Ask Sam | Week of 07.05.10
Sam Smith opens his mailbag daily Monday-Friday to respond to the latest round of e-mails from his readers.
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Shut it off 10 sec after the announcement; I hope the advertisers got their money’s worth during the first half of the show because half the country shut it off with me – Cleveland, NY and Chicago. Is he ever going to sell another pair of gym shoes outside of FL?
Marc A. Brauer
Sam: Now, I do think LeBron is going to take a hit that way. His name grew, but perhaps in a bit of infamy. I’m not sure what wearing a LeBron jersey means now since I don’t wear jerseys. Is it like Bonds, a rascal and traitor? Are you proud to wear his name? Sure, in Miami, but most people don’t wear shirts there as far as I’ve seen. It figures to turn once the games begin, but the tawdry nature of this episode and James’ obvious unease on TV doesn’t contribute to making him a very endearing figure. People like heroes. He hardly resembles one anymore. Though he didn’t go for the last dollar, and that is something.
Watched "The Decision" earlier tonight and I can only say...LeBron James, what a (censored). Need anyone say more?
Very Happy with Boozer and a Team of Winners/Good Guys (thankful we didn't get LeBron),
p.s. Props to Cavs owner Dan Gilbert for speaking his mind about James (although shame on Dan Gilbert for enabling Bron until now).
Sam: Yes, check out that Cavs web site. That was a heck of a shot at LeBron. Not sure I’d have handled it quite that way. But I think we know now he’s upset. James should have called Gilbert, at least, to let him know, which he admitted on TV he didn’t. It’s a good lesson to franchises that you can be nice to your players, but they still are mercenaries. LeBron did do a lot for Cleveland, so he doesn’t deserve the hatred, I’d guess. But feelings obviously are a bit raw now.
I hope they don't win anything in South Beach and that the whole thing blows up. Didn't think I could hate the Heat more than I hated them when they had Posey. I was wrong.
Kyle B Sneed
Sam: OK, there’s the start of a nice rivalry, though there should be several teams. Imagine those Heat-Cavs games.
Can you believe LeBron is going to Miami. I've seen low athletes but never like LeBron, he went lower than low, he lost everyones respect except the people in Miami. I mean i'm still in denial, i'd rather see him go back to Cleveland, he probably would of earned more respect. I mean the NBA shouldn't even allow this to happen. Wow 2 of the top 3 players on the same team, and maybe the best power forward in the league today. It was ok for KG, Allen, and Paul, because they were all past their prime. LeBron is just taking the easy path to a championship and thats low. The Heat will probably be playing in the next 5 NBA finals. That gets me depressed over my Chicago Bulls. He would not make MJ or even Kobe proud of this decison.
Sam: So now we’ll see. They certainly will be the East favorites and on every preseason magazine and the story of the upcoming season. For those who believe in NBA conspiracy theories, which many do, it will be a whole season of, “No way the league lets anyone get in the way of an L.A.-Miami Finals.” And with Pat Riley coaching the team by that time. I don’t see it for them, but we’ll find out.
I'm not afraid of their 3 headed monster, i'm afraid of the star treatment they are going to get. This team is going to set the single season free throw record. its over, LeBron and Wade get every damn call, and walk more than anyone. Not good for the NBA when only 2 teams have a realistic chance at winning the title. Not only is the league over expanded with diluted talent, 2 of the top 4 players, are on the same team!
Sam: See. That’s what’s going to bad for the NBA as well as I think overall it’s always good to have a team most have passion for positively or negatively. But the belief will be the league won’t let them lose because TV wants them on all the time, and they will be on virtually every game they play. They’ll have the record for national TV appearances, and ESPN, which is wedded obviously to LeBron, will celebrate him beyond imagination and like them or not they are the voice of sports today. We’ll also see how tough LeBron is as he’s going to take more heat than most sports stars for what will be viewed by most, even though he played by the rules of free agency and deserves to make his own choice, as a hired gun/betrayer.
Having those three guys in the same lineup is pretty impressive, and they would be unbeatable in any video game. But since the league doesn't allow for multiple balls to be in play at the same time, they are beatable in real life. Obviously they have no Center, half a PG (probably don't need one anyways), and no bench. But do you think the zone defense would be effective against them? It's rare to see it used in long stretches but it would cut down on the constant penetration by James and Wade. It makes the choice of Thibbodeau seem all the better- if anyone can dream up a scheme to stop these guys, it's him. On another note, I wonder how David Stern is feeling now. If this team proves to be unbeatable, and interest in the NBA starts to drop off, do you see him making any rule changes to even out the playing field?
Sam: Yes, let’s start scheming for them. That will be the fun. As for Stern, I think you’ve noticed he’s been nowhere to be heard from in all this. I think he’s embarrassed by what’s gone on and the mercenary way these free agents have acted. Again, they got free agency and used it and that’s the agreement. But the image of the way they sold themselves and schemed and went to meetings dressed like hikers made you wince. And then you see a kid like Kevin Durant who seems to get it and not make a fuss of himself and commit to a franchise and you think Stern would love to make him the face of the league and not guys like James,
Lebron james and the miami heat...the most hated team in team sports!
Sam: Yes, and I know you are from Australia. It’s worldwide.
Forget the endless discussions of how the Heat will do, how Bron, Wade, and Bosh will mesh, who they'll play with...I'm trying to comprehend five years of not watching each of those three compete against each other! I believe it is the head- to-head match-ups that separate good from great, and more importantly, great from legendary.
Sam: Yes, there will be something lost in that. You love to see those kinds of matchups no matter how rare they are now with so few games between teams anymore, four maximum. So maybe it helps some, though, that the contests become team against team, the Celtics-Heat, Magic-Heat and so on. Don’t forget the Bulls. Bulls-Heat is going to be cool, as the Bulls seemed to at best be shunned and at worst been used by James and Wade and Bosh.
I feel for Cleveland fans, I can truly say that our rivalry with them during the glory years was built on fierce competition and both teams throwing everything at each much like the Piston's-Bulls rivalry during the same time, no matter what people say, heading to Miami to play for so called team trinity is a joke, a slap in the face, and has shown me in the end that James, Wade, and Bosh will never be on the same level as Jordan, Kobe, or Shaq are.
Sam: Though Shaq changed teams a lot. I know there’s a lot of anger now, and I don’t get much mail from Cleveland. It is going to be tough for LeBron to live there and have kids in school. Smaller places take things more personally, sort of the all politics is local thing of Tip O’Neill. We thought that would be a bigger factor with LeBron, bit, hey, as he first said about going, he mentioned South Beach. I guess you can’t completely fault him for saying, “I’m rich and always going to be rich and want to live my life as a party in a place that is summer all the time.”
I believe the best fit for us is rudy fernandez although it would be hard to get him. but with his three point shooting and passing ability the bulls will be unstoppable with rose/rudy/deng/boozer/noah. I read that the blazers is looking to clear up some space to. Do we have a shot at rudy??
Sam: The Blazers always are tough to deal with and have traditionally overvalued their players. Many teams ask about Rudy and nothing much ever happens. We’ve all felt that they hid away some money for him somewhere given he could make much more in Europe and so don’t want to let him go. There’ll be plenty of possibilities. I’ve heard mentioned Redick, Raja Bell, Wesley Matthews, Kyle Korver, Tony Allen, Anthony Morrow, Chucky Atkins, Kyle Lowry, Earl Watson, Nate Robinson, Luther Head, Shannon Brown, Rasual Butler, Ronnie Brewer, Josh Childress, Luke Ridnour, Damien Wilkins, Keith Bogans, Matt Barnes, Rodney Carney, Roger Mason, Michael Finley and maybe trade guys like Nick Young and Monta Ellis. And how about Larry Hughes, Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady. Ouch, no way. Me? I like Ellis, as everyone knows, though that trade will be tough. I like Bell as a Bruce Bowen type who can shoot and defend, though older. Matthews is a good one. I like Barnes, though he is a three, but a tough guy with an attitude. I’ve always liked Young in Washington, who should be available. Morrow is the league’s best shooter and maybe can be taught to defend more. As I said, I’d prefer more the defensive guy and if he can stretch the floor a bit great, but you have to have a guy you can keep on the floor and won’t get beat all the time like a shooter like Jason Kopono. Can Mike Miller stay healthy? He rarely has. And I don’t want to get in a bidding war with so many guys available.
I'm wondering if there would/should be any interest in Michael Redd. With Milwaukee trading for Chris Douglas-Roberts and Corey Magette and resigning John Salmons, it appears that Redd is not in their long-term plans. I know there may be some salary cap issues with this trade, but would it be possible to get him in a salary dump? He is making $18.3M this year which would make him the Bulls highest paid player, but he would certainly fill a desperate need at "shooting" SG and could possibly be resigned/extended at a much more reasonable salary. I am assuming he is not "damaged goods" and that he has recovered from his season ending injury.
Sam: He has not recovered and may not play again. Plus, the Bulls couldn’t absorb that much salary. They need to use their money on a role playing, defense oriented shooting guard (I know, but they had to let Hinrich go to have a shot) and some help up front.
With LeBron going to Miami, our offseason has taken a a whole new direction. Now we are left with a whole lot of cap room and a decent roster, which i think is a good thing. We now have the ability to pull off a big trade for someone around the league. We need a shooting guard, so would the like of Caron Butler, Kevin Martin, Richard Hamilton or even maybe Vince Carter or Jason Richardson be available. Because i know at least hamilton and butler are being shopped around. Could we could get one of those guys in because we have the cap room and the trade resources to pull off a big trade in that position?
Sam: The Bulls will look into deals as well and the space could get you a guy. I’m not much for Hamilton, who is available. Butler could be but is more a three. I don’t believe Martin is because they gave a lot for him. As I’ve written, I’d take another shot at Monta Ellis, though who knows with the David Lee deal there now. Sorry, no way Vince.
I could have understood any decision lebron could have made , except this one. He was in the unenviable situation of being criticized for not caring about winning if he stays in his home town, not caring about his hometown if he left, and caring only about money if he took a max deal. I almost felt bad for him. But with this whole attention grabbing stunt and the fake flirtation that he, Wade, and Bosh pulled, I am actually happy he ended up with the heat.It will be a lot of fun to watch them lose. Teams win championships, not trios. And if they win, it will be fun to see all the analysis that Lebron is not the King he thinks he is because it was really Wade's team. And if they lose, ha! It will solidify his induction into the Malone hall of fame of talented losers.
Sam: Yes, it was something of an imbroglio for LeBron, but the way it played out made you want to look away. I think he made a bad decision and likely solidified himself in NBA history as a talented wanna be who won’t ever measure up. I know things have to be measured with a longer lens and we are too fond of instant judgments. But this was not a good night for LeBron.
After the recent acquisition of Carlos Boozer as well as the suggestions of adding Ronnie Brewer/Kyle Korver to the team, I ask are we simply the East version of the Utah Jazz from a couple of years ago. Rose = Deron WIlliams, Boozer = Boozer and Brewer/Korver were both already on the Jazz, is Deng a AK-47 compliment? If the Jazz weren't good enough to excel in the West, will the Bulls be able to excel in the East, with the 2008 Utah Jazz roster?
Sam: The Jazz was pretty good and went to the conference finals. If you can do that, you have a chance. Plus as good as Wade and LeBron are, they haven’t measured up to Kobe and don’t have anywhere near the size and All Star size for that matter, so the East isn’t going to be as difficult to climb as the West was. Likely more competitive with a half dozen competing teams, but I’ll take where the Jazz have been the last few years and note they didn’t have anyone like Noah.
Not sure I can figure out the logic behind LBJ choosing MIA. NY = the
most money (accounting for market size etc.). Chi = best chance of
winning + second most money. Cle = loyalty. So in choosing MIA, LBJ
didn't follow the most money or go to the best place to win. What is
he choosing then in MIA? The beach, clubs, and weather? Getting to
play with his buddies? I just can't figure it out...what do you think
is the draw to Miami? Could it be something as childish as wanting to
be around his friends and party in Miami?
Sam: I think that may have been it in the end. After all, that’s what we all do when we go to Miami.
Have you ever seen a former player get vilified so quickly? These three guys had to have planned this all along. I think the Miami Heat will be the new Bad Boys Pistons as the great team no one wants to win. What a sham! Makes Kobe's star shine a bit brighter now. You can bet James' new jersey won't be #1 in sales. I actually feel really bad for Cleveland and their fans.
Sam: Yes, how’s that. The complete circle in making Kobe the sympathetic and serious figure. This is going to take some undoing that likely only a championship can fix.
Now that its the Miami thrice, does Erik Spoelstra have a family that he wants to spend more time with?
Sam: Yes, I see Pat in about a half season through. Yes, Stan Van Gundy sends his best. My other favorite email I got last night was the guy who wrote me to say he’d just heard from three GMs who said Chad Ford is an idiot. You may remember five minutes after the Cavs season ended Ford writing on ESPN claiming three gms called him to say LeBron was signing with the Bulls. Sorry, I may have missed that retraction.
I agree. Miami is going to be fascinating to watch.
First off, as a fan I appreciate Riley a great deal. This is called taking a
chance on being great. Real risk takers are few and far between. Folks like to
"me too" it a lot. Nothing "me too" about what Riley has now. Hat's off.
Who's going to play center for these guys? you need a combination of Ray Allen
and Kendrick Perkins, and I don't think that guy has ever existed in history. Garnett/Allen/Pierce work because they are complementary pieces. I'd take a shot at beating them by shading Wade and forcing LeBron to either
shoot long range or feed Bosh, and make Bosh try to beat you.
Bosh is funny and likeable, but probably the weak link. I say go after him and
keep an eye on Wade.
It's been a really strange two weeks for NBA fans.
Sam: Yes, it has been a long, strange ride. And for all the narcissism and collective disappointment in different places, it’s going to be good for the NBA in the end by giving everyone a team to love (ESPN) and a team to hate (most fans).
All I have been hearing since Wade and Bosh announced they are signing with the Heat is, Lebron will either join them in Miami, go to the Knicks, or resign with Cleveland. But if Lebron really wants to win a championship, doesn't Chicago have the best roster right now to do so? With Boozer agreeing to sign with the Bulls this afternoon Chicago has a core of Rose, Boozer, Noah, and Deng. I would take that tandem over Bosh, Beasley,and Wade anyday. That also is twice as good as what the Knicks or Cavs can offer. So why isn't it down to Chicago or Cleveland?
Sam: Why, indeed. But maybe you have answered it yourself. Maybe as many of us have believed for some time, he isn't about winning as much as he is about being LeBron. It's why he isn't Kobe or Michael. He isn't driven by the ultimate. Perhaps he's a better human being for it, more balanced, more yin and yang. It's obvious, especially with Boozer, a low post guy and double-double player, the Bulls have the deepest, most complete potential roster. So if LeBron doesn't see it, then you know for sure he also isn't about winning as much as the things that go with celebrity. At least it will be instructive as we don't have to listen to their yammering anymore about wanting to win and being winners.
Some of the talk radio folks were lambasting the Bulls' management for missing out on Wade and Bosh, supposedly because management moved too slowly. What is your take on that? They certainly moved quickly to lock up Carlos Boozer. The consensus also seems to be that Bosh would have been a better addition than Boozer because he is three years younger. But Bosh would have cost the Bulls Taj Gibson and three first-round draft picks. In light of that, which one is the better addition?
Sam: I don't see how anyone can say Wade ever was serious about the Bulls and winning, since the Bulls' roster is far superior to the Heat's. Let's compare here: Beasley and Chalmers vs. Rose, Noah, Deng and Gibson. Wanna play pickup? So if Wade and Bosh really wanted to team up on a super team and make it only about winning, where should they go? As Stan Van Gundy so eloquently put it Wednesday in a classic interview, Bosh has been following Wade around like a lap dog all week. Wade said it wasn't about the money. That recalls Kevin Garnett turning down $105 million and then signing for $126 million--yes, in Minnesota--and saying it wasn't about the money. I cover a lot of this in my Bulls.com story from late Wednesday. If you asked anyone after the season where was Wade signing, who wouldn't say Miami? No one had a chance, and a New Jersey newspaper quoted a Nets official saying they shouldn't have met with Wade because all he was doing was pumping them for information for Pat Riley. This is the classic one from, I presume, talk radio: The Bulls offended Wade by seeing LeBron after him. Right, so the Bulls should have made a commitment to Wade July 1 and blown off LeBron, which certainly could have pleased Riley, especially if the plan all along was to lure James to Miami. The Bulls had no shot and never did, and Bosh's lips are moving but it sounds like Wade. Yes, Bosh is a better player than Boozer, but I doubt worth Gibson, three firsts and $50 million more.
My conspiracy theory is that James, Wade, and Bosh knew where they?wanted to go well before free agency started, and it isn't Chicago.?That they went through the circus act of meetings with the Bulls?(twice in Wade's case) is just a tactic to hold the Bulls (and other?teams they visited) in stasis. It effectively kept us from improving?by signing Joe Johnson and/or Amare Stoudemire (not that I wanted him,?but something's better than nothing) when they were available - just?for that 1 in 1000 chance to hit the jackpot. The Bulls would be?serious competition to any of the teams the Big Three decide to play?for with one or both of those players. I think come 8 pm Thursday?night, we'll find out we've been chasing a rainbow to a leprechaun's?pot of gold.
Sam: I doubt they were smart enough for that, but if you asked anyone in April where were they going most would have said LeBron to Cleveland, Wade to Miami and Bosh to follow Wade. So what's the big surprise? We'll see if conventional wisdom holds true, as the latest rumors early Thursday morning were LeBron is going to Miami.
Assuming the Bulls don't get LeBron James, they're still only an all-star SG away from being a serious contender. That being said, is it crazy for me to want the Bulls to trade for Gilbert Arenas? Baggage aside, last year he scored 22.6 ppg with 7.2 assists. He also has low mileage on his body having only played 47 games the last 3 years. It seems like the Bulls have a good relationship with the Wizards.
Sam: Not only would you be crazy, but so would anyone. He is owed $80 million over the next four years, would be your highest paid player, is arguably the league's worst perimeter defender, and, oh, by the way, remains on probation for a potential return to prison.
Quite simply: Why Boozer over Lee?
Sam: Quite simply, Boozer's better.
Why would Boozer want to leave the situation he had in Utah? He still has Deron Williams and some very promising role players, what makes him want to come to the Bulls besides the money?
Sam: Well, money. The Jazz didn't want to pay him as the had to pay Paul Millsap last summer and they play the same position. One of the cardinal rules of the NBA is you cannot afford two starters' salaries at one position. Boozer was the odd man out.
Wow Bulls fans! The biggest Free Agency season ever and we get *drumroll* ... Carlos Boozer?? Sure he can rebound with scoring inside but he's injury prone, can't defend, and was not a factor versus the lakers. I'd rather take Lee who at least is younger and not so injury prone. the road to the nba championship is through LA and with our lineup we won't be winning rings anytime soon. None of the big 2 and a half are coming here, with more adjustments we man contend for a conference chamionship but not v.s. a western team. You Sam may say what's wrong with that, ask those Jazz fans who watched Stockton and Malone throughout the playoffs all that time and never got rings.
Sam: I say it again. I'd love to watch a team that gets to the conference finals. There isn't, as Riley once said, winning and misery. I don't see many miserable NBA players in the summer. But the point the way this free agency is breaking down is there is no super team in the NBA but maybe the Lakers. Boston is about at the end and Orlando still has Vince Carter. If LeBron goes back to the Cavs they look the strongest, but as they proved hardly unbeatable. The East is setting up as one of six or seven teams that can get through. Even, to me, with LeBron with the Heat. The Bulls should be among that group. And once you do, who knows. It's about the journey, as Phil Jackson always said, and journeying deep into the playoffs is pretty special. There is no sure formula for winning, so you get as far as you can and see what happens. The Bulls have a superstar on the verge in Rose, and Kobe has shown one can do a lot toward getting you there.
Would the Bulls consider trading to get Michael Beasley considering that all of our original plans seem to be falling apart, I honestly think Beasley has a lot of potential and would be a great piece to a young nucleus.
Sam: No, but the way this went down I think the Bulls have set up a pretty good rivalry with Miami and Wade and the Heat. Should be fun. Beasley's a goofball and you can be sure Wade has told the Heat to get him out of there.
The Bulls are in need of a SG with or without James. With a defensive minded coach and system, do you think it makes more sense to try to sign a Brewer or Childress who play strong defense but are simply average shooters or should the Bulls go hard and possibly overpay for a Redick or Morrow (who looks to shoot lights out)? Maybe even one of each if LeBron is not coming on board?
Sam: I think you go with the better defensive guy among the shooters. If Mike Miller were healthier, as well, though as I said there are other options.
With Jordan, Bird, Magic, etc, the NBA marketed its stars and the stars rose to the occasion. The post Jordan era gave way to the punk generation, where the stars didn't care about anything. Where not caring was cool. Then came the next generation of stars and thing got better. Interest in the NBA was back. But the antics we have seen this off season are among the worst in sports recent memory. Titles still don't matter, expect maybe Kobe which is why he will win another one next year. It's all about egos, money and fun. What do you expect from 20 something brats? The free agent meetings were bad, the kiss my (backside) attitude was worse, but the 1 hour announcement special is rock bottom. It may be the worst thing I have seen to date from the NBA. This rivals the brawl at the Palace, albeit in a much different capacity. I think this whole process will soured fans to the NBA. Maybe I'm just mad because we are going to end up with Boozer, but I really think more of middle America will tune out the NBA because of the summer of out of control narcissism.
Sam: I agree. This has been a bad time for the NBA that you need a good season to erase. I felt the NBA was gaining some momentum from the recent Iverson punk era with more classy guys and better talents, but this sideshow free agency has left a lot of us wincing and looking away. I fear it did set the NBA back some, but the games usually are a good cleanser. Hope so.
You think Bulls regret the Kirk trade?
Sam: I know a lot of fans do as I get loads of emails suggesting the Bulls back out of the deal. They won't. But you couldn't have it both ways, to make the offer for a home run pair of free agents and then keep Kirk, and then explain you kept Kirk when LeBron said he would have come but you didn't have money for two guys. We all know the Bulls held onto Kirk as long as they could and let two good players go, Gordon and Salmons.
Why did all the great sport investigative reporters not look who Wade was following on Twitter to know whether Wade was staying with Miami? The girls in South Beach show a bit more skin in December when they don't need winter coats.
Sam: It's another tough argument to counter.
Do you have any info or gut on who the first call is to if /when lebron goes elsewhere?....reddick, morrow, korver, raja bell, roger mason, etc....?
Sam: I'd guess Redick, though I do not know for sure and would hope not. I think you can do much better with that much money. As I outlined in my Bulls.com column.blog, I'd take another run at Monta Ellis. There are opportunities, always, with teams looking to dump salaries or reduce debt. Obviously, Mike Miller, Bell, Brewer, Matthews, Mason and Korver, though the latter more forward, would be considered. I'd shoot higher.
I bet that Lebron will announce tomorrow that he will be joining Nascar. He will be driving the number 98 car.
Sam: No, that has to be what the 6 is about.
This free agency experience reminds me of my tutoring sessions with Hyde Park children at my community Church center on University Avenue in Chicago. We mentors would teach kids for an hour Saturday mornings, then play sports with them for the second hour. We split the kids into halves. One time, a boy on the opposing team felt by the end of the days' game that his team was going to lose. So, he wanted to switch teams before the game even ended. His mentor and I just shook our heads and told him no. It was up to him to learn how to transform his team into a winner - not to jump over to the winning team. I was proud of that kid when, later on in the year, I threw him a touchdown pass on the final play because the other team left him wide open (I think they under-estimated him). He caught the ball. I think he was emotional about the catch. In other words, he reached within himself to create a winner. That, I hope, will be what Mr. James does for Cleveland if he returns to that team, rather than switching to another team because he is afraid to lose again, like that boy I tutored.
Sam: They only hope in Cleveland LeBron can be as tough and committed as the average 10 year old.
So I hear Lebron will be announcing his decision via an ESPN generated special on Thursday night... what a prima dona. I mean we all know he's the King and all but this is why he's a perennial loser — self absorbed and just a plain "me" guy. I hate how we all prostrate ourselves because we want him on our team but to be honest, I don't think he ever will win... who even knows if he wants to as it always seems to be about everything else but the game with this guy. Yuck.
Sam: Yes, overall this has been a bad time for the NBA. Sure, there's been a lot of attention and the NBA has been the story of July. But I don't know it has been that great the way these guys have paraded around, showing up for the biggest meetings of their lives dressed like they are making sandwiches at Subway and acting like they are owed a hundred million dollars. Now LeBron with an hour of top TV time, when I'm not sure the President could get it. It exposes a lot of the best the NBA has to offer if not low class, certainly not up to middle class.
Just was wondering if you think all of this press and such for LeBron may end up being a negative to his image?
Sam: You'd think it could, but as long as ESPN considers him their best sports programming, he'll be an icon in the sporting world.
Do the Clippers have any interest in Luol, and if they do is there any chance a deal gets done before the big 3 make up their minds?
Sam: Maybe now with Vinny as coach. And, then again, likely not after Vinny wasn't exactly close with Lu. How 'bout that Vinny? He's already got a second job and in L.A. with an announcement by the Clippers Tuesday, and with some pretty good talent. Could the Bulls have been that wrong about him? The Clippers have cap room and the Bulls are believed to have made several efforts to deal Deng there, though the Clippers seem to want to hang onto the cap room for a free agent (not likely), or just save the money going into a potential lockout (more likely).
After all of this talk about Cleveland not having a great roster and they have overpaid all of these average players who are long term deals, and yet they have found a way to bail themselves out by putting together an acceptable sign and trade package for Bosh.
However, the Bulls who have this great young core cannot put something together with Toronto that brings Bosh here. Cleveland carelessly overspends on players to try and put a team around Lebron — fails miserably — and gets bailed out by getting Bosh.
I have also read now that Wade is back in Miami he is back on the Heat bandwagon and more than likely will resign with them, So much for the weekend flirtation.
If Bosh goes to Cleveland (I am shocked that they are getting bailed out for their carelessness) and Boozer (who most of us are not even excited about to begin with) ends up in Miami it will look as if management again failed miserably. We will not even have come away with Joe Johnson who everyone believed we were getting.
Look, I am a realist — I knew that Wade and Lebron moving were a long shot but I thought we would go all out to get Bosh and had a good shot at landing him. But to hear that Cleveland can get him with Lebron after all of this. We will not even get close to winning our division for the next 7-8 years with those two together. This is turning out just awful. How embarrassing!!!
Sam: Well, it's not over 'til... Bosh doesn't want to go to Cleveland (I wrote more about that on Bulls.com). It does look like Miami for Bosh and that is bad for the Bulls. Let's see what happens after LeBron speaks. How bad is that, by the way, the ultimate in ego and hubris.
Ok, it was fun for a while. Now, back to reality. Money IS the only thing that matters. I am a fan of building around Derrick Rose's strengths. I think we need to build a complete team. I would get Carlos Boozer first, if Bosh doesn't come that is. I think he can flourish next to Noah and even more so with Rose. He also has the strength and athleticism to become a much better defender and Thibodeau might just be able to get the best out of him. Then bring Tony Allen over from Boston and Shannon Brown from the Lakers. Allen has shown to be an excellent perimeter defender in Thibodeau's system, and Brown has shown some serious skills when given the chance. He can also play both guard positions. We should be able to get them both and then hopefully still bring Omer Asik in right? This would then be our lineup and we still get to keep all our draft picks:
PG: Rose, Brown
SG: Allen, Brown
SF: Deng, Johnson
PF: Boozer, Gibson
C: Noah, Asik
Every player on the team is built around Derrick Rose's skill set. A young, athletic, attacking, defensive minded team. Is there a better scenario you can think of that doesn't involve the big 3?
Sam: As I said, I haven't cashed in yet, though it may come to that and it always was a possibility. There were always more teams than players given what we know and what I've written for months, that most will go for the money and that is what players generally mean by winning.
When Rose's rookie contract expires, do you think he'll warrant a full MAX deal? Because I know you've long said there are only a handful of players in the league who are true max players. Where does Rose sit with you?
Sam: Yes. He'll be one of five or six or seven who are impact players. Probably LeBron, Kobe, Wade, Howard, Melo, Paul (maybe), Durant. I don't count Dirk or Pierce and no more Garnett. So make Rose eighth. Look, he's gotten the Bulls to the playoffs two straight years with players coming and mostly going. The larger question for Rose is what the max will be, though he'll get it, and if the Bulls fail to land someone in free agency it will then be all about Rose.
I was shocked when they let Gordon go then Salmons which really did it for me. All I can say is they'll get what they deserve. Too bad the fans have to pay with their hearts, and money.
Sam: I know how fans feel and it's easy to second guess if it doesn't work, but I can accept taking a shot. You can't have it both ways playing it safe and keeping your guys and going for the big free agents. What would fans have said if they didn't even try? As I've written, I would have been a bit more conservative, but I cannot disagree with going for the jackpot. It is the American way and you then cannot say the Bulls never tried to win and just sell hope and seats.
Get me Lee and real good shooter, and let's watch this team continue to develop. Screw the prima-donna All-stars! Oh wait, you can't print that, can you? It's all about winning, isn't it? I LOVE this cursed game!
Sam: Can I? It may come to that, and if it does, the Bulls still have Rose and Noah and that's a good start on anything. Perhaps it was overreaching or greed to try to go for winning without any true competition. In the end, as many felt because of their egos and competitiveness, the free agents just may divide up and leave the Lakers as favorites still. I'll still be watching.
Would you mind explaining the Stoudamire deal to me? To me, he's a bigger risk than Lee as he's had surgeries and the reputation to underperform once he gets his paycheck. Why wouldn't the Knicks pay their own guy — David Lee — to 6 years, as I bet he comes cheaper than Stoudamire.
Sam: As much as they deny it, in New York it's as much about pleasing and appeasing the media. They said they'd get someone and they did. Everyone knew you win 30 games with Lee. Now, they don't know with Stoudemire for a year. Then they lose Curry and go into free agency again. Their franchise is the rat on the wheel. Just keep running and getting nowhere. And there are a lot of rats around. But if LeBron decides to come, well...
This free agency thing is past ridiculous and it's time to move to plan B... Personally, (and I realize that my opinion doesn't matter) I feel like signing Bosh to a max contract will only hurt the team in the long run with Noah and Rose needing new contracts within the next few years. I think that we would be just as good of a team if we were to sign Kleiza to come off the bench and stretch the floor as a Forward and Childress as the 2 guard. Childress is a tall defender who can get to the basket and shoot the ball at a really high percentage (50+%). Overall, he's an underrated stud who would be an upgrade over Hinrich. And Kleiza would tear defenses up coming off the bench as a 3 or 4. Those two guys would cost us a much as Bosh would, and would be a better fit for the team. Why do we need Bosh? He won't make us a contender unless we get Wade or Lebron as well, which we won't. It is your duty to go to Gar Forman and forbid him from signing that skinny, 6 foot 11, selfish, and soon to be overpaid Bosh.
Sam: I can honestly say I heard no one going into free agency say get Childress and Kleiza. But this is what a week of this stuff can do to anyone, I guess.
Is there any chance the Bulls could possibly sign Shaq, or will he demand too much money even though he is going to be 38? Seems to me he would be a good fit to come off the bench for Noah, and would easily replace Brad Miller.
Sam: This desperation is affecting the fans more than I imagined.
Since the beginning of this soap-opera-of-an-offseason I've been so excited for the league: that it would get a 'shakeup', players would hit the 'reset' button, and to watch these teams play would become exponentially more interesting... But as time goes on, and folks begin to sign new contracts, I find myself disappointed at the possibility that all this could've been a charade: for a wider range of lesser-and-lesser skilled athletes to pressure their teams into paying them more than they could ever be worth before a possible lockout next year to complicate things...
Anselmo D. Castillo
Sam: It's what we feared would happen, that, in the end, they would be about money first. So if the Bulls lose out, at least we learned that for sure. Though it will have been a tough price to pay.
Is the deadline for this free agency hysteria over on Thursday? I have seen something about the moratorium ending Thursday, but is there a hard deadline for these guys to make a decision? I am hoping it is Thursday because I can only take about another 48 hours of this, max. And, if LeBron James had his way... this nonsense would go on all summer.
Sam: Even LeBron has finally had enough, but, no, July 8 is just the official beginning of signing. It looks like Wade and Bosh have made their decisions, but nothing is official until Thursday and then can still go on until names are signed.
I'm a Bulls fan from Brazil and I'd like to have your opinion on this: which one of these big guys should the Bulls goes for? Boozer or Lee? Boozer is a great player, but his physical condition worries me.
Sam: I'd probably, as I've mentioned before, wince and hope and go for Boozer because of his better inside scoring ability. And then I'd wonder if I made a mistake because Lee probably will miss fewer games and give you a better overall effort, if somewhat less talented.
I love Noah but the Bulls have to trade him to get Bosh. Do I want to of course not but sometimes you have to give up a piece in order to get better pieces. This reminds of the bulls not wanting to trade for Gasol.
Sam: I wouldn't. I know regarding Gasol, but Gasol has mattered playing with Kobe. Not Ben Gordon. I have brought this up myself around the Bulls as something to consider, and then when asked what I'd do, I said I'd keep Noah and forget Bosh. You need size and a center and Bosh doesn't defend much or play inside. He'd be good with Rose and Noah, not without one. And then you'd spend the next five years trying to find someone like Noah to help Bosh.
Whats the chances of Tyrus Thomas coming back to Chi-Town?
Sam: I always like to end these things with a laugh.
Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer had a report that Lebron isn't exactly being welcomed by Derrick Rose. Have you heard of any hesitation on Rose's part of playing with Lebron? Is this just another example of hometown reporting? Throughout this whole process, DWade has been so vocal about wanting to team up with these other free agents. Why hasn't Rose come out with any statement about how much he'd love playing with one of the big three? I'm sure that wouldn't affect the decision making, but it couldn't hurt.
Sam: I have never heard Rose say or intimate that, though they both dominate the ball and I can believe Rose, as quietly competitive as he is, saying he’s not becoming some spot up Mo Williams shooting guard. Nor should he. Rose has stayed out of this and I commend him for it. If the Bulls don’t get LeBron, Rose doesn’t want and not should be in the position of having tried to recruit someone to take the place of a teammate, namely Luol Deng, and then have to play with him. I heard Derek Jeter say this once and it’s the way the classy athletes handle it: You don’t go after someone at the expense of one of the guys who went to battle on the court with you. It’s why you never see Jeter recruiting free agents, and few are classier than Jeter. If the Bulls were to get LeBron, I’m sure Derrick would have no issue playing with him, as Derrick is team first guy. But you can be sure he won’t be doing those infantile pantomimes you see the Cavs players embarrassingly doing. If that’s what LeBron wants, fine, because he’s not winning, anyway, if that’s his priority.
Do you think Cleveland can get Paul for Hickson, Mo Williams and a #1?
Can they get Bosh for that? (eventually doesn't Toronto cave and want something for Bosh?)
Boozer? (wouldn't Bosh and Boozer take that for the 6th year?)
Because if they can get any of those 3 and another decent player (Mike Miller?) via the mid level, then Lj can return to Cleveland with a good shot at titles. Then he could satisfy the competing loyalty/good guy vs should be all about winning issues. And if Cleveland fails again in the next 3 years, he can leave with less criticism (ie "I already stayed once, and I've given you ten years") and still be young enough and in his prime to catch on elsewhere and grab a bunch of titles and satisfy the critics and himself
Sam: I’m pretty sure that’s what he’s been up to these last several days, trying to build the case for a return and see if the Cavs can do something that would justify it to the basketball world as well.
What are your thoughts on Derrick Byars? I thought he was good last
preseason and he played great in the D-League. He can stretch the floor with
3pt shooting and probably play as a tall 2 guard. Do you think he has a good
chance on making the team this year? He can be a cheap scoring option off
Sam: Yes, summer league; we’re moving on. Byars was the fan favorite last summer to make the team and when Salmons started cold fans were calling for Byars. As it happened, no one picked him up. If the Bulls need a starting shooting guard, I’d find it hard to believe he’s the one.
I'm lost. I keep reading that Bosh, Wade and the others would have to sacrifice 28-30 million on the final year of a contract if they choose to sign with another team rather then re-sign with their current team. So, explain this to me: Stoudemire recevied 100 mil over 5 years. An average of 20 mil. Joe Johson received 119 mil over 6 years, I read that is max offer. So, I'm seeing one year difference, and approx 20 mil in last year. Nearly identical average salary..where is the loss??
Sam: Stoudemire is an exception because he was under an old contract and can start at 105 percent of his last year, which starts him over $17 million against the approximately $16.5 the others can start at. Again, the numbers aren’t certain until the league figures the salary cap July 7. From your own team, which is why players seek a sign-and-trade, you can lock in that sixth year, which as things escalate is close to $30 million. There is a new labor agreement coming next summer or later and no one expects the maximums under that deal to be anywhere close to that figure. So if you want that big sixth year now you sign with your own team, as most are doing, or get a sign and trade, which isn’t easy as teams losing a star generally don’t want to help that traitor make more and get the team he’s going to, their scraps in return.
Say within the next couple of days Wade and LBJ sign elsewhere. Can the Bulls,
and if so, do the Bulls, back out of the Hinrich deal to Washington? Even if
they can get a big man. They still need a SG.
Sam: Yes, but no. Technically, it is not a done deal until July 8, but Jerry Reinsdorf more than any owner in pro sports does hand shake deals. A hand shake is a deal. The Bulls have had teams change on them, but they don’t and won’t deal like that. Plus, if they did, then you get a reputation of teams not wanting to deal with you and it limits the options of what you can do. Hinrich is gone. Time to move on.
I think it's likely that the Bulls will
get one of the low post PF's available, and certainly low post scoring is
one of the Bulls 2 biggest needs. However the other need they seem to have,
particularly with the offense Tibs wants to run, is someone to shoot from
the perimeter. So, if they get a big, and they do manage to land LeBron or
Wade, where does the outside shooting come from? Since they are under the
cap, they have no mid-level exception to use on a FA, so if they sign 2
"max" free agents, they will essentially be capped out and only be able to
fill the rest of the roster by signing players to minimum salary contracts
based on their service time in the league. A guy like Mike Miller, who I
think would be perfect for this team based on what Tibs wants to do, is
getting lots of interest from other teams
. Why would he, or J.J. Redick, or anyoneelse, prefer to go to the Bulls for a minimum contract would they could get
more playing for another contender. Good outside shooters are always in
high demand, as is evidenced by the contract Gordon received from Detroit
last year, and the contract Joe Johnson is signing with Atlanta. I
understand the reason for the trade of Heinrich and the # 17 pick to get
more cap space, and I do agree with it for the most part, but there were
plenty of outside shooters available in this draft that they passed up, and
I have no clue where the outside shooting that they are going to need
(whether they sign James or Wade) is going to come from. Where are they
going to find legit shooters who will play for the minimum?
Sam: So it isn’t a perfect plan. As I’ve said, this hasn’t been about team building but getting the best talent you can and then figuring it out. So even with LeBron or Wade there is no guarantee of a title as Orlando and Boston are more well balanced, at least for now. But because of the talent the Bulls felt they had to take the shot. Perhaps the only thing I’d have done differently is guarantee someone in the first two days so I wouldn’t be left empty. But they are hanging in for the big prize, and if they get one you have to commend the effort and risk. Look at it this way: With their rosters, Miami and New York are way worse off.
A week ago, I was very confident that James was going to come, now that we are waiting, I´m not, is a funny feeling. Now I understand, why some people got angry with Hinrich trade, now I´m afraid that we don´t get any of those big free agents. If none of the big free agents come, what Bulls will do, will wait another year?
Sam: The Bulls have a list of a few dozen free agents and trade possibilities. Like at the draft, you make your list of the players you like and as they come off the board you go to the next name. So it will be with free agency. As guys sign, they’ll move down, likely LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Johnson, Boozer, Stoudemire, Lee, etc and on down. Hopefully they don’t get to J.J Redick.
Deng for Gordon straight up, Gives the bulls more cap room and a better fit at the 2 with Joe Johnson off the market. Deng will be less used once we get James anyways.
Sam: Seems simple enough. Let me run it by Tayshaun Prince and Charlie Villanueva since they play three as well. Ben, agreed, hasn’t been a great fit with Detroit, but I believe they will figure it out and begin to get rid of the Rodney Stuckeys they hold so dear. It has been something, though, to now have been through Gordon, Salmons and Hinrich and in need of a shooting guard if Wade doesn’t come. But it was the only way to have a shot.
The Bulls have space just short of two max contracts, correct? Instead of trying to get both Wade and Bosh/Boozer/Lee, would it be a better idea for the Bulls to try to get one and split up the rest of the money on some "non-max" free agents? If they get, say, Bosh, then they can give Ray Allen some dough and still have enough to sign a few Matt Barnes and Rasul Butler-like figures. If they get Wade, they could sign Lee for less than the max and pony up for the Kyle Korvers of the world to add to their bench.
Besides, don't the Bulls have to sign either Juwan Howard or Kurt Thomas? I don't believe the Bulls have ever had either of them on their team before and I think it's an NBA mandate that all teams must have one of them on their roster at least once during their careers, so they better sign them before they retire.
Sam: Yes, it’s got to be Juwan’s time to return. And I’ve wondered for some time why it isn’t such a big deal that Juwan left his hometown. Anyway, that one and a team concept does sound pretty good, especially if you can land a difference maker like Wade. I’d take that and have felt like that’s a good way to go for some time. But it is hard to pass on the fantasy, and what if LeBron and Wade came out and said we wanted to come but the Bulls wanted David Lee and Mike Miller? Mind you, it wouldn’t be that bad if the Bulls could then get Kurt Thomas and maybe Sebastian Telfair.
With amare stoudemire signing with NY and it looks like wade and lebron are just going to sign with their current clubs do you think its likely that after this free agency is over we will end up with nothing like ten years ago.
to be honest if the bulls dont sign any one i wont be to disappointed, because we got a great core and with joe alexnder and james Johnson, rose, noah, taj, and deng get some more young talent and just try and build a dynasty from scratch without getting these free agents if it doesn't work out.
Sam: Well, it’s not exactly the press conference the Bulls want to have. But your optimism is commendable.
It's September 1st and our worst dreams came true. Our team consists of Rose, Noah, Deng, Johnson, and Gibson. Now what? Sleepless in Chicago
Sam: They will get someone. Keep repeating it. They will get someone.
I stand by signing Wade and wait for the phone to ring - David Lee. Wade is a proven winner, the other two are not. Lee, Gibson, Deng, Rose, Wade, Noah - not a bad start. Your stating that Wade doesn't want to play with James, he wants to beat him, was good.
Sam: It seems, as most have long speculated, LeBron is most likely to stay with the Cavs. That would have left the Bulls without a chance for either of the two potential impact players in free agency, but then came Wade out of nowhere. This is what I think is going on: Wade prefers to return to Miami, but he’s getting the sense the Heat have bollixed up free agency with their horrendous roster and he might not be able to persuade Chris Bosh to join him. That would leave Wade where he’s been the last two years, meaning no chance to compete and his career being shortened by the day. So suddenly Wade is torn. The Bulls have a far better core of players to join even without adding another top free agent, and I believe if you get Wade you would do fine just filling out a roster rather than investing in another underachieving, offensive minded power forward. Wade’s got a custody case decision coming, but not until late July, likely after he has to make a decision. So does he take a shot with the Bulls as, in effect, an outsider on Derrick Rose’s team—and Rose will be a better player in two years—and give up everything he has developed and built in Miami? After all, he told the Heat what they had to do and they can’t seem to get it done. He won a championship for them. He doesn’t owe them anything. But can Wade walk out on an organization that has built everything around him and gave him the chance to be a champion by bringing in Shaq in a daring move? And walk away from perhaps $30 million on the back end of his deal. You can be sure Wade isn’t going to be worth no $30 million payday in five years. But isn’t it about winning after the way Wade’s been left defenseless the last two seasons? I guess the best part of this could be if Wade leaves for the Bulls, the Heat could end up retiring jerseys of only Bulls players as they already have Michael Jordan’s No. 23 retired for some reason.
All this talk of Lebron James thinking of leaving Cleveland. Yet not a single friend or writer I've heard or read has referenced the 1989 Family Ties episode where Alex P. Keaton considers leaving Cleveland for a Wall Street job. This Family Ties angle actually makes me happy for Cleveland if he stays. . . like President Obama said, it would be a good story. And maybe this episode manifests why Dwayne Wade is having thoughts of joining the Bulls (obviously there are less sentimental, business reasons too). Lebron would never be a true Bull for me - just like Clemens was never a true Yankee after being a Red Sox and A-Rod perhaps never a Yankee either.
The business of basketball has gotten so lucrative - lost are the days when it could be seen as simply a healthy game.
Being teammates in sports just doesn't create those types of personal relationships as people once had. So much money is involved. Perhaps obscene how much money teams were telling Lebron he would make if he went to this or that city.
The same analogy could be applied to why many long-time Hollywood insiders believe the movie industry is not as innovative today as it was 30 years ago....Studios want to cash in and create a Star Wars franchise without understanding that that movie began as George Lucas' artsy expression - he wasn't trying to make millions.
The tail is wagging the dog when athletes try to make millions instead of trying to be great players - the millions are supposed to be the reward for playing great, not an enticement to cajole greatness out of a kid.
That's why that Family Ties moment is brilliant where every family member says "love" is the word that best summarizes a family - only for Alex to argue that the word should be "Money"
Long Giang Le
Sam: It was not a TV show I ever watched, but I did look it up and Alex did leave Cleveland for New York. A major byproduct of free agency and now you see in the NFL with a hard cap, which some in the NBA intend to push for next summer in labor talks, is the pure mercenary nature of pro athletes more than ever. It is that way more in baseball because they have no salary cap. Imagine this NBA free agency with no salary cap. The days of team building are gone for many reasons. Yes, people in every discipline today demand instant results and hardly have time to create a masterpiece. Art often surrenders to expediency. The interesting thing about LeBron may be more positive than negative. Less, perhaps, than fearing he cannot return to Akron, maybe he is making a statement that he loves his team and his city and the players and wants to continue to build that way. Maybe we should applaud him for staying instead of hooking on somewhere for a quick fix result that may not occur anyway. Maybe he is doing it the right way if he stays and everyone else is misguided. It’s been heresy to say so around Chicago, but I’ve thought at times why not just build around Rose and Noah like the Bulls did with Jordan and find yourself some players in the draft and around the edges in trades. Rose is going to be a star in the class of James, Wade, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. You have a star, so why keep trying to hire more guns? But that horse has left the barn, as it were. I’m from Brooklyn, but I read that one. Chicago went love nuts over Dennis Rodman, so it is winning and, as Seinfeld cleverly said, rooting for laundry. The community will take the success no matter how it is dressed.
If a super team even came here I'm not sure I would love the team. It kind of reminds me of when I went to Syracuse and Derrick Coleman was on the team. I just couldn't root for them. Part of the fun is seeing a team get built and watching the struggles. Hope the same thing that happened when i went to syracuse doesn't happen here.
Sam: I can sympathize with having to root for Derrick Coleman. Whooop de damn do! No matter how ugly or disappointing this free agency process becomes, it won’t be that bad.
What do you think the odds of a Carmelo Anthony to the bulls deal would be? This trade would involve Deng, Gibson, and James Johnson going to Denver with draft picks for Anthony. With the leftover cap space the Bulls could potentially add another max free agent and one bench player. Do you think the Nuggets would give up on Anthony soon enough to accept this trade?
Sam: No. I believe I addressed this before. One, I’ve long though if Anthony waits it out it’s because he wants to go to New York, so you might have him for just one season. Plus, despite reports the Nuggets would consider trading him if he doesn’t accept his extension, I’ve heard Denver plans to play it out one more season. The rumor at draft time was they rejected Al Jefferson and three or four firsts for Anthony. If that’s the case, the Bulls wouldn’t even be close with such an offer. And that’s a lot to give up for a guy who could walk on you after one season.
The Miami Herald speculates that if Wade goes to the Bulls, it will be in a sign-and-trade for Rose. Is this possible? Are there scenarios where the Bulls would be willing to give up Rose and/or Noah? If so, how would they still be attractive to Wade or James?
Sam: That is ludicrous, of course, as Chicago would not be particularly appealing without Rose, and given their ages and Wade’s health history and beating his body has taken the last several years, I’d easily take Rose today over Wade. The Bulls will not give up Rose or Noah, and if they involve Gibson in a sign-and-trade I can see that being a setback as well. You can’t keep giving up players for guys who all want to shoot the ball.