Bulls

Hoiberg: Derrick Rose will play vs. Cleveland, but for how long?

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Hoiberg: Derrick Rose will play vs. Cleveland, but for how long?

A turbulent offseason isn’t going to keep Derrick Rose from playing in Tuesday’s NBA opener against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Rose made his preseason debut last Friday against the Mavericks, this time coming back from a fractured left orbital suffered in the first practice of training camp. To rookie coach Fred Hoiberg’s delight, Rose pushed the pace, attacked the basket and showed little hesitancy despite wearing a mask in two separate five-minute stints.

Asked what might be a realistic expectation for Rose on Tuesday night, and Hoiberg was non-committal.

[MORE: Rose's debut in Hoiberg's new offense energizes Bulls]

“I don’t know if he’s going to have a restriction on how many minutes,” Hoiberg said, although conditioning is still a concern. “We play three in four days to start this thing off, so we’ll have to be a little more careful with him just because he hasn’t had a ton of reps out there. I don’t know exactly how many minutes, but it will be good to have him out there.”

The Bulls are very much a work in progress. Integrating Rose back into the system is priority No. 1, but a close second on Hoiberg’s to-do list should be sorting out the frontcourt rotations. It appears he likes the Pau Gasol-Nikola Mirotic pairing for spacing and offensive purposes while playing Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson together off the bench. How much time rookie Bobby Portis seizes from any of the veterans remains to be seen.

Gibson, who played all sorts of roles last season under Tom Thibodeau, said the Bulls are benefitting from the depth.

“I feel comfortable in this offense. I feel like I’m back in college playing freely,” he said Sunday. “I feel like the practices have been harder for me than the games. That’s a good sign. We’ve just really been going at it.”

[RELATED: Derrick Rose on reported rift with Jimmy Butler: It's so false]

The biggest adjustment may be for former All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah, who should still see fourth quarter minutes despite his reserve role. Given Sunday’s practice, the team’s emotional leader seems to be adapting quite well.

“He’s been awesome. He’s been our most vocal guy in practices,” Hoiberg said. “He has that group frothing at the mouth today in that second unit, so it was fun.”

The last several weeks have been dedicated to implementing Hoiberg’s offensive schemes, but that won’t prepare the Bulls for what awaits them in LeBron James on Tuesday. For what it’s worth, Hoiberg did say he and his staff watched a lot of last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals vs. Cleveland in preparation.

“He’s so good, he’s a freight train at getting down the floor with the ball in his hands. He’s a great passer, he can hurt you on the glass,” Hoiberg said. “You just have to try and make him make jumpshots. You have to give up something with him.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Fortunately, the Bulls can rest assured that their superstars will be active as well.

“I think (Rose) is in top form,” Gibson said. “He’s been doing great in practice. I think the mask, I don’t know, I think it’s the mask. We’ve been talking a lot of trash to him, and he’s been responding well. We’ve been really getting into him, throwing so many bodies at him, and we couldn’t stop him today.” 

They hope the same can be said on Tuesday night. 

Bulls sign local product Tyler Ulis to two-way deal

Bulls sign local product Tyler Ulis to two-way deal

The NBA preseason has finished and teams are finalizing their rosters before the beginning of the regular season.

For the Bulls, that meant claiming Tyler Ulis off waivers and signing him to a two-way contract.

The Athletic's Shams Charania first reported the move.

Ulis, a product of Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, was waived by the Warriors on Friday. He spent two years at Kentucky before getting drafted in the second round by the Phoenix Suns in 2016.

In two years with the Suns, Ulis made 58 starts and played in 132 games. He averaged just over 7 points per game in both seasons. Last season, Ulis also averaged 4.4 assists per game against 1.8 turnovers in 23.4 minutes per game.

The Suns waived Ulis after the season and the Warriors signed him for the preseason. He averaged 3 points and 1.5 assists per game in four preseason games with the Warriors.

The two-way contract means Ulis could be spending more time with the Windy City Bulls than at the United Center on game days, but backup point guard is a question mark for the Bulls. Cam Payne looks like he will get first crack at the role behind Kris Dunn with Denzel Valentine injured. Ryan Arcidiacono just made the team and could also figure into point guard minutes.

Ryan Arcidiacono's persistence pays off with roster spot inclusion

Ryan Arcidiacono's persistence pays off with roster spot inclusion

Cuts during the NBA preseason aren’t exactly as gut-wrenching and tension-filled as they are in the NFL. NBA teams cut from somewhere in the late teens down to 15, and the potential for two-way contracts exist for those players who don’t make the roster. But for Ryan Arcidiacono, Saturday was filled with angst as he waited for a call. It never came.

“I was thinking about it. It’s like Hard Knocks when you’re watching. You don’t want to get that phone call,” Arcidiacono said Sunday before practice. “I was just thinking to myself after the game (Friday), nobody said anything to me. I was talking to (assistant) Pete (Myers) and he said, ‘Just get outta here, man. I’ll see you at practice on Sunday.’ I was still a little nervous on Friday night. Saturday morning I felt better after I talked to my agent and everything became more official.”

It’s quite the journey for Arcidiacono, who spent time both with the Bulls and their G-League affiliate in Hoffman Estates last season. In 37 starts with the Windy City Bulls, Arcidiacono averaged 13.9 points and 8.5 assists in 39.6 minutes. His two longest stints in Chicago came in late January and at the end of the year, and that 24-game audition was enough for the Bulls to re-sign him in July.

Arcidiacono found more comfort this summer in Year 2 with the Bulls. Though his playing time in the preseason was limited he showed enough in camp to warrant a spot on the roster. It also helped that the Bulls find themselves thin at the point guard position behind Kris Dunn, with Cameron Payne struggling and Denzel Valentine on the mend with an ankle injury.

“I think last year really helped me with the two-way, getting acclimated with what Fred wants to do,” he said. “I think getting up and down with the G League. (Head coach) Charlie (Henry) really helped me a lot. Knowing our point guard situation, I just tried to be the hardest playing guy on the floor anytime I step on and the rest will take care of itself.”

It’s unknown whether Arcidiacono’s stint in Chicago will last. His contract will be guaranteed on January 10. He’s an important body for now with Lauri Markkanen out for the foreseeable future and Valentine still recovering from his own injury. But he’ll also have the opportunity to push Payne for that back-up role. Payne struggled much of the preseason, averaging 4.2 points and 3.2 assists on just 25 percent shooting.

“Arci has done a lot of really good things,” Hoiberg said. “I liked the way he looked in the game the other night off the ball. Defensively, made some really good solid plays and again, when there’s an open man on the court Arci’s gonna find him.”

He won’t move the needle on the Bulls’ season, and his minutes will likely be minimal once the season begins. But for now it’s a great story of persistence that gives the Bulls another hard-working body in practice.”

“Whatever our team needs, that’s what they’ll get from me,” he said. “Whether that’s being a backup or the third point guard spot, I’m just here to compete and make our team better and hopefully get us some victories.”