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posted: 4/2/2012 7:48 PM

A common cause for Bulls, DePaul

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Illinois' messy coaching search last week obscured a more compelling college basketball story.

DePaul University revealed that its strategic plans include building a basketball arena closer to the Lincoln Park campus than is Allstate Arena, where the Blue Demons currently play home games.

A move from Rosemont to Chicago would do more for DePaul than a move from Bruce Weber to John Groce will for Illinois.

A primary concern for DePaul presumably would be funding. Isn't money a primary concern for anybody doing anything?

I'm here to help.

DePaul needs a partner to minimize expenses, so here's the solution: The Blue Demons play their home games in the building and the Bulls use it for practice.

The Berto Center is a couple of decades old, which in sports years is a couple of lifetimes. But more than the amenities is the Deerfield location, which might as well be in a different world from the United Center.

If Bulls players want to live in the city, they have a weary commute to practice. If they want to live on the North Shore, they have a weary commute to games.

Either way, traffic is maddening. It isn't unusual to see a Bulls player straggle in late on game nights.

The Blackhawks solved the problem by practicing at Johnny's IceHouse down Madison Street on days when the United Center isn't available.

Hawks players no longer have to decide whether to live in the city and commute to practice in the west suburbs or live in the suburbs and commute to games on the West Side.

The last I checked, most Hawks live in the city, a convenient distance from both practice and games.

One downside to the Bulls training in the city is that other employees of the team would either have a long commute from the suburbs or have to move their families into the city.

Sorry, but player convenience trumps front-office convenience.

Maybe Bulls management doesn't trust players to live downtown, thinking that being closer to night life would be sap their energy more than rush-hour traffic does.

Sorry, but that hasn't seemed to bother the Hawks.

So it appears, to me anyway, that the Bulls need a new place to practice just as DePaul begins looking for a new place to play games.

I'm not thrilled about suggesting two major sports entities abandon the suburbs -- the Bulls for practice and the Blue Demons for games. But in my somewhat illogical world of logic, this partnership is too logical to be illogical.

The Bulls and DePaul could help fill each other's need by sharing a gym somewhere along the Clybourn corridor or elsewhere in the vicinity of Lincoln Park.

One major benefit, of course, would be that DePaul students wouldn't have to trek out to Allstate Arena for games. The Blue Demons still would practice and have basketball offices on campus while having a nice homecourt advantage in a nearby, say, 12,000-seat revenue generator.

The Blue Demons would need the facility for fewer than 20 game days. The rest of the time the Bulls could have the run of the court, their own ritzy locker room and an upgraded weight room, meeting room and lounges.

The Bulls and DePaul would share the expenses of construction and upkeep, making it cost-effective for both.

They have my permission to call the place the Imrem Basketball Center.

No, I'm not paying for naming rights.

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