Bulls excited about bringing D-League franchise to Hoffman Estates


Bulls excited about bringing D-League franchise to Hoffman Estates

When Bulls president and COO Michael Reinsdorf was in the beginning stages searching for a Developmental League location, staying close to home was important.

Not only would a close proximity allow the Bulls' NBA team seamlessly to ship young players to and from the D-League to gain valuable experience, but it also would help the surrounding communities in whatever region they decided on.

Both from a economic standpoint and broadening the Bulls' fan reach, the team landed on Hoffman Estates and the Sears Centre Arena to house the team's D-League affiliate, which the team announced Wednesday afternoon at the United Center.

"We’re excited because we’re going to be able to bring basketball and the Bulls game experience to more fans throughout the region," Reinsdorf said of Hoffman Estates, 35 miles northwest of Chicago. "One area that we’re very passionate about is giving back to the community, and we will bring that same commitment to the D-League team. We’re making an investment in the community, and we look forward to developing new relationships with all the schools, hospitals and non-profit organizations in the region."

Beginning in 2016, the Bulls' D-League organization will play 24 home games at the Sears Centre Arena, which holds more than 11,000 fans. Basketball and business operations will also be housed in the Arena.

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Hoffman Estates mayor William McLeod expressed his excitement in teaming up with the Bulls and how it will affect the region.

"(The) Chicago Bulls franchise is one of the best run sports organizations in the world, and to have their D-Leauge team playing in Hoffman Estates, what an opportunity for all of us. It will certainly be a boost to our burgeoning entertainment center out there and the people who live in the Northwest Suburbs will be able to see future NBA and some current NBA players play at the Sears Centre Arena. So this is fabulous day for us. It’s been a pleasure working with the Bulls organization."

Fans also will be an integral part in that the Bulls will have a contest to help name the team of the D-League organization. Legal residents of Illinois and/or those living within 75 miles of Chicago may submit up to five name suggestions that end with "Bulls." In early December the top suggestions will be selected and fans may vote on their favorite nickname.

"I consider this as a business coming to Illinois. This will be very beneficial to the state, but most important to the Northwest Suburbs, not just Hoffman Estates," said state representative Fred Crespo. "Not only can it help the economic engine in the area, but it’s also going to improve the quality of life in the area. The D-League markets itself as a family-friendly event at an affordable price, and I think that’s very key."

Wendell Carter Jr. survives gauntlet of centers to begin career


Wendell Carter Jr. survives gauntlet of centers to begin career

Don't tell Wendell Carter Jr. the center position is a dying breed.

The 19-year-old rookie hasn't exactly been able to ease into the NBA, finding himself up against a handful of All-Stars and powerful frontcourts just five days into his career.

It culminated Monday night with a date against Mavericks center DeAndre Jordan, and once again the seventh overall pick held his own. It was much of the same as it was against Philadelphia's Joel Embiid and Detroit's Andre Drummond last week (and Nikola Jokic in the preseason finale): some good, some bad, plenty of poise and zero backing down. The NBA is unforgiving, but this could very well be the toughest stretch Carter faces all season.

"He’s playing against top level centers now," Fred Hoiberg said before Monday's game. "It’s a great experience for him. He’s going to learn and get better and he plays within himself, we will continue to look for him to be more aggressive."

He was as aggressive as the Bulls have seen him against Jordan and the Mavericks. He blew by the 20 and 18 minutes he played in the first two games of the year, totalling 32 minutes. His final line won't tell the story - 4 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and a block - of a Carter who defended well at the rim, picking and choosing his spots on when to attack shots and when to simply use his verticality.

He wasn't credited for a block but he contested a Jordan dunk that turned into a Bobby Portis dunk on the other end. Plus-minus isn't always a good indicator of a player's worth, but Carter was a +5 in a 14-point Bulls loss. He even attempted a corner 3-pointer early in the shot clock, showing no hesitation. Carter's had his moments, but it's also apparent he's got a 19-year-old body going up against veterans each night. That'll come with time in the weight room. For now the experience is 

"I appreciate the fact I’m able to play against these very talented bigs early in my career," Carter said after the loss to the Pistons. "What I need to work on is I have to get stronger; that’s the first thing I recognize; just being up against the best. I love the competition. It’s always a great feeling going against the best."

What the Bulls are finding out is they have a player mature beyond his years. As he progresses he'll continue to get more difficult assignments. He had his rookie moment late in Monday's loss, committing a turnover in the backcourt after the Bulls had cut the deficit to five with 35 seconds left. The fouls are also an issue, as Carter has committed 10 in three games (after committing 17 in five preseason games).

That doesn't necessarily seem important for a Lottery-bound team, but considering the continued struggles of Robin Lopez (and Cristiano Felicio is entirely out of the rotation) it is. Lopez had 2 points and 1 rebound in 10 minutes while committing five personal fouls. In three games he has 11 personal fouls and 11 points, and also has more turnovers (five) than rebounds (four). If the Bulls are going to compete until Lauri Markkanen returns, Carter will need to hover around the 32 minutes he played Monday.

He'll get a much easier test on Wednesday when the Charlotte Hornets arrive in town. Cody Zeller doesn't exactly have the credentials of a Jokic or Embiid, meaning Carter may have a little more room to work. 

The Bulls know they have something in Carter. It'll be abother month until they can deploy him alongside Markkanen, but if the first three games are any indication, Carter won't have any problems matching up with some of the league's best.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Moral victory for the Bears?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Moral victory for the Bears?

David Schuster, Adam Jahns and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel.

0:00- Dave Wannstedt joins the panel to discuss the Bears 38-31 loss to the Patriots? Was it a moral victory? Is Matt Nagy crazy to say Mitch Trubisky didn’t play that bad?

13:00- Joe Girardi pulls his name out of the Reds managerial search and Jon Heyman reports that industry sources believe he might wait to see if there’s an opening in Chicago. What are the chances that he replaces Joe Maddon?

14:30- Adam Amin joins Kap to preview the Bulls/Mavericks game and discuss the lack of defense in the NBA.