Bulls free-agent options increase, minus Bogans?


Bulls free-agent options increase, minus Bogans?

The madness of the NBA's truncated and chaotic free-agency period has finally reached Chicago. While not exactly on the scale of the proposed, then league-cancelled three-team blockcuster deal that would have sent All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Lakers from the NBA-owned Hornets.

The saga of the Bulls' search for a starting shooting guard has taken its own twists and turns Friday.

On the first day of Bulls training camp, incumbent starting shooting guard Keith Bogans was pulled off the practice floor by the organization, as first reported by the Chicago Tribune. Bogans had a team option for 1.73 million for the upcoming season.

Adding to the intrigue is reports of the Pistons waiving longtime shooting guard Richard "Rip" Hamilton. The veteran has had a turbulent and injury-filled recent history -- including being part of a so-called "mutiny" against former Detroit head coach John Kuester last season -- but when healthy, his potent mid-range game, playoff and championship experience, ability to move without the ball and overall savvy play could bolster the Bulls' perimeter attack, although he's not quite the deep-shooting threat, lockdown defender, athlete or shot creator that would seem ideal fo the team's roster, as currently constructed.

Another available veteran whose best days could be behind him, but still possesses scoring ability is Vince Carter, waived by the Suns on Friday. No longer the high-flying athlete of his youth and still plagued by his career-long apathy to defense, the injury-prone Carter is still capable of explosive individual scoring games, as well as knocking down shots behind the three-point arc.

The Bulls, reportedly prepared to offer the full mid-level exception and also open to sign-and-trade possibilities, have added free-agent veteran shooting guard and Chicago native Luther Head to their preseason roster. Other non-guaranteed invites include returnees John Lucas III and Brian Scalabrine, while first-round draft pick Jimmy Butler, expected to sign a rookie contract soon, is also in camp.

The current number of players present at the Berto Center practice floor late Friday afternoon to 12.

Three Things to Watch: Bulls-76ers

NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Bulls-76ers

The Bulls square off against the Sixers tonight on NBC Sports Chicago, with coverage beginning at 6:30 with Bulls Pregame Live. Here are three things to watch as the Bulls begin the stretch run of their regular season.

1. The new rotation: Most of the Bulls’ rotation looks the same, but the addition of David Nwaba, Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Payne will have a different feel. The Bulls clearly want to get a look at these guys before the end of the regular season, meaning they’re not just going to get sporadic minutes. They’ll have to play through their mistakes, play out-matched at times and be put in uncomfortable situations. But the Bulls need to see what they have, especially in Payne, who has missed the entire season to this point with a broken foot.

2. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons: They’re quite the 1-2 punch and have the Sixers looking at their first playoff appearance since Derrick Rose hadn’t yet torn an ACL. Yeah, that’s a long time. Embiid just finished his first All-Star appearance (starting in his second year) and Simmons is the front runner for Rookie of the Year. The Bulls will have their hands full with these two. Luckily…

3. Kris Dunn is back: The Bulls wanted to get Dunn some run before heading to All-Star Weekend to play in the Rising Stars Challenge, and he looked healthy in that thumping against the Raptors last week. The good news is John Paxson says Dunn won’t be on a minutes limit, which means he’s healthy. That, of course, is more important than how he’s playing. It’ll be fun to see him, LaVine and Markkanen play together down the stretch. Their numbers together aren’t great, but the Bulls are 2-2 with all three in the lineup, and tanking or not…it’s more fun to watch when those three are rolling. 

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'


Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."