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Scalabrine starting over in Chicago

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff  October 5, 2010 07:40 PM

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scal.jpgMILWAUKEE -- The red hair covering the head of Brian Scalabrine somewhat matches with the deep red Chicago Bulls warmups. It's been years since Scalabrine has worn anything but green on the basketball court and Chicago presents a new opportunity.

The Celtics moved on without fan-favorite Scalabrine, signing Jermaine and Shaquille O'Neal along with draft picks Semih Erden and Luke Harangody to fill the frontcourt. By the middle of the summer it was obvious that Scalabrine would have to find a new team, and new Bulls coach and former Boston assistant Tom Thibodeau gave Scalabrine a chance with a non-guaranteed contract.

With his family in Seattle, Scalabrine is living in an extended stay hotel near the team's practice facility in Deerfield, Ill. He was expected to make his Bulls debut Tuesday against the Bulls, sporting a new number (24) and vigor to make an impact.

"I packed up my house (in Boston) and moved to Seattle and waited around and we had been talking to Chicago the whole time, and when it came to the end, decided to make the decision," he said Tuesday.

Scalabrine waited for a Celtics offer and didn't allow his status to prevent him for working various community projects with the team this summer when he could have easily passed.

"Obviously you establish great relationships where it's season-ticket holders or neighbors, it's always the way the business goes," he said. "You know in your mind (leaving a team) could happen. On one hand there's people you have to say goodbye to and on the other hand you get to meet new people."

The Bulls are carrying 17 players on their roster but five -- John Lucas, Roger Powell, Chris Richard, Kyle Weaver and Scalabrine -- are on non-guaranteed deals. Powell and Richard are journeymen and Lucas has a shot to be a third point guard, but Scalabrine has a legitimate shot of making the roster.

And he should be helped by offseason shoulder surgery after playing the last half of last season with essentially one arm. He was cleared a few weeks ago to shoot.

"I'm not trying to do something that I'm not used to," he said. "I'm just going to be a solid role player. It's imperative for me to know the offense, defense and not make mistakes. But I think it was like that when I was in Boston. I am fighting for playing time."

Regarding his right shoulder, he said, "I don't have any strength issues. Once I was able to get cleared to shoot, instead of shooting right away, I shot at the end (of the summer). That's all going to come."

Scalabrine would have loved to return to the Celtics, but understood that the team moved on. But he remains grateful for his five years here.

"My time in Boston was unbelievable," he said. "To win the ring and get so close last year, which was disappointing. The fans have always been great there. The people that followed me or people I see out in the street respected me and my family and you could tell the love they have for the game of basketball. They were great fans and I have a lot of appreciation for that."

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