Chicago Sun-Times

June 2009 Archives

The NBA free agent market officially opens tonight at 11:01 p.m. and Ben Gordon is expected to hear offers from the Detroit Pistons and Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Pistons, who fired coach Michael Curry Tuesday, are expected to have $17 to $19 million in salary cap room. The PIstons are expected to pursue Carlos Boozer first, if he opts out of his contract with Utah. But most believe Boozer will remain with the Jazz and collect $12.7 million next season, rather than risk settling for less as a free agent. Indiana Pacers star Danny Granger, in an interview on The Boers and Bernstein Show (WSCR, 670-AM) Tuesday, said the Bulls would be better off getting a forward like Boozer instead of re-signing Gordon, who will be an unrestricted free agent.
``Ben is a really good scorer in this league,'' Granger said. ``You can say whatever you want about how tall he is [6-2] or whatever but, bottom line, Ben can score the ball. We are in the same division. As far as what makes them better? If they didn't re-sign [Gordon] and they maybe went after someone else. Maybe like a Carlos Boozer, depending if he opts out, or not. Because I think if they get an inside presence, they'll be really good. Especially with Derrick Rose on the perimeter.
``That's coming from an Indiana player and I don't want the Bulls to be that much better.''

Rose to join Team USA Vegas camp

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Derrick Rose will take part in the U.S. men's national team minicamp from July 22-25 in Las Vegas.
Should Rose be on the U.S. Olympic team in 2016, Chicago's secretive organizing committee could try to sell it as another insurance policy against financial overruns.
Team USA chairman Jerry Colangelo, a native Chicagoan, made the announcement early Thursday. Unlike the 2016 Chicago committee, it was not done in a secret briefing to aldermen.
Rose appears to be on track to make either the 2012 U.S. Olympic team that will play in London or the 2016 team.

Rose posts video on his facebook page

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Bulls star guard Derrick Rose speaks to his fans before a Los Angeles workout. View video at:


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General manager Gar Forman just concluded a 30-minute Q & A covering general topics concerning the NBA draft Thursday. The Bulls have two first-round picks (Nos. 16 and 26) and Forman said the team, as is its practice, has talked to teams about moving up, down, and even completely out of the draft.
Given the two picks, Forman estimated he and his staff have held workouts for 50 prospects, many more than what is usual. He said the team has winnowed that group to approximately six players the Bulls believe would make sense at No. 16. The Bulls' scenarios also include drafting an international player still a year or two away from the NBA at No. 26.
Forman said he expects there to be an active trade market leading up to and including draft night.

Louisville's Clark cancels Bulls workout

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Citing an injury, Louisville's Earl Clark, a 6-10 forward, did not show for a scheduled workout with the Bulls on Sunday.
Gonzaga's Austin Daye and Micah Downs, UCLA's Josh Shipp, Memphis' Antonio Anderson, West Virginia's Alex Ruoff and Clemson's K.C. Rivers were at the Berto Center.
A power outage cut Saturday's workout short. The air conditioning was still not functioning Sunday.
The Bulls will try to reschedule Clark before the draft Thursday. The Bulls have two first-round picks (Nos. 16 and 26). As is the normal practice when without a lottery pick, the team is talking to many teams about various trade possibilities for moving up or down.
There is a good chance Clark will be selected in the first 15.

Does Ben Gordon have a verbal offer of $11 million per season from the Detroit Pistons?
Sam Smith reported on his blog that he's heard Raymond Brothers, Gordon's agent, has ``allegedly has been saying he has an $11 million promise from the Pistons.''
Gordon will be an unrestricted free agent July 1 and, by league rule, no teams can negotiate with players until then.
Brothers' negotiations with the Bulls went nowhere each of the last two year when he insisted Gordon be the highest-paid player on the team. Gordon declined a five-year, $50 million contract extension in September, 2007, and six years and $58 million last September.
The Pistons are expected to have $23 million in salary cap room this summer, so the team could sign Gordon for such money.
Gordon, however, also wants to be a starter and the Pistons seemingly are set at starting guard with Rodney Stuckey and Richard Hamilton.

Wade on Rose and possibly playing in Chicago

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Dwayne Wade appeared Tuesday on ESPN 1000's "Waddle and Silvy" show and the Miami Heat star had some interesting things to say about his future and Bulls guard Derrick Rose:

Tom Waddle: "What are the chances of you coming back to Chicago?

Wade: "If I could say one thing I would say that I'm blessed to be in a position where I have options. I thank god for those options. 2010, free agency only comes up once so I'm going to make sure that I think about this and do it right. Of course I love Miami, this is where I built my career at. Chicago is always the place I'm from, there's going to be talk about that, of course, but right now I'm trying to do what I can to make sure that the team that I'm on be as good as we can be. When it's time for me to think about it, then I will do just that."

Marc Silverman: "Any chance at all about coming back with Derrick Rose?"

Wade: "Derrick Rose is a great, great player. He's a point guard of the future. I can't say there's a chance, I'm still in a Miami Heat uniform. I'm not ruling anything out as well. I'm making sure I'm keeping my options open."

Silvy: "You're not ruling out Chicago?"

Wade: "I'm not ruling out a lot of places, but I'm not really thinking about those places either. Like I said, 2010 is the year when I will sit down and open up my options and, hopefully, I'm still blessed and healthy to have those options and then go from there. But Miami is my number one option and I've made that clear. That's where I want to be and, hopefully, we can get everything right here in Miami."

Silvy: "What advice would you give Derrick Rose?"

Wade: "It's just been proven, every good player, every player that has been put up, someone is going to do something to find something on them to bring them down. Think the best thing about Derrick is he's getting it out of the way early, so he's not going to have to worry about it later. Continue to be the person he is, everyone makes mistakes in life. We're not perfect human beings. Just continue to be the person he is and the player he is and he'll be fine."

Silvy: "What'd you think of the picture?"

Wade: "I thought he was a young kid in college. He did something he probably didn't always do. He was young and in college. I'm sure we've all done something in college we wouldn't like let out."

Gordon uncertain of future

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Roughly three weeks from the time he will become an unrestricted free agent, guard Ben Gordon remains unsure if his future will be with the Bulls -- or if the Bulls want him back.

"I don't know," Gordon said during an interview on ESPN 1000's "Waddle and Silvy" show. "We'll have to wait and see how interested they are come July 1."

New Bulls general manager Gar Forman was the main negotiator with Gordon's agent the previous two summers, but Gordon believes the decision of his future will be made by chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, not Forman or executive vice president John Paxson.

"Ultimately, I think everything goes through Jerry," Gordon said. "I think those guys represent what Jerry wants. He's the owner. Obviously he can determine how quickly -- or how not -- the process is."

Unlike last year when he was a restricted free agent, Gordon could decide to leave the Bulls this summer -- with the team getting nothing in return for its leading scorer.

"I've had a great time," Gordon said of his five years with the Bulls. "Chicago is a great city. I love the fans. As far as my decision, I want to win. I'm going to make my decision... The money's going to be a factor, too, but I want to win an NBA championship and I want to be on a team that has a chance to win."

Despite his uncertain future, Gordon will conduct a basketball camp at the Bulls-Sox Training Academy in Lisle next week.

"It's about the kids," he said of his reason for doing the camp. "The kids are the ones paying the money and they want to come to the camp to improve their games. I stress the fundamentals."

Six prospects visit Bulls

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The Bulls busy week of draft workouts began Monday with six players taking the Berto Center court. The group included: Gerald Henderson, a 6-4 guard from Duke; Chase Budinger, a 6-7 forward from Arizona State; Taj Gibson, a 6-9 forward from USC; Omri Casspi, a 6-9 Israeli pro with Maccabi Tel Aviv; A.D. Vassallo, a 6-6 guard/forward from Georgia Tech; and Robert Vaden, a 6-5 swingman who split his college career between Indiana and Alabama-Birmingham.
The Bulls, who have the Nos. 16 and 26 picks in the June 25 draft, will work 16 more prospects at the Berto in sessions Wednesday and Thursday.

Noah and Thomas join Basketball without Borders

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Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas will participate in Basketball without Borders 2009. Basketball without Borders (BWB) is the NBA and FIBA's global basketball development program that uses the sport to create positive social change in the areas of education, health and wellness. The camps will be held in Beijing, China, Mexico City, Mexico and Johannesburg, South Africa. Noah and Thomas will attend the Johannesburg, South Africa camp from September 2-6.
``Basketball without Borders helps us to grow the game of basketball and bring attention to important social issues that affect communities around the world," said Kathleen Behrens, NBA Executive Vice President, Social Responsibility and Player Programs. ``We know that by teaching the values of the game - teamwork, sportsmanship, hard work, and healthy living our current and former players and coaches can also make a lasting impact on communities in need."
Two NBA players will bring the camp to their home countries this summer. Houston Rockets center Yao Ming will lead Basketball without Borders Asia in Beijing, China July 30th to August 2nd and Basketball without Borders Americas will feature Eduardo Najera of the New Jersey Nets in Mexico City, Mexico from August 6th to 9th. For the seventh consecutive year, Basketball without Borders Africa will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from Sept 2nd to 6th starring Boozer, Bosh, Howard and Slam Dunk champion New York Knicks' Nate Robinson.
The top youth players 19 and under from Asia, Latin America and Africa, as selected by the NBA, FIBA and participating federations, will train under NBA players and coaches and compete against their peers. Campers will be divided into teams independent of race, religion or nationality to promote friendship and diversity. NBA players will partner with local community groups to lead daily life-skills sessions focusing on the importance of education, leadership, character development, health and wellness. Through NBA Cares, the league's social responsibility initiative, NBA players and coaches will participate in extensive community outreach programs with local non-profit organizations including the creation of places for children and families to live, learn or play.

Harris' retirement official; Bulls doc voted best

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Following reports, the Bulls finally announced Tuesday that Del Harris is calling it quits after a 50-year coaching career.
``I would like to thank Del Harris for all of his hard work and dedication this past season," general manager Gar Forman said.  ``He has had a terrific career and we wish him the best in his retirement." 
Harris, 71, was with the Bulls for a single season as an assistant to Vinny Del Negro. His career included coaching the NBA, college, international and high school teams. Harris began his NBA coaching career as an assistant with the Houston Rockets in 1976, and was a coach or scout/consultant in the NBA for 29 seasons - including 27 trips to the NBA Playoffs.  His stints include: Houston (1976-83), Milwaukee (1983-91), L.A. Lakers (1994-98), Dallas (2000-08) and Chicago (2008-09).  In 12 full seasons as a head coach, Harris compiled a 556-457 (.549) overall record with three different teams (L.A. Lakers - 1994-98, Milwaukee - 1987-91, Houston - 1979-83).  Overall, he coached in 202 career playoff games (88 as a head coach), including an NBA Finals appearance in 1981 with the Rockets.  Harris was the recipient of the 1995 NBA Coach of the Year Award with the Lakers, and joins Pat Riley and Phil Jackson as the only coaches in Los Angeles franchise history to register three consecutive 50-plus win seasons.
``I was very fortunate to have Del by my side this past season,'' Del Negro said. ``His knowledge and understanding of the game were an incredible benefit and help,"
In other news, Bulls physician Brian Cole has been named the 2009 NBA Team Physician of the Year as voted on by the National Basketball Athletic Trainers Association (NBATA).
``The Bulls organization is proud of our association with Dr. Brian Cole and this award recognizes what we have been keenly aware of the last five years," Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said. ``Brian is an outstanding doctor who cares about our players and works extremely hard to give them the best care possible. The entire Chicago Bulls organization congratulates Brian and thanks him for his dedication."
In addition to the award, the NBATA will be making a $1,000 donation to the charity of Dr. Cole's choice.
Dr. Cole, a Professor in the Department of Orthopaedics with a conjoint appointment in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, has been chosen as one of the "Best Doctors in America" each year since 2004 and as a "Top Doctor" in the Chicago Metro area each year since 2003. In 2006, he was featured as "Chicago's Top Doctor" and placed on the cover of Chicago Magazine. Dr. Cole is also the co-team physician for the Chicago White Sox.

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