Rose willing to play through pain against Kings

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Rose willing to play through pain against Kings

Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010
12:32 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Despite a sore neck, Derrick Rose expects to play in the Bulls game Saturday night against the Kings.

"It's up to Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. It's a little sore, but I'm willing to play through it," said Rose, who received a massage in the training room during Chicago's buzzer-beating Friday night loss to Denver. "It feels decent. We'll just have to see. I still have problems turning fast certain ways, but I think when I'm playing, I should not be thinking about it."

"I'm just trying to stay positive right now, just think that I'm going to play the whole game. C.J. Watson played great yesterday, so if I can't play, I know that he'll come in and back me up pretty good," added Rose, who later indicated the decision to play rested with him. "I'm going to go test it out now, shoot for a little bit and see how it is. If it's hurting, take a pill and still go out there and play."

Rose, received treatment -- electronic stimulation -- on the team's flight from Denver to Sacramento following Friday's game.

"He's doing a lot better today. He's going to go through pregame warm-up and if he's fine after that, he'll go," said Thibodeau. "Once he gets out there, if he feels good, we want him to play. But if he doesn't feel good, then we don't want him to play. If he's injured, he should sit. But if he's just hurting, then he should play. If he sits out -- like I said yesterday -- I'm more than confident in the guys that we have on that bench."

Thibodeau said power forward Taj Gibson -- who received limited minutes last night, getting pulled early in both the first and third quarters and never returning in either half -- would likely play.

"He's going to go through the warmup and if he's feeling fine, he'll go. He seemed like he was moving around OK at the hotel," said Thibodeau.

Newly-signed point guard John Lucas spoke to CSNChicago.com about missing two clutch free throws in Friday's loss, which enabled Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony to hit the game-winning basket.

"That game's over with it, it's behind us," he said. "I told them I'm sorry I let them down just because I make free throws. Like Coach Thibs and everybody told me, just move on to the next game. We've got Sacramento. You have no excuses. It doesn't matter about your flight or what you were going through that day. It comes down to knocking the shot down, knocking the free throws down with confidence. I went in there with a lot of confidence to shoot them. The second one, I knew it was in there, but when it hit the back of the rim -- it's a tough situation. I washed it off and moved on to this game.

"Everybody wants that opportunity to make that big shot -- that home-run shot -- and for me, to take the ball out, I'm always going to make the right decision to get the ball in because that's more important than anything else, especially when we didn't have any timeouts left," continued Lucas, who played for Thibodeau in Houston when the Bulls head coach was a Rockets assistant. "Just for him to put me in a situation like that -- just getting here -- shows a lot. I just apologize to my team. I feel like I let them down. I didn't just let my teammates down. I let the city of Chicago down and the whole organization."

Thibodeau explained his thought process for having the newly-signed guard in at crunch time late in the game in Denver.

"John is capable of inbounding the ball. He fulfilled that role for us in Houston," explained Thibodeau. "You base your decisions on the players you have available at that particular time. John was actually in C.J.'s position, C.J. was in Derrick's position and then Kyle Korver was the guy obviously we were trying to get the ball to.

"In those situations, John's an excellent free-throw shooter and I'm confident in his ability to make those. I've seen him make big free throws before. It didn't work out last night, but it will the next time."

As far as the seven-game road trip as a whole, Thibodeau isn't concerned about the Bulls' history -- or even recent history -- on the dreaded Circus Trip.

"Well, I don't want to look back and I think the big thing for us is looking at the game that's in front of us because that's what we try to do as a team. The big thing is coming into tonight's game concerned about Sacramento; the last game of the trip, making sure our focus stays on Sacramento and not thinking about going home. For the most part, I think our guys have done a great job with their attitude and their approach to each game," said Thibodeau. "There's good and bad with everything. When you look at where we are right now, there's a lot of areas we think we can do better in, so we want to continue to concentrate on our improvement. We've done some good things, I think we've shown some toughness, but there's some areas I think we can do a lot better.

"It's a probably a combination of a lot of things. The big thing is to develop the right mindset. You can win in any situation and if you look hard enough, you can find an excuse every night. That's part of the NBA -- the back-to-backs, the four games in fives nights -- everyone has to go through it and I think the real quality teams in this league find a way to overcome those things."

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's 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.

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What will Bulls do with Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade?

What will Bulls do with Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade?

The Bulls have made their biggest decision of the offseason but the future of Rajon Rondo and to a lesser extent, Dwyane Wade, is still in the air.

Due to the trade for Kris Dunn and the Bulls having acquired Cameron Payne at the trade deadline last season, it doesn’t appear to be much room for Rondo. Even moreso, considering Dunn and Payne’s lack of production, one would think the Bulls would easily guarantee Rondo’s $13.3 million for next season.

But with the June 30th deadline approaching, it seems more and more like the Bulls will buy Rondo out for $3 million and go with a total youth movement, despite Rondo’s success with guiding some of the young players on the roster.

If not for Rondo’s wrist injury in Game 2 of the Bulls’ first-round series against the Boston Celtics, the Bulls could’ve advanced to the second round of the playoffs. Instead, they’re embarking on what could be a long process that may take years to recover from.

“He’s always been a great teammate and nurturer of the young guys,” said Bill Duffy, Rondo’s agent. Duffy also serves as Zach LaVine’s agent, so he was in attendance for LaVine’s introduction at the United Center.

The handling of Rondo’s benching, re-emergence and subsequent importance to the Bulls this past season has helped Rondo, in a sense. Rondo proved to be a galvanizing force to a degree after being shuffled in and out of the starting lineup.

“I think it’s fair to say he definitely showed a different persona that what had existed but like I said, he’s always been that way, I think it’s more publicized,” Duffy said. “I think he just loves to develop people, always managing and directing. So I think that’s always the case with the younger guys.”

If Rondo is released—and it certainly appears matters are trending in that direction, the 31-year old could have suitors in the New Orleans Pelicans and Indiana Pacers, sources tell CSNChicago.com. One would think the Bulls could use Rondo’s type of straightforward but encouraging brand of leadership in the locker room, but the Bulls have yet to guarantee his contract for next season.

“That’s still to be determined,” Bulls Executive Vice President John Paxson said. “We’re going to sit down with Bill and talk it through. We do understand that veterans are important for a young basketball team, the right veterans – guys that are good teammates, are supportive of the young guys and can continue to teach them how to be pros. Those are things we’ll be addressing.”

“The proof’s always in the pudding and I think if you talk to the front office and coaches, they really love what he brought and how he handled the challenges last year,” Duffy said. “I think we all mature over time and he’s been in the league a long time. He wants to win but he loves the game. I think he appreciates it more, he’s kinda of in his twilight years or approaching it.”

As for Wade, he exercised his $23.8 million option for next season as he was expected to, but that was before the Jimmy Butler trade that ushered in a new day of change.

There’s been speculation Wade would seek a buyout from the Bulls at the start of free agency but so far, those conversations haven’t been held and Paxson intimated Wade would have to give back a significant amount of that money to become a free agent.

There’s been speculation of Wade joining LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers, as well as Carmelo Anthony getting a buyout from the Knicks and following suit.

But the Cavaliers will have very little to offer in the way of cap space, so it’s tough to see Wade giving back a large sum then going to Cleveland for the veterans’ minimum—which would not make up the difference of a “significant” amount.

“I know Gar has spoken with Leon Rose, Dwyane’s agent, As far as the buyout, that has not been broached,” Paxson said. “I would say this: In this type of scenario, it would have to benefit us. It would have to benefit us. Dwyane was a great pro last year, and he’s been around a lot of different situations.”

But with Wade’s history of giving up large sums of money in the name of team, it’s harder to predict his moves. As strong as his relationship with Butler is, the possibility of Butler being moved didn’t affect him picking up his option, so his desire to play competitive or at least meaningful basketball could be weighed against wanting to keep his family comfortable after relocating to Chicago last year and collecting every dollar of his deal.

“He was in Miami when they had a couple rebuilding years as well,” Paxson said. “So right now we’re operating under assumption that he’ll be here. But like I said, if that subject is ever broached by them, it would have to be advantageous for us."