The Bulls had every right to limp into the All-Star break and drop a couple along the way, excuses in hand. Instead they went friggin’ 5-0, including last night’s W against the Kings, simply incredible stuff.
During that game, news broke in strange fashion that the Bulls will be signing a backup big man soon, with Pacers coach Rick Carlisle saying post-game that Tristan Thompson, who was just acquired at the trade deadline, will be bought out and ‘will be joining’ the Bulls.
Thompson, in his age-30 and 11th season in the league, played just 4 games for the Pacers after being traded from the Kings. The Pacers are obviously not contending but perhaps needed Thompson out on the floor this week with their own injury issues. We’ll have something during the break as to how much he has left in the tank, but Thompson definitely is assigned a role as Nikola Vucevic’s backup with more defense/rebounding/toughness/vetSAVVY than the others on the roster.
The Bulls have a full roster, so they will have to waive somebody before signing Thompson once he clears waivers early next week. KC Johnson has said it’ll more likely than not be Alfonso McKinnie who gets the axe.
We also got good news from Billy Donovan on Zach LaVine, who has followed up his visit to a knee specialist with only a cryptic tweet.
“He did have some swelling that was taken out of the knee,” Donovan said. “Gave him a lubricant to help him. I think right now the doctors feel totally fine with him resuming playing. I think Zach felt very, very good about the meeting...“The doctors, all of them, don’t feel like he’s in harm’s way in continuing to play,”
It’s still to be determined how many minutes, if any, LaVine will play in Sunday’s All-Star game, or any minutes restriction when the regular season picks back up.
We also received good news on Alex Caruso, of whom Donovan gave a prognosis of a ‘sometime in March’ return after being cleared for basketball stuff (only doing conditioning at the moment) in the next 7-10 days.
And naturally, with 7 days of rest until the season picks back up, the whole team can rest up a bit with whatever nagging injuries reported (Javonte Green has, like, 4 of them) or those just part of the grueling schedule.