Bulls

Bulls: Rose delivers late, reaches new peak with career moment

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Bulls: Rose delivers late, reaches new peak with career moment

The broken play that led to Derrick Rose beating the buzzer with a 26-foot triple that hit the sweet spot on the United Center backboards wasn’t supposed to be like this.

You see, Rose was supposed to do this on the regular, standing toe-to-toe amongst opponents like LeBron James in high-pressure playoff atmospheres so much that this night should’ve been a replay of something we’ve seen so many times before—so much so that Rose’s expressionless reaction should’ve been worn by everybody in attendance Friday night.

Shots that make muscles of the most chiseled athletes go limp, shots that shake the belief out of 12 men in blue and shake the doubt out of 22,000 wearing red by watching them yell and raise their hands to the heavens was supposed to be an everyday occurrence.

But life—and basketball mortality doesn’t always work that way, as the last three years have shown us with the prodigal son who, a week ago, brazenly and nonchalantly told assembled media that “I’m built for this (bleep)” after giving up a game-winner to Jerryd Bayless in Milwaukee.

“It was a broken play,” Rose said. “I was supposed to get the ball in the corner, but when I ran to the corner I wasn’t open so I ran toward the ball.”

[MORE: Rose's buzzer-beating triple gives Bulls 2-1 series lead]

Broken play, broken dreams, wasted seasons, the sharp knives of surgery and criticism were all fresh in everybody’s mind—except the man running toward the ball.

“I don’t mean to sound cocky but that’s a shot you want to take if you’re a player in position,” he said. “I’m thankful and grateful that my teammates gave me the ball. They believe in me.”

Rose ran toward the challenge and into basketball immortality, just like he’s taken on every challenge, in some form, for his entire existence—the reason why everyone defends and praises him vigorously, even when they’re prodded to do otherwise.

“That is Derrick’s greatness,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “There’s not many like him. In fact, there are not any like him.”

But that broken play and Rose’s dogged determination to get to the ball is likely no different than his quiet determination to get on the floor.

Nearly 10 feet from where Rose sat on the NBA’s podium, calmly discussing his first playoff game-winner, was a much different scene two and a half months ago when Bulls GM Gar Forman told the world Rose had yet another successful knee surgery and that a return could be possible.

“I think Derrick’s ready to attack it. I do,” Forman said that day. “Like I said, I think he’s anxious to attack this rehab and get back on the floor with his teammates. In comparison to what Derrick had to go through the last several years, this surgery was minor.”

[RELATED: Cavs on Derrick Rose's game-winner: 'Got to live with it']       

All around that Friday morning, the basketball world was filled with a mixture of optimism and doubt. Ironically, when Rose’s mysterious injury was announced, the NBA’s players gathered around social media like his career was done, nearly holding vigil at his proverbial bedside.

One of those players was LeBron James, who issued statements over twitter and Instagram, saluting his then-fallen competitor.

“Man (I) feel bad for D.Rose! Keep your head up homie and stay strong G!” James tweeted in the wee hours of Feb. 24, likely from the mindset that matching wits two months later was nothing more than a dream.

But Friday it was James who was on the other side, missing a crucial layup that could’ve put the Cavaliers up one and turning the ball over seven times in a less-than-stellar night that in a way, set up the stage for Rose’s moment in time, as not even the game’s best player could interrupt Rose’s date with stardom.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

And in case anybody believes this is the zenith, Thibodeau is so quick to remind everyone Rose isn’t far removed from surgery, that these games are essentially part of an extended rehab.

“He’s still shaking the rust off,” Thibodeau said. “The more he plays, the comfortable he’s getting and the more rhythm he has.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

The man who had everything about his basketball character questioned when he couldn’t guarantee a return to the floor, picking at open media wounds that never closed, while some never considered his own very real emotional and physical wounds that caused those words to come from his mouth.

He overcame his own doubts, the frailty of his body and finally, the greatest superstar of this time to author an ending few saw coming.

“When people talk, it’s all their opinions,” Rose said. “I can’t get mad at your opinions. I’ll let God handle that. My job is to make sure I’m prepared for every game and come out and compete. What everybody says, nothing I can do about it. Everybody is entitled to their opinion.”

And with one shot that sent Chicago into delirium, it was another reminder that although it wasn’t supposed to be like this, maybe “what will be” can be more glorious than “what could have been”.

Deadline passes as Bulls, Bobby Portis fail to reach agreement on contract extension

Deadline passes as Bulls, Bobby Portis fail to reach agreement on contract extension

The Bulls and Bobby Portis were unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension by today’s deadline, which will make the power forward a restricted free agent next offseason.

According to The Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson, Portis’ agent Mark Bartelstein and Gar Forman had “lengthy face-to-face negotiations” on Monday prior to the deadline. The two sides weren’t able to come to an agreement.

The negotiations – and lack of a deal – come after a summer and training camp in which Portis continued to show progression. After beginning the preseason coming off the bench Portis quickly played his way into the starting lineup alongside rookie Wendell Carter Jr. Portis finished five preseason games averaging 17.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals in just 22.4 minutes.

Portis, the 22nd pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, has seen his role increase each of his three seasons. He made a jump last season in Year 3, averaging 13.2 points and 6.8 rebounds in 22.5 minutes. He was one of three players, including DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Love, to average 21 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 3-pointers per 36 minutes.

Though the Bulls certainly had the room to sign Portis to an extension, there were obvious reasons on both sides to wait on a deal. For starters, the Bulls will still be able to match any deal Portis receives in free agency next July, much like what happened with Zach LaVine and the Sacramento Kings. The Bulls maintain their abundance of cap space for the 2019 offseason, when they’ll be able to offer a max contract to the top-tier free agents, and they get to see if Portis makes another jump.

For Portis, it’s a case of him betting on himself. If the Bulls came in with a number he wasn’t satisfied with – to help keep their max cap space – he now finds himself on a contract year playing for his next contract. Still only 23 years old, Portis should cash in in July.

Two players from Portis’ draft class were able to cash in. Pacers center Myles Turner signed a reported four-year, $80 million extension and Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. agreed to a four-year, $45 million deal. Portis likely would have fallen somewhere in between those two deals had an agreement occurred.

The Bulls are hardly in an easy situation with Portis. Though they value the versatile power forward, Lauri Markkanen is entrenched at the position for the foreseeable future and the team just spent last year’s No. 7 overall pick on center Wendell Carter Jr. Portis realistically is stuck behind both those players, though he certainly has starting level NBA talent.

NBC Sports Chicago launches new show Bulls Outsiders

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NBC Sports Chicago

NBC Sports Chicago launches new show Bulls Outsiders

Chicago, IL (October 15, 2018) – NBC Sports Chicago – THE Home of the #AuthenticFan – has announced it will launch Bulls Outsiders, a brand new, live, multi-platform, fan-interactive Bulls program that will provide a fresh take on that evening’s game and much more from three non-conventional sports show hosts.  Bulls Outsiders will make its network debut after the Bulls 2018-19 road/season opener this Thursday, October 18 (approx. 10:00 PM CT) immediately following Bulls Postgame Live presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois on NBC Sports Chicago+, via live stream to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers at NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive, and -- on Facebook Live (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago). NOTE: Bulls Outsiders will also re-air on the main NBC Sports Chicago channel on this night at 11:00 PM; the majority of airings will also air live on the main channel location.

Hosted by three, die-hard Bulls enthusiasts – Matt Peck (@Bulls_Peck), David Watson (@bawlsports), and John Sabine (@jsabine214) – Bulls Outsiders will provide viewers with the hottest takes, insightful analysis, and spirited commentary from the fans' perspective. This new half-hour program will immediately follow the network’s dedicated, season-long presentation of Bulls Postgame Live for all 82 Bulls games this season.  

In addition to the lively post-game discussion with the show’s hosts, Bulls Outsiders will also emphasize heavy viewer interaction via fan engagement on a number of the network’s social media platforms including Twitter (@NBCSBulls; fans urged to utilize the Twitter hashtag #BullsOutsiders in their posts) and Facebook Live (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago), which will enable Bulls fans to directly interact with the show’s hosts via comments and questions pertaining to that particular evening’s game, the key topics presented to them that night, or anything else they want to discuss from a league-wide NBA perspective. 

“Our primary goal at NBC Sports Chicago is to super serve our fans and with the introduction of Bulls Outsiders to our multi-platform programming line-up, we are able to continue that mission with a fresh and fun new program that not only speaks to Bulls fans, but one that directly involves them in the dialogue,” said Kevin Cross, Vice President of Content for NBC Sports Chicago. 

In preparation for the hiring of the program’s three primary hosts, NBC Sports Chicago reached out to a number of notable local (and vocal) die-hard Bulls fans who stood out among the vast Bulls social media community. Candidates who responded back with interest were simply asked to shoot a one-minute video on their phone and offer up their take on Chicago native/Simeon Career Academy H.S. grad Jabari Parker joining the Bulls via free agency.  From there, the initial two dozen candidates were narrowed down to eight, who were then all brought in for in-studio auditions. Following the lengthy on-camera process, Cross, along with Bulls content producer Kevin Anderson, finalized their decision and welcomed Peck, Watson, and Sabine to the NBC Sports Chicago family.  

“It was an intricate process in choosing our hosts, but there’s no doubt Matt, David, and John have a great chemistry and solid individual strengths,” added Cross. “I’m also excited about how Bulls Outsiders will take fan interactivity to a brand new level and I couldn’t be more pleased that we will be able to deliver this show to the passionate and undeniably-dedicated Bulls fan base.”

Please note the following Bulls Outsiders host bios:

Matt Peck - Podcast host/writer for ‘Locked On Bulls’

Age: 31

Hometown: Glen Ellyn, IL

Favorite Bull of all time: “MJ, obviously…but Rodman is a very close second.” 

Favorite Current Bull: Lauri Markkanen 

Favorite Bulls moments: 

1st place – “1997 NBA Finals Game 1. MJ hits the game-winner at the buzzer after Karl Malone misses 2 FTs...Mailman doesn't deliver on Sundays."

2nd place – “2011 Eastern Conference Finals Game 1…Bulls blow out the ‘Heatles.’ Taj destroys Dwyane Wade's soul. And has a FILTHY put back dunk late with the route on. The Madhouse goes insane. We all leave that night thinking we were about to win the title.” 

David Watson - Bulls writer/podcast host for BawlSports.com

Age: 39

Hometown: Chicago, IL                            

Favorite Bulls player of all-time: Michael Jordan

Favorite current Bulls player: Lauri Markkanen

Favorite Bulls moment: “Jordan Flu Game in ‘97…Noah dunk on Paul Pierce in ’09 first round Game 6 Triple OT…oh, and that Pippen dunk on Ewing in the ’94 playoffs.”

John Sabine - Actor, copywriter, and improviser…he has performed with The Second City IO and The Improvised Shakespeare Company.

Age: 34

Hometown: Originally from Dallas, TX…has lived in Chicago for the last 11 years

Favorite Bulls player of all-time: “Pippen or Rodman, it's probably Rodman. Is it weird it's Rodman?”

Favorite current Bulls player: “Lauri Markkanen, but really Bobby Portis. I want to be friends with Bobby Portis.” 

Favorite Bulls moment: “Jordan's return from baseball. As a kid I couldn't understand, I said "wait ...he just decided to not play and now he decided to play, but like he has a new number and he's still awesome...what?!’ or…either 2013 Round 1 Game 4 against the Nets 3OT, Nate Robinson. It was a Marvel Movie.” 

REMINDER: NBC Sports Chicago will carry the 2018-19 Bulls HOME OPENER on Saturday, October 20 (Bulls Pregame Live presented by Coors Light at 6:00 PM; Bulls vs. Pistons tip-off at 7:00 PM; Bulls Postgame Live presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois at approx. 9:30 PM, which will immediately be followed by Bulls Outsiders at approx. 10:00 PM).

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