Ask Sam Mailbag: 07.20.18

This is the final Ask Sam for the 2017-18 season. The 2018-19 season begins next week. It only seems like it. Ask Sam will resume in October. This is a longer one for the finale. Yes, it will have to hold you for two months. Maybe ready slowly. Consider
it like the closing credits and hum a little for accompanying music. Thanks for the season long discussion, the passion, the anger, the despair and hope. I suspect there's plenty more to come.

I love the Bulls are spending their monies with the Parker & Lavine signings and not trading for future crapshot draft picks. The Bulls have a starting 5 with upside that rivals (one could argue that each Starter could be an all star in next 3 years)
other eastern Conf teams so let's develop & evaluate before rolling the dice for another 19 year old or an aging free agent. When I look at other east teams, only Celtics are on paper significantly better…and that could change if Kyrie "walks" in
next years free agency & Horford ages It's hard to attract top free agents to Chicago so re-sign Lavine & sign hometown Parker to score the points - the two in total could average 50 per game. Hoiberg needs to design team defense schemes to
use Dunn & Carter strengths to offset Lavine & Parker shortcomings.

Wayne Warner

I have this prediction about the season: Starting 5 will be Dunn, Lavine, Parker, Markannen and Lopez. Second unit will be Valentine, Portis, Blakeney, Payne and Wendell Carter. The first 3 would all be great candidates for the 6th man award, another
way to see it will be that they will eliminate each other as there are no way 3 players on the same team will have enough opportunities to win it. I reckon the starters should be scoring 75, and the second unit should average 40. That means the Bulls
should be a very exciting team this year.

Stian Nordvik

So mgt was worried about a Trae and Zach backcourt defensively yet they are cool with Zach and Jabari. Makes sense lol. Dunn and Holiday are our only two defenders on the perimeter. People are already talking about dealing Justin leaving us with just
Dunn. We can be an offensive juggernaut at times with this roster but we will be putrid on defense all the time. I was too young to remember the 91 Nuggets but i read about them and it was not pretty. Rolo and Wendell will be having guys attacking the
basket at will with no defenders.

Mike Sutera

Gar and Pax are often criticized for not making moves, and not being bold. Seems to me, their moves in the past 18 months should end those accusations. Good or bad, they were bold. Although, selling the Jordan Bell pick still has everyone scratching their
heads. Not sure if that was bold, or a collective brain cramp.

Craig Dillon

Do you think the Bulls will sign anyone else this year, vet minimum maybe for 1 yr ? We need some veteran shooting help, do I smell a Jamal Crawford reunion ? Is Cam Payne really going to be our backup point guard ? Oh my…What are your thoughts on Kris
Dunn? I'm a big fan and he's a tough kid who showed drastic improvement after year 1. I know the Bulls were really high on him coming out of Providence.

Chris Verzevoulias

In my mind this rebuild effort is going as well as any. We have some young players that could hit the next gear and bring the team up with them. Much of that is due to the Butler trade. But now LBJ has joined the rest of the elite in the West. The East
is wide open, and the Bulls aren't in a position to capitalize. Knowing what you know now, would you rather have tried to build around Jimmy? I think he would be one of the top 3 players in the East, making any sounding cast one of the top 4 teams.
Personally, in sports fandom I'm always a bird in hand kind of guy.

Jesse Chrismer

Apart from the illegal (moving) screens he set, Carter's screens seemed largely ineffective. He would often either try and slip the contact at the last minute or he would crouch forward into a stance, compromising his sturdy base and allowing defenders
to slip by unchallenged and unpunished. Is this a weakness—something he'll have to work on—or the desired technique for the Bull's style of play? Given his solid frame and that centers and power forwards seldom fight over screens, he's not looking at
major contact anyway, especially in the modern NBA.

Nathan Anderson

Parker is basically a 1 year tryout deal. That's our risky Michael Porter pick in a way.

If they kept Butler, cap would be eaten up by his contract, no 7 squared picks and Butler at 29 with lots of miles.

Jeff Lichtenstein

How about this… Korver For Denzel (hutch and Parker cover him) & Holiday.

We get 3pt shooting, they get small contracts and save money. Love will get hurt anyway and then it's tank all the way for them.

Andrew Brown

Welcome Jabari. Interesting! But, if they are going to pay $20 million per year, they should include a third year, team option. Two years sounds like "I get my form back and leave to Houston, Dallas or join my friend in Nola". By the way, fans are mentioning
Anthony Davis homecoming, but where that leaves Lauri or Wendell?

William Blanco

Jabari Parker??? I don't get it. Has GarPax invested in an orthopedic clinic outside the United Center? This off-season I was hoping the Bulls would take on a bunch of bad expiring contracts for draft picks and/or Felicio, giving them the flexibility
to entice 3 top players (not named Irving or Butler) who wanted to play together in the East. I know that does not seem plausible, given GarPax's history, but players in the NBA want to control their destiny and Chicago is a big market that could have
facilitated that. Surely we could sign players with similar talent as Lavine and Parker next season for the same amount. Plus, I would enjoy one more year of watching our young guys develop, and Lavine is not going to help with that. What are we aiming
for now?

Jason Nitz

I'm having a hard time understanding what seems to be the national consensus that the Bulls could've used their cap space better. While I'm not 100% sold on Lavine, I think the deal for Parker makes a lot of sense. I'd rather take a chance on him for
a year or more than take Faried and what might end up to be the #19 pick from Denver. They aren't locked in past this year and if for some reason Durant or Klay come knocking and have an overwhelming desire to play for the Bulls then we can let Jabari
go. But if he's good then we have a potential starting lineup that are #2, 5, 7, 7 and 13 picks all 24 and under. They have to spend the money anyways, I'd rather take a flyer on Parker than the Nuggets deal. Am I missing something?

Scott Weybright

That Second Year Team option made this Parker deal absolutely fantastic for the Bulls. Whether he works out or not, the Bulls can either cut, retain, or trade him for another asset. In fact, this contract gives the Bulls even more flexibility in the 2019
free agency, should the Bulls need to do a sign and trade. But most importantly, Zach's retention and Jabari's arrival reveal just how much the Bulls front office is committed to developing WCJ's defensive IQ, giving him ample opportunity to play help
defense. Assuming Parker plays the starting 3, he and Levine would make an unimaginable defensive pairing on the perimeter. I, along with opposing wings, look forward to seeing how they fair on that end of the floor.

Peter Chen

Hats off to Gar Forman! Congrats this Jabari Parker will be awesome for us. Rebuild complete. Now u need a productive bench. Check out Kendrick Nunn off the Warriors summer league. He went to Simeon too. Might be worth having him with Donte Ingram in
the g-league on 2-way deals.

Ryan Carpel

What do you think about this whole deal of letting people come straight from high school to the NBA? You usually slam the age of nba players. I was shocked, I feel like it only makes the nba worse.

Darren Rowe

I've seen an article saying Jahlil Okafor is not getting any interests from any teams. Do you think it's worth the Bulls taking a shot on a minimum, and see if he becomes a serviceable back up?

He fits in with the "go young" mantra, and even though we have a lot of depth at centre, I don't see us keeping Lopez, Felicio and Asik long term. If (and when) Carter does become the starting centre, Okafor could be a good back up, if he resurrects his
career. It would be another young lottery pick for our core.

Daniel George

What are the chances we make the playoffs? We got a lot of young guys and usually young players don't tend to do well in the win-loss column.

Gorav Raheja

"Look at everybody in the league. They don't pay players to play defense. There's only two people historically that play defense." – Jabari Parker.

I realized listening to Jabari Parker's press conference that he was someone who struggled to speak smoothly and was at times defensive. I had hoped he was better at speaking about basketball itself but after listening to his interview on 670 The Score
he then sounded ignorant about basketball. To me the most insulting thing you can say about a player is he doesn't play defense. It takes pride and effort. You'd think a kid from Chicago could grasp that saying such a thing, even if it were true, is
a big turn off to most basketball clubs, and their fans. It's not a comment a player can make that just goes away. It sticks with you your whole career. Especially in Chicago. I've seen him play and thought he came back strong after both surgeries.
An okay pickup for one or two seasons. However, the last 24 hours has left me not impressed. What's the fan reaction?

Dawn Parker

Anyway, if you listen to the conversation, it seems apparent what Parker was talking about as he pointed to the excellence of NBA players, that you don't stop those players one on one. Jeff Van Gundy says it on every broadcast. If a guy wants to score
with that talent he's going to. It hardly means Parker is not going try, and he did say he intended to. But it's the trap that also sunk Derrick Rose often. Words are parsed and overanalyzed more than ever these days, and even when it's apparent what
a player really meant, like being able to see his kid graduate just being an awkward way of saying long term health is important as every single player says, it is interpreted as a lack of commitment, a don't care attitude, a take that money and run.
You know: I deserve it more because I would care compared to these spoiled stars. And which state titles did you lead your school to? Offense is more vital in the NBA these days, which even the math shows, and Parker merely seemed to be emphasizing
that. Plus, he knows the NBA and knows most teams have few man to man defenders anymore, that this is probably the era with the fewest individual defenders because of the rampant defensive switching.

It's basically the first time in NBA history teams have accepted playing zones so legally. So Parker looks around and knows, well, who exactly are you talking about with all this defensive talk? Parker may not be the quickest, but he's never not tried.
I've also seen this syndrome regularly with players who have been injured. All they are asked is about their health. It's pretty much why Russell Westbrook stopped talking after multiple MCL surgeries; Kevin Durant at times. Bill Walton stopped talking
for about six years. It becomes tiring every day from every media person feigning concern asking about health when all you have been doing for months is the private, painful rehabilitation. So Parker shows up in Chicago in his welcome home, and most
of the questions are about his health again. I got one of those curt answers, also, but I got it. Though it's still the question until we all see. Then after 20 minutes at the podium, it's a bunch of individual TV and radio interviews and then on the
phone with more media and in the afternoon about five hours later on WSCR being asked about health and defense for about the 100th time, and so he didn't say the precisely correct thing. Parker isn't going to be Dennis Rodman or Alvin Robertson or Tony
Allen—and by the way can you name 10 great individual defenders in the NBA today? Five?—but his career always has been about work, commitment and success. You don't achieve that without playing both ends. Maybe not at an All-Star level, but this is
a specious issue. The unfortunate thing is it may well send Parker into that one or two word comment state and, really, who could blame him? The guy's here one day and based on a few awkward sentences a decade of success is ignored?

I understand the moves made by the Bulls this offseason. I believe the deal to attain Jabari was a necessary risk/gamble. I understand the thought process of management to retain Zach Lavine considering he was the marquee talent in the Jimmy Butler transaction.
My question is, do you the believe the Bulls have a greater chance of returning to prominence with an ensemble cast or by continuing to tank and acquiring a transcendent talent (i.e. LBJ, KD, Curry, etc.)? Although we have seen ensemble casts win championships
in the past ( see Pistons, Mavs) I believe that most championships in the NBA are won by the aforementioned transcendent talents. I'd like to know where you stand. Is tanking not an option? In the same way the Spurs acquired Tim Duncan. Or, is management
opposed to that because it diminishes the interest and financial viability of the team if they don't put a competent product on the floor? At that point we are talking more bottom line than winning percentage.

Olusina Adebayo

Did the Bulls pass up a chance at signing Nwaba with the Blakeney signing? I like them both, but Blakeney was mostly just a nice story as an undrafted chucker. If that deal means Nwaba is out, that makes me ill. Nwaba is actually a useful, well rounded
NBA player that I believe would crack the rotation of a championship level team as a solid reserve.

Joe Guest

I just read a report that Kawhi Leonard is seriously considering attending USA basketball minicamp next week… you've got to be joking! After what he has pulled this year how could any team possibly be willing to give up anything to get him this year.
Let alone signed him to a max contract next year. I would always give a player the benefit of the doubt when it comes to injury but for him to show up to a minicamp suddenly healed would be outrageous

Aaron Ward

Watching an NBA-TV show – Shaq & Kobe talking. Kobe said that he was dead serious about coming to Chicago and was already shopping for a house when Shaq demanded to be traded. After that, he knew there was no way the Lakers would let them both go.
Even Shaq was surprised to hear that.

We always assumed that was all talk, but maybe not.

Art Alenik

Why do some think the Spurs got fleeced by the Raptors? I think they got a pretty good return considering the hand they were dealt.

Kawhi's trade demand and interest in the Lakers "devalued" him. Kawhi may not return in full form post injury.

The pick, although if it falls in the top 20 becomes 2 second rounders in the next round, is almost a sure thing. With Kawhi playing, I don't see how the Raptors can fall below the top 12 team, which means the Spurs will get to pick between 21 to 32.
The Spurs always finds talents that fit their system even with lower picks, so this is a good pick. Spurs is a small market - extended rebuilding will kill their bottom line. Although they're the only attraction in town besides their WNBA counterpart,
they still need some stars to keep attendance. Although DeRozan is not a great 3 point shooter, he checks the boxes on other things.

Now for the Raptors I understand this is a good gamble, since:

If he re-signs next year, great - best scenario. If he bails, they freed up cap space to start rebuilt - not a bad scenario. If Kawhi underperforms - whether due to lack of compliance or inability to perform at the pre-injury level, they can cut him next
year. If this results in falling out of the top 12, they'll keep their pick. Also what happens if Kawhi refuses to suit up? I assume he won't get paid. Can the Raptors ask for relief from the league if that happens so they can sign another player, perhaps
at a fraction of his contract cost?

Abram Bachtiar

So… Jabari comes home for a rebuild on his career and hopefully get the Baby Bulls to a next level. Every reporter and geek blogger is killing GarPax and saying how horrible this is going to be. First, this is essentially a one year deal - a tryout. If
it works great, if it doesn't the Bulls move on and probably get a better draft pick. Why are all these reporters fixated on your either a championship team or you have to tank? What is wrong with winning and developing a winning attitude and winning
culture? No one goes from worst place to first place in one season unless you are the Miami Heat in 2010. I'm so sick of these microwave entitled people. There's nothing wrong in building up a team. How many top five draft picks become NBA legends yearly?
You guessed it - not many. You keep growing and hopefully develop as much talent as possible and maybe you get a chance for a superstar to want to play for your team.

Amin Sanaia