Ask Sam Mailbag: 09.29.17

Wade is gone.  The entire family cheered at the dinner table. Seriously.  Enough speaking ill of the departed. Hoping that LaVine gets better, but ACLs.....?  Sam, Sam, Sam.  Bad history in this town with knee injuries.  Sayers was just the beginning.  There was Joe Moore, of course Dick Butkus, Wilbur Wood...that one hurt.  Sloan.  The infamous Ronnie Lester. Andre Dawson.  Got Ron Harper when he was half of what he was.  Jay Williams.  Capped off by Rose, and this is one trip down Memory Lane I'll leave.  I hope the best for LaVine. It'll take a year for him to adjust to his new body. The good news: he's really young and not really an NBA player yet.  So he was still learning anyway.  I'd also point out that an entire generation of pitchers has passed by that throw harder, more pitches per game,  and with more movement after Ulnar Collateral tendon replacement.  Remember when it was common knowledge that a blown out elbow was the end?  Therapy really sucks though.  It sucks for anyone, but it's particularly bad for athletes. Other players often don't know what to do with the injured guy.  The other players have to keep their eye on the ball themselves, and when they look at the injured player (it can be worse with seriously injured players), it creates toxic doubt. So, rehab is a lonely, cut-off business.  Rehabbing player not only has physical pain (there's plenty of that), but has some really good stuff taken away while getting more of the stuff no one likes (training), and gets it in spades.  Tough. LaVine will find out how badly he really wants to do all this.  I really do hope that kid has a sense of humor and some good non-basketball friends.
Pete Zievers

Horace Grant

Horace Grant's 91-92 season was ranked the 5th greatest season all-time from a power forward by Bleacher Report. Behind only Malone, Barkley, Duncan and Garnett. Not bad for a guy who isn't in the HOF, doesn't have his number retired, and didn't even make the All Star team that year. Sadly Bulls fans likely remember him most for being carried off the court as a Magic player, or as the Bulls PF not named Dennis Rodman. Personally I always thought he was the 2nd coolest Bull on those teams after MJ. Thoughts on why he gets so little love from Bulls nation?
Yoni Solomon

1) Kris Dunn
2) Cameron Payne( non-NBA ready, yet the Bulls won't waive him)
3) Jerian Grant
4) Ryan Arcidiacono
5) Antonio Blakeney
6) David Nwaba
Do the Bulls really need 6 point guards?
Kieron Smith

Lauri Markkanen poses at Bulls Media Day

Very impressed with Lauri Markkanen at Eurobasket,can shoot off the dribble, nice pick and pop and his stroke from 3 is impressive
Michael Burling

I like the idea of signing Mirotic to that two year deal. You never know -- he may in fact have a breakout season. And if he doesn't - there really isn't much to lose. If you think about it, he and Lopez expire at the same time in two years time. Both of them make $13/14 million dollars a season. They are both in my opinion very solid starting pieces to have on any playoff roster.  Both of them, however, make excellent trading blocks.
Tom Plonowski

Denzel Valentine

I am excited about this season and even the bold management moves in general. Still don't understand current strategy on the 3 unless SF means Bulls going 3 guard! I might even follow the Timberwolves just for fun while they have this lineup there.
Lawrence Joy

Too bad for Phil.  In NY, all they understand is winning…now. And indeed, they now did exactly what he wanted to all along.  And he was right; I don’t think you can win with ‘Melo as your top guy.  In fact, I think you’d have a better chance with Butler than ‘Melo.  At least he plays D. OKC now has “three Alphas” who all want the ball.
Art Alenik

Kyrie Irving speaks to the media at Celtics Media Day

Do you believe Kyrie can be comparable to the original Zeke Isiah Thomas of the Pistons? Similar scoring ability? Even though some are saying he's not a franchise player, if you put him on a team the way Zeke had a team, Kyrie can win titles it seems. Danny Ainge played against those Pistons so he should know....
LongGiang Le

Sixers brought Kris Humpries and Emeka Okafor to camp deals. Emeka is back. Guessing Jahils days numbered. And Knicks didnt get much for Melo. I see them flipping Kanter later on. As for Doug his NBA career is coming towards the end.
Mike Sutera

I have heard a lot of sportswriters talk about players as assets especially during trade season. I am just worried that sometimes they go overboard and become a bit insensitive about it. Do you think editors should be more concerned about it. Especially that most of these players are african american. I know that this is business but I think writers cannot just carelessly refer to players as assets. My suggestion is to put more focus on teams not really trading players but player contracts. Something like that.
Melbert Tizon

NBA players stand for the National Anthem

I imagine you've been deluged with opinions about athletes and coaches taking a stand against President Trump's remarks about NFL players kneeling for the national anthem. If you're collecting opinions, I'd like to share mine. I've been asked to demonstrate my patriotism in two ways during my 71 years on the planet: I served in Vietnam, and I've paid taxes for more than an half century, mostly without whining and crying. There was nothing about the kneeling, arm-linking, or clenched-fist salutes that offended me or should have offended anyone who has ever served this country in a uniform. Indeed, those demonstrations were quite the opposite of offensive--they were serious,respectful, well-thought-out, and at least as dignified as someone else standing with a hand over heart. Similarly, the remarks of Stephan Curry, Greg Popovich and many other NBA people were far more thoughtful and diplomatic than the oral flatulence of our incompetent president. Lebron James' tweet calling Trump a bum fell somewhat short of the diplomatic finesse of the others, but I thought it remarkably elegant for managing to state the obvious without using obscenities. Did you ever think there'd be a day when professional jocks would be more articulate and diplomatic than a sitting president? Well, the payoff for me is, it won't be so hard watching those stars and teams win while we're taking our lumps in Chicago because they've shown themselves to be something a lot more than just athletes.
Kirk Landers

Onto a more serious topic. What are your views on what is going on in the sports world and the protest of the flag? I can only tell you from my perspective as a 15 year military veteran I understand the narrative and reasoning behind the protest was to bring awareness to some inequalities that still exist in this country. I also understand that the flag is a symbol and it is not a symbol of freedom for all groups in this country whether it is African Americans who are still alive that had to experience segregation or the ingenious people of this land that were nearly wiped out.  Another thought on the subject matter is that it was never an obligation for NFL players to stand for the flag to begin with. All major sports fines players for everything. If it were an obligation that players stand for the pledge then why wasn't the NFL fining Colin for kneeling. I think the media should be ashamed of themselves for trying to change the narrative of the protest and make up this "he's disrespecting veterans" narrative when he outwardly expressed that it had nothing to do with veterans. Myself and a vast number of my fellow comrades do not consider this to be disrespectful. How can we find it disrespectful when they are using their constitutional right to protest peacefully. This is what we do. We fight to protect our citizens and the constitution against enemies both foreign and domestic. I support peaceful protest that are conducted in the United States that bring awareness to legit issues of inequalities. I wish more athletes, musicians, and artist would use their platforms to be a voice for the communities they came from. Are you embarrassed by what you see in the media? I think many in the media have lost their moral compass.
Rocky Rosado

By the way, do we really need the national anthem at ball games? Why not at movies, plays, parades; even government meetings?. In a wonderful local angle for us, the custom traces back to a Cubs World Series game in 1918 (were they ever not in the World Series?) when the Star Spangled Banner, originally a poem, was struck up impromptu by a band in the seventh inning stretch. Coming off the terror and depression of World War I it was a salve. It wasn’t really even the national anthem until the 1930s. The irony here is so many who do not want politics with their sports have forced many who accepted that to reluctantly get involved in the debate/discussion. Not many players really were. Though what I love about this it is the mature, professional, respectful way the NFL and NBA players, often condemned for their excesses, have responded and behaved more in line with America’s history and values, peacefully, without rancor and thoughtful. Let’s make America America again. I’d rather these protests and actions not occur in the workplace. It’s much confused, but there is not freedom of speech at work. We all have heard the example of not yelling “fire” in a movie theater, except maybe with the Rock in Baywatch. The Bill of Rights was added to overcome opposition to approving the Constitution. Protections of speech and religious freedom were to prevent government overreach. Not business or private. It’s basically become accepted for sports, entertainment and media figures because of their larger platform. Of course, like America’s revolutionists, you risk your career.

To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, we hang together or we hang separately. I recall Chris Jackson, who changed his name to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, and his refusing to stand for the national anthem when he was with the Denver Nuggets in the 90s. It basically cost him his NBA career, and perhaps it will for Kaepernick in the NFL. Personal sacrifice is also part of American protest tradition. It’s also been what’s missing in my view. I served six years in the Army reserves during Vietnam. I pretty much realized early on that war was a very bad idea. But I did believe in government service. In coming from an unconnected family in which both parents worked, my father two jobs, I had no clout like most politicians to be. So I signed onto a waiting list early in college when I still had my deferment. The only branch you could get on a list was for an Army infantry unit, which would be activated first if they didn’t have enough draftees. You know, target practice. I decided to try the odds. We were activated once, but domestically. I never was overseas. My turn came up after three years on the list just before being reclassified for active duty. Yes, I was relieved to go to basic training. Well, until those 10-mile runs before breakfast. Be nice to get back some of that hair they shaved off, also. Anyway, what’s mostly been missing in the U.S., in my view, is public service. It binds people to their nation much more than lapel pins. Everyone should have a two-year commitment. No exceptions. There’s something everyone can do. Not necessarily in the military, but to do something for your country. Standing and cheering for military personnel at ball games is not the same. What brings us together is common service, common sacrifice, common pride.

I don’t expect the Bulls are going to kneel down for the anthem. They said this week they spoke about it and will do something in unison. A few, like Kris Dunn with friends fighting in Afghanistan, say they will stand for the anthem. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday it is a league rule and he expects players to be standing for the national anthem. Perhaps this one time this sort of non sports discussion was OK since none of us really intended to bring it up. Plus, I still don’t have that much yet to say about this Bulls team. But I will. I have a lot of questions. And I am interested.