The Chicago Bulls have invited guard John Lucas III to training camp with a partially guaranteed one-year contract, according to sources close to the situation.
After spending last season in China playing for the Yao Ming-owned Shanghai Sharks, Lucas starred for Chicago's summer-league team in July and was described at the time by new Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau as an "ideal" choice to serve as a third point guard behind Derrick Rose and C.J. Watson.
The contract might not be signed until closer to the start of camp later this month, sources said, so the Bulls can retain roster flexibility in case a trade materializes in the next few weeks that would necessitate the use of the roster spot earmarked for Lucas.
But Lucas, sources said, has been invited to camp with the idea that he can make Chicago's opening night roster. Lucas' one-year deal for the league minimum would become fully guaranteed if the 28-year-old can stay on the Bulls' roster past Jan. 10.
The Bulls currently have 12 players under contract for 2010-11 and remain interested in adding another quality shooter.
One source with knowledge of the Bulls' thinking told ESPN.com that the club has not abandoned hope of trading for Portland's Rudy Fernandez, who has been made available by the Trail Blazers. The Bulls and Blazers have discussed a deal that would send Fernandez to Chicago, but it's believed that Portland continues to hold out for more than a future first-round pick in return for the Spaniard.
Lucas, son of longtime former NBA player and coach John Lucas, has played in the NBA with the Houston Rockets when Thibodeau was a Rockets assistant. Lucas then went to training camp last season with Miami before leaving for China and flourishing under Shanghai's American coach Bob Donewald Jr., who also doubles as coach of China's national team.
Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.