Bulls newcomer doesn't mind joining another rebuilding process
French has been spoken in the Bulls locker room many times in recent years.
The team has had a few French speakers, including Joakim Noah, who grew up in the Paris suburbs; Thabo Sefolosha, a native of Switzerland; and French power forward Joffrey Lauvergne. Noah and Sefolosha used to yell at each other across the locker room in French.
Newcomer Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is joining the Bulls' French tradition. The 6-foot-6 forward should feel right at home, since he's able to describe a rebuilding process in at least two languages.
Luwawu-Cabarrot was drafted in 2016 by the Philadelphia 76ers, a team coming off a 10-win season. The Sixers piled up 28 wins in his rookie campaign, then made the playoffs in his second year. So he arrived in town familiar with the Bulls' plight.
"It's a fresh start, it's a young team," Luwawu-Cabarrot said Monday at the Advocate Center. "It's a new process for the team, for the organization, so I see that as a rebuild and a fresh start for me. I'm looking forward to play with this team."
Luwawu-Cabarrot wasn't about to complain about being traded from a playoff contender in Oklahoma City to a 12-win Bulls team. He appeared in just 21 games for the Thunder this season and hasn't taken the floor in any game since a two-minute stint on Jan. 21.
"I'm a basketball player and I love the game," he said. "It's been so long since I've seen that court, so I'm hungry. I just can't wait to play and just to play with those guys."
Bulls coach Jim Boylen said he expects Luwawu-Cabarrot to join the rotation, which makes sense since rookie forward Chandler Hutchison will be out for at least another week with a toe injury and Wayne Selden Jr., who took Hutchison's spot at small forward, didn't practice Monday due to a sore knee.
"I envision him playing," Boylen said. "When and how much, I don't want to commit to that. He's a big wing, all of 6-6. He shot the ball well today. He fit in very well. He picked up our stuff quickly. He picked up our defensive terminology and what we're trying to do. It's good to have him."
Luwawu-Cabarrot was the No. 24 pick of the 2016 and spent his first two seasons as a regular part of Philadelphia's rotation. His best season was his rookie campaign when he averaged 6.4 points in 17.2 minutes.
He was traded to Oklahoma City last summer as part of the three-team deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to Atlanta and Dennis Schroder to the Thunder. Luwawu-Cabarrot just couldn't play his way into the playing rotation in OKC, but he did have a good role model nearby.
"I don't really like comparisons. But I can say my favorite player is Paul George, who I got to (play with) for six months," he said. "He was my favorite player for my whole young career. So that's the player I liked to look up to growing up."
The Bulls acquired Luwawu-Cabarrot on Friday for a conditional second-round pick. The Thunder included some cash in order to lower its luxury-tax bill.