Yes, center Dexter Pittman joined the Bulls for training camp after nearly three full seasons with the Miami Heat.
But he’s not here to share inside info on the NBA champs.
“There are no secrets here. They do what they do,” he said with a laugh.
At the same time, Pittman admitted it is a little strange to be on both sides of the rivalry. He actually left Miami in February in a trade to Memphis, but played in 44 games for the Heat, including playoffs.
“Yeah, I know it’s a rivalry,” he said. “I know whatever’s said in here, how we’re preparing for them, they’re preparing for us. Since No. 1 (Derrick Rose) is back now, I know they’re probably preparing for him just like we’re preparing for them. It’s no different. It’s a competitive league.”
Pittman is one of three players left in Bulls camp competing for the final roster spot or two. The others are 38-year-old point guard Mike James and former Indiana Hoosiers power forward D.J. White.
Pittman has played just five minutes so far in preseason games, but he made them count. Against Memphis on Monday, he quickly accumulated 4 points, 4 rebounds and 3 fouls.
Before the Bulls left for Brazil, he talked about why he chose Chicago when he shopped for a team this summer.
“It’s the way that they play. They’re like a physical team inside,” he said. “I’ve got an opportunity to use my body here, to seal and screen. You’ve got a great guard like D-Rose. So it’s all about the right fit.”
He focused on making the team now, but when he played in college at Texas, Pittman lived through an inspirational story of hard work. By the end of his senior season at Terry High School in Rosenberg, Tex., he weighed 388 pounds, according to USA Today.
When he arrived at Texas, he could barely get himself into a defensive stance, let alone run sprints with his teammates. But through a dedicated exercise and nutrition plan, Pittman managed to lose nearly 100 pounds and he worked his way into a competent college player. He averaged better than 10 points as a junior and senior.
During his quest, Pittman agreed to call Texas strength coach Todd Wright before every meal to discuss his choices. It all paid off in an extended cameo with the Heat, which included the 2012 championship.
“There are a lot of different personalities (on the Heat). You learn a lot,” he said. “I was thankful to go there first, because it created a work ethic in me, because I was around greatness. I understand what it takes to stay in this league and understand what it takes to work hard.”
ŸOn their second day in Brazil, the Bulls held another practice, attended an NBA Cares event, then were expected to visit a local soccer game. One clip that went viral was the Bulls being introduced at the NBA Cares event. While every other player walked calmly through the tunnel, Joakim Noah waved his arms maniacally as he ran onto the court.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.