MIAMIThough it was widely speculated that Luol Deng would make his return to the lineup Sunday, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau put an end to that notion before his team took on the Heat.
Luol is out, said the coach. Hes doing more and more, and feeling a lot better. Id say hes very close right now.
You want to make sure he feels good about playing. Hes doing a lot more without contact. We want him to be comfortable, Thibodeau added. As long as hes moving in the right direction, then were pleased with that.
Thibodeau also noted that backup point guard C.J. Watson, who suffered a wrist injury in the Bulls Friday home win over Milwaukee, will also miss Sundays contest.
He is day-to-day, said Thibodeau. Hes a lot better today. Well see how he is tomorrow.
On a more positive note, starting shooting guard Rip Hamilton is expected to play.
While Thibodeau said Hamilton would warm up before it was determined whether or not the veteran would play, Hamilton himself confirmed that hed be available Sunday.
The Bulls turned into sellers ahead of the NBA's trade deadline.
According to CSNChicago.com Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill, the Bulls have traded Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and a second-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow and Joffrey Lauvergne. The Vertical first reported the trade.
Both Gibson and McDermott had been on the trading block, as Goodwill reported last week.
Payne, 22, was drafted by the Thunder in the first round (14th overall) in the 2015 NBA Draft. In 20 games this season, Payne is averaging 5.3 points, 2.0 assists and 1.6 rebounds per game.
Lauvergne, 25, was acquired by the Thunder from the Denver Nuggets prior to the 2016-17 season. In three seasons, Lauvergne is averaging 6.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
The 31-year-old Morrow is averaging 5.8 points in 40 games this season.
Bulls GM Gar Forman and VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson will meet the media following today's 2 p.m. deadline.
As the NBA trade deadline unfolds, we're keeping an eye on all the rumors around the league, including the status of Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and other Bulls players.
Denver made a "monster" push for Paul George, but to no avail:
Knicks, Timberwolves engaged in Ricky Rubio/Derrick Rose talks:
Sixers trade Nerlens Noel to Mavericks:
Celtics, Pacers talking Paul George (Nets pick included):
Thunder interested in both Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott
Suns shopping Brandon Knight
Rubio a target for Knicks