Max Strus

Cavaliers' Max Strus enjoys homecoming by beating Bulls

Stagg High School and DePaul product rented out suite for family, friends

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Max Strus delivered an early Christmas present to his family and friends by renting out a suite at the United Center on Saturday night.

"Got a little extra money in my pocket now so I can afford it," said Strus, who left the Miami Heat to sign a four-year, $62 million deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers in free agency. "Took care of the family. Got a lot of people in town for the holidays so wanted to make sure they were comfortable."

Then Strus made sure to put on a show, finishing with 26 points, seven assists and two steals in the shorthanded Cavaliers' victory over the surging Chicago Bulls. The Cavaliers prevailed despite playing without three starters and two crucial reserves.

"Just found a way to win. Next man up mentality," Strus said. "We had a lot of guys step up and had a lot of multiple efforts. Everybody played their part."

Strus admitted he had extra motivation facing his hometown, and former, team. Not just because he once was on a two-way contract with the Bulls before an ACL tear and managerial regime change led to his exit. But because the Bulls also didn't show much interest in him in free agency last offseason.

"Maybe a phone call," Strus said. "But it wasn't much."

The Bulls instead signed Jevon Carter and Torrey Craig to deals that total less than Strus' annual salary. The Bulls also re-signed Nikola Vucevic, Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu and stayed below the luxury tax threshold. Strus' deal would've likely pushed them into tax territory.

But Strus' shooting ability and toughness certainly would fit the Bulls.

"It's always special," Strus said of playing in the United Center. "Growing up here, coming to games, I get goosebumps every time the starting lineup (introduction) comes on. So, dreaming of moments playing in this building as a kid. It's always special when I come back."

Strus wears No. 1 for the Cavaliers as a tribute to Derrick Rose.

"He was my favorite player growing up," Strus said. "He's been a good guy who I can talk to. I've gotten to know him pretty well. And he actually played in Cleveland for a little bit and wore No. 1. So I thought it was special I could do that. Being from Chicago, having him wear that too, I thought it would be pretty cool to wear it as well."

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