Chicago Bulls

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.

State of the Bulls: Stacked 2018 draft class

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USA TODAY

State of the Bulls: Stacked 2018 draft class

2018 draft class is loaded at the top

Quietly, you can bet Bulls' front office executives John Paxson and Gar Forman had a little celebration after hearing that prep star Marvin Bagley III was going to graduate from high school early and enroll at Duke for the 2017-18 season, making him eligible for the 2018 draft.

Bagley, a 6'11 power forward from Los Angeles, is being compared to longtime NBA star Chris Bosh, right down to his smooth left-handed shooting touch. Bagley averaged 24.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and two blocked shots during his junior season for Sierra Canyon H.S. He's also fared well against NBA competition at the highly-regarded Drew League in L.A. this summer. Bagley’s physical tools are off the charts, and you can count on Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski preparing him well for life in the NBA.

Most NBA scouts and execs expect the No. 1 overall pick to come down to either Bagley or Michael Porter Jr., who will play his one season of college basketball at Missouri. The 6'10 Porter averaged an amazing 34.8 points and 13.8 rebounds last season against Seattle high school competition. He's considered a more dynamic scorer than Bagley with more range on his jump shot. Some scouts believe he could quickly develop into one of the league's elite players with Kevin Durant-type length and shooting ability at the small forward position.

International swingman Luka Doncic is also highly coveted by NBA teams. The 6'8 swingman has excellent shooting range, and is also capable of creating his own shot with outstanding ball-handling ability. Forget the stereotype of European players being mechanical and unable to compete athletically, Doncic is capable of being an 18-20 point scorer in the NBA and should go in the top five next June. He's considered one of the best international prospects in the last decade.

Two 7-footers also will hear their names called early on draft night 2018. University of Arizona freshman DeAndre Ayton averaged 19.8 points and 12 rebounds in high school last season, while Texas freshman center Mohamed Bomba has an incredible 7-foot-9 wingspan. Sure, the NBA has moved away from the traditional low post center, but teams are still looking to acquire agile big men like Karl-Anthony Towns, Joel Embiid, DeAndre Jordan, Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside. Depending on how they fare against top level college competition, Ayton and Bomba could round out the top five.

Other names to watch in the lottery portion of next year's draft include Texas A&M power forward Robert Williams, Michigan State's forward duo of Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr., and the latest one-and-dones from John Calipari's Kentucky program, center Nick Richards and small forward Jarred Vanderbilt.

In case you missed it, ESPN released its preseason win total expectations for the Eastern Conference on Wednesday, and the Bulls were dead last with a projected record of 26-56. Now, I'm not sure a team with veterans Dwyane Wade and Robin Lopez and the three young players acquired in the Jimmy Butler trade with Minnesota will be quite that bad, but if you're going to rebuild, the idea is to get the best draft pick possible, and the Bulls appear to be on course for a top-five selection depending on how the lottery falls.

If the Bulls are able to land an elite talent like Porter Jr., Bagley III or Doncic in the draft, then use their $40-50 million in cap space to land a couple of quality free agents, the rebuild might not be as painful as some fans are fearing.

Last dance for LeBron in Cleveland?

Well-connected NBA writer Chris Sheridan dropped this bomb on Twitter Wednesday, quoting an NBA source, "This will be LeBron's final season in Cleveland. He is 100 percent leaving. Relationship with owners beyond repair." Don’t forget, Sheridan was the first national writer to report James was going to leave Miami to go back to Cleveland in 2014, so his reports definitely warrant a little extra attention.

Okay, we've already heard countless rumors about James planning to join the Lakers after next season. He's built a mansion in Brentwood, is close with Magic Johnson and will be able to bring another superstar with him to L.A. like Paul George or Russell Westbrook. Plus, the Lakers have a number of talented young players in place like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. and a promising coach in Luke Walton.

Add in the likelihood Kyrie Irving will be traded before training camp opens and LeBron's long-standing poor relationship with Cavs' owner Dan Gilbert, and you have the perfect formula for another James' free agent decision next July. Although, I'm not sure why LeBron would want to go West, where Golden State is positioned to dominate the league for another five seasons, with strong challengers like the Rockets and Spurs still in place. 

But if we've learned anything from watching James over the years, he's clearly a man who wants to align the odds in his favor. So don't rule out anything when it comes to James' free agent decision. If the Cavs make a home run trade for Irving, maybe LeBron decided to plays out his career in his home state. If not, look for him to find a team with the cap space to bring in another top star to run with him.

Back in 2010, the Bulls carved out the cap space to add two max contract stars, but lost out to Pat Riley in Miami. This time around they won't be on James' July travel itinerary.

One thing we know for sure. Where LeBron plays in 2018 will be the number one story throughout the NBA season.

Report: Bulls expected to reach buyout agreement with Dwyane Wade

Report: Bulls expected to reach buyout agreement with Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade's homecoming may not last much longer. 

According to Nick Friedell's ESPN report, the Bulls are expected to reach a buyout agreement with the 12-time NBA All-Star "at some point in the next few months." 

The news comes two months after Wade picked up his player option, choosing $24 million over earning less on a more competitive team. 

If Gar Forman and John Paxson indeed decide to buy D-Wade out, the "Three Alphas," which consisted of Wade, Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo, would all be out just one season after coming together. 

The buyout may also mean more ping-pong balls in next year's stacked draft