler blockbuster last week).
The Chicago Bulls will introduce Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen today, and you can watch on CSN or live stream at CSNChicago.com/watchlive.
Tune in as coverage starts at 11 a.m. with players set to take the podium.
The trio was acquired in the Bulls' trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves. LaVine is rehabbing from a torn ACL, which cut his strong campaign short last season. Dunn is coming into his second season and was a player Gar/Pax thought highly of in last year's draft. Markkanen is a stretch-four that was drafted out of Arizona with the No. 7 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Read more about the new Bulls in Mark Strotman's scouting report.