Chicago Bulls release backup point guard Felder
The Bulls released backup point guard Kay Felder on Tuesday.
While Felder was needed early in the season when both Kris Dunn and Cameron Payne were out with injuries, he has barely played since Dunn recovered.
The move opens a roster spot, but coach Fred Hoiberg said he isn't sure what will happen to it.
"We'll see how everything transpires moving forward," Hoiberg said Tuesday. "But it was just a move for flexibility."
One possibility is signing Antonio Blakeney, one of the Bulls' two-way players, to a full NBA contract. Blakeney, a 6-4 shooting guard, has been making it look easy in the G-League, averaging 37.9 points and shooting 51 percent from the field in seven games.
Two-way players are allowed to spend no more than 45 days with the NBA team. You're starting to see some two-way players released because they reached their limit of NBA roster days. Milwaukee released guard Gary Payton II just a couple days after he started against the Bulls.
Blakeney has appeared in 11 games with the Bulls. It's also possible he could stay with Windy City for most of the season.
Praise for Mirotic:
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg and point guard Kris Dunn both talked about the major impact Nikola Mirotic has had since returning from injury. The six-game win streak began with Mirotic's season debut.
"We talk about it a lot. Niko does a lot of things that don't show up in the box score," Hoiberg said. "But the way he's shooting the ball right now, with the confidence that he has, it really is radiating to the entire team. So he's been awesome. He's been great."
After recent games, one particular corner of the Bulls locker room has been crowded with reporters, since Dunn and Mirotic reside next to each other, with one usually empty locker in between.
"He's a very good leader," Dunn said of Mirotic. "Me, Denzel (Valentine) and all the other players, he's been leading us very well. He's very communicative too when he is on the court. We're very appreciative to have him back."
Refs don't review foul:
The Bulls got a break Monday when Bobby Portis' hard foul against Philadelphia's Dario Saric with 3:49 remaining was ruled a common foul and not flagrant. Saric hit both free throws to put the Sixers up 107-99.
Replays showed Saric might have gotten away with grabbing Portis and pulling him out of the way as the two battled for a rebound. When Saric got the ball, Portis moved in with a shove from behind to make sure Saric didn't score. Referees did not review replays of the foul.
"It was my gut feeling that it was (flagrant)," 76ers coach Brett Brown said after the game. "I'll be very disappointed if I go back and see the tape and I feel like I'm right."
Bulls game dayBulls vs. Orlando Magic at the United Center, 7 p.m. Wednesday
TV: NBC Sports Chicago
Radio: WLS 890-AM
Outlook: This might be the first time during the win streak the Bulls have an opponent they are expected to beat. After a fast start, Orlando (11-20) has fallen on hard times, losing five in a row. Top scorer Evan Fournier (18.3 ppg) has missed those five games with an ankle, but could return Wednesday. PF Aaron Gordon, also averaging 18.3 points, is not expected to play with a calf injury. That leaves C Nikola Vucevic (17.7 ppg) and SF Jonathon Simmons (15.5 ppg) as the main scorers. Former lottery pick Mario Hezonja scored a career-high 28 points in Sunday's loss to Detroit. The Bulls won the first meeting at Orlando 105-83 as they hit 14 of 29 shots from 3-point range. The Magic has lost three straight at the UC.
Next: Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday, 6 p.m.
-- Mike McGraw