CHICAGO -- Add the Chicago Bulls to the list of teams that will be exploring all options to land Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard. The Bulls believe they have enough young pieces to complete a trade for the perennial All-Star. They will have conversations in the coming days with Magic GM Otis Smith about putting together a package for the talented big man, according to a league source. Howard told the media on Saturday he has formally asked to be traded. "The last couple of weeks before training camp were very tough," Howard told the Associated Press, explaining his decision. "Just stressed out about it. Got sick, couldn't sleep. It was a very stressful time. After I said what I said to Otis, got it out -- I started feeling better." Smith said the team will move forward. "When you invest seven years in a player and that's what he decides, then you have to deal with that from that angle. But it's not the end of the world," Smith said, according to the Associated Press. "Like I said before, the Orlando Magic franchise is what it's about. We like to make this into an individual game, but the fact of the matter is it's a team sport. And we'll continue to move forward. " The Bulls figure to offer Smith anyone on their roster in order to make the deal work, with the exception of reigning NBA MVP, Derrick Rose. In addition to agreeing to terms of a trade with Orlando, acquiring Howard likely will take a bit of salesmanship from the Bulls. On Friday, the Magic granted the New Jersey Nets, Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers permission to talk to Howard's agent, Dan Fegan, about possible deals. New Jersey, with whom Fegan reportedly met on Thursday, presently looks to be the front-runner for his services. The Bulls have yet to speak to Fegan about a deal nor have they received permission from Orlando to do so, the source said. If the Bulls were able to speak to Fegan, the source said their main selling point would be that with Rose and Howard, Chicago would have a nucleus capable of winning an NBA title. In many ways, the Bulls' pitch, if they do indeed get to make one, could sound a lot like the one they made to free agents LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in the summer of 2010. Both James and Wade spurned the Bulls last summer to sign with the Miami Heat. The Bulls aren't atop Howard's wish list at the moment, but that doesn't their potential offer wouldn't be appealing from Orlando's vantage point. Smith noted Saturday that the Magic will explore every possible option. "We wouldn't be who we are if we don't take a look around all 29 teams and try to make the best deal for the Orlando Magic," Smith said, according to The Orlando Sentinel. It is unclear at this point whether Howard, slated to be a free agent at season's end, would be willing to sign an extension with the Bulls, especially given he has already given Fegan his preferred destinations. It's also highly unlikely the Bulls would make the deal without knowing for certain that Howard would sign the extension. The Chicago Tribune first reported, via sources, the Bulls' interest in Howard.
DEERFIELD, Ill. -- The Chicago Bulls plan to pursue Rip Hamilton when he is bought out by the Detroit Pistons, according to a source familiar with the situation, and Derrick Rose said Hamilton would be a good fit. "Rip is a winner," Rose said after the Bulls first practice Friday night. "I can't say nothing bad about him." Hamilton, 33, spent the past nine seasons in Detroit, where he won a championship in 2004. Hamilton had a falling out with coach John Kuester, who was fired after last season, and was benched for a large part of a seven-week period. He averaged 14.1 points last season, which was his lowest output since his rookie year. The Bulls had interest in Hamilton last season as they looked for help at shooting guard. Keith Bogans' status with the Bulls remains in doubt. The team has until Dec. 19 to pick up an option on Bogans, who was pulled off the practice court Friday because of his contract status, a source said. "He's got a championship," Rose said of Hamilton. "It's great. He knows how to win. He came from winning programs. And if he comes along, I know that we'll be happy to have him." Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau did not want to discuss the possibility of bringing Hamilton to the team. "I don't know," Thibodeau said. "I'm not going to comment on that because I haven't heard that. Like I've said, I like the guys that we have here and whoever we decide to go forward with, I'm good with." Joakim Noah also planned to concentrate on the players currently on the roster. "I think that's Rip's a hell of a player. But I think that as a player, those aren't things that we can control," Noah said. "We don't really know what Pax and Gar and them are doing, but I have confidence that those guys are doing the right things. "For us, the only thing we can do is work hard. I think there's definitely a couple players that should be coming back. I think Keith will probably be coming back ... I hope. I don't know what the situation is but all we can do is control what we can control as players." The Bulls released the following statement regarding Bogans: "Keith Bogans is under contract with the Bulls and we have a December 19th option on that contract. At this time, we are exploring several options in finalizing our roster. We have always respected Keith's professionalism and we hope to have more clarity on this situation soon." The Chicago Tribune first reported the Bulls' interest in Hamilton.
The Magic abruptly pulled Dwight Howard off the trade market Wednesday in the midst of discussions with other teams, according to sources close to the process.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Magic have decided that none of the various offers they've received, most notably from the Nets and Lakers, is worth executing.
So the Magic, sources said, began informing teams Wednesday that they're no longer fielding calls for the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Earlier Wednesday, ESPN.com reported that the Nets and Magic were in advanced discussions on a multi-team deal that would have paired Trail Blazers swingman Gerald Wallace with Nets center Brook Lopez as the two main players Orlando would have received in a trade package for Howard in addition to future draft considerations and the right to shed the long-term contracts of Hedo Turkoglu and Chris Duhon.
Yet sources say that Magic officials, after consultation with ownership Wednesday, decided to stick to their belief that they can still win Howard over and convince him to extend his contract despite Howard's repeated vows to opt for free agency in July. New Magic CEO Alex Martins, promoted to the position after last week's surprising resignation of Bob Vander Weide, insisted as much to reporters Monday, saying that the organization was not yet prepared to field offers for the All-Star center.
"I'm an optimist," Martins said. "I am confident that we can work with Dwight and convince him to stay here long term."
That hasn't stopped the Brooklyn-bound Nets from continuing to lob trade pitches at the Magic. Sources say they were prepared to include five future first-round picks in the deal to satisfy both the Magic and the Blazers, who wanted multiple first-rounders in exchange for surrendering Wallace and facilitating the trade. The Nets, sources said, offered to sweeten the deal for Orlando and Portland by including their own first-round picks in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 as well as a 2012 first-rounder previously acquired from Houston.
Bad news for Chicago. Would have looked good in a Bulls jersey. ^^
DEERFIELD, Ill. -- The Chicago Bulls have made it official: Reigning MVP Derrick Rose has agreed to a five-year contract extension. The extension, which kicks in next season, was announced Wednesday. The contract is worth $94.8 million, a source told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher on Tuesday. "I'm tremendously blessed and I don't take anything for granted and I appreciate everyone," Rose said during a news conference at the Berto Center before looking toward his mother. "And I think I can finally say this now, 'Mom, we finally made it."' Rose grew up in the impoverished Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, and helping the area in which he grew up has always been a priority. "Coming from where I'm coming from, I can't explain it," Rose said of signing the new deal. "I really can't explain it. I never would have thought in a million years that I would be signing a contract like this, especially coming from an area where I'm from. No one from Englewood period ever been in my position. "Sometimes it makes you think 'Why me?' For me to be 23 years old, I know that I'm truly blessed. I don't take anything for granted. And I appreciate everyone around me. All my fans and my family." The extension was hardly a surprise given all that Rose has accomplished in his young career. The Chicago native has gone from Rookie of the Year to All-Star to MVP in his first three pro seasons, becoming the youngest player to win the MVP award. About the only thing he doesn't have is a championship ring, and that's something he hopes to change in Year 4.
"He embodies all the characteristics that you look for in a championship player," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "And it's a lot more than just the talent. The talent is the obvious part, but then when you look at his will to win, his basketball IQ, unselfishness, his humility. I think those are the things that you can build a championship caliber team around. "The way he works each and every day sets the tone for our team. He's a guy we're going to build our team around. But I think his poise and confidence comes from his preparation. This guy puts in everything he has every single day, does it year round. I think when you do that you'll continually improve. Obviously, we're very excited to have him. [We] wish it were a 10 year contract." Bulls general manager Gar Forman spoke about Rose's impact on and off the court. "Obviously, Derrick is a very, very talented basketball player, but he's been so much more than that," Forman said. "Derrick's makeup, his character, his drive, his desire, his work ethic and his leadership, not only on the floor, but in our community, have meant so much. "And probably the greatest asset about Derrick Rose is his loyalty. Derrick has been very committed to his teammates, to this organization and to his hometown of Chicago." "We're all very excited for him," forward Carlos Boozer said. "He deserves it. He puts in a lot of effort. I wish the contract was for 10 years." The chance to join Rose in the backcourt was a big draw for Richard Hamilton, the veteran shooting guard who signed with the Bulls last week after being bought out by the Detroit Pistons. So far, Hamilton says he likes what he sees.
"He works hard," Hamilton said. "He's young. He's 23 years old and the way he plays on the floor is the way he practices. In order to be great in this league, you just can't turn it on (during) games. He really has a great work ethic." Rose isn't concerned about the money he will make. "I think I live a humble life," he said. "Of course, I know I'll be able to afford whatever I want, but other than that, there aren't too many things that excite me. Me winning is one of the things. Me being around my family, that's another. Money, that's the last thing I think about."
Now they just need to trade Noah and 2 two draft picks for Dwight Howard and they'll win the championship.
Howard isn't coming to Chicago; he's doesn't want to be in a northern climate and has stated that. They do need to get another big man though; if not Scally is going to be leaned on to much this year and that is a scary thought.
Bulls rally late as Derrick Rose's jumper finishes Lakers
LOS ANGELES -- Derrick Rose drove the lane and lofted home a smooth floating shot for the winning points in the Chicago Bulls' opener, just in case anybody doubted the youngest MVP in NBA history can shoulder the expectations that come bundled with that shiny new trophy and a huge contract extension. Yet Rose realized the Bulls' dramatic comeback and his beautiful winner were only possible because Luol Deng did a whole mess of dirty work against Kobe Bryant.
Rose scored 22 points and hit a short go-ahead shot with 4.8 seconds to play, and the Bulls rallied from an 11-point deficit in the final 3:44 for an 88-87 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. "If it weren't for my teammates, making the steal and getting the ball to me at the end, there's no way I could have gotten that shot off to help us win that game," Rose said. That credit went straight to Deng, who scored 21 points and stole Bryant's pass with 16.9 seconds left to set up Rose's winner before finally blocking Bryant's short shot right before the buzzer. Rose was grateful the Bulls hung on to win the clubs' first Christmas meeting, but even happier about their poise in an early test. "We definitely don't want to be in a situation like that, but we fought our way back," said Rose, who went 9 for 13. "We just played harder. We stepped up our intensity on the defensive end. Throughout the whole game, our defense wasn't there. I mean, we showed spots of it, but we didn't keep it consistent. Then, at the end, we played defense." Carlos Boozer had 15 points for the Bulls, who have designs on a championship run after leading the NBA with 62 regular-season victories last season. But Chicago appeared headed for a mildly surprising loss in the first game of a season filled with high expectations until Rose and Deng bailed out the Bulls, who finished with a 17-5 rally.
The Bulls had to score the final seven points to earn their first road win over the Lakers in six tries. Deng scored nine points in the fourth quarter, including a three-point play and two free throws in the final 45 seconds. One possession before he stretched to block Bryant's final shot, Deng alertly intercepted Bryant's pass to Pau Gasol out of a trap, setting up Rose's winner. "He threw a lob pass, and I was able to get to it," Deng said. "As soon as we got the ball, I knew we were going to score." Until the final minutes, the Bulls were thoroughly disappointed with their effort, while the Lakers were pleased by their passion and execution after a tumultuous preseason. Chicago struggled mightily against coach Mike Brown's new defensive schemes for the Lakers in the second half, managing just 25 percent shooting (12 for 48). Bryant scored 28 points and committed eight turnovers while playing with a torn wrist ligament for the Lakers, but couldn't finish strong in his NBA-record 14th Christmas Day appearance. Los Angeles still led 87-81 on Bryant's jumper with 54 seconds left, but Deng and Rose took the game away from him. "I saw a lot of positive things," Bryant said. "Defensively, we were terrific. We did a good job, and we're just going to get better. We're going to be very good defensively."
Bryant wore a compression sleeve on his right arm while playing without a brace on his right wrist after getting hurt last week. He appeared to have trouble handling the ball, but displayed a fairly smooth jump shot and his usual superb footwork. Gasol added 14 points for the Lakers, but was held scoreless in the fourth quarter while committing four fouls. Los Angeles also played without suspended center Andrew Bynum and departed sixth man Lamar Odom in the debut of Brown, who replaced 11-time champion Phil Jackson. "We played pretty good basketball until right down the stretch," Brown said. "There were a lot of things that went wrong down the stretch where we didn't quite finish the game." Los Angeles began the second half with an 18-7 run, clicking on both ends while claiming a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. Chicago finally awoke after Los Angeles pushed its fourth-quarter lead to 82-71 with 3:45 to play, and the Bulls' game-ending run was abetted by four straight missed free throws by the Lakers. The Lakers' 13th straight Christmas appearance was the second straight for the Bulls, who returned to the holiday slate last season for the first time since the last of Michael Jordan's six championship campaigns in 1997.
The Bulls don't look near as good this year. It seems they gave up a lot of D for not near enough O. Boozer is a complete joke; not near good enough on O to not rebound or play D. Noah is the only guy that is willing to get rebound on this whole team, he does seem to have worked on his O game. Asik seems to have taken a step back, not forward.
ATLANTA -- Joakim Noah sat ruefully inside of his locker stall contemplating just poorly he and his team had just played. The young center's eyes were red with anger as he twisted the small hairs on his goatee. Quite simply, the Bulls were outworked in a 109-94 defeat to the Atlanta Hawks that wasn't even as close as that score would indicate. Noah scored one point in just 17 minutes.
"The way we played tonight was just embarrassing," Noah said. He was right. Even when the Bulls played poorly over the past two weeks, they found ways to win. They proved that on Monday night against these same Hawks after exploding in the fourth quarter to steal a victory. That wasn't the case on Saturday night. From the opening tip, Noah and the Bulls looked tired. Aside from a second quarter surge from Luol Deng and the team's reserves, the Bulls got out-worked all night. If Saturday's loss wasn't the single worst performance in the Tom Thibodeau era, it was right up there. Each member of the Bulls had a different reason as to why their team struggled so much, but In Noah's mind there's a clear cut reason. "This one's on the people who started the game," he said. "Our second unit came in, got [the Hawks' lead] back to four, then we went back in and dropped it again. There's a pattern and we just need to find a way to play better because it was embarrassing tonight." Just how bad were the Bulls' starters? Consider their plus/minus numbers for the game. Carlos Boozer was minus-40; Derrick Rose was minus-31; Joakim Noah was minus-29; Luol Deng was minus-26, and Ronnie Brewer was minus-10. "This is the NBA," Thibodeau said. "You've got to come every night. You've got to bring great intensity. And if you let down just a little bit, this is what happens." The Bulls let down more than a little bit. They didn't play to the standards Thibodeau has set for them. They had a bad night. Granted, over the course of any season, especially a lockout shortened one such as this, a night like this is almost inevitable. Still the Bulls were so consistent last season that nights like this seldom happened. Rose always found a way to turn things around and lead the way. Noah would make a defensive play to ignite the rest of his team. Nothing seemed to ignite the Bulls Saturday, aside from the bench's play in short spurts. Heck, John Lucas III, the guy who rarely sees many minutes even without C.J. Watson on the bench, led the Bulls with 16 points on the night. "We lost this game tonight [because we played] no defense," Rose said. "Plain and simple." Obviously, that was one of the main messages Thibodeau wanted to take away from the dreadful defeat. The Bulls have to bring it defensively every night they play and they simply didn't do that against the Hawks. Aside from the defense, Thibodeau said the Bulls must play together. He didn't feel like his team did that against the Hawks and his players agreed. The fiery coach didn't have to spew anger to get his message across on this night, his players could see the problems and are confident that they can fix them. "[Thibodeau] said there's no time to feel sorry for yourselves because the games just keep coming," Noah said. "But he said it's a wake-up call. We don't have anything figured out. So it's on us. I think the reality is we have to do better. We can't start the game like that, coming in a hole like that. And having our bench come back and bail us out every time." The bottom line for the Bulls is that at some point, their starters have to start playing consistently well together. If they don't do that in the future, it won't matter who takes the blame or what Thibodeau says after the game is over. As several players noted in the quiet locker room, the Bulls can't keep digging themselves big holes against solid teams. Eventually the extra effort is going too much of a burden for them to bear. "We have to stay committed to being a team even when things aren't going our way," Thibodeau said. "Settle down on defense. Settle down on offense. Do it as a team. Get the ball moving. Share the ball. We do that and then we play defense tied together, we're good. We don't do that ... this is a tough league. This is a tough league and every night you're facing someone who's really good.
The Bulls found that out the hard way on Saturday night.