CHICAGO (CBS) — There were no deals for the Bulls on Thursday.
V.P. John Paxson said the Bulls weren’t going to be buyers at the trade deadline, and weren’t going to trade away key players because they don’t know what they have because of all the injuries.
Meanwhile, the Bulls host the New Orleans Pelicans Thursday night. Zion Williamson is expected to play despite a toe injury.
The rookie phenom is learning how to live life in the spotlight.
As CBS 2’s Megan Mawicke reported, Zion is already a one-name guy. There was a media circus at the United Center Thursday to talk with the 19-year old rookie phenom.
He’s even taken aback a bit by all the buzz about him.
“It does surprise me,” Williamson said. “You know, I’m trying to figure out like why so many people care about me – just a regular guy. But whatever I do, I just try to have fun with it. You know, it goes by fast and I enjoy it.”
“It really is a phenomenon, I mean, that every city, everything, we get to a hotel at 3 in the morning, and you know, there’s 25, 50 people out there that want autographs,” added Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry. ”But he’s handled it well. He really has done a good job.”
After tearing his meniscus in the preseason, Zion has returned and been good – averaging 19.6 points and eight rebounds a game. He won’t let all the hype get to his head.
“His mom keeps him grounded – his mom and dad,” said Gentry. “We don’t have to worry about that one. Trust me on that, OK?”
Zion continued, “People might say, ‘Oh, you know, you had a great game,’ this, that. But I know when I get home, I’m going to hear the opposite. At first I thought, man, my mom’s being real tough on me. But as I got older, I realized she was doing it for, you know, to keep my mindset humble and just stay grounded.”
Zion didn’t play against the Bulls last month when the Pelicans beat up on them badly. And the Bulls had Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn playing that night.
Thus, it could be a long night at the UC.
Thad Young, who defended Zion when they played in the preseason, called him a “physical specimen.”