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updated: 12/16/2013 9:51 PM

Bulls release veteran Mike James

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  • Mike James, a veteran guard who played in seven games for the Bulls this season, was released by the team on Monday. The Bulls added guard D.J. Augustin to the roster last Friday.

      Mike James, a veteran guard who played in seven games for the Bulls this season, was released by the team on Monday. The Bulls added guard D.J. Augustin to the roster last Friday.
    Associated Press

 
 

The Bulls released veteran guard Mike James on Monday. He became expendable when the team added guard D.J. Augustin last Friday.

"We just wanted to keep some flexibility as we move forward," coach Tom Thibodeau said before Monday's game. "Mike's a great guy who did a great job for us."

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When training camp ended, some thought the Bulls kept James on the roster because Marquis Teague would be benched or traded, but it didn't work out that way. Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich shared the point-guard minutes early in the season, then Teague was in the backup role when Rose was lost to a knee injury.

There were two games when James replaced Teague as the backup point guard, and Teague was officially sent on a D-League assignment with the Iowa Express. But then James suffered a knee sprain and Teague returned to Chicago shortly after landing in Des Moines.

When Kirk Hinrich missed his first game of the season Saturday with a back injury, Teague got the start.

James, 38, ended up playing in seven games this season, averaging 0.3 points. He played well as a starter for Dallas last year, but the lack of playing time gave the impression that James wasn't able to match that performance.

Kirk Hinrich missed his second straight game Monday, and Teague again filled in at starting point guard. The Bulls roster contains 13 players, with room for two more.

Bulls lacking a point:

The Bulls' offense has sputtered badly without Kirk Hinrich -- or Derrick Rose -- to run the show. For the second straight game, second-year guard Marquis Teague and newcomer D.J. Augustin split the role.

"The challenge is that your point guard has to run your team," coach Tom Thibodeau said before Monday's contest. "It's probably one of the things that gets overlooked with Kirk. People tend to judge him on shooting percentage, and in the end he's always going to shoot 38 or 39 percent from 3.

"But it's how he runs the team. When he's running the team, I know Carlos (Boozer) is going to have 15 to 17 shots, Lu (Deng) is going to have 15 to 17 shots, and our two guard is going to be the same with Jimmy (Butler) in there."

Thibodeau pointed to recent injuries and changing lineups to explain some of the problems. Deng and Butler recently returned from injury layoffs.

"We still have guys who are working their way back," Thibodeau added. "Jimmy has playmaking ability, and I like the way Lu is passing the ball. We can run our offense through other people. Jo has really come on and his timing has really come around. So we'll run more offense through him, too."

Bull horns:

Orlando guard Victor Oladipo is officially the NBA's top rookie scorer at 14.0 points per game. Philadelphia's Michael Carter-Williams is at 17.7 points, but he has missed 10 games with an injury. Former Bulls forward James Johnson, the team's top draft pick in 2009, is back in the league after signing with Memphis on Monday.

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