NEW YORK — Saturday during pre-game warm-ups, Keith Bogans chatted with Derrick Rose, hugged Bulls assistant coach Ron Adams and gave a salute to Luol Deng. The Nets veteran might be two seasons removed from his time with the Bulls, but Bogans still has some special ties to his former team — despite how things ended.
"It's nothing personal," Bogans said before Game 1 of the Eastern Conference playoff series. "Right now, they're just the other team in the other locker room. I want to win. That's what I'm more concerned with right now."
The Bulls pulled Bogans from the practice floor minutes before the first training camp practice on Dec. 9, 2011. They waived him on Dec. 16, three days before a decision was due on picking up his $1.73 million team option and one day after they signed Richard Hamilton.
"The departure definitely wasn't good," Bogans said. "But it's business. That was a learning experience. If you would have asked me this question two years ago, I probably would have blown up. I just took that and put it toward my career just to keep pushing myself."
The guard/forward started all 82 games during the 62-20 2010-11 campaign, his only season with the Bulls.
Bogans, who turns 33 next month, played in just five games for the Nets in 2011-12 before suffering a torn deltoid ligament and fractured left ankle. He played in 74 games this season — with 23 starts — and averaged 4.2 points and 19 minutes per game.
Bogans had two rebounds in 10 minutes in the Nets' 106-89 victory in Game 1 against the Bulls on Saturday night.
"He has been great and the ultimate pro," Nets General Manager Billy King said. "Too see a guy work that hard to get back in the court after the injury he had is great."
Bogans realizes how he might make his biggest impact in this series.
"I bring that defense first, that intensity," Bogans said. "I'm that defensive energy guy, pretty much. I'm going to try to set the tone defensively."