Bulls sit DeMar DeRozan because of sore hip — and only sore hip

With the trade deadline Thursday, it didn’t take long for speculation to run wild when the Bulls announced DeRozan wouldn’t play Tuesday against the Grizzlies.

SHARE Bulls sit DeMar DeRozan because of sore hip — and only sore hip
A sore hip is the only reason the Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan sat out Tuesday’s game.

A sore hip is the only reason the Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan sat out Tuesday’s game.

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Blame social media or this time of the NBA season, but even a sore right hip apparently is cause for heightened suspicion.

That was the case moments after Bulls coach Billy Donovan ruled forward DeMar DeRozan out for the game Tuesday against the Grizzlies.

Instantly, there was speculation that DeRozan was being held out because of trade talks heating up around him. It couldn’t have been further from the truth.

‘‘Just his hip again,’’ Donovan said, referring to the hip soreness that cost DeRozan three games last month. ‘‘That’s come back on him a little bit. There’s been discomfort. I think the back-to-back is something to be a little cautious with him. Probably just a wear-and-tear type of thing and the amount of minutes.’’

The Sun-Times has been reporting for several weeks that the leaguewide feeling around the Bulls is that they will be relatively quiet at the trade deadline Thursday, likely making a small tweak to their roster, if any.

The idea of moving on from any of the ‘‘Big Three’’ — DeRozan, center Nikola Vucevic or guard Zach LaVine — likely wouldn’t be something the front office would look to explore unless something unforeseen arises.

The reality is that DeRozan played just less than 34 minutes Monday against the Spurs and woke up Tuesday feeling sore.

What Donovan would admit to on the trade front was that he is scheduled to meet with executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley on Wednesday in New York, one day before the Bulls play the Nets in Brooklyn.

‘‘We’re going to get together,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘We’re talking all the time, but I think going into [the deadline] there will be a conversation. We’ll sit down, and maybe it’s, ‘There’s not a lot going on’ or ‘Here’s some possibilities.’ But we’ll definitely get together.

‘‘There’s been a partnership there where he’ll fill me in, want my feedback and take my feedback. But I understand that there’s parts of it other than, ‘Let’s go get this guy.’ Then it’s, ‘At what cost, and is it really making us better?’ ’’

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Donovan enjoys telling stories about the highly coveted high school recruits that got away during his days coaching at Florida, but one such player he knew he had no chance at was LeBron James.

‘‘I was probably recruiting him a little bit, and then when I saw him play live, I stopped that immediately because I knew there was no chance [he would play college basketball],’’ Donovan said. ‘‘I saw him his sophomore year.’’

Now all these years later, Donovan and the rest of the league are watching James become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, surpassing Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

‘‘When you watched him play, even at a young age, he’s always been about playing the right way and making the right pass,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘I was always amazed, even watching him in AAU, where clearly he was head and shoulders so much better than everyone else. But if a teammate was open, he would throw him the ball. I had such great respect and admiration for that. But also the fact that he scored at that same clip. It’s pretty impressive.’’

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