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Ask Sam | Sam Smith opens his mailbag | 03.02.12

Sam Smith opens his mailbag to respond to the latest round of e-mails from his readers
Sam Smith Mailbag

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or its Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

Do you think Bulls will make any trades at all? I tend to think "no."

George Zieman

Sam: I don’t see anything major, certainly, and nothing imminent. Though it’s not like the Bulls are satisfied, they don’t need to do anything from what I sense. I’ve heard talk they’d like to add another offensive player, but it’s not like they have much of great appeal. Their strength is their system of play and their relentless motivation. That doesn’t translate as well with other teams in trades. They are the classic team greater than the sum of its pieces. Which is why they could win—though not necessarily will—as few believe they can. Their so-called assets are future draft picks like the Charlotte No. 1 and Mirotic, which they don’t want to give up unless it’s for something major. And you don’t get major for that. So then if you want a high level shooter/scorer, you’re probably giving up Gibson and Asik, which hardly strengthens you. As much as those two guys add to the Bulls, their numbers are so low you don’t get much in return. So I don’t see anything big, either, though I can see an undervalued player at the end of someone’s bench, a Mike James sort, or maybe someone who gets bought out the week after the trading deadline. Which is why the Bulls are wisely holding onto their money now rather than spending it on someone who might not play every game, like James.

In 1988 Jerry Krause had the foresight to trade the popular Charles Oakley for Bill Cartwright. The Bulls may never have gotten past the Knicks without a skilled center to go against Ewing. Then in 1995, Krause takes a gamble and trades for Dennis Rodman. He was a starter on the next 3 title teams(And 1996 finals MVP in my opinion). Do Paxson and Forman have the daring to make that type of trade to get them out of the eastern conference?

Chris Hodo

Sam: Sure. The point is it was clear then what the Bulls needed, though those were different cases. The coaches were almost unanimous about getting a center. And Oakley was expendable with the drafting of Horace Grant. Krause deserves credit for taking the public relations hit because Jordan was opposed, which meant the fans were opposed. It was a very unpopular move in the media as well. Rodman was different. No one around the league wanted him and the Bulls basically assumed his contract for Will Perdue knowing it was short term and they’d release him in a few weeks if he acted out. But they had the support system then with Jordan and Jackson. There’s this notion the Bulls aren’t risk takers, and if Tyrus Thomas wasn’t a risk I don’t know what was. Fans want risks that only work. Some don’t. The Bulls went hard for LeBron and Wade. They talked about Carmelo and have about Howard. Circumstances less than any Bulls refusal not to trade didn’t produce any of them. The problem, as I addressed above, is to get something you have to give, which means Noah and Deng. The way the team is playing, I think they believe they have to take another shot and see if this group can succeed. If it doesn’t, then perhaps the urgency to change will be there. But sometimes change makes you worse.

Why would LA turn down Beasley for nothing? I imagine 6 million in luxury tax to a franchise that makes as much as the lakers isn't a significant amount.

Zachary Ream

Sam: It’s difficult to believe with a chance to add Beasley and Gilbert Arenas to Artest (Metta Peace), the Lakers are holding off. Looking for clues is an important part of life and business. Like when you are the No. 2 overall pick in the draft and your team gives you away for a second round pick, and then when your next team which might not even make the playoffs wants to give you away again for perhaps a pick or just an exchange of picks to move up a few places in the draft. Doesn’t it tell you anything when the Timberwolves finally in position to be a professional and serious team they want to give him away for nothing? Perhaps you ask yourself, ‘Could it be I am not trading for Karl Malone?’ It is tempting for an offensively challenged team like the Bulls to add a scorer like Beasley for little, though you’d have to match about $6 million in salary, which means giving up Korver, Brewer or Watson. But Beasley’s defense is said to make Boozer look like Tim Duncan—-when exactly would Thibodeau play him?--his passing is limited to mostly when he commits turnovers and he doesn’t exactly see basketball as a serious pursuit. He’s a fantasy league trade where you add numbers and not effect. Pat Riley doesn’t generally give away many players who come back to beat him.

If we think back to the beginning of last season and where C.J. Watson was at compared to a game like last night, against the Spurs, I think he has improved more than people acknowledge. What are your thoughts are on his improvement since coming to the Bulls.

Jeff Bennett

Sam: It’s been clear C.J. has played much more relaxed and with more confidence. And as Jeremy Lin tells us, it’s all about confidence and a chance. C.J. didn’t have much chance last season playing limited minutes behind Rose. So no matter what he’d do he’d be out in six minutes. He didn’t seem to deal with it that well. But he came in this season seemingly comfortable about his role. Perhaps because of that he’s played more relaxed and shot the ball well, and with the Bulls having offensive droughts like against the Spurs, I would like to see him playing a bit more with Rose, perhaps giving Rose a chance to post up some. Though C.J. is best shooting when he’s off the ball and set.

Why are the Celtics trying so hard to move rondo? Is it because he's the only one with value or because they just want to get rid of him and or rivers wants him gone?

Mike Kay

Sam: A little of everything in there. He is their most valuable asset with Garnett and Allen on expiring contracts, making them little more than rentals and Pierce making way too much given his declining abilities. Plus, ownership seems to want to keep him for sentimental reasons. It’s been pretty clear for some time the organization has struggled with him and his attitude, and I think he checked out on them when they traded his buddy Perkins. Danny Ainge is right to be thinking of not letting everyone get old and injured without getting something. They said themselves it was a three year window and this is Year 5. So it’s time. Their problem is Rondo is their last jewel from what was maybe a substantial collection. When you get there you don’t want to take too little and my suspicion is they are asking way too much. Look, they apparently were trying to get Chris Paul, which gives you an idea of their thinking, a top five or six player for Rondo. He’s nowhere near worth that. He’s a niche player if you have someone great and need a point guard, which is why I floated a Westbrook deal a while back. But that’s gone with Westbrook’s extension. The Celtics are using him to get a centerpiece to rebuild, and I don’t see him worth that much. They may as well try to get some picks from a team desperate to make a splash, perhaps like Golden State, and go down and start rebuilding when they get the salaries off after this season.

I think James Harden would be a nice fit on the Bulls, and a D-Rose/Harden backcourt would be lethal for years to come. I believe he's a restricted free agent after this year. Given the Thunder have to make some important financial decisions about Harden and Ibaka, do you think there's a possibility the Bulls can sign him if not this summer, but next?

Nate Barin

Sam: No. He’s restricted after next season and is one of the most underrated players in the league because he comes off the bench for that team. You’ll notice he finishes the games. He’s probably a better ball handler and shooter than Westbrook, though not with the explosiveness, obviously. He’d be an All-Star level player if he were not with the Thunder. They’re never letting him go, though I can see them moving Westbrook at some point if they don’t break through with the Durant/Westbrook combo, though not this season.

I have been reading that Brandon Roy is thinking of making a come back if he does would the Bulls take the chance on him coming off the bench?

James Leadbetter

Sam: I read that as well and it all seems suspicious to me. He retires for health reasons with his knees, which were legitimate and hasn’t played. Yes, I can see where he might be bored and sleeping with your $16 million salary isn’t all that rewarding at times. But he hasn’t played since last spring and has knee issues. That said, if he were serious I assume the Bulls would take a look as he wouldn’t cost much. But it seems too unlikely he’d be able to be up to speed with such a hard working, defensive oriented team like the Bulls after not playing for so long.

Why does everybody keep saying that Orlando can't "just lose Dwight Howard for nothing" so they had better do a trade or a sign and trade? Are there a ton of Dwight Howard agents out there trying to get him his extra 30 mil? I see absolutely no reason whatsoever for them to move Howard. The Magic have one of the worst rosters in the league sans Howard and would immediately contend for a top 4 pick in consecutive drafts (a la Cleveland who scored Kyrie Irving who could be really, really good) and get interesting quickly. Fans like hope and young stars almost as well as established stars, and whoever comes back for Howard is going to make them boring and mediocre for, oh, maybe 5 to 6 years at least. If I'm Orlando, I'm getting every dollar out of him this year and letting him take 30 million dollars less if he wants to leave. He may not be the answer to a championship anyway.

Robert Lininger

Sam: I tend to agree. Call his bluff and let him go. I think that is what could happen, though you never know with the odd deals that Orlando makes. Clearly, they’re trying to add someone to appease him, though that never works. LeBron really did try that before leaving Cleveland and couldn’t get Bosh or another high level player to commit there. The Magic’s issue is they have so many players on limited skills with bad contracts. So no one’s trading with them. And I’d never take a bad contract or player. I agree. Let it play out. Who knows, maybe you upset someone in the playoffs and Howard grows sentimental. And if you lose him after another season you have plenty of money and free agents have shown they’ll go there. Plus as the Bulls know there’s nothing like getting lucky in the draft. After all, that’s how the Magic built in the first place with Shaq.

Last year LaBron took Rose on and LaBron’s combo of size, speed and strength showed to be a tough matchup for Derrick. To improve that situation, do you know if the Bulls use Deng on Rose in practice? He’s the closest we have to mirror LaBron and Deng’s defense is more then admirable.

Marcus Casas

Sam: I also think Deng should be cooking lunch and washing the uniforms. Actually, the Bulls don’t practice much in this shortened season and as much as we love Deng, he’s no LeBron. But I think the LeBron stopping Rose stuff is way overrated. LeBron can’t guard Rose. I’d actually like to see more isolation when Miami does that as there’s no way LeBron can stay in front of Rose. You bring someone up to set a screen and then LeBron can defend him better with the help. Sure, it’s a different look and something I’d do if I were Miami. But the Cavs tried that in the playoffs in 2010 and Rose didn’t have much trouble. That’s going to be the least of the Bulls concerns if they meet the Heat again.

I am too young to have been around during the Wilt days and therefore have to rely on basketball sages like yourself to understand that era, but it seems to me there's a lot of similarities between LeBron and The Stilt. Wilt's famous quote, "No one roots for Goliath", seems to apply to LeBron as well. While possessing different styles, I imagine the wonder people my age felt at first seeing a guy built like Malone who passes like Stockton was similar to when people of your age first saw a 7-footer with Wilt's athletic gifts. While their lack of success at the championship level is their doing, I think some of the criticism with both men is/was based on our perception that someone that gifted should never allow themselves to lose. Not that the criticism isn't justified in the main, but that at the margins it may be based more on our perceptions. Also, I think part of LeBron's problem has been his rare ability to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, which in today's media world bounces back on him times 5. My guess is that if Wilt could have tweeted and had microphones around him as often as LeBron, he would have exhibited a similar ability to put his foot in his mouth. Wilt loved to talk about Wilt and I sense he would have made a few "shake your head" remarks.

Craig Berry

Sam: I had a huge affection for Wilt, though that was because that era’s Heat was the Celtics, whom we all hated. Auerbach was the original trash talker lighting up that cigar before games ended. They’d always win and not with the most grace because they had the most talent. Auerbach certainly was smarter than everyone. Though Wilt got his share of criticism 20,000 times over for his many self proclamations, we also saw him as the man to bring down the hated Celtics and shut up Auerbach. It happened only once or twice, but it was sweet when it did.

I saw that you said "But the Bulls are thrilled with the Mirotic pick, and I’m not sure the way they feel they’d give him up for Kyrie Irving." Can you give us some more info about Mirotic, his game, when he might be seen in Chicago, and ultimately what you think he can bring to a championship caliber team?

Jason Rock

Sam: OK, maybe I exaggerated about Irving, though the Bulls have a point guard. But they like Mirotic a lot and see a sort of Nowitzki-esque player in the sense of a big guy who can play outside and be a mismatch nightmare. No one is saying Nowitzi as he’s a Hall of Famer. But he’s not likely to come for at least two years because until then the Bulls are limited in what they can pay him as a draft pick. After three years that eases up and then he can afford a buyout. He cannot now and the Bulls are not permitted to contribute much toward a buyout.

I noticed about 2-3 times last night where I felt D Rose should have passed to Deng and Boozer but he decided to shoot. The one to boozer was very late in the game when Boozer was to his right on the baseline he faked the pass to boozer hoping to get the Defender to move and attempted a left hand push shot that was short. I think that came after boozer fumbled a pass that should have been a catch and dunk on a previous possession. I read it as D Rose losing a little confidence in his teammates or was he just being the Alpha male in those situations. The one to Deng he went up for one of his acrobatic layups that rimmed out and I felt he could have dropped it off to deng on his left for a layup.

James Nelson

Sam: OK, let Boozer shoot or Rose shoot? Hmmmm, let me think. No, we know from the Jordan years you have to include everyone, and Rose wants to do that perhaps more than any star today. Actually, I fault him mostly for not shooting enough. You’ll see him holding back a lot when I feel he needs to push more to get the team going. He’s an unusually unselfish star, but because of the players the Bulls have he needs to be more offensive. I know he’d rather not be. If he were with Westbrook or Wade or LeBron he wouldn’t be scoring as much and would be fine with that. But with Deng slumping a bit since his wrist injury and if Boozer’s shot isn’t falling, what else can he do?

Steve Nash maybe will leave Phoenix Suns next year, or this year (until March 15), and I aski you: Chicago Bulls has any interest in Nash? I think he would help a lot came from the bench or playing with Derrick some minutes.

Eduardo de Melo

Sam: Nash has been an interesting case and lately his name has come up with the Mavs, who gave him up to sign Erick Dampier, who is back in the league on a minimum while Nash still is an All-Star. So much for the brilliance of Mark Cuban running your team. There’s been talk of Nash with Toronto, New York and the Lakers. But one thing is clear: He won’t play anywhere he cannot start. So Chicago definitely is out.

I've been saying Kobe Bryant would get traded since before the season started, I'm betting more and more that he gets dealt and here are my points

1) He's Speaking out about the team and management.
2) He doesn't like Buss and the way Buss is running the show.
3) Despite his age, he is the only player with real trade value on that team. Bynum has injury issues and Gasol isn't the same Gasol he was a couple years ago.
4) Kobe never really liked Brown becoming the coach.
6) If I were the Lakers, I would trade Kobe and build around the other guys instead of gutting the team to build around Kobe who has maybe 2 years left after this oneThey can get 2/3 building blocks + a pick for Kobe. They won't get what they want for Gasol or Bynum.
Kobe + Bynum for Noah + CJ + ____ + Draft Pick

Aaron Shapiro

Sam: It was interesting until you brought up the goofy Bulls part of it. I guess you assume the Lakers are joining the D-League. The starting All-Star shooting guard and center for a non-scoring center and a couple of bench players. The interesting part is what the Lakers won’t do, which is trade Kobe. I might go that route, though they hardly are out of it in this season’s weak West and I can see them in the Finals again even with all their issues. So it’s not like anything major is about to occur. But it would be a heck of a way to try to rebuild as Kobe has demonstrated he doesn’t suffer fools well, and the Lakers appear to have plenty around.

It's pretty clear teams are going to get physical with Derrick Rose in the playoffs. Shouldn't the Bulls pursue a big enforcer-type at the trade deadline? Kurt Thomas?

Phil Burdick

Sam: The playoffs will be more physical because they always are. But that goon stuff is gone from the NBA with Oakley’s retirement. Plus, the problem with the goon system is those players generally are not good enough to play regularly. Yes, Thomas was a rare sort that way, but there aren’t many. I think that’s part of what the Bulls had in mind in pursuing Przybilla, who is a tough guy but obviously not caring much about winning. How do you pass on the Bulls and Heat to play for the Trail Blazers, who may not make the playoffs? What, he likes the weather there? Rain with a chance of showers, drizzle, storms and downpours. Cloudy until June. So don’t just point at Howard. There are a lot of guys with varied priorities.

Are the Celtics really thinking about trading Ray Allen if they get the right offer? What do you think it would take to get the Celtics to bite and do you think the Bulls would do it? Would sure stretch the floor, but can the Bulls make a trade work salary wise and be able to absorb the rest of Allen's salary for this year?

Kyle Davies

Sam: I think what’s up now is the Bulls monitoring Hamilton the next few weeks to see if he holds up and begins to produce. If he goes out again, I can see them getting into the discussion. The problem is it’s too unlikely. Allen’s contract is expiring, so it probably would be a rental. Making $10 million would cost you two from among Watson, Korver and Brewer to match salaries. But the Celtics would only do it if you gave them something, which means a first, likely. I’m usually not much for low firsts, but the Bulls used one for Mirotic and guys like MarShon Brooks and Norris Cole were available. And with the changing economics these low paid draft picks are going to be more valuable. Can you afford to deplete your bench to that extent and give up picks for a short term rental. Allen probably would then want to return to Boston as he has a sick child and has gotten close with the Boston hospital system.

Would you see it as a plus move to try to move maybe Korver ($5 mill) and the Bulls 2012 first rounder for Barbosa ($7.4 mill)? Both guys are expiring. Would have to waive Lucas III to stay just below the tax threshold, which I doubt is a concern. I like Korver a lot, but looking at that Miami matchup it would be nice to have another guy who can create a little and get his own shot coming off the bench like Barbosa. You would save Toronto a little money this year, and give them a late first to make it worth their while.

Matt Maloney

Sam: It’s much the same as the Allen scenario. Is it worth the pick for the short term rental? I like Barbosa as well, but the Bulls’ biggest weakness is long distance perimeter shooting, and Barbosa isn’t particularly a good three point shooter anymore. Plus he has an injury history and hasn’t played more than 70 games the last four years. I like his athletic ability, but Toronto also seems to want mostly for now to dump him somewhere without taking back anything to make a run at Wilson Chandler.

Why aren't the Bulls looking at former DePaul standout, Wilson Chandler? Seems like a no-brainer to me since the Bulls are really high on the pieces they currently have and don't want to part with any of them, why not add a guy like Chandler at the mid level exception.

Trey Robertson

Sam: The Bulls basically have no chance. He’s restricted, so the Nuggets can match, and they’ll match a midlevel for sure. Chandler’s people were trying to get someone to go higher, but that seems over for now. The Nuggets indicated they’d match anything. I think at this point he has to sign with Denver or sit out.

I disagree with you regarding your feelings about the Charlotte pick that we own. It's quite funny to cheer against Jordan's team but Charlotte staying low in the standings is key to the Bull's success in the future. It's our last shot at a lottery pick and possibly the top overall pick. 2016 seems far away but in perspective Derrick Rose will still only be 27 years old. I'm tired of hearing trade rumors regarding this team. They need to stay together. They are good enough as built to win a championship. We have Mirotic to look forward to in the future and a nice, young core of players to build around. Bulls fans should enjoy these next 10 years as there are many fans that would love to watch Derrick Rose on a nightly basis.

Jason Blanshine

Sam: The rare fan with patience, eh? Yes, the way Jordan is going that could be a Bulls lottery pick in 2016. The deal is the Bulls get it next time the Bobcats make the playoffs, which makes it a mid first round pick, until 2016 when it is unprotected. Though you’d also have to think with four years of lottery picks before then Jordan wouldn’t get lucky once. And then maybe you get the 10th pick. My view is you don’t get many chances to win championships and when you do you take it. The issue with a lot of trades the fans propose is they can make you worse. If I could parley that pick with something for a good upgrade I’m doing it in a second. Lots of stuff can happen by 2016 and you can’t assume everything and everyone will stay the same. Maybe if Rose doesn’t win by then he doesn’t want to stay anymore. These things do happen. You do have to try to win as soon as you can, though the deal has to make sense and the player should be more than some short term rental.

I don't understand the chronic and, by now, tiresome antipathy toward Carlos Boozer. His deficiencies, and there are many, have been well-documented. But since when did a 53.7 percent career shooter become a bum? Defensively challenged? Certainly. Bum? No way. Do you have any sense that the constant criticism is wearing on Boozer? Fans tend to be fickle. Some long for Kirk Hinrich, a useful player but as limited in many, albeit different ways than Boozer (only a 41.7 percent career shooter). Bulls fans are becoming Cubs-like with the constant angst. I'm with you - if Rip Hamilton can come back healthy this team deserves to get a shot to succeed before breaking up the team.

Mitch Tobin

Sam: I thought Boozer had stopped using the “Mitch Tobin” name when he was writing me. Nah, I’m with you. Everyone should have known who Boozer was because he’s not a bit different from every season in his career, but healthier. His numbers this season are on a par per 48 minutes with his career numbers. The Bulls hired him as the best available for offense. I do think the criticism and carping bothers Boozer, especially given he’s not exactly the only player in team history who was lacking on defense. But what’s the fun without someone to complain about? Boy do we miss Tim Floyd. Now that was a time you could really complain.

Even with Rip Hamilton back I still think we need more offensive firepower. Any chance the Bulls make another run at Courtney Lee or OJ Mayo at the trade deadline?

Eddie James

Sam: Yes, they’ll make those runs and calls, but my sense is neither of those guys are going anywhere. The issue for the Bulls is to get someone of that stature you have to give up Taj or Omer, and then you have to depend on Boozer being a fourth quarter defensive stopper and Noah never being hurt for the first time in his career. The Bulls greatest edge on Miami, in addition to Rose, is the size and rebounding. You don’t want to disturb that. Maybe if a guy like Anthony Parker or Wayne Ellington asks to be traded the Bulls could do something. If there is a move I see a lesser one of that sort.

I was reading an interesting article on the CBS basketball website, where they were looking at the second half of the season. They picked Luol as their defensive player of the year. Do you think he has a chance? To me no one guards LeBron better. However, this is the first time a major media outlet has acknowledged Luol for his great D.

Argie Grigorakos

Sam: The positive for Deng is people finally are noticing. It’s tough to find a great perimeter defender in the Michael Cooper mold anymore because of the limitations on defending perimeter players. Deng is good, but doesn’t quite have the athleticism to be a truly great defender. It is more intelligence and effort these days, which Deng has plenty of. Though Deng suffers as he’s not one of those leaders in blocks or steals, which get the Defensive Player votes even though the guys who get the steals usually are poor defenders as they play the lanes for runouts and not their man, which isn’t allowed by Thibodeau. But it’s difficult to see a player other than someone like Howard or Ibaka to be a top defender as those guys change how you play. Not guys like Deng. I always look to vote for a perimeter defender for Defensive Player and not only because I’m a little guy. But they are becoming extinct.

I was noticing that James is doing much better representing himself in public, sticking his foot in his mouth less often, and being less offensive--in fact, he is more often saying all the right things. He is learning, and adapting, finally. And he seems to be learning in another way as well--he seems to have realized that instead of trying to satisfy his critics and adapt his game to what they think he should do, the way to the highest level of success in the NBA is to keep raising the bar of his own game--making his own tendencies part of the yardstick the critics use. This was demonstrated most forcefully by MJ. James still has to get by one last hurdle--taking his team to a championship, playing like an MVP through the ENTIRE playoffs--to be regarded in the way that he wants. But the odds seem to be on his side for now, he has gone through a lot of fire. This is good news for the Heat, and bad news for the Bulls. What do you think the chances are of him underperforming in the playoffs again?

Steve Gedo

Sam: I’d be scared, I’d be very scared. Though it isn’t discussed all that much, he’s a better basketball player with that post game. Once Jordan got closer to the basket and played off his teammates more the Bulls were even more unbeatable. I’m not making the comparison with Jordan as James is more like a super charged Pippen in the way he sees basketball more as facilitator and part of a team. He’s just on a talent level with Jordan. He has shown he always is capable of underperforming in the big moments, and with the way the media is now no one’s every move has been so scrutinized. I think he actually handles that pretty well. You are going to have to play amazingly well to beat him this time.

Do you think GarPax sat Thibs down before going to Orlando and gave him a stern talking to about limiting Derrick and Luol's minutes...or is he actually able to voluntarily take the pedal off the metal? Those two both looked like they didn't belong anyways.

Mark Miller

Sam: They all talk a lot, but no one tells Thibs what to do is my guess. He’s got very strong ideas about how to coach, and a lot more experience at it. I think the Bulls are fine with what he’s brought and don’t much interfere. I actually thought Thibs should have brought Rose back in the fourth because it is an All-Star game and for the fans and entertainment. It wasn’t basketball. This debate on minutes is ridiculous. These guys haven’t played too much. They’re not museum pieces. They’re basketball players and they should be playing basketball.

After watching both the 1993 and 2012 All-Star games, I have to say the 1993 game was far superior. While defense in 93 didn’t exactly resemble game of 7 of the NBA finals either, a much more honest defensive effort seemed to be given even in the early stages of the game. Another thing that stood out to me was that the play in the half-court was much better in 93 game. There were some great plays made in the half court set at the end of the game. It was also cool that Pat Riley really got into it at the end. One play that stood out to me was Jordan drawing two defenders and finding Ewing in his sweet spot on the baseline to force OT, were the West eventually prevailed. Being in my twenties I don’t have any first hand memories of NBA basketball till the late 90s. Was 93 an exceptional game or were AS games typically better “back in the day”?

John Swank

Sam: Yes, the game has gotten extremely weak, but there are fewer competitors these days because there are so many people in their ears telling them they can’t risk anything, even fans now. But the league partially is at fault since they run these guys around all weekend to league charity and community service events, the players have their business commitments and by the time they get to Sunday everyone is exhausted and ready to go home. The games were most competitive in the 60’s and 70’s when winner’s share meant something because guys didn’t make much. Then in the 80’s with Isiah Thomas and Magic they became the most entertaining because of the flair of those guys with their competitiveness. Now everyone should understand what it is, a convention and trade show weekend to display the NBA product, its players. It’s not about basketball anymore. So don’t fault the players.

Can TNT use their amnesty on Shaq?

Kaz Sugita

Sam: Overture, curtain lights. This is it. We’ll hit the heights. What heights we’ll hit. On with the show, this is it. That’s all folks!

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