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Chicago Bulls deal with the pain of the Luol Deng trade

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‘…’The trade definitely hurt,”-Joakim Noah-”…We’ve got to move on, but I feel confident in this team. We’re working really hard.”

-Noah Continue-”, A lot of people say this is a business, and all that, but this game is more than a business to me. I put everything I’ve got into this. Lu was the same way, so it was hard for me to digest. That’s just my perspective. Everybody has a different job. I’m not mad at anybody.”

Chicago Bulls Head Coach Tom Thibodeau also wasn’t a fan of the deal,

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”…I think it’s so important to be mentally tough when you face adversity,” he said. ”They’ve shown that throughout the year. Every time we get knocked down, we get back up – and that’s the mentality you have to have in this league. Things don’t always go your way, and when they don’t, you can’t sit there and mope. You’ve got to move on and get ready for the next one.”

-Thibodeau Continue-”…I’ve said this before: If you’re not satisfied with your circumstances, then you have to do everything you can to change them. I think that’s what our team is doing. We’re fighting, scratching, clawing. Whatever we have to do, that’s what we’re gonna do.”

Coaching in the NBA-or any other sport for that matter-can be tough. A Head Coach gets too much credit when his team wins and far too much blame, when it looses, there is no middle ground.

Is it unfair? Absolutely!, but…that’s the life a Head Coach has chosen. To be judged sometimes game by game.

The longest coaching tenure in the NBA belongs to the eccentric, Greg Popovich.

Popovich has been the Head Coach of the San Antonio Spurs for more than 18 years, no other current Coach in the NBA has half of his tenure time.

Tom Thibodeau has a lot more adversity to deal with it, though.

Front office executives that in-spite of the sound bites-are over ruling him, an incompetent medical staff  that misdiagnosed one of his star players, Luol Deng, and sent him to a hospital emergency room, plus!…gave out a, false, clean bill of health to the fan base about Derrick Rose which ended in his second season-ending injury.

Asked if he had spoken to injured guard Derrick Rose since the trade of Luol Deng, Coach Tom Thibodeau-sounding uninformed-said the two talked about the team in general all the time,

”…Derrick’s good. Derrick’s good. He’s locked into his rehab, dealing with things as he should be.”

Bulls Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, John Paxson admits that Deng’s misdiagnosis in 2013 was indeed the team’s fault and also insists the deal with Cleveland wasn’t a white flag trade, even though the Chicago Bulls are clearly looking towards the future.

The Bulls acquired draft pick picks along with scuffling center Andrew Bynum, who was waived before last week’s deadline. That meant they would not be on the hook for the remaining $6 million on the two-year, $24 million contract Bynum signed with the Cavaliers in July 2013.

Paxson said the money the Bulls save in salaries and luxury tax will be “put back into this basketball team.” The Bulls could have the flexibility to be active in free agency in 2014 and also bring in Spanish star Nikola Mirotic, whose rights they acquired in a 2011 draft-day trade — particularly if they amnesty Carlos Boozer.

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“That’s something you have to talk to (management) about that,” Boozer said when asked about his future.

Paxson said no decision has been made on Boozer. He bristled at the idea that the Bulls were giving up on the season by parting with Deng, a favorite of coach Tom Thibodeau.

“I’m going to do my job,” Thibodeau said. “These guys that I have are great guys and they’ve put a lot into this. And we’ve dealt with significant blows the last three years and they’ve responded to every challenge.”

Paxson sees playoff potential with a roster that includes Noah, Boozer, Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler along with veterans Kirk Hinrich and Mike Dunleavy Jr. And with the room to make some moves before next season not to mention the return of Rose, he insists the Bulls’ future is far from dim.

With Chicago native Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins possibly headlining a strong draft class, there might be an opportunity to strike it rich. The Bulls did just that in 2008 when they grabbed Rose with the No. 1 pick after defying a 1.7 percent chance to win the draft lottery.

“I think you have to be careful about what you perceive will happen the rest of this year,” Paxson said. “You just don’t know. The reality is that we still have really good basketball players in that locker room down the hall and some very competitive guys. We also have a coach who prepares our team daily better than any coach in the NBA.”

“…Nobody in this team’s going to be tanking”, Joakim Noah

Spoken like a man who wouldn’t know how to spell the word “Quit”, even if you gave him all four letters!

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]

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