Different motivations for Hinrich, Teague vs. Hawks

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Different motivations for Hinrich, Teague vs. Hawks

NEW YORK Though hes too humble to say it, the vibe Kirk Hinrich gave off was one of, You guys didnt think I still had it, did you?

Hinrich, a true professional, chuckled when he was asked about his hot night shooting the ball 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including 4-of-5 from three-point range, as well as nine rebounds, eight assists and just two turnovers in Friday evenings Bulls win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

I made a couple early and my teammates found me for some easy ones, but it always feels good when shots go in, he said, as if the question was the most elementary thing ever. They just presented themselves and I was able to knock them down, and they kind of continued to present themselves as the game went along.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau wasnt so charitable to the assembled media when asked about Hinrich.

Finally, you guys recognize that. The guys been playing well all season. Hes got our second-highest plus-minus. You guys keep talking about what hes not doing. All I see is him playing well, the coach said. If you look at how he shot the ball over the last 10 games, prior to tonight, he was shooting 47 percent from three. You guys say hes not shooting well. Hes doing a great job running our team. Thats what I do know.

Regardless of his numbers, its clear that on a nightly basis, Hinrich isnt the same Captain Kirk Bulls fans remember from his younger days, before he was beset by so many injuries and had an extra dose of athleticism and quickness, which he used to become an effective penetrator, manufacture more offense for both himself and teammates, and was an upper-echelon defender at his position. Those traits are no longer givens, especially when watched alongside some of the more explosive point guards in the game today, but his determination, team-first mentality, unselfishness and most significantly, toughness cant be denied, which is why Thibodeau puts him in the same boat as the indispensable Luol Deng, Hinrichs former and current teammate.

Well, they both have a lot of mental and physical toughness and thats what makes them so valuable to our team, Thibodeau explained. Sometimes you cant always measure what they do for the team statistically, but you know the team is performing well when theyre on the floor and thats how you judge them.

Saturday night, Hinrich will face the last team he played for, the Hawks. But he isnt looking at the game with sentimental feelings, understandable after he was unceremoniously traded to Washington by the Bulls in the summer of 2010, then subsequently traded to Atlanta, where he was only a part-time starter.

Its just another game for me. Theyre playing very well right now and were going to have to play really good, Hinrich said of the Hawks, who feature former Bulls top deep threat Kyle Korver. Theyre a very talented team. I think they did a good job of adding pieces in the offseason that fit how they play and Im not surprised at all.

Coincidentally, the player who eventually seized the starting point-guard role in Atlanta was Jeff Teague, the older brother of Bulls rookie Marquis Teague. Hinrich expressed his respected for the elder Teague, who appears to be in the midst of a breakout season, now that hes a bigger part of the Hawks offense with Joe Johnson in Brooklyn.

Jeffs an explosive athlete and he can really score in bunches, Hinrich said. Hes a tough guard.

For Marquis, Saturday will be the first time hell play against his brother in an organized game, period, let alone the NBA.

Its going to be fun, man. Well just go out there, battle it out, he said, adding that the two havent been in contact leading up to the matchup. Weve played pickup against each otherwe both kill each other. Its nothing.

He knows my game like I know his, though. Its the same. Weve been watching each other our whole lives, so were just going to go out there and play hard.

Fred Hoiberg's message to Bulls at trade deadline: Control what you can control

Fred Hoiberg's message to Bulls at trade deadline: Control what you can control

Jimmy Butler was the lone member of the Bulls not at practice Wednesday night at the Advocate Center. But the three-time All-Star wasn't on his way to Boston as part of a blockbuster trade. Instead, he was simply receiving an extra day of rest after a busy weekend in New Orleans.

With a little more than 12 hours remaining until the NBA trade deadline - Thursday at 2 p.m. CT - the Bulls' roster remains intact. Butler continues to be linked to the Boston Celtics - although multiple reports have stated that the two sides remain far off on a potential deal - and the likes of Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic, Doug McDermott and Robin Lopez all have popped up in various trade rumors over the past week. Even Fred Hoiberg said "Jimmy's obviously been great for us and we thinkn that will obviously continue to happen" when asked if the team's leadeing scorer might be dealt.

The latest report came Wednesday evening when The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Bulls are continuing their pursuit of Chicago native and Sixers center Jahlil Okafor, with Mirotic as a potential part of the package going back to Philadelphia.

 

Fred Hoiberg, who's been in a front office role at the deadline with the Minnesota Timberwolves, said he understands the trade deadline process of needing to "listen to everything and see if there's something that can help out without jeopardizing the future." But Hoiberg, as he's done when asked about the deadline the last few weeks, reiterated that "99 percent of the things that you hear and read don't transpire."

Still, as a former player he's aware of the strain the trade deadline can put on players, specifically players of a team in selling mode. He's implored his team to not read too much into reports and sources that pop up on social media and to focus on the task at hand, a Friday night matchup against the Suns.

"I don't think it's affected us at all. I think our guys have done a great job. Again, there's so many rumors that get thrown against the wall and that's what most of them are, they're rumors," Hoiberg said. "Our guys have done a good job ignoring that and going out and trying to work through and control what they can control, and that's going out and competing."

Butler has strung together another career year and started Sunday's All-Star Game for the first time in his career. But as the Bulls internally discuss whether to begin their rebuild - which would come in the form of dealing Butler to the Celtics for young assets - Dwyane Wade, who is expected to play through his wrist injury Friday against the Suns, understands that every rumor, report and eventual trade is fair game this time of the year.

"It's a business. every organization has a job to do to try to make their orgnaizatioon the way that they see fit. and as players you can't get sensitive about that at all," Wade said. "Trade deadline is more talk than anything, normally, but it's exciting for the fans to see what the team is gonna do or don't do and all this and that. But a lot of it is just talk."

For the Bulls, all talk remained just that at last year's deadline. They find themselves in a similar position as they did last season, although wins over contenders in Toronto and Boston have produced some optimism for the seventh-seeded Bulls. The schedule doesn't get much easier in March, with the Bulls facing off against 11 current playoff teams in their next 14 games.

And they'll know a lot more about where they stand when the clock strikes 2 p.m. on Thursday.

"I think it's always a relief for anybody that's in this business once that trade deadline comes and goes," Hoiberg admitted. "Then you can just focus on what you need to work on and not have to worry about all the things that are being thrown around and all the rumors that are out there. Just worry about getting your guys ready to play the stretch run and again hopefully play well."

Woj: Bulls still pushing for Jahlil Okafor trade with Philadelphia 76ers

Woj: Bulls still pushing for Jahlil Okafor trade with Philadelphia 76ers

According to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Bulls are continuing to go after Chicago native and Sixers center Jahlil Okafor.

According to Wojnarowski, the Bulls are trying to persuade the Sixers to entertain Nikola Mirotic as part of the pacage they would send to Philadelphia.

Okafor has been linked to the Bulls dating back to last month, when CSN Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill reported that the Bulls were going after the 21-year-old center.