Bulls

Sam: Bulls praise Rodman's legacy

Sam: Bulls praise Rodman's legacy

Friday, April 1, 2011
Posted: 6:20 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com
AUBURN HILLS, MICH.As a player, Dennis Rodman was reviled by most opposing fans and loved by the faithful in the cities where he was employed. No better example of that is Chicago, where The Worm was hated by Bulls fansand playersduring the Bad Boy Pistons era, during which he was at the forefront of Chicago fans misery, before relocating to the Windy City and playing a major role in three Bulls championships.

When asked about the legendary rebounder and defender, however, the current Bulls are nothing but complimentary about the man whose jersey will be retired at a halftime ceremony of tonights game against the Pistons.

Bulls veteran Kurt Thomas, like Rodman, a native of Dallas, competed against Rodman in the NBA, but he looked up to him from a unique perspective long before he made it to the pros.

As a player, Ive been watching him my whole life growing up in Dallas. I followed his career, thought he was an unbelievable player. To lead the league in reboundingI think it was for six years straightthats an unbelievable feat. The number of championships that hes won in this league, just a tremendous player, Thomas, who grew up in the same gritty neighborhood of Dallas as Rodman, told CSNChicago.com. Just the fact that hes from Oak Cliff, Im from Oak Cliff. Growing up in that area and to see a guy like that make it to the highest level, playing in the NBA. Then, the way he played.

Off the courtI know the real Dennis Rodmanhes an unbelievable person. He has a great heart, hell give you the shirt off his back. Hes a great guy. Hes just an amazing person, he continued. Throughout his career, hes always giving back to the poor. Hes always done amazing things in Dallas, in the area where he grew up. Everywhere hes played, hes done an amazing job of giving back, second to none.

Now 38, Thomas also received on-court advice from Rodman as a young player.

He told me, Hey, young fella, just keep working hard. Never give up and never settle.

Its great to actually be here, to know that all the fans are going to come out, support him because he gave a lot this league and its definitely an honor for me to be here to witness and be in the building, said Thomas. He definitely should be a Hall of Famer, without a doubt.

Joakim Noah, perhaps the Bulls player that most embodies Rodmans on-court spirit (and free-spirited nature away from the game), also gushed about Rodmans influence.

Dennis has always been a hero of mine and Im just really excited for him and its very well-deserved, said Noah, who slyly confirmed hes partied with Rodman a few times and the experience was very fun, before the teams Tuesday morning shootaround. Hell yeah, hes a Hall of Famer. People always talk about his antics and all the other stuff, but I think people forget he was a hell of a basketball player.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau offered yet another perspective on Rodman.

I coached him two years in San Antonio. Real smart player, very unselfish player, team player and more of a complete player than hes given credit for. Everyone knows about the defense and the rebounding, but he was a great screener, great passer and he could score when he needed to, praised Thibodeau. Fierce competitor. I have a lot of respect for him. He had a great career.

What I remember about him is just how hard he played, added Thibodeau, who said hed try to greet Rodmantime-permittingduring Fridays game. I really like him. Hes a good guy, really good guy.

When asked about Rodmans Hall of Fame worthinesshes been nominated for the upcoming class; many observers feel his off-court antics will prevent him from ever being enshrinedThibodeau was adamant that Rodman is deserving.

I think so. And those things sometimes, you can never tell why. But I think hes deserving. When you look at what he did over his career, he maintained a high level of excellence for a long period of time. Hes one of the all-time great rebounders in the history of the league. He helped you execute, he played tough, he played big in big moments, so you have to give him a lot of respect for that, said the coach. Statistically, its still pretty amazing numbers when you look at what he did, but he wasnt a big-time scorer, so sometimes that goes against you. But hes a big-time winner.

Rodman was one of them best defender Thibodeau ever coached. He could defend multiple positions. Great rebounder, great multiple-effort guy, too. I often think about his rebounding, where he tipped the ball two, three, four times. Hed just keep going until he got it. He was always in great shape and again, hes looked at sometimes in a negative way for the stuff off the court, but on the court, he was fabulous, terrific.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Draft night highlighted the unfulfilling feeling of this past Bulls season

Draft night highlighted the unfulfilling feeling of this past Bulls season

The door has officially been closed on the 2017-18 season for the Chicago Bulls, and the word that most comes to mind is “unfulfilling.”

Or maybe even “indistinguishable.”

Draft night was supposed to be a culmination of a painful seven-month stretch that only had occasional yet costly moments of light.

Death lineup? Meet Death March. And Death April, while we’re at it.

The Bulls brass sold everyone on a full rebuild after trading Jimmy Butler one year ago, with an unspoken promise that this draft would bear franchise-changing fruit—hence the general feeling of angst or even indifference with the solid selection of Wendell Carter Jr. and their not-so-secret affection of Chandler Hutchison.

It was why fans believe the Bulls got cold feet about trading to move up, and why they believe the Bulls weren’t being pragmatic in staying away from Michael Porter Jr.

Porter, some believe, has star written all over him given his prep ranking this time last year and the Bulls were in position to speed up this process without having to go into a painful Process.

They were desperate for a star, believing the tankathon had produced so much suffering it had to be something on the back end.

There was the fight (or the punch).

The aftermath.

The miserable 3-20 start.

The 14-7 streak that produced the audacity of hope.

The reality that 14-7 was damaging enough to the lottery chances that a 3-11 finish couldn’t rectify.

And finally, the coin flip that cost them five spots in the lottery one month ago.

So that empty feeling has less to do with Carter and Hutchison, who’ve done nothing to earn the “blah” reaction from the fan base and some media. It has everything to do with the unanswered questions over the last 82 games and lack of clarity over the three hauls from draft night last year.

It’s not that Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn underperformed individually last season, but the lack of cohesiveness due to injuries and circumstances has led to the varying thoughts.

LaVine is approaching restricted free agency and by all accounts is taking his continuing rehab in Washington very seriously.  Markkanen has added plenty of muscle since the offseason began, appearing as if he can play Michael B. Jordan’s in-ring foil in the next installation of “Creed” as Ivan Drago’s long lost son.

And despite the report about Dunn not working as hard on the floor this offseason, that would be more of a concern if this were late August, not June.

The last time they were seen together on the floor, they looked no closer to a pecking order than the day they arrived.

What we know is that they’re productive NBA players, capable of putting an individual tattoo on a game at a moment’s notice, skillful enough to take your breath away.

And for whatever reason, the expectations changed once the three displayed they could be dynamic on their own—a star needed to be anointed and groomed to go with the star they believed was coming their way after the season.

Management is fully behind Markkanen, but Paxson’s strong words about LaVine at the season-ending news conference illustrated how much it feels LaVine has to prove next season.

With his restricted free agency status looming, the Bulls’ initial offer will show how much they value him until and if he gets a better deal on the market.

And the fact the Bulls weren’t afraid to draft Trae Young while having a healthy debate about Collin Sexton on draft night has to show they have at least some skepticism about the future at point guard.

But stars—developing stars, acquired stars, drafted stars—have to do it on their own. No amount of promotion or prodding from management will validate their faith, if that’s the route the Bulls choose to go.

This has to be a meritocracy or it won’t work and, honestly, it’s time for a reality check.

All the worry about the Bulls getting back to title contention sooner rather than later seems like folks getting ahead of themselves.

The front office has taken its share of shots from media and fans, so some questioning is earned but they’re right about one thing. Rebuilds aren’t completed in a day or 12 months.

Expecting some magic potion to arrive in the form of a top draft pick isn’t going to cure what ills this roster, and it doesn’t seem likely all the cap space will result in a free agent choosing the Bulls over the usual suspects.

However, methodical building can look like complacency if not done with a sense of urgency.

And with urgency in mind, this past season was unsatisfying to say the least—heading into the next phase with two more young pieces to develop while the first three are still in the evaluation stage.

Loyola's March Madness hero Donte Ingram will play with Bulls' Summer League team

Loyola's March Madness hero Donte Ingram will play with Bulls' Summer League team

Donte Ingram's 2018 keeps getting better and better.

The March Madness hero, who buried a game-winning 3-pointer in the first round of Loyola's win over Miami, will play on the Bulls' Summer League team.

Ingram, a Simeon Academy graduate, had himself an incredible senior season with the Ramblers, who advanced all the way to the Final Four as a No. 11 seed.

In five NCAA Tournament games Ingram averaged 7.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists for the Ramblers. He also had 18 points in the MVC Conference Championship Game to secure the Ramblers' March Madness berth.

He'll join first-round draft picks Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison on the Las Vegas Summer League team, which will begin play early next month.