The Chicago Bulls have until Thursday to get to the NBA’s minimum roster requirement of 13 players, as they’ve been bumping along with 12 for several days.
When Mike James wasn’t resigned at the end of his 10-day contract on Feb. 1, that dropped the Bulls to just 12 players on the roster—problematic because three of those 12 are Derrick Rose, who doesn’t play at all because of his injured knee; Erik Murphy, a second-round pick out of Florida who only gets off the bench in garbage time; and Tornike Shengelia, who has only played five minutes in two games since being acquired from Brooklyn on Jan. 21.
Coach Tom Thibodeau isn’t particularly picky about who the Bulls add, just that they add someone.
“A player,” was all Thibodeau told the Chicago Tribune on Thursday.
Trading Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers and then immediately waiving Andrew Bynum when he was acquired in the deal last month got Chicago below the $71.7 million luxury tax threshold, but there are some bonus clauses still pending that could push them back over the line. That makes management wary.
“I would like to have all 15 but right now it’s not possible,” Thibodeau said. “I think cap management is important. You have to make good, sound decisions, so that’s what we’re trying to do. As I’ve said, we feel good about the guys we do have here. If someone goes down, the next guy gets in there, understands his job and gets it done.”
James is thought to be the most likely candidate to be re-signed, either to a second 10-day contract or for the duration of the season.
Last week, the Bulls were 1-2 in three road games, losing at Sacramento on Monday, winning at Phoenix on Tuesday and losing at Golden State on Thursday.
Chicago is currently 24-25, still tied with Washington for fifth place in the East, and is 3½ games ahead of the ninth-place Pistons. The Bulls trail the Central Division-leading Indiana Pacers by 15 games and are in second place.
Here is the week that was, including game reviews, some news and notes, the rookie watch, injury updates, and player of the week selection, as well as a look ahead to next week’s action (all statistical information from NBA.com/Stats):