Hoiberg won't say when he'll hand Bulls' reins to Payne

It should only be a matter of time before newcomer Cameron Payne becomes the Bulls' starting point guard, but the exact timing is unclear.

Coach Fred Hoiberg declined to share his plans for the point guard spot after Monday's practice.

"He's been a guy who you can tell has a very high basketball IQ," Hoiberg said. "In talking to people who know him well, he's a guy who will pick things up quickly.

"We had him out there with both groups today. That first group, he played with the ball in his hands and he also played off the ball a little. We're trying to keep things simple when the new guys are in the game."

The Bulls acquired Payne from Oklahoma City last Thursday, along with forward Joffrey Lauvergne and shooting guard Anthony Morrow. Payne played 12 minutes on Saturday at Cleveland, producing 6 points, 1 assist and 2 turnovers.

Payne talked about getting to know Hoiberg's somewhat unstructured offense.

"It's a little more laid-back. You can go out there and play. It's really free," he said. "It's all about making decisions, and coach does a good job of putting everybody in good positions to do what we need."

Payne also said he thought he might end up with the Bulls on draft night 2015. The former Murray State star ended up getting picked No. 14 by the Thunder.

"At pre-draft, the Bulls talked to me a lot," Payne said. "So when they said they were trading for me, I got excited quick. I was ready to get here. I got here early that morning, and I've been here since."

Two Bulls sidelined:

Michael Carter-Williams was on the floor shooting after Monday's practice, but he won't play Tuesday against Denver because of patella tendinitis in his knee. Forward Paul Zipser remains sidelined with an ankle injury, but he's starting to increase his activity.

"Paul went through our script offense before practice. He's done that two straight days now," coach Fred Hoiberg said. "On our off day (Sunday), we brought the new guys in with Zipser. He's still not ready to do full contact yet but he's getting close."

Monday was a rough day for injuries around the Eastern Conference. Former Bulls center Joakim Noah will have arthroscopic knee surgery and miss the rest of the season, the Knicks announced. Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry will have wrist surgery. He hopes to return before the playoffs.

Payne's dance interrupted:

Since joining the Bulls, Cameron Payne has been asked a few times if he'll find a new dance partner. In Oklahoma City, Payne was better known for his pregame dance routines with Russell Westbrook than his game.

"Nah, I have nothing yet," Payne said Monday. "I'm just trying to get to know everybody. Like y'all say, Isaiah Canaan do all the pregame handshakes. I figured that out in Cleveland. I guess I have to figure that out to see what I've got going. Right now I don't have anything."

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