The Chicago Bulls snagged another win on Tuesday and the buzz is picking up.
Check out the latest news and rumors below.
November Can be Maintenance for Rose
Derrick Rose is hurt again, and missed the win over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday.
But the Bulls have a pretty easy schedule this month, meaning the team can make sure to rest Rose as much as he needs.
“He practiced yesterday, he practiced today, he warmed up,” said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau after the game. “He’s not quite there. We’ll see where he is tomorrow. This is all part of it. He’ll be fine.”
But the Bulls face a number of the bottom teams in the Eastern Conference coming up, including the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics.
Bleacher Report says that the team should put Rose on a maintenance plan similar to the one that Dwyane Wade had for the Miami Heat last season. Wade often sat out back-to backs and games against weaker teams, playing in only 54 games in the regular season.
The Bulls feature a bolstered roster where Rose’s absence isn’t felt that much. Kirk Hinrich started much of last year, and he’s now joined by Aaron Brooks and an improved Tony Snell along with Jimmy Butler. The frontcourt is also notably deep with Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, Mike Dunleavy, Doug McDermott, Taj Gibson, and Nikola Mirotic.
Michael Wilbon noted after the weekend that the Bulls appear to have “exceptional depth.
“The Bulls trashed the Knicks in New York without their best on-ball defender, Jimmy Butler. They went to OT with the Cavaliers, again without Butler around to guard James, and with Rose in the locker room at crunch time. They stole a win in Minnesota without Rose and Taj Gibson, probably two of the team’s four most important players,” he said.
“It’s a small sample size after just three games, but the Bulls so far have 11 players averaging 15 minutes or more per game, including rookies Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic. Tom Thibodeau wanted a deep team, and it appears John Paxson and Gar Forman have given him exactly that.”
Bulls beat Magic 98-90 without Rose, Noah
CHICAGO—With Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah out, Pau Gasol showed how much of a difference he can make for the Chicago Bulls.
Gasol had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and the Bulls beat the winless Orlando Magic 98-90 on Tuesday night.
Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 21 points and Taj Gibson added 16 for Chicago, which finally pulled away in the final minutes of a game that was tied after three quarters.
“It was a good team win,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We can’t feel too good about it. We have to be ready for tomorrow night.”
Rose missed his second straight game after injuring both ankles Friday against Cleveland. He took part in the morning shootaround and was listed as probable to play, but was taken out of the starting lineup about a half hour before the game after going through warmups.
Noah was ill and with Gibson battling foul trouble all night, Gasol was asked to carry a heavy load. He did, playing 41 minutes to help Chicago improve to 3-1.
The Bulls may be without both Rose and Noah when they play Wednesday in Milwaukee, but if so Gasol will probably be ready.
“You have to always be prepared physically and mentally to face differing and difficult circumstances where you’re going to have to play a little longer, work a little harder,” Gasol said. “This was what this league is about, as well.”
Kirk Hinrich started in place of Rose, who has played in only 12 games since tearing the ACL in his left knee during the opening round of the 2012 playoffs.
But without the former MVP and Noah, the Bulls still pulled away from Orlando, which is 0-4 for the first time since dropping its first six in 1990-91.
“I thought we had a few good looks at the rim, and then you give them credit for really executing down the stretch, getting the basketball where they wanted to and making some tough shots,” Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. “But I did think we did some good things to put us in position to win the basketball game.”
Tobias Harris scored 21 points and Nikola Vucevic had 19 points and 13 rebounds for Orlando. Vucevic, who entered the night leading the league with 15.7 rebounds per game, had his fourth double-double of the season after picking up 36 last season.
“Our mentality was to come in here and get a win,” Harris said. “It’s discouraging that we didn’t get that done tonight, but I think that’s what’s going to make us better and make us hungrier on the floor.”
Magic: Following Tuesday, Orlando will play 15 of its next 20 games on the road. Since last season, the Magic are 4-39 away from home. F/C Kyle O’Quinn missed his third straight game with a sprained left ankle. “We’ll definitely miss him,” Vaughn said.
Bulls: Noah averaged 19.0 points, 12.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists in three games against Orlando last season. The Bulls started a run of four games in five nights, the first of three such stretches this season.
It appears both Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic have impressed Thibodeau. McDermott scored 12 and Mirotic added eight. “I keep saying it over and over about (Nikola) and Doug: I love them both,” Thibodeau said.
One game after going 4 for 15 with 11 points in a loss to Toronto, Harris recovered by hitting nine of 15 shots. It was his second game of more than 20 points this season.
Butler Seeking Big Contract
Starting shooting guard Jimmy Butler will become a restricted free agent after turning down a multi-year deal worth about $11 million a year.
Butler has emphasized that he wants to stay in Chicago.
“This is where I want to be. I love my teammates, the fan base, the organization, everybody. I think I still will end up in this city,” Butler said, reported the Chicago Tribune.
“I understand this is a business so I just have to be a great basketball player. I love my odds. I think this team is championship-caliber. I’m going to produce. I’m going to guard. I will take that on myself.”
Some believe that the Bulls will have to give Butler a lot of money.
“The new NBA television deal is on the way, and the salary cap will likely rise dramatically. Butler will be a part of that market, but the Bulls can match any offer he receives because he is a restricted free agent,” said Bleacher Report.
“Chicago should simply get ahead of the curve and offer him the maximum that it can this offseason.”
Butler is renowned for his defense but has been working on improving his offense, with his agent saying that they were looking forward to disproving the notion that he can’t shoot well.
Butler told NBA.com that he watched a lot of tape during the summer.
“I’m not saying I am him, but I watched a lot of film this summer on Mike (Jordan) and Kobe (Bryant) and their footwork and how they play right there (in the mid-post),” said Butler. “It’s where I want to get to. I still have a long way to go, don’t get me wrong, to get to their level. But it’s a good start. It’s what I tried to work the most on this summer, the mid-post.
“It’s confidence for me (now),” said Butler. “I’m in a rhythm. My teammates are giving me the ball in great position. But that’s what the summer was, to be confident in your game. You’re here for a reason. I’m happy we’re winning. It doesn’t get too much better than this.”
Brooks Playing Strong
Aaron Brooks is the latest backup point guard to play strong for the Bulls, following in the footsteps of the likes of DJ Augustin, John Lucas, and C.J. Watson
His contributions have been even more important with the team dealing with injuries.
“Great, great, terrific,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau told NBA.com. “He and Kirk (Hinrich) have great chemistry together in our second unit. They’ve played very, very well.”
Brooks is averaging 13.3 points and 4.3 assists on 58.3 percent shooting and 60 percent on threes in 22.3 minutes per game.
“We have guys that can play (off the bench) itching and ready to play,” said Brooks. “Tony (Snell) is a great, great guard in this league. With Jimmy going down, Tony stepped up and played. Kirk moved to the starting lineup. So we have a lot of different pieces and can play different ways. It just makes us more versatile. Not a lot of teams have guys that can go 14 deep.”
Through the first three games, the Bulls backups outscored the opposition by 116-90.
Brooks feels that he’s fit in well after some initial doubts.
“You know what? I don’t know where the Bulls came from, honestly,” he said Monday after practice.
“During the summer, it wasn’t really on my mind to go to Chicago because I didn’t know it was an option. We were looking at Denver. It seems like I always end up back in Houston. But then when the Bulls came over and it was like, ‘That’s a perfect situation.’ (The) Bulls weren’t on the list. Then like I think the same day I heard about the Bulls was the day I signed. So it’s a blessing. It’s early, but hopefully it can continue progressing and get better.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.