Luol Deng

Noah and Taj

Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson

Oh-oh-oh, look we’re half way there… By now Bulls fans are used to the emotional roller coaster that has been the past two years, search but our guys have pleasantly overcome the obstacles thrown their way, and yet again.

Entering the 2013-2014 season Chicago was an absolute “title contender” with a healthy Derrick Rose. The team’s dreams were blown to smithereens when DRose went down with a second season-ending knee injury. Then just two months later, the front office shipped off sharp shooter Luol Deng to Cleveland. No matter how deep their pride was wounded, the Bulls came out swinging with the emotional intensity of Joakim Noah leading the way.

Much to our surprise, the Bulls start the second half of the season sitting in fourth place among the beasts of the East and are just shy of snatching the third seat at 27-25. Chicago has gone 15-7 in 2014 – only three teams have a better record since January 1st and they’re all in the big bad Western Conference. We’ve got 30 games to go and if the men in red can keep up the intensity down the stretch there is definitely reason for optimism.

ALL-STAR STATUS: JOAKIM NOAH

 

Jo-No is wreaking havoc in 2014. To say he’s found his “edge” is an understatement of the damage he’s done offensively and defensively. He goes out night after night and plays 100% guts and glory. More than ever before he is the heart of this Bulls team and the future of this NBA franchise. Losing Luol Deng was personal for Joakim Noah, it was like he lost his big brother, but his loss seemed to have spark a fire in the belly of the Jo-No bear.

Clark Street Sports

Clark Street Sports

Bet ya didn’t Noah he’s averaged 13.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.8 blocks since Jan. 1 – “double-double” is basically his middle name. He recently appeared in his second All-Star game and looked lost because the studs of the NBA we’rent playing at a normal intensity. He found himself again when BronBron decided to light things up with Noah under the basket. If you love Chicago basketball, you are crazy about Joakim Noah this year. Messy-bun-swagger has swept the nation.

HIGHLIGHT PLAYERS:

Taj Gibson is an easy candidate for Sixth Man of the Year. He’s taken his game to an entirely new level this season and we don’t mind one bit. He signed a hefty contract with the Bulls in 2012 and really never got into his groove. He took the off-season to work with the big dogs and it has paid off. When you get Jo-No and Taj on the court at the same time you have one of the most terrifying defensive units the NBA has to offer. Gibson has been so huge he’s the one on the court in the fourth quarter battling opponents, so much so Carlos Boozer got a little jealous and threw a pitty party about getting benched come the end of games.

D.J.D.J. Augustin has a renewed NBA career. Prior to being traded to the Bulls in December most of the league said “Augustin who?” I would guess most of the Toronto Raptors’ fans didn’t know the guy was even on the roster. He was a pickup during a time Chicago was desperate for a point guard after losing Rose and Augustin would work out “fine.” With a little Tom Thibodeau fairy dust Augustin has become a dominant player in the Windy City. When Kirk Hinrich is healthy (which is hit or miss) Augustin comes off the bench as a play maker as well as an outside scoring threat. We’ve needed a three-point shooting monster since the days of Kyle Korver.

ROUGH SPOTS AVERTED:

Just a month ago my Facebook feed was filled with statuses about the Bulls tanking their season on purpose. “Just blow the season and get a great lottery pick.” Well friends, if you haven’t noticed “tanking” and “Thibodeau” are like water and oil, it just doesn’t mix. After losing Rose and trading Deng the Bulls were in a rough place, but they recommitted to their defensive mindset and started playing basketball the only way they know how – down and dirty.

Their main weakness is the depth of their bench. When their starters are healthy (Noah, Carlos Boozer, Jimmy Butler, Kirk Hinrich and Mike Dunleavy) the Bulls can generally find their rhythm. With Taj, Augustin and rookie Tony Snell continuously coming off the bench lights out the Bulls can stay powerful throughout the game. Problem is, after those eight players things get a really hairy. Eight players aren’t enough to keep things going one experiences an injury and is forced to miss playing time.

OFF THE COURT: 

DRose AdidasBasically there’s no reason to feel sorry for Mr. Rose. Although he hasn’t played a full season in two years, DRose’s brand is stronger than ever. Forbes just ranked the top 10 NBA endorsers and our very own Derrick Rose came in third just behind Kobe Bryant and Lebron James. Rose will have made over $21 million in endorsements over the last year. Combine that with the $17.6 million he’ll bring in from his Bulls contract and Rose will be sitting pretty at $39 million for the year. He’s single ladies, that’s all I’m saying.

Keep BULL-IEVING

They may not be title contenders this season, as it’s unlikely Los Bulls will be able to defeat the top two teams in the Eastern Conference (Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers) in a seven-game series, but they’re a hungry bunch who want to prove all those fans wrong who started guzzling Chicago Bulls-Hater-ade the second DRose went down. So ask yourself, if Joakim Noah and his crew aren’t giving up, why should we? Bring on the second half!

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You might be friends with Luol Deng off the court, tadalafil but unless you’re sporting the crimson and gold these days you’re an obstacle between Lou and the hoop. After playing his entire career as a Chicago Bull, Deng-er-ang will host his old teammates at his new Cleveland arena for the first time Wednesday night (SIGH).

As a fan it’s absolutely tough to consider Deng an offensive threat instead of our favorite gangly player, but as he so gently put it “it’s just another game.” Don’t expect Deng to be all rainbows and sunshine against his old friends, this competitor is coming out to win. Lucky for Los Bulls, Joakim Noah has taken Chi-town pride to the next level. Expect nothing less than a gritty Eastern Conference match-up friends.

What You Need to Know:

  • Dengerang is Crankin in Cleveland: The Cavaliers are only 3-3 since acquiring Deng the first week of January, but individually he’s averaging just under 18 points a game – not too shabby after being shipped off to a new city. It’s unfortunate the uniforms are so ugly.

    via ivanov_22 Instagram

  • Prideful Pack: HAM of the Week Jo-No has taken the team under his wing emotionally since the trade and the Bulls surprisingly have gone 6-2. Considering they lost their best scorer when they shipped off Deng (Rose was already out for the season) they’ve shown some serious resilience as a team. They are most definitely NOT tanking the season.
  • Kyrie Irving may like to dress up like “Uncle Drew”during his free time, but this dude doesn’t mess around when it comes to basketball. He’s averaging 21.6 points a game with a side of some sick crossovers. He is the future of the Cavalier organization at this point. Within the sports realm there have been plenty of heated discussions on the topic of Kyrie Irving versus Derrick Roseas the top point guard. The answer is easy in my book, a healthy DRose could school Mr. Irving.

    Irving via nba_memes_quizzes Instagram

  • Best Match-ups: PG DJ Augustin hasn’t been with the Bulls for too long, but he’s made a solid impression so far. With Kirk Hinrich’s hamstring injury, Wednesday night will be a true challenge for Augustin as he takes on Kyrie Irving at point guard. Mike Dunleavy will get a full serving of Luol Deng and his lanky arms up and down the court; we’re going to need some hot sauce out of Mikey.
  • Restructured Roster: If you’ve been keeping up on your Bulls news you’ve noticed that the Bulls traded away Marquis Teague, the second year PG (he just wasn’t panning out) and picked up Toko (Tornike) Shengelia from the Brooklyn Nets. The trade created more cap space for the Bulls come the summer and Toko is a 6-foot-9 forward that we’ll consider a project for Coach Thibodeau over next three months. It’s unlikely Toko will get any playing time against the Cavs, but Thibs is full of surprises these days so we’ll have to wait and see.

Your Take Away Piece: 

“It’s going to be very strange seeing Deng in a Cavaliers uniform instead of repping the black, red and white, but change is inevitable. I’ve got to get over it sometime and what better way than with a Chicago Bulls win in Cleveland.”

Chicago Bulls Women’s Grey Yolo Cutoff Midriff Long Sleeve by Sportiqe, Clark Street Sports: $49.99

What’s Next: 

The Bulls tip off in Cleveland at 6 PM. Be sure to tune into Comcast Sportsnet to catch Deng and Noah going head to head for the first time in their NBA careers. It’s going to be a throwdown.

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Lala and Carmelo Grace the Cover of Ebony Magazine’s Hottest Couple Issue

It is no secret that Carmelo and Lala Anthony are a blazing hot NBA couple – they land in the Courtside Chic headlines every week. The gorgeous couple will grace the cover of February’s Ebony magazine issue as one of the ’10 Hottest Couples.’ Another cover will feature Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey.

“There were people coming in and out of my life, diagnosis and I didn’t really know whom to trust. She was one of the people who stood by my side through thick and thick. Even to this day, viagra she’s always right there, pharm ” The Knicks forward tells Ebony. Awww. he said “thick and thick!”

Well, it looks like Lala’s “thick and thick” support is effective, because the Knicks seem to have turned a new leaf in 2014. Melo scored 34 points in an 85-89 win to the Pistons last Tuesday. According to the small forward, the Knicks are having more fun out there and trusting one another. Hmm, it looks like the dynamics of a team can be compared to that of a relationship.

Oh…and did you happen to catch Spike Lee at the Game? The director (and die-hard Knicks fan) was decked out in orange and blue, cheering on his favorite team. He “did the right thing” by choosing to attend this victorious  game. I’m still waiting for the He Got Game sequel, Spike.

Luol Deng’s Cleveland Basketball T-Shirt

Instagram (luoldeng9)

I am literally typing this story in tears right now. Okay, not really…but I’m sure that a few Bulls fans cried over the recent Luol Deng/Andrew Bynum trade. As hard as it will be for me to see the small forward in a Cavalier uniform, I know that it must be done in order for Chicago to rebuild the Bulls franchise. Deng was all-smiles on Instagram,  rocking a Cleveland Basketball tee with the caption: “New beginning #cavsnation. ” The 28 year-old practiced with the Cavaliers for the first time on Wednesday.

LeBron James Sports an IAMNAMELESS Sweatshirt

upscalehype.com

He could be on a court…or on a plane. Either way, LeBron James will showcase his impeccable style. King James recently sported an IAMNAMELESS sweatshirt and neon green sneakers. I, for one, appreciate a man who understands the essence of a POP of color. The “Hold up Hold my Phone” print references lyrics from Drake’s hit single ‘Worst Behavior.’ Well, LeBron was certainly on his ‘Worst Behavior,’ as he went into warrior mode  against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night.  In true Heat fashion…they took a while to get revved up. “We were able to turn the game around pretty fast.”  James said after the game (Miami Herald). The Heat was ultimately able to snag a 107-88 win.

Nick Young’s Graphic Hoodie

donbleek.com

We don’t call Nick Young ‘Swaggy P’ for nothing! The Los Angeles Lakers’ small forward/shooting guard was photographed wearing a geometric Christopher Kane Black Grid Face Graphis Hoodie.

This hoodie is definitely hot…but  things aren’t looking so hot for the Lakers after their loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night. Young even compared the post-game  locker room to a “funeral” (Lakers Nation). His rationale seems appropriate because the Lakers have lost eight of their last  nine games. If that doesn’t deserve a moment of silence…I do not know what does. Let us pray.

Dwight Howard’s Girlfriend flaunts a ‘Laker Hater’ Sweatshirt on Instagram

lakersnation.com

Oh, the shade! Dwight Howard is pretty hush about his brief stint with the Los Angeles Lakers. It is pretty clear that he wants to forget about that aspect of his career. His girlfriend, on the other hand, doesn’t. Howard’s leading lady, Christine Vest, made her allegiance known to everyone at the Toyota Center (and you know…the world)  when she wore a ‘Laker Hater’ Sweatshirt to Wednesday night’s game *insert side-eye here*.

Luckily for Ms. Vest, the Houston Rockets were ultimately able to snag a 99 – 113 win against the Lakers and Dwight Howard was able to experience his first win against his former team.

That’s it for now, Divas…but you know what? There is more where that came from next week! As always, Courtside Chic will keep you fabulously posted on the hottest NBA news and fashion!

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After months of trade rumors, doctor the Chicago Bulls ended an era when they wheeled and dealed their two-time All-Star small forward Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers late Monday night.

Initially, seek you might be thinking the Bulls front office has lost their marbles. Deng has been the most consistent offensive player on the Bulls the past few years, ampoule he’s led the entire league playing a ridiculous amount of minutes, he’s a stifling defender and he has a heart of gold.

It wasn’t always pretty, but Lou gave Chicago his all throughout his 10 year journey and embodied the Bulls gritty defense-minded approach. Unfortunately, our love for Luol Deng is not enough to keep him in Chicago. There are plenty of reasons why the Deng-er-ang was sent off to hang with Kyrie Irving and the Cavs. It’s business, baby.

To give the Bulls’ organization some credit, they did try to keep Deng in Chicago by offering him a 3-year, $30 million extension last week. However, Deng declined the offer which then led to plan B – the trade.

Deng is 28, leading the team in points scored, but he’s also be ailed by quite a few injuries this season and in past years. The game takes a lot of wear and tear on the body. John Paxson, Chicago’s VP of Basketball Operations, addressed the media immediately Tuesday morning to discuss the big move. He explained just how hard of a decision it was to trade Luol and the amount of respect the organization has for the NBA player.

Chicago has been through the ups and downs with Deng and he has always proven the toughest of soldiers, playing through sprains, muscle tears and spinal taps. The city is forever grateful for his time here and we wish him nothing but greatness in Cleveland (unless he’s playing the Bulls of course).

What the Bulls got in Return:

I know what you’re thinking, “ditching Deng better have been worth it,” or maybe that’s just what I was thinking. The Bulls picked up center Andrew Bynum, three future draft picks and the right to swap 2015 first round picks with the Cavs. Los Bulls already have a solid center in Joakim Noah, so they will release Bynum before the Jan. 7 deadline (tonight). This will clear up about $12.3 million to go with the $14.3 million they saved by trading Deng.

The draft picks are what really sweetened the deal. The Bulls now have a boatload of draft picks coming their way in the next few years. This is great news because the 2014 draft is deep with talented players and the Bulls could really get some quality guys.

What This Means for the Bulls:

The fun has only just begun for the Chicago Bulls’ front office. This trade absolutely signifies a new era in Chicago basketball and a time for rebuilding, but it’s not going to be a complete overhaul. They still have serious talent in Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson. Yes, trading Deng means the Bulls won’t be doing much winning this season, but the goal is to develop the young players we do have like Tony Snell and find the the guys who can truly take the Bulls to a championship upon Derrick Rose’s return.

DRose is still the center of Chicago’s universe. The organization’s goal is to find the best players to compliment Rose. We need a team who no longer plays under Derrick, but rather a team who plays well WITH Derrick.

Expect the Bulls to amnesty Carlos Boozer this summer, this will cut another $16.8 million for the Bulls spending, which would hopefully allow enough salary cap room for the signing of an elite caliber free agent. All these deals give the Bulls quite a bit more wiggle room when it comes to the limitations of players they can sign.

These are absolutely long shots, but players like Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Greg Monroe and even LeBron James could potentially be attainable. The Bulls have cap space and with some tempting rookies, Chicago may be able to conjure up some sign-and-trade deals.

Losing Deng is no easy feat. It’s going to take the team some time to bounce back after their silent leader was traded away, but I bet Joakim Noah is even more upset that the poor guy has to live in Cleveland.

Farewell Luol, we’ll miss you and your Dengerous wingspan.

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cheap Noah, medicine Augie” src=”http://sportsdivasinc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Deng-Noah-Augie.jpg” alt=”” width=”290″ height=”288″ /> Via Chicagobulls Instagram

The Bulls December was as brutal and inconsistent as the Chicago winter weather. Our men in red started the month rolling by defeating the defending Champion Miami Heat, remedy but then went on to lose three in a row to the Pistons, Bucks, and Knicks. Wins were scarce for the remainder of the month for the struggling Bulls who went 5-10 during the holiday season.

With DRose down and out for the season while rehabilitating his repaired meniscus, the Bulls find themselves in an all too familiar situation; missing a piece of their Roseless puzzle. They have enough talent to win big games on occasion, but they don’t have the manpower to blow past the Miami Heat or the Indiana Pacers who are dominating the Eastern Conference. Lucky for our guys, the East is the weakest conference and Chicago is still surprisingly in it.

You may feel like all hope is lost when it comes to Bulls basketball, but the season is still very young and the team has plenty of time to ship and shape up.

The Good: Let’s try to look on the bright side; the Roseless Bulls have been underperforming so ticket prices have plummeted and now we can actually afford to experience a game at the Madhouse – find the best deals on Bulls tickets HERE.  There is nothing like the Bulls starting lineup introduction live, “Annd nowww…”

There was an adorable proposal on the UC floor when Luvabull Ariana was surprised by her boyfriend and teammates during halftime of the December 5th game while the Heat were in town. It also may have been one of the most memorable moments throughout the entire month.

The Bad: Injuries (aside from Derrick’s devastating knee) proposed a problem for the Bulls during December. Key players like Jimmy Butler, Kirk Hinrich, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng have all seen time on the bench due to injury. Deng missed almost the entire month with his sore achilles.

Are the Bulls planning on rebuilding? You better believe it. December was a month of trade rumors regarding small forward Luol Deng. Late Monday night these rumors were finally put to rest when the Bulls actually traded Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum and two drafts picks.

Deng was a two-time All-Star with the Bulls and has been the glue that has kept the Bulls together these past few frustrating years, but he was going to be a free agent come this summer and too expensive for our Bulls. GM Gar Forman said this move will save the Bulls quite a deal of money in salary cap space and luxury taxes, which puts them in a better spot for the future. Coach Thibs LOVES Deng, this trade could have a spiral effect on our Bulls, we’ll have to wait and see.

Overall: The Bulls went 5-10 in December and are still struggling to hit .500 which lands them the failing grade. They received a bit of extra credit for the D.J. Augustin pickup avoiding the scary F.

Spotlight on: D.J. Augustin
Point Guard #14 

Via ChicagoBullsPics Instagram

Who’s the new guy you ask?

On December 13th the Bulls picked up point guard D.J. Augustin in a trade with the Toronto Raptors. Kirk Hinrich had been picking up the point guard slack playing with heart, hustle and muscle, but he’s not a spring chicken and has had plenty of wear and tear on his body. The Bulls were running too thin at PG and Marquis Teague just wasn’t cutting it.

In rolls Augustin. He seemed to fit into Coach Thibodeau’s play calling almost instantly and has only improved with increased playing time. He’s in his sixth year in the league and has never been an outstanding player, but Coach Thibs has a reputation of bringing out the best in players (cough, cough Nate Robinson).

What to Watch in January:

Saturday January 18th, Philadelphia 76ers at Bulls: The Sixers’ scrappy offense always challenges Coach Thibs and the Bulls.

Monday January 20th, Los Angeles Lakers at Bulls: The Lake-Show heads to the Windy City to take on the Bulls. All of the “Kobe” fans here in Chicago will flood the UC with their purple and gold gear.

Friday January 24th, Los Angeles Clippers at Bulls: High-flying Blake Griffin and his Clippers crew head to Chicago. It’s always a dunkfest with these bros in town.

Wednesday January 29th, Bulls at San Antonio Spurs: Two of the league’s most elite coaches will throwdown as Gregg Popovich will attempt to cook up a better game plan than Coach Thibs.

Just remember, Divas, the season is far from over and the East is up for grabs. If the Bulls can get hot at the right time, they’ll be vying for a top spot in the playoff slots. New year, new Bulls!

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Last Thursday when the Bulls played the Heat, discount I thought the Heat would dominate yet again, click especially without Bulls star player (and former HAM of the Week) D. Rose. But fans were treated to a completely different game—and the Bulls beat the Heat by more than 20 points in one of their best games since Rose’s injury. And with that game, a new star player emerged: our HAM of the Week, Luol Deng, who led the team with 20 points in that game. The 28-year-old had 37 points in the triple overtime loss two days prior.

So what else is there to know about the 6’9”, 220 lbs small forward?

Luol Deng, http://www.nba.com

Deng hails from what is now South Sudan, but fled the country with his family as a child, moving to Egypt and then to Great Britain, becoming a British citizen in 2006.

He attended high school in South London, developing an interest in soccer. He played for a few years before switching his focus to basketball, playing on England’s 15-and-under team for the Brixton Basketball Club and England’s squad in the European Junior Men’s Tournament. He earned a spot in the London Youth Games Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2009.

At 14, Deng moved to the United States to play basketball at Blair Academy in New Jersey. After graduation, he attended Duke University. In just one season, Deng appeared in 37 games and scored an average of 15.1 points per game, leading the school to the 2004 Final Four.

After receiving the USBWA National Freshman of the Year award, Deng entered the 2004 NBA draft. The Phoenix Suns originally drafted Deng as the 7th pick in the first round, but was immediately traded to the Bulls by another agreement. Though he suffered a season-ending wrist injury late in his rookie season, Deng made the NBA All-Rookie First Team and helped the Bulls return to the playoffs for the first time in seven years. He finished his first season with an average of 11.7 points per game.

In the 2006-07 season, Deng was the only Bull to start all 82 regular season games, and increased his scoring to 18.8 points per game. He earned the NBA sportsmanship award, the 2006-07 Golden Icon Award for Best Sports Role Model and the UN Refugee Agency’s Humanitarian of the Year Award as part of the UNHCR’s ninmillion.org campaign to bring education and sports to displaced children.

He played in his (much-deserved) All-Star seasons the past two years, joining D. Rose in 2012 and former HAM of the Week Joakim Noah in 2013.

Although he’s been plagued by injury over his past nine seasons, Coach Thibs has called Deng the “glue” that holds the team together, which has certainly helped in this season so far. He’s played through it—showing just how devoted he is to the sport.

Luol Deng, photo via @luoldeng9 Instagram

But being a basketball powerhouse isn’t the only thing that makes him HAM-worthy. Deng is involved in numerous charities, most notably his Luol Deng Foundation, which provides means for African children and adults with access to basic human needs. He serves as a spokesperson for Nothing But Nets, Ninemillion.org and the World Food Programme. He also attended the Basketball Without Borders Tour in 2006 and 2007, and made a highly publicized first return to his native Sudan following the 2009-10 season.

In addition, Deng is also the founder of the Luol Deng Foundation (UK), a not-for-profit organization that provides opportunities for participation in basketball for the Great Britain community while addressing issues of education, health, crime and social inclusion.

In a 2012 interview with GB Basketball, Deng talks about his commitment to bring basketball to the UK, especially as the team prepared for the London Olympics, in which he served as an ambassador and averaged 15.8 points.

The social media-savvy player posts on everything from basketball to his foundation. His main site, LuolDeng.com, includes all his accounts as a way for fans to connect and become a part of the community.

 

As the remaining player of the 2004-05 roster, Deng has weathered through trade rumors, which have increased more since the announcement of D. Rose’s injury. He’s playing in the final year of his contract, and the Bulls have been very fair without their star player. But for now, Deng is in his prime as a leader, and will hopefully get the team back on track.

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