Roger Powell points to the heavens at the end of Illinois' victory over Louisville in the 2005 NCAA semifinals.
Ed Lee | Staff Photographer, 2005
The Bulls released their training camp roster on Friday. It contains a former Illinois star and one very large question mark.
Three players were signed to pad the roster, including ex-Illini power forward Roger Powell. The others additions are 6-9 former Virginia forward Elton Brown and 6-2 guard Darius Washington, who preceded Derrick Rose as a Memphis point guard.
The Bulls will host their annual media night on Monday at the Berto Center, with the first practice scheduled for the following morning. The preseason opener is Oct. 9 against Dallas at the United Center.
Meanwhile, the Bulls remain in a holding pattern with restricted free agent Ben Gordon, the team's leading scorer for the past three years.
According to team sources, the Bulls have not lowered their contract offer to Gordon, which is believed to be in the neighborhood of $59 million over six years. The Bulls may also be open to a shorter deal, but there is little chance the offer will increase because the team does not want to pay the NBA's luxury tax unless the current roster demonstrates an ability to challenge for a championship.
A sign-and-trade deal has not been ruled out, but there appears to be little interest in Gordon around the league, especially if he's going to demand a higher salary than what the Bulls are already offering.
He still has the option of signing the one-year qualifying offer worth $6.4 million, then becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer. Gordon has expressed reservations about having to spend a lame-duck season with the Bulls, so the qualifying offer seems to be a remote possibility.
The Bulls plan to rescind the qualifying offer on Oct. 1, which they are allowed to do under the league's collective bargaining agreement with Gordon remaining a restricted free agent.
A pair of Cleveland Cavaliers, Anderson Varejao and Sasha Pavlovic, set a somewhat new precedent last year by ignoring the qualifying offer and staying home from training camp. Pavlovic eventually signed, while Varejao landed an offer sheet from Charlotte, which Cleveland matched.
So another option for Gordon is not to report to training camp, though it would be a risky move handing more playing time to Thabo Sefolosha and Larry Hughes.
The Bulls are hoping something is settled with Gordon by Monday and are still reluctant to make any other moves until this gets resolved. There was some mutual interest in veteran power forward Juwan Howard, a Chicago native, that was put on hold. Former DePaul center Andre Brown was another possibility, but it appears he'll go to camp with Charlotte.
The 6-foot-6 Powell was a key starter on the 2005 Illinois team that lost the NCAA tittle game to North Carolina. He spent a few months on the Utah Jazz roster during the 2006-07 season, then spent last year playing in Italy.
Elton Brown, 25, has been a star in the D-League, averaging 20.4 points and 11.8 rebounds for Colorado last season. A highly-touted recruit when he first arrived at Virginia, Brown didn't live up to his billing and was not drafted out of college.
The only other new player on the Bulls roster is Rose, the top pick of last June's draft. The subtractions from last season are Chris Duhon (New York) and Shannon Brown (Charlotte).