Seasons over, this team has no fight left in it outside of Noah.
Again, I liken Thibs to Lou P, he doesn't know when to rest his starters(or in lou's case his pitchers). He needs to take a look at how Pops down here in San Antonio just gives up certain games to rest his guys and keep them fresh for the playoffs.
I agree this team was stricken this year like nothing I've seen. They're going to lose a lot of that bench too. Gonna be an interesting offseason for this team; who's going to want to come here and play w/out Rose for a good portion of the season, and possibly Deng also?
PHILADELPHIA -- The enduring memory of the Bulls' season will be Derrick Rose grabbing his left knee in the first game of the first round of the NBA playoffs a week ago. In that instant, the Bulls' championship dreams were dashed. The present and future king of the organization lay on the ground in agony.
Everyone on the team knew things would be different without Rose, but no one was quite sure just how much. That question was answered late Friday night, during the Bulls' second consecutive meltdown -- a Game 3 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Without Rose on the floor, the Bulls' offense imploded. No player could make a big shot when it mattered. The Bulls were just 6-for-25 in the final frame from the field and couldn't find any kind of rhythm offensively. A game the Bulls had in their grasp -- leading by as much as 14 points in the final quarter -- slipped away. "Every loss is a tough loss," an emotional John Lucas III said after it was over. "We had that game, we gave that game away." To make matters worse, Joakim Noah, the heart and soul of the team alongside Rose, crutched his way out of Wells Fargo Center wearing an air cast after badly spraining his ankle in the third quarter. The fact that Noah returned for a couple of minutes at the beginning of the fourth quarter is an argument for a different day but is one that will undoubtedly rage on if Noah has to miss significant time with an injury. The indelible image of the curly haired big man hobbling out of the arena ranks right up next to Rose on the floor. In so many ways, Noah's injury represented the end of the Bulls' season just as much as Rose's did. Many thought the Bulls would be capable of finding playoff wins without Rose. After all, they had already played 27 regular-season games without him, proving they could overcome most obstacles that stood in front of them. While Thibodeau and his team were understandably crushed, the implication was that it was another injury they would have to work through. They'd done it before, they could do it again. Problem was, when push came to shove on Friday, the Bulls didn't make any plays when they needed to without Noah on the floor. They rolled over. All the bravado and confidence they had displayed since Game 2 came crashing down. Of course, Thibodeau tried to downplay the Noah injury as just another hurdle his team had to climb over. "The thing is, injury is part of the game," Thibodeau said. "You have to have a mental toughness to get past all of that. We've had injuries all year and you just deal with it. If you look, you can find something every night, every game. Shorthanded, regular season, back-to-back, early start, whatever it is, or you can find a way to win. That's what you need. You need guys that have great will to win, and no matter what the circumstances are will find a way to win." The Bulls showed their true colors on Friday, though. All their inadequacies came rushing to the forefront. The primary issue being that the Bulls don't have another primary scorer on the team. Carlos Boozer had a nice bounce-back game, scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, but when the Bulls needed a big shot down the stretch, he could not deliver. He went just 1-for-6 in the final 12 minutes. Rip Hamilton, the player management had hoped would be the missing piece this season, went just 4-for-15 on the night. Luol Deng, the All-Star forward who needed to take on even more offensive responsibility without Rose, had his second bad game in a row, shooting just 2-for-7 from the field. Kyle Korver, the man who was brought in specifically to knock down 3-pointers in big games, missed all five of his shots. C.J. Watson and Lucas, the two guards the coaching staff had confidence in after Rose went down, were a combined 4-for-16, and none of the makes came from Watson, the man who started the game. Noah's injury may not have just put an end to his own season, he put a cap on the Bulls' season as well. Sure, the Bulls could bounce back on Sunday and win Game 4. They could even scratch another two wins at home and advance to the second round -- although that seems very unlikely if Noah is indeed out for a while. But any hope they had to go deep into the playoffs evaporated Friday night. Does anybody really believe that this team can win many more playoff games? The truth is that Rose's injury, and the ensuing struggles the Bulls have dealt with, only reinforce one thing: The Bulls are a flawed team. They still don't have enough scoring to win when it counts, and they have a team full of guys who still haven't gotten over the fact that Rose isn't coming back anytime soon. Thibodeau spoke about the type of mental toughness he wants to see from his team, but they didn't deliver when he needed it the most. Obviously, the Bulls have dealt with more than enough injuries this season, especially in the past week, but that shouldn't excuse them from laying an egg in the second halves of two consecutive playoff games. Somebody should be able to step up and make a play, and time after time nobody does. "It ain't going to be easy," Hamilton said of being able to bounce back now. "It ain't going to be easy, and as long as we stick to our game plan and stick to what got us here and don't try to go out of that realm, we should be fine." The Bulls have talked a big game ever since Rose went down, but their actions have spoken much louder than their words. The Bulls aren't good enough to win without Rose, but the saddest part about his injury is that it revealed that the surrounding cast probably wasn't good enough to win with him. That cast might not even be good enough to get out of the first round anymore.
The Bulls' point guard play has been awful. I'm not asking Lucas & Watson to replace Rose's production but come on. Watson: 0 for 4 from the field, zero points. Lucas: 4-12 from the field and eating the shot clock all game long. There's a reason these guys played overseas and in the D-League. Remember when Rip Hamilton was supposed to be that "difference maker" against Miami? 4-15 against the lowly Sixers in the playoffs. What a joke. When you make less than 25% of your shots, and your points mainly come from the ft line the term "difference maker" needs to be ripped from your title.
Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose will be out approximately eight to 12 months after undergoing surgery to repair his left ACL, said Dr. Brian Cole, who performed the surgery on Saturday. The 23-year-old Rose tore the ACL on April 28 during the first game of the Bulls' Eastern Conference quarterfinals series against the Philadelphia 76ers. Without Rose, the Bulls became only the fifth No. 1 seed to lose to an eighth seed as the Sixers won in six games. "Derrick is doing great," Cole said Tuesday at a news conference at Rush University Medical Center. "The surgery went extremely well. Really no surprises. It was pretty routine. "We're at this point very optimistic. ... We think of recovery as the long process that's in stages. But the short answer is the time frame we believe an athlete of this caliber generally requires is about eight to 12 months. Sometimes shorter, sometimes longer. "While he will be at hopefully a very high level at 12 months, it still may take slightly longer for him to be at his pre-injury level. That's not uncommon for athletes of this caliber." That means Rose is likely to miss at least the first two-plus months of next season, or he could miss the entire season. "That's clearly the range of what's possible," Cole said. Bulls general manager Gar Forman said Rose was ready for rehabilitation. "In the time frame I've spent with him, and I was with him over the weekend, his spirits seemed really good," Forman said. "In his mind, he's determined to attack this rehab and get back to the level that he was at. "There was a period when he was down. But I think his spirits are good under the circumstances, and I think he's ready to aggressively attack this." When Rose does come back, Cole said: "Statistically, he should be that player [he was before] and then some. That doesn't mean it's guaranteed." But Rose won't be rushed back. "We're not going to rush it," Cole said. "The most important thing is all of us feel comfortable based on specific parameters that he's ready to go at each stage as we advance him. If he's not ready, we'll delay. If he's ready, we'll move him to the next stage. "People do get back in six months after ACL reconstruction, but it's not common in a professional sport such as this with an athlete of this caliber, mainly because the downside of not being fully prepared is a worst-case scenario. We're trying to zero out the risk."
One important aspect of recovery, at least from a basketball perspective, is Rose learns to trust his knee again. "If you look at reasons why athletes do or do not get back to their pre-injury level of play, there's no question that the psychological component is part of it," Cole said. "And because we know that, that's something we focus on. "If you look at a typical progression, he'll be doing basketball-specific activities very early on. And that's just a great feedback move just to say, 'Hey, I can do this.' And then you do sort of non-contact, basketball-friendly activities against other people to start getting a sense of, 'Hey, I can do this, I can trust my knee.' And it's this progression of low contact, high levels of contact in competition, pre-playing a real game that they get the feedback and say, 'Hey, I can really do this.' ... He will learn to be able to trust his knee." As far as the Bulls next season, Forman knows it's not going to be easy without Rose. "Obviously short term we're going to take a hit," Forman said. "Our thinking in general long-term won't change at all. But short term obviously you don't replace Derrick, and what he brings to the team and the production he's got. "But we're going to have to fill that spot, scrape it together in the meantime to fit in with our other guys."
Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey didn't hide his free-agent intentions on Saturday as he solicited help through Twitter to help recruit Chicago Bulls restricted free-agent center Omer Asik.
Just before the free-agent market opened at 11 p.m. CT, Morey tweeted: Meeting w/Omer Asik in a few minutes -- tell him how much you want him to be in Houston! He will see your msg live - include #Asik2Houston
Bulls GM Gar Forman didn't tweet "We'll match," but he has said as much recently.
The maximum the Bulls, or any other team, could offer Asik in the first year is $5 million. Where the Rockets could really make it hurt for the Bulls is in years three and four. That's when they could offer Asik even greater financial stability and make it even more difficult for the Bulls to re-sign him.
Forman has made it clear that one of his top priorities was to re-sign Asik, but if Morey and the Rockets offer Asik much above the $5 million marker it will be tough for the Bulls to match given their lack of salary cap flexibility and the organization's uneasiness about going deep into the luxury tax.
Forman said after Thursday night's draft that the Bulls would be making basketball decisions, not financial ones, in reference to the salary cap. The issue for him now is that Morey's meeting, and his expected offer, becomes the worst of both worlds for the Bulls. If the Bulls decide not to match the Rockets' expected offer, Joakim Noah would be the only center on the Bulls' roster.
The offensively challenged Asik averaged just 3.1 points but pulled down 5.3 boards while averaging 14.7 minutes.
CHICAGO -- When trying to decipher what the Bulls' plan will be as they head into free agency early Sunday morning, one must first understand what is already in place as far as both personnel and financial figures are concerned. When broken down into individual parts the decisions that face Bulls' executives Gar Forman and John Paxson are easier to understand.
1. The Core
This is the group Forman and Paxson intend to build around heading into next year.
Derrick Rose: The superstar guard will be rehabbing his knee well into the season, but the organization likes the way his program is going. The team is hoping to have him back around the All-Star break or soon thereafter. The will be the first year of Rose's max deal he signed before last season. Joakim Noah: The 27-year-old center continues to rehab the ankle injury he suffered during the playoffs, but he still expects to play in the Olympics for Team France and should be ready to go for the start of training camp. He will be in the second year of a $60 million dollar deal. Carlos Boozer: The veteran forward has not lived up to his contract in his first two years in Chicago (in fairness, even if was putting up 20 and 10 every night it would be hard to live up to that bloated deal), but he will be counted on early in the season to score without Rose on the floor. Luol Deng: Much has been made of Deng's decision to play in the Olympics. Most within the organization were resigned to the fact he would have to have surgery to fix a torn ligament in his wrist, but Tom Thibodeau went on “Waddle & Silvy” on ESPN 1000 Friday morning and said that he expected Deng to be ready for training camp. If that's the case, that is a huge emotional boost for the Bulls. Deng has two years and almost $28 million left on his deal. Rip Hamilton: The veteran shooting guard struggled to stay on the floor all of last season because of various injuries. Given his track record the last few years, it will be hard to expect him to stay healthy for an 82 game season. He has another guaranteed year on his deal at $5 million. Tay Gibson: One of the Bulls' most consistent players, Gibson is in the last year of his rookie deal; he is already in the early stages of talks about an extension. The Bulls hope to keep him around for a while. Jimmy Butler: The second-year forward figures to see a lot more playing time this year. He is still in his rookie contract and will be a bargain for the Bulls if he can produce. Marquis Teague: The newest Bull won't be expected to produce much early, but Thibodeau has stated he will let the 19 year old earn his playing time, especially with Rose out for a majority of the year.
2. The possible returnee
There's only one name in this group because it's the only one Forman seems insistent on keeping at this point.
Omer Asik: Forman has repeatedly stated that one of the Bulls' top priorities this summer in re-signing Asik. The young center regressed offensively this past season, but he is still regarded as one of the best defenders on the team. He will be a restricted free agent beginning on Sunday. The Houston Chronicle reported on Saturday that Asik will be one of Houston's primary targets. The most a team can offer the big man in the first year of a new deal would be $5 million and a small increase in the second year. A team could really make it hurt is in years three and four of the deal, however. Re-signing Asik would put the Bulls right up against the luxury-tax threshold. While Forman has been consistent in saying the Bulls would make basketball decisions, not financial ones, the organization will do what it can to avoid going too deep into the tax.
3. The question marks
These players are likely on the way out because of their salaries, or because the Bulls are looking for an upgrade.
Kyle Korver: The long-range bomber improved defensively this season, but he hasn't been as consistent from beyond the arc as the Bulls would have liked. Given the financial constraints the Bulls are trying to impose on themselves, it's a stretch to think they would bring him back for $5 million. There aren't many pure shooters out on the market, though. C.J. Watson: Even with Teague in the fold, the Bulls need to sign at least one more point guard with Rose on the mend. They have a $3.2 million option on Watson, but his inconsistencies in the playoffs, combined with his price tag, may have booked him a ticket out of town. John Lucas III: The diminutive, determined point guard wants to come back to Chicago and was well liked because of his work ethic, but the Bulls will likely look to upgrade before making a final decision on him. He is an unrestricted free agent who could get a raise. Ronnie Brewer: With Butler in the fold, the Bulls feel they have a younger, cheaper option who can replace Brewer on the roster. Thibodeau always liked Brewer's work ethic and approach but the swingman appears to be on his way out.
4. The potential targets
This is where things get fuzzy for Forman and Paxson. The moves they make in free agency are contingent upon the moves they do or don't with the current roster.
For argument's sake, let's say they match an offer for Asik at $5 million coming into this season and decide not to bring back, Korver, Brewer, Watson or Lucas. That means they're still hovering close to the luxury-tax threshold, which is expected to be around $70.3 million, according to ESPN capologist Larry Coon.
With Asik in the fold, the Bulls would have nine players under contract after signing Teague. That also means they'll need to sign at least three more players to fill out the roster. Those players would have to come cheaply. With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the options the Bulls may look at heading into Sunday.
Kirk Hinrich: This is the man plenty of Bulls fans want to see back in the United Center. He would fit in well with what Thibodeau has built and would help bridge the gap until Rose returns. The reunion sounds nice on paper. The reality is that Hinrich, who made $8 million last season in Atlanta, would likely have to take a pay cut of between $5-6 million to return. If he's willing to do that, the Bulls would be happy to have him. Andre Miller: He falls into the same boat as Hinrich. The Bulls would love to have him, but he made almost $8 million last season as well. It's doubtful he'd be willing to take that much of a pay cut next season for a team that doesn't appear to be built for a title this year. Jonny Flynn: The former Syracuse star has struggled early in his NBA career, but he is still young and has listed the Bulls as a potential landing spot, according to ESPNLA.com. He would come cheaply and play alongside Rose when he returns. Delonte West: The veteran guard comes with plenty of baggage, but he has been in the league long enough to know what to expect and he would also come cheaply. He only made $1.2 million last year in Dallas. Brandon Roy: Yahoo! Sports reported Saturday that Roy will meet with the Bulls this week and is one of the finalists for his services. The issues for the Bulls regarding the Roy are multi-faceted. Pending other moves, the most Forman would likely offer is in the $2-3 million range. Would Roy want to come to Chicago when he could make more elsewhere and may have a better shot to win a ring this season? Would the Bulls feel comfortable adding Roy and his chronic knee problems when they already have Hamilton on the roster? Courtney Lee: He's been on the Bulls' radar for a while, and they could have had him a couple years ago if they were willing to part with Asik. If there isn't much of a market for Lee, who is a restricted free agent, the Bulls would likely be interested. Danny Green: The Bulls would love to have the young forward in the fold, but as a restricted free agent, he figures to get a lot more than Chicago can offer. Jamal Crawford: The former Bull did not have a solid season last year in Portland. Like the others on the list, if he was willing to take less money, the Bulls may be intrigued. Shannon Brown: The Chicago native averaged 11 points a game last season in Phoenix. He was miffed a couple years ago when the Bulls didn't make a push to sign him. He would likely listen if Forman picked up the phone. Maurice Evans: Evans is a veteran and made just over $1 million last season. He doesn't have the same athleticism he had early in his career, but he could come in and give Thibodeau spot minutes when needed while tutoring Butler.
CHICAGO -- In their quest to find a veteran point guard, the Chicago Bulls have been in contact with Derek Fisher, and they've also contacted shooting guard Brandon Roy, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
It was widely assumed that Fisher would quietly re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder after essentially choosing them over several contenders following a midseason trade from the Los Angeles Lakers and buyout from the Houston Rockets. Fisher, 37, is also on the radar for the Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks and Thunder. All three teams pursued him in March after he negotiated a buyout from the Rockets. Fisher gave up the final year and $3.4 million of his previous contract as part of his buyout from Houston. He signed for the remainder of the Thunder's $2.3 million midlevel exception, essentially a pro-rated $1.9 million. Roy, 27, who retired before last season because of chronic knee problems, is hoping to make a comeback this season and could find a role with the Bulls for the right price. He and his representatives have spoken to members of the Bulls' staff as he tries to make his decision. Yahoo! Sports reported on Saturday that the Bulls were one of four finalists for Roy's services. The question for the Bulls regarding both Roy and Fisher revolves around not only fit, but price. Bulls backup center Omer Asik agreed to a $25.1 million offer sheet with the Rockets on Sunday, and the Bulls have to decide whether to match. While Bulls GM Gar Forman has stated repeatedly that his team will make basketball decisions, not financial ones, the Bulls appear to be weary about going too deep into the punitive luxury tax, especially for a team whose star player, Derrick Rose, figures to be out for a huge chunk of next season while recovering from ACL surgery. Fisher's possible relationship with the Bulls first surfaced after his buyout in the spring. It was an addition that Rose seemed intrigued with at the time. "D-Fish definitely could help our team," Rose said at the time. "But like I said, it's not up to me. It's up to the front office to make that call. If he comes, we'll welcome him with open arms, but we don't know right now." With Richard Hamilton and Luol Deng already in the fold, Roy would likely come off the bench. With Fisher, the Bulls have the ability to sell him on a potential starting job to begin the season.
Nicolas Batum wants to play in Minnesota, but if the Timberwolves can't work out a sign-and-trade for the promising swingman -- and as of now there is little movement on that front -- they appear to be ready to move on a trade for Chicago's Kyle Korver.
The Brooklyn Nets have agreed to terms with C.J. Watson, the team announced Saturday night. Watson's two-year contract is worth the veteran's minimum to be their backup point guard, a league source confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com. The deal will include a player option for the second year.
Korver in Atlanta for physical ahead of Bulls' trade
As the Bulls tried to finalize their three-team deal to send Kyle Korver to the Hawks via the Timberwolves, Korver arrived in Atlanta for a physical scheduled on Monday.
The Hawks remained confident enough in the transaction to fly Korver to town.
The Bulls are expected to land a draft pick and trade exception from the transaction, which also would save them Korver’s $500,000 guarantee on the $5 million non-guaranteed portion of his three-year deal.
Otherwise, Kirk Hinrich eventually will sign with the Bulls. His transaction is on hold as the Bulls sort through their other various maneuverings, which on Saturday included Yahoo Sports! first reporting O.J. Mayo is considering the Bulls, Lakers, Suns and Mavericks as his free-agent finalists.
The Bulls are looking to find a trade partner in hopes of moving shooting guard Richard Hamilton, according to a report from K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. Hamilton, 34, is set to earn $5MM in the second year of the contract he signed with the Bulls in December 2011. The third year, a team option for 2013/14, can be bought out for $1MM. The former Huskies star averaged 11.6 PPG and 3.0 APG during his first season in Chicago in which he missed over half the season due to a shoulder injury. Hamilton would be a great fit for a contender as his level of play improves during the playoffs. In 126 career playoff games, Hamilton has averaged 20.2 PPG and 3.7 APG with the Pistons and Bulls.
A source very close to Ronnie Brewer said the Knicks have expressed "some interest" in the six-year swingman. His team last season, the Bulls, didn't pick up his team option of $4.37 million, thereby making him an unrestricted free agent.
Addressing reporters in Las Vegas, Mike Woodson didn't specify which players the Knicks were still looking to sign -- they have a couple of roster spots remaining -- but he said he and Glen Grunwald are looking at a couple of players.
It's likely that with Iman Shumpert out until January -- Woodson did say he believes Shump is ahead of schedule -- the team could be in the market for a combo/shooting guard to play off the bench, especially someone who's athletic and can get to the cup. As of now, James White is the only one.
While Brewer made mid-level money last season with the Bulls, his market value has dropped. According to Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago, "his biggest issue was that once he started playing starter's minutes in the beginning of the year, he couldn't keep up the same level of play throughout the season. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau got frustrated by the fact that Brewer's shot had gone missing and the veteran guard's game never fully recovered."
Brewer may not be attracted to the Knicks' financial availability of likely only a veteran's minimum contract. But the team could add more money including Dan Gadzuric in a sign-and-trade with the Bulls.
Brewer would not only bring slashing, but also defense (1.4 career steals per game) and shooting. According to Friedell, "he spent all last summer during the lockout working on his jumper and that extra work paid off as he shot the ball with plenty of confidence in Richard Hamilton's absence."
The Knicks still haven't ruled out bringing back Landry Fields, but they realize how expensive he'll be at $20 million over three years. That's the amount on the Raptors' offer sheet, which the Knicks have two more days to match.
Free agent G OJ Mayo getting interest from Lakers, Chicago, Phoenix and Dallas and hopes to make decision in next 10 days, source tells Y! (Marc J. Spears/Twitter)