The Chicago Bulls could have a difficult time cutting a couple of players from their training camp roster soon.
Chicago’s roster, which currently stands at 17 players, must be trimmed down to 15 before the regular season begins.
The four players competing for a regular-season roster spot with the Bulls include guards Ryan Allen, Andre Emmett and Marko Jaric, as well as center Kyrylo Fesenko.
Each player, of course, is a long shot to make the team and become an official teammate of Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and the rest of the Bulls crew.
Allen is perhaps the guy who Bulls management would have the toughest time parting ways with.
The undrafted rookie out of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has been one of Rose’s best friends for several years.
A native of Chicago, Allen played high school ball at Whitney Young before transferring to Thornton, located in the South suburb of Harvey, IL. He and Rose were teammates on the AAU team, Ferrari.
Allen, the younger brother of Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen, was raised on Chicago’s West side, just a few blocks away from the Bulls’ home arena, the United Center.
With that said, he’s probably a devoted Bulls fan who grew up rooting for Michael Jordan and Co., longing to one day suit up for his hometown NBA team, like most young Chicagoans.
Allen is known for his play on the defensive end of the court. The 6’3” guard earned Horizon League All-Defensive Team honors last season at UW-Milwaukee.
Defense, as most NBA followers know, is undeniably the part of the game that Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau loves the most.
Allen was familiar with Thibodeau long before he joined the Bulls’ training camp roster. Coach Thibs was an assistant with the Boston Celtics when Allen’s brother, Tony, was a member of the team.
Allen hasn’t had the opportunity yet to show Bulls fans what he can do. In the preseason opener against the Grizzlies Tuesday, he went scoreless and didn’t record an assist or rebound in his one minute of action. Hopefully, he will receive more playing time in Friday’s contest versus the Cleveland Cavaliers at the University of Illinois.
Unfortunately, being a close friend of Rose—the face of the Bulls franchise—and having the knowledge of what Thibodeau demands from his players, might not be enough for Allen to make the team.
Jaric is another player who could be tough for the Bulls to let go. A second-round selection of the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2000 draft, the 6’7” Serbian has seven NBA seasons under his belt.
He has had stints with the Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Memphis Grizzlies, with career averages of 7.1 points, 3.6 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.
Jaric averaged a career high 9.9 points and 6.1 assists in 2004-05. Jaric, who hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2008-09 season, spent the last three seasons playing with Spain’s Real Madrid and Italy’s Montepaschi Siena.
Jaric is probably better known for being married to supermodel Adriana Lima than for his basketball career.
However, he could serve as a decent reserve for the Bulls. He would add size to the backcourt and is a solid defender.
Much like Allen, Jaric was used briefly by Thibodeau in the game versus the Grizzlies. He committed a personal foul and a turnover in just two minutes of playing time. It’s unclear whether Jaric’s minutes will increase in Friday night’s game versus Cleveland.
This could be the 33-year-old’s last chance at an NBA job.
There’s about a one-in-a-million chance that Allen or Jaric ends up making the Bulls’ final roster. However, don’t think for one minute that it will be easy for the team to cut either player.