Bulls Basketball

Kirk Hinrich sounds more excited than he did all of last season


When Kirk Hinrich signed with the Bulls, he was seen as someone who could start point at point guard until Derrick Rose’s return then switch to combo guard or even shooting guard to complement Rose.

Hinrich completed the first part of that role last season, starting all 60 of his games at point guard as Rose missed the entire year.

Now that Rose is slated to be back, Hinrich must compete with Jimmy Butler for minutes after Butler’s emergence last season.

Not that Hinrich sounds bothered with his situation. Aggrey Sam of CSN Chicago:

“It’s almost here,” he said by way of greeting. “You ready for it?”

Kirk Hinrich never sounded quite that upbeat last season and with the various ailments he endured, it was understandable. In his second tour of duty with the Bulls, the veteran guard missed 22 regular-season games and the entire second round of the playoffs as he suffered of litany of injuries, from hurting his groin in the preseason to the ruptured calf muscle that caused him to miss the Miami series.

But with the entire summer to recover from aches and pains that included injuries of the freakish variety, Hinrich, set to enter his 11th professional campaign, is amped up about the upcoming season.

“I feel really good. I think I’ve used the offseason to manage the time fairly well. I have a lot of energy, my body’s feeling good. I’ve been feeling good on the court, so at this point, you’re always looking forward to next year,” he told CSNChicago.com in a phone interview. “You start getting real anxious when you get to two, three weeks left to go before training camp.”

The Bulls have one of the strongest identities in the NBA. For better or worse, they play extremely hard throughout the regular season, even if that means they’re worn down in the playoffs. That’s why Hinrich wasn’t on the court as they lost to the Heat last season.

Hinrich is headed for a reduced role next season, but as long as he keeps such a positive attitude and plays to back it up, he’ll find minutes on a Tom Thibodeau team.

Kevin Love names NBA players he thinks could play in NFL

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The majority of guys in the NBA are not built for the NFL. Blake Griffin the tight end makes a huge target for a free safety to line up. Kevin Durant is a little thin. Carmelo Anthony? Come on now.

But there are a few guys who might be able to, and on his show Dan Patrick asks Kevin Love about it today (see the video above). Then DP tries to take the obvious call of LeBron James off the table.

Nate Robinson as a DB? He’s athletic enough but at his height he would be a target for tall receivers. I like Dan Patrick’s suggestion of Russell Westbrook the free safety — he is certainly athletic enough.

Love also picked himself as a QB. Um, no. I’m not sure his outlet passing skills translate.

Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on not guilty verdict: “Justice was served”

Thabo Sefolosha

Friday morning, a New York jury found Atlanta Hawks guard Thabo Sefolosha not guilty of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. The charges stemmed from the night in the final weeks of last season when Sefolosha and then teammate Pero Antic went to a New York club after arriving in town, and while there Pacers’ player Chris Copeland was stabbed outside the club. In his clash with police, Sefolosha suffered a broken leg that required surgery and kept him out of the playoffs.

The New York prosecutor tried to make this go away with a plea deal of just day of community service and six months probation. But Sefolosha had the means and mind to fight the charges, got his day in court and won. This is what he said in a statement after the verdict, released by the Atlanta Hawks.

“This morning’s verdict ended a long and emotional period for me.  Justice was served and for that I am eternally grateful to the judge and jury for their quick and deliberate decision….

“It’s troubling to me that with so much evidence in my support that this case would even be brought to trial and that I had to defend myself so hard to get justice. It pains me to think about all of the innocent people who aren’t fortunate enough to have the resources, visibility and access to quality legal counsel that I have had.

“It was important to me as a man, a father to two young girls and as a role model, to stand up for what I believe in and have my name cleared of any wrongdoing.  Today’s verdict will not make up for the pain and trauma my family and I have suffered over the past six months or bring back the opportunity to have played in the Eastern Conference Finals and have a shot at an NBA title, but it does bring me some peace and closes a painful chapter in my life.

“Now I look forward to returning to the team and focusing solely on my rehabilitation for the upcoming season so that I can get back to playing the game I cherish so much.”

While Sefolosha says he is focusing “solely” on his rehab, the win in the criminal case would bode well for a potential civil case if he wanted to sue regarding his treatment and the broken leg.

Hawks’ coach Mike Budenholzer — who testified at the trial and was amused by parts of it — released this statement:

“Thabo is a man of great character and we are proud that he took a principled approach to proving his innocence. We are extremely happy for him and his family, and we are very pleased with today’s verdict in his favor.”