By Shams Charania/RealGM
DEERFIELD, Ill. – Derrick Rose wasn’t the only member of the Chicago Bulls sending out recruitment pitches in the offseason. Count Tom Thibodeau as a recruiter, too, reaching out to Nate Robinson and Nazr Mohammed throughout the free agency process of both players.
Both Thibodeau and Robinson talked on the phone a few times as Robinson was considering his options. But for Robinson, a call from Thibodeau was all he needed, and it came with an offer: How would you like to play for the Bulls?
“I was like, ‘Where do I sign up?’” Robinson said after Wednesday night’s practice.
“[Thibodeau] is still the same, just the head man in charge now. He’s the head honcho and right now that’s been great. Coach has had great success as head coach. … He has a lot of history, he does a great job, and we’re happy to play for him.”
Although Robinson has been around his Bulls teammates for just a few weeks, he has already made his presence known as the player who will liven the locker room and joke around. Following Wednesday’s practice, Robinson talked trash while playing one-on-one games against Joakim Noah.
“I’m the guy that gets everybody involved and get everybody hyped up with energy,” he said. “I just do it all. I just try to be the best teammate I can and push these guys to the limit.”
And yet, one aspect Robinson doesn’t agree with is the notion that NBA players don’t want to come to Chicago because they would always be under Michael Jordan’s shadow. In fact, Robinon believes the Jordan factor played critical in so many ways to his deal with the Bulls.
“There’s no way you can shy away from Michael Jordan being a Bull, however you look at it,” Robinson said. “When [people] say Bulls, they know Michael Jordan. Period.”
Emmett cherishing Bulls’ training camp but eyes a permanent role: As far as professional basketball journeyman Andre Emmett is concerned, being part of the Bulls’ training camp roster is a major opportunity but one he intends to build on in the form of attaining his goal.
“What I want to take out of this is a contract and winning a championship,” Emmett told RealGM. “Absolutely.”
While it’s highly unlikely that the Bulls’ current 13-man roster will contain him once the regular season begins, Emmett – a natural shooting guard who can play some small forward – made known that he’d be available anytime, anywhere if Chicago needs him. Over the years, the Bulls have brought in many players on 10-day contracts late in seasons.
“It’s a long season,” Emmett said. “You hit a point in the season where you need bodies, and I’m well capable of stepping in anytime in any part of the season – beginning, middle, in the playoffs, whenever. [I’d] help the team get over the hump.”
Noah’s minutes will stay steady: The Bulls lost Omer Asik to free agency during the offseason, but they are confident the team’s depth will make up for the loss, and Thibodeau hopes that he can keep Noah’s minutes consistent.
“Jo is a big part of what we do,” Thibodeau said. “I think Taj [Gibson] has shown the ability to play both positions; we did that more at the end of last year. We feel good that we can play big with Nazr up front, and I think the versatility of our team is one of our strengths.”