NBA free agency moves impact Bulls


NBA free agency moves impact Bulls

The league's oldest player, Kurt Thomas, won't return for a second season in the Windy City, as the 39-year-old reportedly signed a two-year contract with the size-deficient Trail Blazers.

Although the Bulls' top priority remains acquiring a shooting guard, another concern now becomes finding a veteran big man to provide insurance behind starters Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer, and reserves Taj Gibson and Omer Asik.

The quartet is among the NBA's top frontcourts, but with the injury histories of all four players, more depth is needed; no disrespect to training-camp invite Brian Scalabrine, who will likely make the team, but again play sparingly this season.

Meanwhile, another of the organization's perimeter targets, former Bulls draft pick Jamal Crawford, is reportedly in advanced discussions with the Knicks, another of his former employers, to return to the Big Apple if a sign-and-trade agreement with the Hawks is reached.

Around the league, other moves that could impact the Bulls are being made. Central Division rival Indiana signed free-agent power forward David West to a two-year contract, giving the youthful Pacers some veteran leadership and a low-post scoring presence, albeit one coming off a devastating knee injury.

Of course, one of the biggest stories continues to be the on-again, off-again three-team blockbuster deal involving Hornets All-Star point guard Chris Paul. According to multiple reports, the Lakers pulled out of the slightly-revamped deal--first struck down by the NBA--to acquire Paul, then shipped forward Lamar Odom to the defending-champion Mavericks, a suitor for Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard, for a trade exception and draft considerations, a move that affected both Houston and New Orleans, who continue to find a league-approved swap for their superstar.

Derrick Rose, himself on the verge of signing a long-term contract extension with his hometown Bulls and with no plans to leave his native Chicago, recently opined on the situation.

"I thought that players were able to go wherever they wanted to go, but I guess it's different or they the NBA stopped it," said the league MVP, who was outspoken in his offseason comments about the prolonged lockout and how it affected players. "But I'm not in that organization New Orleans, I don't know that player Paul like that, so I don't have a say-so of what goes on over there."

Another wild twist in the Derrick Rose saga


Another wild twist in the Derrick Rose saga

We may have seen the last of Derrick Rose on a basketball court. 

According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin and Adrian Wojnarowski, the point guard, who's currently recovering from ankle injury, is away from the Cavaliers organization and contemplating his future in basketball: 

The news may come as a shock considering Rose is still only 29 years old, but the Chicago native has experienced triumphant highs and depressing lows like few others in league history. Undoubtedly, that's taken a toll. 

From youngest MVP in league history to injury-prone backup, the former No. 1 pick of the Bulls has seen it all in his nine-year career. And just last season in New York, his passion for the game was called into question after missing a game without informing coaches, players or staff to attend to a family issue. 

He decided to team up with LeBron James in Cleveland last offseason -- a move that nobody could have predicted five years ago -- on a veteran's minimum contract, and averaged 14.3 points before, you guessed it, being forced to sit with injury. 

Fred Hoiberg, who coached Rose for one season in Chicago, weighed in before Friday's Bulls-Warriors game: 

If Rose ultimately decides to step away for good, eerie parallels can be drawn to Doug Collins' NBA stint. Collins didn't have quite the upside Rose had, but he was a three-time All-Star before foot and knee injuries cut his career short at, yes, also 29. 

It's another sad twist in the Derrick Rose Story. He may be the greatest 'What if' in NBA history. 

Three Things to Watch: Bulls dance with Warriors


Three Things to Watch: Bulls dance with Warriors

Is there any better way to break in your new Black Friday television than Bulls-Warriors tonight? We think not. Coverage starts at 9 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live, and the game is also available to stream via the NBC Sports app

Here are three things to keep your eye on: 

1. Not the score. Let's be honest: the Bulls probably won't sneak out a win at the Oracle. In fact, ESPN's matchup predictor only gives Fred Hoiberg's young squad a 2.9 percent chance to come up victorious. UIC has three times better odds against juggernaut Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Sunday, in case you needed some context.  

With the talent gap in mind, though, it will be important for the Bulls to come out with high energy. The Warriors will likely take the contest lightly in the first half, so starting off strong reflects well on the coaching staff and starters. Stay within 10 points by the half, and that's considered a massive triumph. 

2. Lauri Markkanen vs. Warriors defense. Even though Draymond Green and Kevin Durant will sit tonight, the Warriors defense has more than enough to challenge the prized rookie. The Dubs' team defense is among the best in the NBA, thanks to their physicality, attention to detail and speed. 

Markkanen is coming off two duds on the West Coast trip, but his aggressiveness hasn't wavered. It'll be important for him to continue to attack even with the reigning Defensive Player of the Year hounding him. 

3. Steph and Klay doin' work. The Bulls offense hasn't exactly been a thing of beauty through the first 16 games. Their offensive rating is a brutal 94.4, ranked last in the NBA. Golden State, on the other hand, sits at the top with a rating of 113.1. 

Take some time to admire the skills of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson because when it comes to working cohesively on offense, they've set the gold standard.