Bulls

Wade clears rumors; Focused on the NBA

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Wade clears rumors; Focused on the NBA

Chicago native Dwyane Wade was a guest on Wednesday morning's Dan Patrick Show, which aired on Comcast SportsNet. The Miami Heat guard talked with the show's namesake and host about his offseason during the ongoing NBA lockout, fatherhood and a new product he's endorsing, Court Grip, which is designed to improve traction on shoes while playing basketball.

Wade also spoke to Patrick about his prospects of playing professionally overseas this season

"I don't know. I'm a father first. I have to make decisions on what's best for my kids, first of all. If it gets to that point where I have to make the hard decision, then I would think about it, but right now. I still have hopes that the NBA season will still come about. But not now, not thinking of it yet," said Wade.

"Well, it's a lot of rumors," he continued. "I didn't see a contract. I just heard rumors. The best rumor, I think it was like, to play for, I think at the time, 2 million or something like that.

"It was some rumors with a China team. That was before they came out with the ruling that if you play for a China team, you're stuck over there."

However, he emphasized that he has no concrete offers on the table.

"No, nothing that I've seen and is something that I can consider and look at, and can say, 'If this doesn't work out,' because I'm not focusing on it and my team understands what our focus is. My focus is getting back in the NBA because I have kids and I can't just uproot and move like that, so things will have to be decided and changed if I have to do that," he said. "I'm just enjoying time being a more active parent."

Wade also reflected upon his childhood in Chicago -- "Obviously I was Michael Jordan a lot of times growing up," he said about the common practice of pretending to be an NBA player when shooting hoops as a youth -- telling a humorous story about attending a Bulls game.

"I was playing with a team at the time where if you win the championship of a certain league, you get to go play at halftime of the Bulls' games. It just so happened that we went to go play before the Bulls game -- it wasn't halftime, but it was before the Bulls game -- this one and we won the championship on the court and got to stay for the game," said Wade. "The Bulls were coming in as we were sitting there and watching the dancers. So, Jordan and Phil Jackson were coming in and I run with everybody else and I try to shake Michael and Scottie Pippen's hands, and I can't get to them. So the only person I see is Phil and I shake Phil Jackson's hand and I go to the bathroom as a kid, and I say, 'Oh my God, I'm never washing this hand,' and then, I use the bathroom and I wash my hand.

"No, Phil is not really a fan of the Miami Heat," he added when asked if he's ever related the tale to the Hall of Fame coach. "I've never told him that story before."

Wade, who was neutral when asked if he was a fan of the Cubs or White Sox -- "I was a Chicago fan; I supported both."

Wade also chimed in on the NBA finals. "Today, because I've been asked questions about it," he said when asked about the last time he thought about the Heat's loss to the Mavericks. "Yeah, can't stand it," the All-Star guard added when asked about television commercials highlighting Dallas' title. "The worst thing on TV."

"I would like to say at one point, I will because I would want to learn from it, not just have an experience, but watch it and learn what went wrong," Wade continued, referencing watching tape of the series. "I probably won't watch it until the very, very end, but I will watch a lot of it."

The 2006 Finals MVP said Dirk Nowitzki, the 2011 Finals MVP was entitled to use Court Grip, the product he was hawking, although his rival wouldn't get any freebies.

"Yeah, Nowitzki is allowed to get it. He's got to go buy it," Wade quipped. "No, I wouldn't give him any more advantages than he already has because he's already a great player."

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.

Just as we all predicted, two rookies stole the show in L.A.

Just as we all predicted, two rookies stole the show in L.A.

There's not often hype surrounding a game between two of the NBA's worst teams, but Tuesday's Bulls-Lakers matchup was intriguing to many because it offered a chance to see a pair of top rookies compete. 

Oh, but you didn't think we meant Lonzo Ball and Lauri Markkanen, did you?

Nah, it was two different, less-touted first-year players that ended up stealing the spotlight at the Staples Center. 

Kyle Kuzma and Antonio Blakeney may not be household names, but they sure played like they were in the Bulls' 103-94 loss. 

Kuzma, the Lakers rook drafted 27th overall, has been a spark for Luke Walton's squad all season long. Boasting a terrific scoring arsenal, the Utah product carried the load for the Lakers' offense in the first half, dropping 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting. He finished the game as L.A.'s leading scorer with 22 in 40 minutes. But if you still need a more in-depth scouting report on Kuzma, just let Lonzo break it down:  

More importantly for Bulls fans, though, was the play of their undrafted guard who's signed to a two-way deal. 

Blakeney, the unofficial Summer League MVP, came off the bench on Tuesday and immediately left his mark on the game. The 21-year-old out of LSU posted 15 in the first half, finishing through contact as well as connecting on outside jumpers. 

Blakeney's shooting isn't reliable quite yet, but his energy has clearly influenced Hoiberg's rotation. The guard went from playing one NBA minute in the Bulls' first 11 games to playing 75 in the last four. Given that his two-way deal allows him to only spend 45 days with the team, it'll be fascinating to see how creative Gar Forman and John Paxson will get with his contract if this type of production continues. 

In a season that's obviously going to have its share of rough moments, an offseason flyer hitting is a huge plus for the rebuild. 

As for the recognized rookies, Lonzo's shooting woes persisted and Markkanen had maybe his worst offensive performance of his young Bulls career. Combined, they finished 7-for-30 with 21 points. Not ideal. 

Zach LaVine cleared for contact practice

Zach LaVine cleared for contact practice

The Zach LaVine comeback is one step closer as the shooting guard was cleared for contact practice after checking with his doctors in California. 

LaVine will go through a step by step process over the next few weeks and the Bulls will gauge his progress to see when the best time for his return will be. 

But, given the nine-month process from his ACL injury he suffered in February, he's right on track and there doesn't appear to be any setbacks. 

"There’s no real timeframe, I guess," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said at practice Monday. "It’s really going to be on how he feels. We’ll try to do a little more every day with him. We did a little bit, got him some light contact today just to get the process started.

"He’ll be able to play a little two-on-two with not a lot of practice time these next 10 days. But we’ll throw him out there and continue to try to get him feeling better. There’s going to be a mental hurdle that he’s going to have to clear as well. I know he’s excited. His teammates are excited and the coaches are obviously excited as well."

LaVine's recovery has gone as planned since his arrival in Chicago from the Jimmy Butler trade on draft night. Targeting a mid-December return seems realistic but of course, the Bulls will take every precaution to make sure he's healthy for the long term, both for LaVine and the franchise, as he's a restricted free agent this summer--and they have no plans on letting him walk. 

LaVine told NBC Sports Chicago recently that he wants to get on the floor immediately but the Bulls know they'll have to protect him from himself in the meantime. 

"He’s going to have to string together a lot of really good days, and he knows that," Hoiberg said. "He understands that. The important thing is he’s right on track from where it was said after the injury. He’s been doing a great job with his rehab. He’s on time. He’s doing everything that’s asked of him. His strength numbers are where they’re supposed to be. I’m confident he’s going to keep making progress. But we’ll absolutely monitor it daily and hopefully it’ll just continue to get better."

The Bulls aren't sure if they'll send LaVine to the G-League but it's certain they have plans on not only how to use him when he steps on the floor but also a regimen they've stuck to, to ensure there are no real setbacks. 

Hoiberg has been salivating over having a true scorer at that position since trading for him, and LaVine has been eager since his arrival to prove to the Bulls and fans that he is a franchise player. 

Prudence in the moment of progression, though, appears to be the approach taken by both sides.