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Friday, April 4, 2014
Brewer return? Thibs mum on chances

By Nick Friedell

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls are going to sign a veteran at some point to fill the spot created after rookie Erik Murphy was waived on Thursday.

Whether that veteran is Ronnie Brewer, Mike James, or some other mystery man -- Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau won't tip the organization's hand as it heads into the final week and a half of the regular season.

"That's probably a question for [Bulls executives] Gar [Forman] and John [Paxson]," Thibodeau said after Friday's shootaround. "We're just concerned about the guys we do have. We feel good about our depth; just keep preparing, concentrate on improving."

Thibodeau did not want to confirm whether Brewer worked out for the Bulls -- or what Brewer brought when he did play for Thibodeau in Chicago a couple years ago -- referring those questions to Forman and Paxson. But he did shine a little light on why the decision to waive Murphy was made this late in the season.

"It's more in terms of roster flexibility," Thibodeau said. "From my standpoint, Murph did a great job for us. He's a young guy, he worked incredibly hard each and every day. A great spirit. And I think he has a bright future. Unfortunately, this is part of the NBA; things like this do happen. And we just have to concentrate on the guys we do have, get ready for the game tonight."

Brewer's former Bulls teammates would love to see him back in the locker room. He was a popular presence during his two-year stint in Chicago.

"Whoever they pick up will be great," Bulls forward Taj Gibson said. "But if you get Ronnie it would be even better because he's familiar with the whole team, he's been to the Eastern Conference finals with us. He's been [through] a lot with us and that's our guy. "

Brewer, who played with the Bulls for two seasons from 2010-12, was waived by the Houston Rockets after they tried unsuccessfully to deal him by the trade deadline in February. A seven-year veteran, the 6-foot-7 Brewer has bounced around since leaving the Bulls, playing for the New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston. He played in 22 games this season with the Rockets, averaging 0.3 points and 6.9 minutes a game.

Gibson feels bad for Murphy, a second-round pick in the 2013 NBA draft, because he knows how much effort the rookie put into the season.

"It sucks because you got to lose a great guy in Erik Murphy," Gibson said. "A guy that comes in every day, busts his tail, never complains, doesn't take one day off. In my opinion, never took a day off. Great rookie. It sucks because in this league there's a lot of guys that really don't go as hard as him. It just sucks."