With circus closing, Bulls' annual two-week road trip to be scrapped

MEMPHIS -- The Chicago Bulls won't be going on a "circus trip" anymore.

Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg let it slip earlier in the season that the Bulls would no longer be going on their annual "circus trip," but with Sunday's news from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey that they are shutting down their traveling circus, the grueling 82-game NBA schedule will face a shift heading into the 2017-18 season.

That change will impact several teams around the league, but especially the Bulls, given that they have annually gone on a two-week trip in late November as the circus takes over the United Center.

How the schedule tweak will affect the Bulls moving forward is a question on the minds of many within the organization.

"It's a great question," Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg said before Sunday night's 108-104 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. "It will be interesting to see how the schedule works out without the circus trip, as opposed to having a six- or seven-game trip early in the year. Maybe you have a couple four-game trips [in the future], still I guess it's too early to tell on how everything is affected based on the schedule."

Bulls players and coaches have used the trip as a way to grow camaraderie within the group over the years, but the length of the trip was a sore spot for many team officials as the Bulls usually criss-crossed the country, sometimes starting on the West Coast and ending on the East Coast.

Hoiberg wasn't sure if several shortened trips would help or hurt the Bulls in the future.

"The way I look at it, you play 41 at home and 41 on the road," Hoiberg said. "Every team does that. Every team talks about how they get screwed over the course of the year. I haven't heard one coach or one team say that they've had a great schedule. So you deal with what you have and you go out and try to get your guys ready."
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