Sitting in the visitors' locker room before Saturday's game, Ronnie Brewer had his audience laughing quickly.
"I know I don't miss Thibs' practices," Brewer joked when asked about his memories of Chicago. "But the city was great, the fans were great. My teammates were amazing, so I can't really have any negative things to say about Chicago, because my time here was great."
Brewer was a key member of the Bulls' vaunted "Bench Mob" the past two years. He got a nice reception from fans at the United Center during pregame introductions.
Last summer, though, economics got in the way. The Bulls didn't pick up contract options on Brewer or C.J. Watson, traded Kyle Korver and didn't match Omer Asik's large offer from Houston.
"I wish we could have kept it together," Brewer said. "It was fun out there, great atmosphere here when we had the crowd really going. But every good thing has to end.
"At the end of the day, it's still a blessing because you're still playing basketball and that's all you can ask. If you're in Chicago, New York, whatever team it is -- it's still an opportunity to go out there every day, put your best foot forward and play the game you love.
No second chance:
The option for Ronnie Brewer's third season with the Bulls was $4.3 million, and he ended up signing a minimum-salary deal with New York.
Before Saturday's game, he was asked if the Bulls ever talked to him about coming back at a lower salary.
"When they didn't pickup the option, they weren't one of the teams that reached out," he said. "They waited till the last minute, so a lot of teams felt they were going to pick the option up. They didn't. A lot of teams reached out. They weren't one of them, so I had to look elsewhere."
Brewer refused to second-guess the Bulls' decisions, which were heavily influenced by luxury-tax implications.
"It's not really my place to say," he said. "I'm not the one signing the checks, spending the money and going into the luxury tax."
Noah's historic night:
Joakim Noah became the third player in Bulls history to produce at least 30 points, 20 rebounds and 5 assists in a game. He finished with 30, 23 and 6 in Friday's victory at Detroit.
The others were Charles Oakley (35, 26 and 7 in 1985) and Mickey Johnson (31, 20 and 5 in 1978).
Throw in Noah's 2 steals and 2 blocks and he's the second NBA player to produce such a stat line since steals became an official stat in 1973. The other player to do it was Golden State's Joe Barry Carroll in a four-overtime game in 1987.
New York leading scorer Carmelo Anthony warmed up before Saturday's game and decided not to play, due to a lacerated middle finger on his left hand. He was worried about the ability to catch a hard pass, among other concerns.
Anthony cut his finger during the fourth quarter of Wednesday's win at Charlotte when he dove behind the Knicks' bench for a loose ball. He sat out Thursday's 20-point victory in Miami.