What do you think is the most likely outcome of Bulls cap space this year? Use it to take on bad contracts of a team trying to sign free agents in exchange for a decent player and/or draft picks? If yes, do you give this scenario a better than or worse than 50% chance of happening? Would they consider using cap space to take on bad contract in exchange for a draft pick?
Sam: It's free agency this weekend. Is the NBA great, or what? There's no sport with so many personnel stories so often. Yes, again. When was that NBA draft? That's right, Lebron-orama. There's Paul George and Chris Paul and maybe DeMarcus Cousins, the latter who maybe can't play next season. And recalcitrant Kawhi. The Bulls aren't likely involved with any. No, LeBron's not coming and the Bulls are not trying to add more salary cap room like in the last big LeBron-a-palooza in 2010. But if a team needs that much more salary cap space to accommodate LeBron and a lieutenant, the Bulls figure to be ready to sell some cap space for a starter or a potential lottery pick. That's why it made no sense to take on huge salaries at the draft to move up a few spots.
Perhaps it doesn't occur, but you want to be ready if there's an opportunity. The Bulls could get to $25 million in salary cap room, but it doesn't seem like they're going to be diving into the free agent pool in a big way this summer. After all, this coming season sounds more like having a chance to finally have five young guys on the floor together to see what they can do and perhaps become. Why add a veteran role player to take those minutes now? After all, it wouldn't seem any of the big guys would look at Chicago as a win now situation. I'm not sure what the Bulls are planning, but I thought Bobby Marks, the former NBA executive who now writes for ESPN, probably had it right. He wrote to expect the Bulls to continue to operate "over" the salary cap. That would suggest the Bulls would prefer to use their exceptions. The exceptions are larger over the cap, though nowhere near the potential $25 million in cap room they could create. That would suggest perhaps an addition of a player or two in the $8 million range. Plus, there is the negotiation with restricted free agent Zach LaVine, who has Bird rights to exceed the cap with the Bulls.
Unlike most summers, this offseason seems like a good to spend on free agents because prices should be reasonable with less than normal competition. Philly is the only good team with significant cap space and the Lakers are the only exciting destination. Teams never have enough perimeter players who can defend and do something on offense. I'd offer Caldwell-Pope and Marcus Smart contracts on day 1. Signing them would improve the team and give them the choice to walk away from a crazy LaVine contract.
Sam: To spend on a crazy Smart contract? Which likely would be in the $15 million annual range? There were reports last season the Celtics would offer the restricted free agent $12 million to $14 million, and he said he was worth more than that. I like Smart a lot as a Tony Allen type of player, impressive hustle and helps your team and cannot shoot. Sorry, I'd rather have LaVine. Again, I get these requests fairly frequently to not resign LaVine, which is strange to me. OK, he's hasn't defended much in Minnesota, either. But here's an excellent athlete who is a very good three-point shooter, solid citizen, anxious to improve, a young 6-5 guard. Yes, he had ACL surgery and we hate that phrase, and he didn't finish last season, though who really knows with the artificial competition after the All-Star break. I find it hard to believe given his health situation LaVine gets any sort of break-the-bank offer as a restricted free agent. Teams are no longer allowed to say they'll match to scare off competitors or restricted free agents. If LaVine were in this draft, he'd have been a top 10 player. He's 23 years old and ready to have a full season again after missing much of the last two. He's a top athlete for a team long searching for more athletes and the biggest name in the Jimmy Butler trade. I cannot personally see a circumstance in which I would not want to work out a contract with LaVine. I think he's going to be a terrific player again.
If Vlade is a fan then we know we got to let Zach walk
Sam: Ouch. There have been reports this week that the Kings might or might not from sources who may or may not know make a free agent offer fo Zach. What, the Buddy Hield era is over already? No one's ever sure what the Kings are thinking, as you suggest, but they did try to move up in the draft to get shooting guard Hield taken sixth and then acquired him for DeMarcus Cousins and he had a better season than LaVine, playing in 80 games and averaging 13.5 points on 43 percent three-point shooting. So with their entire salary cap room and a starting level healthy NBA shooting guard on the roster, they're going to spend all their money on a less healthy shooting guard who shoots 10 points lower? I know, I know, it's the Kings.
I've heard the talk of Lebron to Philly maybe. But why is there no talk of Paul George to philly. I think he would be a much better fit with Simmons and Embiid than James would be.
Sam: And away we go, as the Great One always said. No, Jackie Gleason. Paul George to the 76ers has been speculated fairly often, actually. Will he take his talents there? Actually, it's George this time, who no one cares that much about, who is doing the TV show to announce his Decision. He's done some sort of three-part documentary that I'm not sure where it is on—social media somewhere, I guess—in which he supposedly will announce his decision in Part III. Yes, be still our beating hearts. He'll likely opt out, but that's a financial decision which shouldn't affect his location decision. He's been making more noise lately about staying in Oklahoma City, which gained some credibility with Magic Johnson suddenly talking about this being a two-year Lakers project, that anyone thinking it was about this summer is just silly. Silly us, but it did sound like that was what it was about all this season.
So perhaps Magic got a signal from George, and then Chris Paul takes the money and runs with Houston with all his owies and doesn't just want to be a lesser paid LeBron acolyte in L.A. You don't hear as much LeBron to Houston stuff lately, and if he doesn't opt in you won't as Houston basically needs a trade. The story that's been going around in Houston is that James Harden told the Rockets he doesn't want LeBron clogging up his game and doesn't care to play with him. It makes some sense because Daryl Morey is usually openly chasing the biggest free agents and this summer has been exceedingly quiet. The 76ers interim GM Brett Brown said they are chasing stars, but I cannot see LeBron telling the family, no really, Philadelphia is cool; trust me, Cheez-Wiz on meat is Dope. Stay in Cleveland? We've all been saying that's doubtful with that roster he clearly hates and L.A., and lifestyle makes sense. But if no Paul George and no Chris Paul, would LeBron still go? Could Magic sell him on a two-summer project?
Perhaps LeBron figures out he'll probably finish behind Boston and Philly in the East with Cleveland, so why not finish behind Golden State and Houston in the West? But be able to have his kids go to the beach every day in the winter. And, really, after those few, the biggest names are restricted free agents like Aaron Gordon, Jabari Parker, Clint Capella, Marcus Smart, Zach LaVine and Julius Randle. Would DeAndre Jordan opt out of $22.6 million to become unrestricted? Is someone really paying him $80 million turning 30 next month and still can't shoot? Mark Cuban? After what Jordan pulled on them in free agency a few years back, they should get him to opt out and then change their minds. Isaiah Thomas? LeBron seemed to have had enough of him. Then the best unrestricted are considered to be Tyreke Evans, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gay, Avery Bradley, J.J. Redick, Elfrid Payton, Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Greg Monroe, Michael Beasley, Rodney Hood, Jamal Crawford, Brook Lopez, Trevor Ariza, Derrick Rose, Lance Stephenson, Amir Johnson, Nick Young, Alex Len, Jeff Green, Mario Hezonja, Nerlens Noel and Dwayne Wade, who says he's never leaving Miami again. Maybe the James kids can stand one more winter.
Bulls should sign Rodney Hood on a 1 yr deal for like 10 mil as a 'prove yourself.' Athletic wing who can score, give us another vet to help the young guys.
Our future looks the brightest in 2020 when we have a load of cash. Recruit a decent player in Hood now and don't overspend and go for that 7-8th seed as the goal.
Sam: He's been rumored and mentioned a lot with the Bulls, and he had a really, really bad year with that refusal during the playoffs to play in garbage time to the Cavs basically exiling him after that until they became desperate and played him late. He is a really good shooter with three-point range, but the Jazz gave him up pretty easily for the guy who was supposed to replace Gordon Hayward. Of course, Donovan Mitchell did, and then Hood was actually benched. He's been injured a lot, averaging about 20 games a season missed in his four years. And there long was tension in Utah about the length of his stays injured. He'd be an interesting sixth man scorer type, but would he accept that? Would he accept a one-year deal? I assume he'd be looking for three years at about $30 million to $40 million. Worth it? Though few teams really have much cap room, so, yes, a lot of guys could be on one-year deals the way the players association misjudged a few years back and didn't allow the revenue additions to be phased in. They made a few guys really rich at the expense of so many others. He'd be a reasonable target.
I'm unclear on why there were so many terrible contracts issued during this summer. I know the cap exploded compared to previous years. But players like Crabbe? Harkless? Mozgov? Etc. There were many more. Why were all these mediocre players getting such huge deals? Did the trailblazers genuinely think that harkless and crabbe were worth a combined 30+ million each year? Or were there penalties for not using all this money?? Seems to be coming back to haunt a lot of teams this season.
Sam: That would be the Summer of Biyombo. Though the NBA players association and league have pretty good relations, the longtime suspicion probably caused the players association to do its players a terrible disservice; well, just most of the players. The summer of 2016 was when with the new TV contracts the salary cap jumped $25 million. Suddenly teams were flush with extra money, like teenagers hitting the lottery. The league was the only smart one and told the union it would be better to phase in the increase. The union figured the league was cheating them in some way, though LeBron again being a free agent had something to do with wanting more money right away. But the general managers went nuts: $72 mil for useless Biyombo, the big Lakers deals for Deng and Mozgov that cost Mitch Kupchak his job, $120 million for Nic Batum (Oh, Michael!), $94 million for Chandler Parsons, $72 million for Joakim Noah, $64 million for Ian Mahinmi, $70 million for Kent Bazemore, $80 million for Ryan Anderson, $98 million for Hassan Whitseside, $75 million for Allen Crabbe, $70 million for Evan Turner. All long term deals, which is why there are only about a half dozen teams with any cap room now and basically all those guys available without interest.
I read that the Clippers are likely to waive Teodosic for cap reasons. Wasn't he sort of last year's equivalent of Luka Doncic? Would the Bulls be interested in signing a young brilliant passer (even if he's a poor defender)? Or is he likely to be the subject of a bidding war, and cost more than the Bulls would be willing to pay?
Sam: If he is the Mavs are in big trouble. He's going on 32 for one thing, but was basically hurt all the time and played about half the season and started about 40 percent of the time. I don't expect much bidding.
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