Hoiberg sees a benefit to Bulls winning games
It's hard to say any fans at the United Center are openly rooting for the Bulls to lose in order to get a higher draft pick. The building was as loud as ever when Zach LaVine's steal and dunk sent the Bulls ahead of Orlando with 12.4 seconds left on Monday.
But it's a debate that figures to linger during the remainder of the season, with the Bulls currently holding the NBA's eighth-worst record. Coach Fred Hoiberg addressed the topic on Tuesday.
"It is what it is," Hoiberg said. "I understand some of it. But again, it's important for these guys to go out and learn how to win. That's a big part of everything you've got going with a young team.
"You go through stretches where you really get deflated when things aren't going well. So you have to have something to keep morale up and keep the guys going."
With Kris Dunn due back soon from a concussion, the Bulls figure to have a better chance of trending upward than most of the other teams at the bottom of the standings.
"These guys are competitors," Hoiberg said. "They're going to go out and try to win every game. So to get two of the last three, one against a great team in Minnesota and a team that had really been improving and playing better in Orlando, it's good for everybody."
Dunn still a question:
After practicing with both the Bulls and Windy City Bulls so far this week, there's a chance Kris Dunn could return to the court Wednesday against Toronto. Coach Fred Hoiberg said that decision would be made on game day.
Why bother playing Dunn? Well, he is still on the roster for the Rising Stars game during all-star weekend, so if he's ready to play in that exhibition, he might as well get some minutes in a real game.
"If he does play, it won't be a lot of minutes," Hoiberg said. "But again it's been great to see him back out here in practice. Competitiveness goes up because of his drive.
"If he's ready and deemed fully healthy, which he is, now it's about his body soreness and that sort of thing. If he's over that, I don't think anybody has any issue getting him back out there as soon as possible."
Rose free to sign:
Former Bulls guard Derrick Rose reportedly cleared waivers and is free to sign with a new team. Rose was traded from Cleveland to Utah last week and released by the Jazz.
One team mentioned as a possible destination is Minnesota, with his former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.
"We'll see," Thibodeau said Tuesday, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "We're always looking at ways we can improve the club."
Scouting reportBulls vs. Toronto Raptors at the United Center, 7 p.m. Wednesday
Radio: WSCR 670-AM
Outlook: The Raptors are 3-0 against the Bulls this season, including a 124-115 victory at the UC on Jan. 3 behind DeMar DeRozan's 35 points. Toronto rode a five-game winning streak into Tuesday's home game against Miami to slide ahead of Boston for the No. 1 seed in the East. Those 5 wins were all by at least 15 points. DeRozan is averaging 23.9 ppg, followed by PG Kyle Lowry (16.4 ppg) and PF Serge Ibaka (12.7). The Raptors are third in the league in scoring, behind Golden State and Houston, at 111.6 points per game.
Next: Philadelphia 76ers at the United Center, Feb. 22, 7 p.m.
-- Mike McGraw