With Derrick Rose appearing to be fully recovered after back spasms caused him to miss five straight games, C.J. Watson completing league guidelines to return after suffering a mild concussion last Saturday and John Lucas III the third point guard on the depth chart, its questionable if veteran guard Mike James will sign another 10-day contract with the Bulls.
James, 36, is in his second stint with Chicago and has averaged 10.3 points, 4.3 assists in 17.6 minutes of action after being re-signed on Feb. 14.
His professionalism and hard work -- arriving to games and practices early to get shots up and learn all the teams sets -- has been something that has impressed all of his teammates.
We told him when he came back, we were all happy to see him back, said Luol Deng. This is a guy thats been going in early, getting to know the plays, working out and when hes not out there working, hes getting into the gym early. For the whole team, seeing something like that is great. It keeps you focused on what our goal is.
The Bulls have had their sights on adding another big man to the roster since losing veteran Kurt Thomas during the offseason to the Portland Trail Blazers.
While James is unlikely to have his contract guaranteed, a second 10-day contract may not be out of the question as Rose, Watson and Lucas have all had bouts with injuries this season.
The Bulls couldn't have known it at the time, but when LeBron James blocked a Derrick Rose 3-point attempt in the final seconds of Game 5 in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, it was the closest those Bulls would ever get to the promised land.
It happened on May 26, 2011, seven long, long, long years ago today.
The game was an ugly one and certainly a fourth quarter the Bulls would love to have back. They took a 12-point lead on a Ronnie Brewer 3-pointer with 3:53 remaining. The Heat closed the game on a 19-4 run, with James' emphatic block on Rose the lasting image of the series.
James finished with a game-high 28 points and 11 rebounds, and added six assists, three steals and two blocks in 46 minutes.
Rose went just 9-for-29, finishing the series shooting 35 percent from the field after being named league MVP over James.
It's probably unfair to say James and James alone shut the Bulls' championship window. Rose's ACL tear the following postseason realistically was the biggest culprit. But these Bulls had won 62 games, had homecourt advantage, had the MVP, the Coach of the Year and all the momentum. And still they couldn't get it done against James.
That win also sent James to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007. He's been there every year since, though that could change as he faces the Celtics on Sunday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.
Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.
"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"
Paxson scored 10 of 12 points for the Bulls during a fourth quarter run in Game 5 of the 1991 NBA Finals, the series clincher, and famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch that series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.
"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"
Watch the video above to see the interaction.
Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.