Bulls

Thibodeau to coach Eastern Conference All-Stars

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Thibodeau to coach Eastern Conference All-Stars

With the 121-115 win over the Sacramento Kings, the Bulls (24-7) clinched the best record in the Eastern Conference which earned Coach Tom Thibodeau and his staff the coaching duties for the East in the All-Star Game in Orlando on Feb. 26.

The NBAs reigning Coach of the Year is never one to accept individual accolades without deflecting the attention onto what help garner the recognition.

Its more a testament and a byproduct of what the team has done, said Thibodeau. Anytime when you can participate in something like that, its good. Its an honor and Ill look forward to it.

Thibodeau was only concerned with the teams practice on Wednesday afternoon in preparation for their game against the visiting Boston Celtics on Thursdaybut the players were happy to see him receive the honor.

Thibs is a grinder, Kyle Korver told CSNChicago. He watches so much film, he studies the game so hard. We go through plays that Im not sure the other team knows how to run. I think we run the teams plays better. He has such a passion for the game and hes a stickler to detail. Theres never any grey area. He always knows the answer, right away, to what he wants you to do and thats what you want from your leader.

Its an honor for him, continued Korver. The whole coaching staff works incredibly hard. I dont think Ive ever been around a harder working coach in my life. I dont think theres a coach that gets his team more prepared and goes over more details than we go over every single night. Its a great honor for him and were very happy for him.

The players left in the locker room, still fielding questions from reporters stopped mid-interviews and congratulated Thibodeau as he entered the room and made his way to the training room.

With his hardworking, tough-nosed coaching style, many of the players joked at how he would handle the experience of coaching a meaningless exhibition game were the emphasis on defense is lacking the usual Thibodeau approach along with other concerns.

I just hope they dont have to do defensive slides and closeouts during the All-Star Game but I hope he takes it easy on those guys, said Joakim Noah.

Added Korver: I just hope he doesnt play LuLuol Deng and Derrick Rose 40 minutes

Denzel Valentine suffers setback on injured left ankle, will be reevaluated in 2 weeks

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USA TODAY

Denzel Valentine suffers setback on injured left ankle, will be reevaluated in 2 weeks

Denzel Valentine’s troublesome left ankle is going to keep him on the sideline for at least the next two weeks. Fred Hoiberg said Saturday before the Bulls’ home opener against the Detroit Pistons that Valentine is suffering from a bone bruise in the ankle he sprained on the second day of training camp. Valentine will be evaluated in two weeks.

“It sucks because of all the work I put in this summer and being around the guys you want to be out there so bad,” he said. “Things happen for a reason, and now that we know what’s going on I at least have a time frame and be patient with it; it’s bad news but good news at the same time as it gives me time to get ready.”

Valentine had been practicing earlier in the week and appeared close to a return after spraining the ankle on Sept. 25. But the third year wing complained of discomfort in the ankle and missed practice on Friday. A scan of the left ankle revealed the bone bruise, and Hoiberg wouldn’t speculate on when exactly Valentine might return.

It’s the same ankle Valentine had surgery on in May 2017. Valentine also missed the last two weeks of last season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. The injury couldn’t come at a worse time for Valentine or the Bulls, who are in desparate need of help both in the backcourt and on the wing.

Though Valentine isn’t a true point guard, he averaged 3.2 assists per game off the bench last season. The Bulls could use that kind of production when Kris Dunn returns on Monday, as Cameron Payne and Ryan Arcidiacono haven’t exactly showed promise in the early going.

Instead, Valentine is on the mend and it’s unclear when he might return. Given he’s had surgery on the same ankle before, the Bulls will be cautious upon his return.

“I’m a fighter, I’m not going to quit; just deal with the hand dealt," Valentine said. "I can’t sit here and be negative, I just got to fight, stay mentally strong and this will be bittersweet when I come back and have a great year.”

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.