Bulls

Signs of optimism after Wednesday's meetings?

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Signs of optimism after Wednesday's meetings?

Don't get your hopes up just yet, but as representatives of the league and the players' association resumed labor negotiations Wednesday in New York, various media reports are suddenly showing signs of optimism in regards to a potential end to the NBA lockout.

A league source, on the condition of anonymity, confirmed to CSNChicago.com that progress was made in talks between the league and the union.

It was widely expected that the NBA would announce the cancellation of another two weeks of regular-season games Tuesday. Instead, in addition to talks continuing, various players--including league MVP Derrick Rose and LeBron James--reportedly opted to not participate in the star-studded World All-Star Classic, scheduled to begin Sunday in Puerto Rico. Some observers are interpreting the decisions as a sign that an end to the lockout is somewhat imminent.

At the same time, a New York Times report revealed that two arenas--Chicago's United Center and Los Angeles' Staples Center--have scheduled events on dates previously earmarked for NBA games, although assurances were reportedly made that the games can be rescheduled if and when the lockout ends.

With the cancellation of the first two weeks of the season, the NBA schedule would have to be reworked and certain dates," said, in part, a statement released by the league and published in the Orange County Register, a Southern California newspaper. "Including Dec. 13 for a Lakers game at Staples Centerwould not be part of any revised schedule."

In both cities, the dates will now accommodate concert dates for rapper Jay-Z and Windy City native Kanye West. The Chicago stop of the tour will take place Nov. 30, a night when the Bulls would have hosted the San Antonio Spurs.

Meanwhile Rose, who is currently in Hawaii on a USO-sponsored "Hoops for Troops" tour, continued his recent trend of speaking out about labor issues, this time tackling the salary cap.

"I wish it was back like where it was in the old days where there wasn't a cap," the Bulls All-Star point guard told reporters Tuesday. "Back in the day, they were giving guys coming out of college with multimillion-dollar contracts, so why stop it now? The game is growing. There's no need to stop it."

An outspoken Rose again expressed his take on the ongoing work stoppage, echoing comments he made in Chicago during events related to the release of his new signature sneaker.

"Greed is not on our the players' side," he said. "We're not greedy. What they're the owners trying to do to us is dead wrong.

"The most difficult part is, every day you wake up and you see games canceled," he continued. "The fans are fiending for it. I know we're itching to play. And I know that it'll hurt the game because our fans are loyal and for us not to be playing, I think it'll hurt them more.

"I put a lot of work into my game. I take my basketball life very serious. That's just my life," the youngest MVP in NBA history went on to say. "For people to still talk negative about you, I think that's just life, period. You just go with it. But I feed off of it."

Rose also commented on his experience with the troops in Hawaii.

"They're around my age and younger than I am," he said. "Just seeing that they're fighting for us, I just let them know we're not taking them for granted.

"Supporting our nations military community has always been important to me. Whether I am extending my thanks to our troops on the front lines, visiting military families back at home, playing ball with wounded warriors, or participating on USO tours like this that are designed to uplift the spirits of those stationed around the globe, it is an honor for me anytime I am able to give."

Bulls Talk Podcast: Getting to know the Bulls Outsiders team; bold predictions for this season

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NBC Sports Chicago

Bulls Talk Podcast: Getting to know the Bulls Outsiders team; bold predictions for this season

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, the Bulls Outsiders team of Matt Peck, David Watson, and John Sabine join Kevin Anderson to talk about the series premier of ‘Bulls Outsiders’ Thursday night. Hear about how the show came together and what they are hoping to bring to the Bulls fanbase this season. They’ll also share their bold predictions for the season including two potential end-of-season award winners from this roster.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Kris Dunn thinks Zach LaVine could be 'a good defender in this league'

Kris Dunn thinks Zach LaVine could be 'a good defender in this league'

We all know what Zach LaVine is capable of doing on the offensive side of things. But what about his defense?

It's no secret that LaVine has had his fair share of struggles on defense, but Kris Dunn thinks highly of his 23-year-old teammate and what his potential is at the other end.

"On the defensive end I just told him, 'You're as fast as me. You're more athletic than me. There's no way you shouldn't be a good defender in this league. You could be one of those guys who could be dynamic in the passing lanes because you're so athletic and fast.'" Dunn said of LaVine. "And personally, I like to score. If you get in a passing lane, that's a dunk for yourself and because you've got so much bounce that's when you get the crowd on their feet — maybe do a windmill, a 360, something.

"But I think he's been going a good job on the defensive end. It's not going to be easy. We all got to learn and I think we're all trying."

Improving his defense would obviously be a big step forward for LaVine (and the Bulls), and he knows it. 

“I think I had a lot better focus on the defensive end,” LaVine said when assessing his preseason. “I had some mistakes too, but I wanted to go out there and just really hone in on being more focused down there. I felt like I did OK with that. Still some areas I want to get better at, definitely off-the-ball I think I did a lot better than I had before.’’

LaVine and the Bulls travel to Philadelphia to face the 76ers on Thursday night in their season opener. You can watch Bulls Pre- and Postgame Live on NBC Sports Chicago before and after the game for highlights and analysis.