Friday, November 16, 2012
Bulls plan West Side practice facility
ESPN.com news services
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls plan to build a new practice facility near the United Center.
The team and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office announced details of the plan Friday. The Bulls have practiced at the Berto Center in the Chicago suburb of Deerfield since 1992.
The new 55,000-square-foot facility will be built in what's now a parking lot just east of the United Center, on the city's West Side. The project will be funded completely by the Bulls and is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2014-15 season.
"We're excited about it," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I think it's going to be a state-of-the-art facility. I think it gives our players the best chance at improvement. Obviously, we love the United Center, and now we think the practice facility will be second to none."
Most Bulls players live in the suburbs to make the commute to practice easier, but Thibodeau isn't worried about adjusting to the city.
"No, and being out at the Berto (in Deerfield), the Berto's been great and it's served us well for a long time and we all enjoy living out there," he said. "The big issue was basically the traffic on game day. It's become more problematic for us.
"The Blackhawks moved down there and it seemed to work well for them. I think at this point when you take everything into consideration it makes the most sense to be downtown and we're excited about it."
Taj Gibson looks forward not to having fight traffic on game days.
"It's going to be great; getting more sleep during the game days instead of going through all that traffic," Gibson said. "I stay in the suburbs, so hopefully I'll be able to move downtown now. I think it will be better because the Blackhawks are downtown, this is a better environment."
ESPNChicago.com's Nick Friedell contributed to this report.