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updated: 1/14/2014 7:35 PM

Rampant Bulls rumor mill requires some clarity

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  • Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau talks to his team during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Chicago on Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013. The Mavericks won 105-83. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

      Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau talks to his team during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Chicago on Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013. The Mavericks won 105-83. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

 
 

The Bulls skipped practice Tuesday, preferring to focus instead on a flight to Orlando. They'll try to rebound from a rough loss to Washington against the slumping Magic, losers of eight in a row.

In the meantime, there have been plenty of rumors floating around about the current state and future of the Bulls. So let's play a quick game of true-false to create some clarity:

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Tom Thibodeau can't wait to ditch the Bulls and coach the Knicks.

False. Thibodeau might repeat the same phrases every day for a month, but he is a straight-shooter. When he says he love his team, believe it. He does.

Thibodeau already signed a four-year extension with the Bulls. He likes Chicago, doesn't like change and feels appreciated by chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. So Thibodeau isn't going to force his way out.

Will Bulls management encourage Thibodeau to find a new home? That's a possibility, but for now, Reinsdorf wants Thibodeau to stay. Thibodeau's relationship with general manager Gar Forman may be less than perfect, but Reinsdorf is usually supportive of his employees, a contributing factor in Thibodeau's loyalty to the Bulls.

With cap room created by the Luol Deng trade and the impending departure of Carlos Boozer, the Bulls will chase a major free agent like Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James.

False. First of all, even by using the amnesty clause on Boozer, the Bulls will have around $8-10 million in cap space this summer, which isn't enough to lure a major free agent.

Most of that cap space will be dedicated to bringing Nikola Mirotic over from Real Madrid. Then they'll try to add a few quality role players, along with at least one first-round draft pick.

Mirotic will be a difference-maker in the NBA.

Maybe true. Mirotic has been described as the best player on the best team in Europe. Through 12 EuroLeague games, the 6-foot- 10 Mirotic has averaged 13.7 points and 4.8 rebounds. The best part is his shooting percentages -- 57 percent from 3-point range (20 for 35) and 86.4 percent at the foul line.

The scoring average might seem a little low, but keep in mind Real Madrid is 12-0 and crushing most opponents, so he's not always playing a full game. There are a couple of former NBA players on the roster, Rudy Fernandez and Sergio Rodriguez.

Mirotic is projected as a stretch 4, an outside-shooting power forward. Will that translate to NBA stardom? Maybe, but until he gets here, we won't know for sure.

The players and coaches are confident the Bulls can build a championship contender soon.

True and false. Everyone seems to be optimistic, and for the most part realistic about the Luol Deng trade, because he was going to leave as a free agent this summer anyway.

But while the Bulls have drafted well in recent years, the list of players who have left the premises for nothing in return is alarming -- Luol Deng, Omer Asik, Kyle Korver, Marco Belinelli, Nate Robinson -- and soon to be Carlos Boozer.

Adrian Griffin is being groomed to become Thibodeau's replacement.

This one is unclear. Griffin has already interviewed for a couple of head jobs and the Bulls probably thought Griffin was ready to become a lead assistant when they chose not to keep Ron Adams on the coaching staff.

At the same time, Griffin considered Adams a mentor and lost some of that coaching education this season. According to sources, though, Thibodeau has made a change this year by letting Griffin have more of a voice and run parts of practice, something he picked up from watching Mike Krzyzewski up close with the national team this summer.

The bottom line with the Bulls right now is the coaches are Thibs' guys and the scouts are Gar's guys, so there's no telling what might happen if Thibodeau does leave.

•Follow Mike's Bulls reports on Twitter @McGrawDHBulls and check out his All Bull blog at dailyherald.com.

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