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Center Nazr Mohammed will return to Bulls

NEW YORK NY - DECEMBER 21:  Carmelo Anthony #7 New York Knicks is blocked by Joakim Noah #13 Chicago

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 21: Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks is blocked by Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden on December 21, 2012 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Updated: August 4, 2013 6:28AM

Seats on the Bulls’ bench are filling up fast.

Veteran center Nazr
Mohammed said Tuesday on Twitter that he will be back for a second season with his hometown team.

‘‘It was an easy decision because I really enjoyed my teammates, coaching staff, management and the fans,’’ Mohammed tweeted. ‘‘I felt that we exceeded everyone’s expectations but our own. I decided to return to the city that I was born and raised in to play my 16th season. Looking forward to going to battle with a group of guys who never made excuses and just tried to find a way to win. Can’t wait to play for the Bulls again next season.’’

Mohammed, 35, played his high school ball at Kenwood Academy before heading to the University of Kentucky. He was on two NCAA championship teams with the Wildcats, then won an NBA title with the San Antonio Spurs in 2005.

Mohammed was signed as a free agent by the Bulls last offseason, and injuries to big men Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson pressed him into action during the
second half of the season. After averaging less than one point and about 61/2 minutes before the All-Star break, he averaged 6.9 points and 7.4 rebounds in more than 24 minutes during the last month of the regular season.

His role next season will be similar. He will back up Noah and Gibson and give coach Tom Thibodeau
another big body to use against larger lineups.

The announcement from Mohammed came a day after an NBA source confirmed the Bulls had agreed to terms on a two-year contract with small forward Mike Dunleavy Jr. That deal can’t be made official until July 10.

Where that leaves the Bulls is just about done on the free-agent front, with Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Noah, Gibson, Kirk Hinrich, Jimmy Butler and Marquis Teague under contract for next season. The Bulls also drafted Tony Snell and Erik Murphy on Thursday and won’t pick up their $5 million option on Richard Hamilton.

The addition of Dunleavy and the return of Mohammed leaves the Bulls with 12 players. Because of their luxury-tax problems, the Bulls likely will continue to carry only 13 players, which means there is room for one more minor signing to sit far down on the bench.

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