Luol Deng is going to be there for the Bulls. There is no wrist surgery coming following his Olympic experience for Great Britain, he will be there in camp — he’s not even sure what all the fuss over his wrist was about — and plans to lead Chicago next season.
How far can he lead them? Good question, because it’s Derrick Rose that takes this team places. With Rose they are a contender, without him after a torn ACL they were a one seed falling to an eight seed in the first round.
“It’s definitely going to be tough being without him,” said Deng of Rose’s loss. “He is a big part of everything we do, he is such a huge player to miss that much time but he has got to take his time and come back the best he can be.
“We’ve lost some guys I really wish had stayed, who I’m friends with and close with. But it’s my ninth year and the roster has been different every year.”
The Bulls reworked their bench so that come the summer of 2014 they will have a lot of cap space to go after a star to pair with Rose. No offense, Deng. But the Bulls clearly looked at their roster and thought it wouldn’t be able to compete with Miami as it is now, and they are planning an upgrade.
But even when Rose comes back the next couple of years might be tough for the Bulls. And their fans.
And if things are going downhill fast, maybe Deng will get that surgery after all.
DeMarcus Cousins says Mavericks’ rumored interest flatters him, but he loves Kings
The Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in DeMarcus Cousins took its most direct public turn before the season, when Dallas signed Cousins’ brother, Jaleel Cousins. Jaleel is now on the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, and I bet he will remain there as DeMarcus approaches 2018 free agency.
So, DeMarcus Cousins, what do you think about the Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in acquiring you?
“It’s flattering,” Cousins told me, with a laugh, after the Kings’ Wednesday shootaround at AAC. Then, turning serious, he added of the Mavericks, “I respect them.”
“But,” I said, “I’ve also heard that you like it in Sacramento.”
“No,” Cousins corrected, “I love Sacramento.”
Cousins is getting good at this, toeing the line between appreciating another team’s interest and expressing his satisfaction with the Kings.
And give Cousins credit. He keeps producing at a star level for a team that hasn’t provided him with the proper support. Sacramento again appears headed toward the lottery, even as Cousins averages 29-10.
Questions remain, though: How much of Cousins’ attitude is him trying to make the best of an inescapable situation, and will expanded options in the summer of 2018 test his loyalty?
LeBron James dunks, struts past camerapeople and toward crowd, spooks fan (video)
NEW YORK (AP) — Derrick Rose is missing the New York Knicks’ game against Cleveland because of lower back pain.
Rose left the Knicks’ victory over Miami on Tuesday in the third quarter with back spasms. Coach Jeff Hornacek says Rose still felt sore on Wednesday when he came in and met with team doctors, so they sent him for an MRI exam to make sure there was no structural damage.
Rose is averaging 16.7 points and this is the first game he’s missed this season.