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updated: 12/6/2011 12:07 AM

Bulls court free agents at Berto Center

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Action started to pick up at the Berto Center on Monday, as the Bulls hosted two free agents -- Caron Butler and Josh Howard.

While both players are on the Bulls' wish list, they don't figure to be highest priority.

A league source expects the Bulls will try to host the more sought-after free agents later in the week, after those players get a chance to meet with other teams first.

Monday's visitors could be nice additions, but they have health issues.

The 6-foot-7 Butler, a native of Racine, Wis., suffered a torn patellar tendon in his right knee in a game at Milwaukee last Jan. 1 and hasn't played since.

About a week after Howard was traded to Washington on Feb. 14, 2010, Howard tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in a game against the Bulls.

After a long recovery, Howard, 31, played in just 18 games last season for the Wizards, averaging 8.4 points. That's a far cry from the 19.9 points he scored for Dallas in 2007-08.

Butler, 31, has been accurate jump shooter during his career, with two seasons of averaging 20 points for Washington from 2007-09.

He was at an even 15 points for Dallas and shooting 45 percent when the injury occurred.

But he has done his best work at small forward, and the Bulls' overwhelming need right now is an offensive upgrade at shooting guard.

Butler has expressed interest in playing for the Bulls, but moved on Monday to visit with other teams.

Reports had him headed to meet with the Los Angeles Clippers, while San Antonio is said to have strong interest. It's possible the Spurs would use their amnesty clause to waive forward Richard Jefferson.

The Bulls are expected to have more interest in Orlando's Jason Richardson, but their list of candidates is long and includes ex-Bull Jamal Crawford, Vince Carter, Shane Battier, DeShawn Stevenson, T.J. Ford, Michael Redd and others.

Rumors have Battier interested in joining Miami.

Defense is important, but the Bulls' primary interest is to land a clutch shooter in the mold of Dallas guard Jason Terry, who helped shoot the Mavs past Miami in the NBA Finals.

The Bulls also are keeping an eye on which players might be released using the amnesty rule.

Restricted free agents such as Nick Young, Arron Afflalo or Marcus Thornton are less likely, since the Bulls can offer only the midlevel exception worth $5 million per year.

Leaguewide, the free-agent chase has been overshadowed by potential trades of Orlando center Dwight Howard and New Orleans guard Chris Paul. Both players can become free agents next summer.

The Bulls will make an offer for Howard if he's truly on the market.

The negotiations are fairly simple: Anybody on the roster but Derrick Rose could be had in exchange for the all-star center.

In other news, the abbreviated 66-game schedule will be unveiled on NBATV today at 6 p.m. Central time.

The Bulls are one of the few teams that have not released their preseason slate, which will feature a pair of games against Indiana.

Rose sat courtside at Monday's DePaul-Milwaukee game at the Allstate Arena.

Milwaukee guard Ryan Allen, younger brother of Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen, is one of Rose's best friends.

Center Joakim Noah visited the Berto Center on Monday and said he was feeling healthy after thumb and ankle injuries took their toll last season.

Noah averaged 9 points and 8 rebounds in the European championships last summer playing for France, which lost the title game to Spain.

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