CHICAGO -- If the NBA lockout drags out as long as most league observers think it will and cuts into the start of the new season, Chicago Bulls players have discussed a potential alternative for training camp and beyond.
"I think we'll probably work out in L.A. or Vegas because I can get a gym [in Las Vegas] and I think [Derrick] Rose can get a gym in L.A.," Bulls point guard C.J. Watson said during a promotional appearance Thursday night. "I think most of the players are always on the West Coast working out or training, so if we're all there we might as well work out and get it together."
Watson said he has been in contact with almost all of his teammates since the Bulls lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals in late May.
"I've talked to a few players," he said. "I've talked to [Luol Deng]. I've talked to [Joakim Noah]. John Lucas [III] came to my basketball camp. I talk to Ronnie [Brewer] and Taj [Gibson] every now and then. I talk to pretty much everyone. I think everyone is just going their own way, staying in shape, and I think maybe, if the lockout continues 'til September, October [or beyond] we'll all get together and probably work out and do something together."
Like most NBA players, Watson said he is considering the possibility of playing overseas if the lockout continues.
"I just want to play basketball," Watson said. "Whether it's here or overseas, especially if there's no NBA. The only other option is overseas so that would probably be the best choice."
Watson has had preliminary discussions with his agent, but said no talks with any specific teams have occurred up to this point.
"I just told him to look at the possibilities and look at the options," Watson said. "If there's anything considerable, I guess we can talk about it. As far as right now, I think the lockout's going to end just like football did. It might be close to the season, but I think it will get fixed."
Watson knows firsthand what it's like playing overseas, having played in Greece and Italy before coming to the NBA. There are several differences between the NBA and the international game in his mind.
"Probably the speed," he said. "Also, the crowd is a big factor over there. [Foreign crowds] live and die for their sports and that's one thing you have account [for]. They're very passionate. If they don't win, they send you home."
As for his own game, Watson noted that his routine hasn't changed that much during the lockout, except it's been difficult not speaking with Bulls coaches and working out at the Berto Center.
Before the lockout came to fruition, Watson met with Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau and was given a simple message.
"He just told me to get ready for another year," Watson said. "Be hungrier. Come in more focused. He wants me to have a big role, especially being a leader off the bench and stuff like that and maybe even playing a little more with D-Rose together."
As for what it may take to get past the Heat if and when the new season begins, Watson believes that the Bulls need to improve in one area of the game next time around.
"A little more offense," he said. "I think our defense was there throughout the series. I think we just got to try to take some pressure off of D-Rose, especially when he's getting double-teamed, just to give him more outlets, and maybe more ballhandlers or scorers to help him out."
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.