Bulls

Bogans' release from Bulls was 'a slap in the face'

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Bogans' release from Bulls was 'a slap in the face'

Much maligned by critics during his lone season with the Bulls, Keith Bogans was respected and loved by his teammates and coaches.

Bogans started all 82 games for Chicago last season and all 16 postseason games.
Despite the uncertainty of the team holding the option to pick up the 1.73 million owed to him this season, he was one of the first players to arrive to the Berto Center when informal workouts begin after the league opened league training facilities on Dec. 1.

Before the start of the first official training camp on Dec. 9, Bogans would be pulled off the floor by team management and would be subsequently released on Dec. 16 to make room for Richard Hamilton.

In an interview with the Tribune, Bogans reveals that the way the situation was handled was a slap to the face and is still is upset every time the situation is brought up.

When I walked in the gym and they told me I wasnt practicing after they had seen me all week since Monday, that was kind of a slap in the face, Bogans said. But its cool. Ive been through a lot in this league but nothing like that. It definitely made me a better man, a better person and a better basketball person.

I put everything on the line each night. I played with a hurt knee 82 games. I took a pill 82 games to get that (release) in return. Every time I play them for the rest of my career, it will give me something added.

Losing both Bogans and veteran big man Kurt Thomas may not have hurt the Bulls, on paper, but not much value is given to how close last years team truly was.

Those 15 guys I was in the locker room with were all my brothers, Bogans said. I formed a bond with them that I probably havent formed with another team that Ive played on. That was like my family. All those guys reached out to me when I got released. They were genuinely hurt when I didnt come back.

After his release, Bogans spent time at his Orlando residence, working out, and recovering from an offseason scope on his knee.

The New Jersey Nets citing a need for toughness and experience signed the nine-year veteran last Wednesday.

Im obviously very happy for Keith, he did a good job for us last year, said Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau. Hes been a great pro for a long time and if you look at his entire career, he always finds his way onto a roster and he always plays extremely well. Im very happy for him and we wish him well.

Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut

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AP

Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut

The Bulls couldn't have known it at the time, but when LeBron James blocked a Derrick Rose 3-point attempt in the final seconds of Game 5 in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, it was the closest those Bulls would ever get to the promised land.

It happened on May 26, 2011, seven long, long, long years ago today.

The game was an ugly one and certainly a fourth quarter the Bulls would love to have back. They took a 12-point lead on a Ronnie Brewer 3-pointer with 3:53 remaining. The Heat closed the game on a 19-4 run, with James' emphatic block on Rose the lasting image of the series.

James finished with a game-high 28 points and 11 rebounds, and added six assists, three steals and two blocks in 46 minutes.

Rose went just 9-for-29, finishing the series shooting 35 percent from the field after being named league MVP over James.

It's probably unfair to say James and James alone shut the Bulls' championship window. Rose's ACL tear the following postseason realistically was the biggest culprit. But these Bulls had won 62 games, had homecourt advantage, had the MVP, the Coach of the Year and all the momentum. And still they couldn't get it done against James.

That win also sent James to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007. He's been there every year since, though that could change as he faces the Celtics on Sunday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.

Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.

"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"

Paxson scored 10 of 12 points for the Bulls during a fourth quarter run in Game 5 of the 1991 NBA Finals, the series clincher, and famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch that series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.

"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"

Watch the video above to see the interaction.

Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.