Bulls Hope To Keep Nazr Mohammed In Offseason
By Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune reporter
7:35 p.m. CDT, April 26, 2013
After Bulls practice wrapped up Friday, general manager Gar Forman had a message for veteran center Nazr Mohammed.
"Tell him to buy, not rent," Forman said.
Replied Mohammed: "I like the sound of that."
After playing in Philadelphia, Atlanta, New York, San Antonio, Detroit, Charlotte and Oklahoma City during his 15-year career, Mohammed, 35, might have found his perfect basketball home. It happens to be his original home as well.
The Kenwood Academy product is living in the Lake Forest area with his wife and three kids, ages 10, 7 and 3.
"It's a little farther from the city, but it's close to practice and has great schools," he said.
"In a perfect world, you'd love to end your career in the city that raised you. Every player would love to help the team he was a fan of growing up. But right now my biggest concern is getting a third win versus Brooklyn. When you win and things go well, it makes decisions like that a lot easier."
During the Bulls' 79-76 victory Thursday, Mohammed did not make things easy for the Nets' Andray Blatche. Blatche went up for a layup in the second quarter, and Mohammed gave him a hard, clean foul.
Blatche responded by giving Mohammed an elbow as Blatche walked past, and that earned him a technical foul. Nate Robinson made the free throw.
"Just a regular playoff hard foul, and I guess he didn't like it," Mohammed said. "They gave him a tech for it. It was nothing. Takes away one of (his) free throws. I would expect the same during a playoff game if I had a layup.
"It's the way I was taught (to play). When I got in the league, Rick Mahorn was still playing. I had veterans tell me: 'Don't give up easy, uncontested layups. If you're not in foul trouble and a guy is going to the hole and you can't block the shot and can't take a charge, take the foul and make sure he doesn't get an "and-one." ' And it's not just playoffs, I was taught to do that any day of the year."
Mohammed could have signed with the Nets, among other teams, but opted for a one-year deal with the Bulls for the veteran's minimum of about $1.35 million.
Forman said he believes Mohammed's Chicago roots played a part in his decision.
"That was attractive for him to come back home," Forman said, "to come full circle."
Forman had praise for a man who has made solid contributions as Joakim Noah's backup despite not playing in 19 regular-season games.
"He's a consummate pro who has been a part of winning," Forman said. "You can see his professionalism because he wasn't getting a lot of (playing) time early, but he continued to stay engaged, continued to stay in shape. He knew his opportunity would come, and when it did, he'd be ready."
Mohammed has played a total of 34 minutes in the Bulls' two playoff victories, spelling Noah by hitting 6 of 8 shots and grabbing eight rebounds.
So, yes, Chicago does seem a perfect fit.
Circling back to Forman's recommendation that he buy a home, Mohammed said with a chuckle: "I'm a Chicago guy, so I'm going to buy anyway — one day. Whether it's after I retire or just for the summers, there is no better place. Especially in the summers."firstname.lastname@example.org