Bulls

Nobody can get their story straight on Noah going to the bench

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Nobody can get their story straight on Noah going to the bench

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. — There appears to be a bit of a discrepancy in the “Joakim Noah volunteers to go to the bench” story many have believed, a move that has made way for Nikola Mirotic to enter the starting lineup before the season opener.

Noah said he never went to coach Fred Hoiberg to say he wanted to come off the bench, which is what Hoiberg said occurred. Knowing Noah as the competitor that he is, it didn’t seem to go parallel with the standards he’s set personally, especially considering he’s in the midst of a contract year.

But it looked as if Hoiberg was trying to protect Noah and prop him up psychologically as opposed to presenting it to the masses as a demotion or some kind of claim he’s no longer an effective player.

“I don’t remember, pick whatever (story) you want,” said Hoiberg coyly. “He came to me and had a discussion. He said he wanted to play with Taj. We had a very easy conversation, and I give him credit for initiating the conversation.”

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Noah agreed that a conversation was had but didn’t say he wanted to go to the bench. At this point it’s semantics, but perhaps it speaks to how Hoiberg wants to protect his players — either that or he made a bigger deal than it should’ve been.

“What I said doesn’t matter,” Noah said. “Right now we’re doing what’s best for the team. We just have to keep building.”

Mirotic’s presence has opened the floor for everybody on the perimeter, and it’s likely Hoiberg grouped Mirotic with Pau Gasol and Noah with Gibson during training camp practices, with the endgame of making Noah see for himself which combinations worked best.

“The conversation said I feel like I play well with Taj and I think Niko and Pau play well together,” Hoiberg said. “That’s how the conversation went.

“That’s the story and I’m sticking to it.”

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Noah said he gets to play center as opposed to power forward with Gasol, which puts him against more agile players, and playing with Gibson allows Gibson to protect the rim a little better.

“I think I’m more effective playing the 5 than the 4, and Pau is the same,” Noah said. “So it makes the most sense.”

Bottom line, it’s worked to the tune of two wins.

“He likes being in there with Taj, and Taj is our best rim runner,” Hoiberg said. “And Jo can facilitate and pass the ball. He said they have great chemistry together, and I agree with him.”

Still in search of guard depth, Bulls reportedly 'planning to sign' Shaquille Harrison

Still in search of guard depth, Bulls reportedly 'planning to sign' Shaquille Harrison

The Bulls are still scrambling to add depth at point guard and found another body to throw in the rotation.

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, the Bulls "are planning to sign" Shaquille Harrison. Harrison was waived by the Suns on Monday.

In order to complete the move, the Bulls are reportedly waiving center Omer Asik.

Harrison went undrafted out of Tulsa in 2016. The Suns signed him and sent him to the then NBA D-League. Last season, the 25-year-old from Kansas City played in 23 games and made two starts in the NBA. He averaged 6.6 points and 2.4 assists in 16.7 minutes per game.

The Suns signed Jamal Crawford earlier this week and waived Harrison. The Bulls apparently have swooped in.

This move comes just six days after the Bulls added Tyler Ulis, who was also waived by the Suns. Ulis didn't play in the season-opening loss at Philadelphia.

Kris Dunn will miss his second straight game Saturday against the Pistons. His absence against the Sixers showed the lack of depth at guard for the Bulls. Cam Payne started at point guard and split minutes with Ryan Arcidiacono. Payne went 0-for-4 in 21 minutes and led coach Fred Hoiberg to say potential lineup changes are "still up in the air."

Harrison can now join Payne, Arcidiacono and Ulis in a battle for backup minutes at point guard when Dunn returns to the lineup.

Bulls announce substitute broadcasters for first five Neil Funk-less games

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USA TODAY

Bulls announce substitute broadcasters for first five Neil Funk-less games

If you haven't heard, Neil Funk is cutting 20 road games from his 2018-19 Bulls' play-by-play schedule.

Friday, the Bulls announced that Adam Amin, Andy Demetra and Kyle Draper will fill in for Funk for the first five of those games.

Amin, a play-by-play commentator for ESPN, will games on Oct. 22 against the Mavericks and Nov. 14 against the Celtics. He grew up in Addison, resides in Chicago and also does play-by-play for Bears preseason games.

Demetra is from Oak Brook and currently is the play-by-play broadcaster for Georgia Tech basketball and football. He will call games on Oct. 26 against the Hornets and Oct. 27 against the Hawks. He has previous play-by-play experience with the SEC Network, Pac-12 Network and Fox Sports South.

Draper will call the Bulls' Nov. 7 game against the Pelicans. He is the Celtics' pregame and postgame host for NBC Sports Boston and an occasional play-by-play annoucer and sideline reporter for the Celtics.

The Bulls said they will continue providing updates on substitute broadcasters as they are scheduled.