Ask Sam | Week of 07.12.10
Sam Smith opens his mailbag daily Monday-Friday to respond to the latest round of e-mails from his readers.
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Ok, so no Redick. I like Shannon Brown. Different player obviously but an athletic, strong two guard wouldn't hurt either. Can Bulls outbid Lakers?
Sam: Here we go. Sounds like Brown is returning to the Lakers, but I feel the Bulls can do better. Brown’s not a starter. At least take a shot at a starter. I know Boozer and Korver were nice additions, but you still need a defensive two. I think James Johnson has a shot to grow into it as I liked the way he defended in the playoffs. Not savvy, but with grit. And I think with that kick boxing background guys will back off him. For now, I’d shoot a bit higher.
What do you think of Orlando matching J.J. Redick's offer by the Bulls? Rumor has it, Orlando will match and then will try to trade Mickeal Pietrus; Any chance of the Bulls getting him as he will feel the need of a wing perimeter defender and 3-point shooter? Think the Bulls send James Johnson and cash considerations for Pietrus?
Sam: I’ve heard it speculated and mentioned it in my blog on the subject posted Thursday night. I’d keep Pietrus if I were Orlando, as he makes big shots and can defend and Carter has one year left and they are letting go Matt Barnes, it seems. You never know what teams are thinking, but why spend all that on Redick and then give up on Pietrus?
Would you consider trading Deng for Vince Carter, since Vince Carter's contract is up next year and signing Tracy Mcgrady for 2 to 3 years. Rose is the star and the leader, so t mac and v.c. would not have as much pressure on them. To go along with Boozer and Noah, thats a pretty good starting line up,
Sam: I know the fans’ latest hobby is to get rid of Deng, but here’s a good example. Yes, Carter is a shooting guard, suddenly the most important position ever. So say you did trade for Carter to get out from under Deng’s money, four years left. Forget Carter never has played for a team that’s gotten past the second round and historically plays small in the playoffs. The assumption is it will be so easy to replace Deng, but I’m not so sure. James Johnson? Kyle Korver? I don’t think so. Deng gets you 17 and 7 and will defend adequately. It’s not so easy to replace.
Are the Bulls intent on locking up Noah or will they play the Hinrich/ Gordon/Deng game, waiting for the last minute? Reason I asked is, I feel Noah is the most likely to leave the Bulls for, of all places, Miami next season. He can sign for the midlevel since he'll be going back to Florida where he obviously loves and hasn't hidden his love for warm weather. Money's not a primary issue since he came from an affluent background.
Sam: Noah would be restricted after the season, so you can forget him going anywhere. The big issue is he’s eligible for an extension and I assume the Bulls offer one later this summer. That also, by the way, probably will end any talk about pursuing free agents after this summer. The question is the number. Rose when he comes up is going to be a max player. Deng and Boozer are eight figure salaried players, and you can only have so many, especially if there’s any sort of hard cap in the labor deal. Then it would turn into an NHL thing where you have to start dumping your own players. Which is one reason, I believe, the Bulls aren’t going nuts to compete with some of the offers this summer for a shooting guard. It could cost them their better players depending on the labor deal. Noah is valuable, but not an All Star yet. Also, he has to take into consideration the rules may change in the upcoming labor agreement and maybe the salary ceilings are reduced. Does he want to lock in something now and not worry?
After all, he’s 25. Why not lock up your first big contract and forget it and not get too greedy? But maybe he’ll want more and take a risk.
Forget that he grew up privileged. All the players are rich now and generally make sure they get the most money or close. This notion of LeBron taking less to build the Heat has something there, but with the sign and trade and the lack of state taxes and LeBron comes out just about max. The Bulls and Noah are going to have an intriguing negotiation later this summer.
What do you think about Matt Bouldin, a guard from Gonzaga. He has a nice jump shot and a great feel for the game. The Bulls should take a look at him.
Sam: He is on the summer league team, so they are, and he has looked like a savvy type player who doesn’t rattle and can help. Right now, you’d think he or John Lucas has a chance to make the mother ship flight.
I’m a bit surprised and disappointed that the Bulls didn’t do everything they could do to get Raja Bell. He is the perfect SG for their system in that they already have a sharp shooter to stretch the floor in Korver. Nothing on the board of remaining free agents is going to be close to his price as well as level of experience and positive attributes that he would have brought to this team. Now, we will probably have to fall back. Perhaps Jazz, having lost 2 players to the Bulls, needed to stick it to us at the end.
Sam: That was my guy, as I’ve written a few times. I’m not fully sure what the terms of the deal were, but if you get three full years at 34 I guess you have to take that. It would have been an ideal situation for him as he’d likely be the starter on a contending team in a great city. I know he did well in Utah and liked Salt Lake City. Maybe Chicago isn’t as appealing as we all think it is.
Even if we get someone who is left, who can compete with Ray Allen, Joe Johnson, Dwayne Wade, Stephen Jackson, Ben Gordon, Rip Hamilton, Vince Carter, John Salmons, Anthony Morrow or Turner? I see the need to be smart about how you spend money as a team and owner. The Bulls weren’t and now will be dominated at 2 guard when they had an opportunity to improve. This will be a downfall for them this season.
Sam: No team, not even Miami, has high level starters at every position. Not in this era, and especially with major labor changes coming. I have agreed it is important to have some good defense on the perimeter for Thibodeau’s system, but he is a system coach and it’s not like Boston was putting out there all-defensive players at every position. Or many, for that matter. Baby Davis? Eddie House?
Sacalbrine? Ray Allen never has been a high level defender and neither was Pierce. We’ll see. It’s not over yet, and there are some possibilities. Get back to me on this midseason.
If the Magic match on Redick what would you say the percentage (hopefully high) that the Bulls trade picks in exchange for Xavier Henry because of the contract dispute?
Sam: I’ve had several of these suggestions, but I don’t see the urgency for the Grizzlies to make a deal for picks. I never heard the Bulls were that high on Henry, though he can shoot. But he’s a rookie and hardly the perimeter defender at this point.
I think you can see different generations in the NBA, and they have the potential to all be forming alliances in the future, as the first super team may be forcing this reaction out of necessity to compete.
LeBron, Wade, & Bosh are obviously part of the same generation, and they have their own super team now. They all played on the '08 gold metal team. Now you have this young generation with guys like Rose, Westbrook, & Tyke Evans who all work out together, throw in Durant too. They are the new national team as it would appear. I can't envision Rose or Durant ever leaving their teams because I think they are genetically different than the likes of LeBron & co. I think they have more of the Jordan gene in them, but I'm not so sure about Tyke staying or maybe some other guys of this new generation.
Could you see another super team forming with these guys? Maybe one in NY with Melo & Paul?
Sam: It will be a question that keeps coming up given the latest talk at Carmelo’s wedding of Chris Paul and Carmelo allegedly joining Amar’e in New York. No mention of Eddy Curry but they’d need a center.
Of course, in two years Amar’e may need surgery again, so who can say.
Durant did sign up without an out, and with the Bulls not getting LeBron or Wade I cannot see Rose leaving Chicago. But once the possibility is raised it will become a topic to be considered in every future big free agency. I don’t see how the NBA can legislate against it. My sense is there will be a lot stronger players down the road like Durant and Rose who will want to follow the models of guys like Michael and challenge others to bring it on. It’s interesting. Even when we were kids, we didn’t think of joining the best team. We always thought about trying to beat them. It’s a different world, I guess.
A friend of a friend's gym buddy's former cellmate says that the Bulls are talking of a trade involving Deng and/or Taj and Danny Grainger. Heard anything like this?
Sam: I’m surprised that hasn’t been on one of the national web sites by now as that sounds like what is usually “league sources.” I’ve had a number of fans write me with this “rumor,” which suggests to me it’s been on some of those popular message boards or fan fantasy sites. I can’t say I’ve heard anything about it, though Granger’s name has come up many times in potential Pacers trade talks. Though it’s always been for point guards. They are trying to get under after next season, so I don’t see why they’d want to take on contracts for Granger.
I think you're a little too harshly against the idea of Tracy McGrady as a SG for the Bulls. I think he'll come for $5M to $6M per year, with a chip on his shoulder and having to prove to other teams that he's still worth big money he'll be a good citizen. He can shoot, can handle the ball (freeing up Rose), can create his own shot, maybe the occassional 30+ game, plays good enough defense and if you limit his minutes to 25 or 30 he can last the entire season and put some fear into the heart of the other NBA teams. Either this or allow him to sign in Miami or Lakerville. Name a SG on the free agent market better than McGrady right now as a matter of fact name a player.
Sam: OK, let me reconsider. I'm thinking it out. I've now decided that McGrady would make the Bulls a lottery team. He'd be a disaster of titanic proportions and likely destroy whatever fabric or spirit is left of the team and any sporting enthusiasm for basketball in the city of Chicago and within 1,000 miles. And that's if he's healthy.
From a basketball standpoint, he is exactly the opposite of that the Bulls should do: Run. Even at his best he's a half court player who monopolized the ball and just got stuff for himself. He rarely ever practiced and never stayed in shape. He defended in Toronto with Vince Carter, but then left because he wanted to shoot more and didn't want to play in Carter's shadow. Big surprise he never was on a team that won a playoff series in 13 years in the NBA. That's not easy. He doesn't play defense at all, and since having serious injuries cannot be counted upon and even the Knicks let him go and wouldn't play him.
The league is hoping Miami signs him as he'd likely destroy their chemistry with his unrelenting desire for attention and failure to be healthy enough that anyone would know if or when he could play. I know. I'm too easy on these guys.
I have had this discussion with a few of my friends and I would like to hear your opinion. Iverson Tweeted: "I want to return to the NBA this season, and help any team that wants me, in any capacity that they feel that I can help. I'm disappointed and I owe my fans more than what they have seen of me the last couple seasons. However, now that my family is healthy and rock solid, I can concentrate fully on doing what I do best! At the camp, I will help teach kids some of what it takes to be successful in life. On and off the basketball court."Now after reading that (and assuming he is telling the truth) do you feel that he could make a valuable contribution to the Bulls?
Sam: You know what I wrote about McGrady? Ditto.
I thought Chris Richard did a nice job, brings size, rebounding, needs to learn how to dunk. Also, The Internet pundits keep saying that the Jazz just traded Boozer for Al Jefferson and made out on the deal because Jefferson is younger. What do you think? Jefferson looked hurt to me, never got off the floor.
Sam: Jefferson's a good gamble. The Minnesota guys tell me he's OK, so we'll see. He should fit with the Jazz as they play a more deliberate half court game. It's a good move for them. As for Richard, he has a good shot to make the end of the roster, I'd assume.
I can't believe all the negative comments coming from Bulls fans right now. We have an All-Star point guard who is only 21 years old. We have an All-Star power forward who many teams would love to have in their system. We have one of the best young centers in the league who was nearly an All-Star himself last season but still was a top rebounder in the league. A very solid contributor in Luol Deng and few nice offseason moves should leave the city of Chicago very happy for the upcoming season. I personally believe this year will be our best year since that guy named Jordan wore a jersey.
Sam: Actually, the majority of the emails I have gotten have been upbest about next season and I've tried to balance them in proportion to the total I get, which is what I try to do on all issues. But there obviously has to be some disappointment about not getting LeBron, Wade or Bosh, everyone's top three, and seemingly getting used by Wade and LeBron.
I'm not sure I completely understood the Tyson Chandler trade but if Dampier is waived, would he be available for free agent signing under a new smaller contract and would the Bulls be interested?
Sam: He can be waived as his contract isn't guaranteed, which was one appeal. He could be, but I assume then he gets a decent deal from someone, perhaps an exception deal that may be more than the Bulls have. I think the Bulls are trying to get Brad Miller to return as a second or third center with Noah and Asik.
This sounds too good to be true for the Bulls. The Grizz are having contractual issues with Xavier Henry (offering him less than the slot) and have 4 SG's under contract. Arn Tellem is Henry's agent. Could the Bulls send the Charlotte Pick + Future 2nd Round Pick for Henry?
Sam: I'd guess Memphis would want more. After all, it's not like they are competing for a title. They are in no hurry.
I'm watching the Bulls demolish the Clippers in summer league right now and I can't understate how impressed I am with John Lucas III. Yea he's short for a PG but the way he handles the ball well, finds his teammates, finishes in transition, and plays with a lot of intensity on the defensive end. Do you think there's a chance the Bulls extend him an offer to backup Derrick Rose? (yea yea I won't too excited given it's only the Clippers.)
Sam: I've mentioned him in my "Ask Sams" this week and have considered him a possibility. He really is small when you see him up close as I did last weekend at the minicamp at the Berto. But he's more experienced and might be able to take some minutes running a team. I assume they invite him to training camp and believe he can be a possibility as shooting guard, big man and wing for now seem bigger priorities than backup point guard.
I thought there was a rule (Ted Leonsis Rule?) that forbids teams from trading their 1st round pick two years in a row? If that's the case, how can the Heat give up four first round picks to the Raptons and Cavs as part of the Bosh and Lebron sign and trade deals?
Sam: Ted Stepien, actually, the Cavs owner in the early 80's who traded away No. 1's that became the likes of James Worthy, I think. He was George Steinbrenner before the Yankees were winning, firing coaches and broadcasters and making wild personnel judgments. But no one notices much if you do it in Cleveland. Leonsis is the new owner of the Wizards. No rules for him yet. Basically you cannot trade two consecutive future ones. It was part of the beginning of the NBA protecting the owners against themselves as they did with the salary cap. Once you use one you can trade the next one. So you can trade every other year and ones you get from other teams in trade like the Bulls have their 2012 Charlotte pick.
I'm hoping that you can provide me with some insight regarding Joe Alexander. The whole WVU contingent &mdas; as well as the Bucks and the Bulls — have been waiting for a breakthrough from Joe. He has had some misfortune in his first two seasons and has not been able to develop to the point where he needs to be heading in to season three. However, his physical attributes can not be overlooked and he apparently has a great attitude and work ethic. I know that the knock on him has been his lack of a mid-range jumper and feel for the game (I think that he's pressing too hard and just needs to slow down). What are the Bulls hoping to see from him this summer in Las Vegas and why did he not play in the first game against Denver, 7/13?
Sam: He's not on the summer league team, which made scoring tougher in those games. I'm really not sure what's up, though I heard some mumbling about another injury. He was working hard since the end of the season and every day I went to the Berto Center he was there. He was living at a hotel down the block and working out all the time, but something happened and I'm uncertain now whether they'll bring him back for camp.
Do you feel at all bitter about this super team coming to Miami and not Chicago? It seems like just when the Bulls are getting things together with a really good team, the heat has a team to put ours to shame to an extent.
Sam: Not really. They pulled it off. Someone had to, and it was Miami. So they won. But the Bulls improved. They are better than they were to start last season, and now they have a target to shoot at. I believe Rose offsets Wade and Boozer offsets Bosh. There's this LeBron guy who is an issue, but if the Bulls can gain a big edge at center with Noah, who knows. Miami's the favorite. But let's see them go at it. I think it will be some good stuff.
Why didn't the Bulls go hard after Quentin Richardson? He seems like a much better option at the number 2 than J.J. Redick. He shoots about the same as Redick, plays better defense, and would have cost only slightly more. Don't you think the Bulls' $7 million would have been put to better use trying to get Richardson instead of locking it away in a qualifying offer that will probably be matched anyway? A home-town backcourt of Rose and Richardson would have been something.
Sam: Richardson has longstanding back problems that doesn't enable even his contract to be insured. So he's a risk. Plus, he's more a small forward than a two guard.
I may be the only Bulls fan that would be happier with Redick over Lebron, just because he competes for the love of the game and I loved him at Duke.
Sam: I heard there was one. Thanks for writing to let me know.
At halftime of the Bulls/Nuggets summer league game on NBA TV, there was an interview with Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He discussed his recent column regarding the behind the scenes activity that led to the Miami signings. The article included this interesting passage: "It was also made known to James that the Heat would take care of his friends the same way the Cavs did — special treatment at the arena, changing practice and travel schedules to allow for money-making late-night parties in various cities, and perhaps even hiring a James associate in a high-paying position in the organization. This was nothing new for Riley. He made the same accommodations for Shaquille O'Neal and, to a lesser extent, Wade in recent years." You said in response to a recent question that the Bulls never made any offer of this type to James, but do you think he expected the Bulls to make such an offer? (like other Bulls fans, I'm glad they didn't.) Do you think that he expected each and every team that wanted him to offer these perks as a matter of course, without him having to ask? Personally, the more I learn about James (assuming what's printed is true), the happier I am that he didn't come here.
Sam: As I've written, I heard it never came up, but looking back it likely didn't because for whatever reason LeBron apparently never had serious interest in the Bulls despite sending signals that he did. The Bulls had all kinds of hints, most likely from this World Wide Wes guy who as it turned out apparently had nothing to do with any of this, that LeBron was available. He obviously never was and seemed willing to use several teams, including the Bulls, to dramatize his final decision. So, yes, a lot of what was written was wrong, apparently.
Would the Bulls and fans loved to have had LeBron? Yes. But they had to take the shot because if they didn't they'd never have any credibility about trying to compete for titles. If people won't deal with you honestly, what can you do?
Cuban is rumored to be open to dealing him Caron Butler and he's a perfect fit at the 2, and can play 3 obviously as well. Big, inside-outside game, defender, and a deadly scorer. Do you think they'd take Johnson and a couple 2nd rd picks?
Ryan M Grace
Sam: One thing about Cuban, he doesn't take less in deals often. Butler's more three and going into his final season the Mavs believe they can get something really good for Butler. Deng would be the only possibility and they are not big fans.
Everyone is still talking about Lebron and the Heat. I think we are forgetting he is out of our division now. Doesn't that make us the probable number 1 in front of Milwaukee. Which would give us a top 3 seed.
Sam: Yes, suddenly the division is back in the reach of the Bulls. We are counting out the Cavs, but they still have a lot of talent and you'll recall they played the Bulls even in Chicago without LeBron late in the season. I felt if LeBron went back they would be the East favorite. I've heard rumors of LeBron being pushed to Miami by business interests, or at least to leave Cleveland. So he chose his buddies and the weather. Maybe we'll find out some day. I'd say it looks like a three team race with the Cavs and Bucks, who I wouldn't count out. Maybe they overpaid Gooden and Salmons, but they are pro players at their positions and with Bogut, Jennings and Maggette they won't be an easy out. But you get the division you are top four and it will be big.
It seems you get a lot of questions about the same free agents, Barnes, Brewer, etc. Who do you think the Bulls should look at that haven't gotten a lot of attention or could be qualified as an under the radar guy? The guys I talk about with friends are Shannon Brown, Rafer Alston, Roger Mason, and maybe even Richard Jefferson.
Sam: And maybe Jarvis Hayes, Rasual Butler. There are a lot of guys, but all with warts, like all you mention. I'm not confident they get an NBA level starter at two, but we'll see. A lot depends on what Orlando does with Redick. I most liked the idea of Raja Bell even though there are warts there as well as he's 34 and didn't play last season. But the Bulls made a big upfront offer, about a million more than the Jazz for each of the first two seasons. Bell went with the extra years with the Jazz.
It's ludicrous that there's no mention of us aggressively going after C.J. Watson. He fills the "huge need" that everyone keeps talking about. A decent athlete, who can finish, get steals, play patient, score off the bench, hit 3's, and versatile to play 1 or 2... and if needed, has the stamina to play 48 minutes (we saw this with the Warriors last year when they had 4 players dressed for a while). What's the deal?
Sam: He's another one of those no names I can see the Bulls pursuing. Little known was they had some trade talks about him early last season and I have heard he's been on and off their radar since. He's also restricted.
Did the Bulls lose out on getting Joe Johnson because of their pursuit of Wade, Lebron, and Bosh?
Sam: No, they lost out because no one could pay him more than Atlanta and they shocked everyone by paying him more than anyone could and making him, amazingly enough, the highest paid of all the free agents. Who saw that coming?
How well do you think Gar Forman has handled the free agency? I'd say, pretty well. Some people are saying he's made a mistake by persuing Redick over Morrow. They are justified in thinking so. Forman misread the situation by thinking Redick would be easier to obtain. He should have realized that Orlando now has to compete with Miami; thus, the Magic were more likely to obtain a player they felt strongly about. But I'm not a fan of that type of passive management, and I admire his aggressive efforts in pursuing the right player. He's building a team; Redick is the right piece. Plus, Gar get's bonus points for bearing a slight resemblance to Albert Camus (Am I the only one who thinks this?).
Sam: I agree the Bulls have done reasonably well in putting together complementary pieces after the LeBron/Wade disappointment and, so importantly, not getting shut out like the Nets and Clippers. I admit I have not heard much discussion of Camus' works around the Berto Center, though they always said Tyrus was strange. I read Camus' The Stranger in college and it at least gave me hope I could accomplish something because the guy was famous and I couldn't understand much of what he was writing about. I've later learned of Camus being an absurdist, which would have prepared him for this free agency. I have heard Gar's wife say she wished he looked more like Sartre. But, you know, he does have that Camus shaved above the ears haircut. I figured Camus did it because the existentialists suffered and didn't have time for regular trims.
Is there any chance of Deng moving to the 2? I know when he first came in the league the team had to encourage him to step inside the 3 to take his jumpers. Seemed like he was drifting back out there a little more last season and wasn't doing so bad (38% to Redick's 41%). Then maybe there would be room at the 3 spot for Barnes and Korver. And if Redick does still end up signing with the Bulls, he could back up Deng and/or Rose.
Sam: I've been hearing lately that Orlando will match. If they do and the Bulls don't sign anyone before then, the Bulls go back to about $12 million left. My choices would then be Raja Bell, Matt Barnes, Brad Miller and Shaun Livingston. It's likely the Bulls have spoken to them, as well as several others, as I've heard those players each have had discussions with up to a half dozen different teams. Plus, they may not have enough money — even if Redick goes back — to sign four like that unless someone doesn't take much. If Orlando doesn't match, I see Miller, maybe a specialist guard like Keith Bogans and possibly a rookie free agent backup point. There are dozens of potential combinations at this point until we see what Orlando does. As for Lu, he's more likely a four as an emergency since with his upright body it's tougher for him to run around after twos. The Bulls definitely need a perimeter guy who can defend.
Do you honestly think that the Miami heat will be the team to beat? Because the way I see it, they still have a long a way to go. Two of the big three have had pretty big injuries and rest of the players that they're looking at to sign have had lots of injuries too. Also, they're all "old" in basketball years. The way I see it, the big three will have to play almost every second of every game because they're looking at old players with a bunch of injuries. C'mon, mike miller? please! I saw him play for the wizards last year when the Bulls were in DC. The guy was always on the floor because he's always getting hurt. And big Z? The guy can barely move and he always looks tired.
Sam: Yes, there are issues and possibilities with all teams. Wade could break down and may in a few years. Bosh has had knee issues. Mike Miller, you are right, has been hurt getting off the team bus. But any team can have injuries. Derrick's going to be playing a lot of hard ball for USA Basketball this summer while Wade, Bosh and LeBron rest. Because I see LeBron willing to fit in to silence his critics and do what he can to win and justify his decision, I think the Heat will be terrific. Miami won in 2006 with regulars like an aging Shaq and close to washed up Antoine Walker, Payton and Posey. This team is way better and look to me like a 60-plus win team. I'm sure LeBron looks at it like he won 60-plus the last two years with a bunch of disposable parts. How can he not now?
If the Magic match on Redick, should we consider trading for Rudy Fernandez? They've got a log jam at the wing positions out there with Roy, Batum, Bayless, Johnson and Williams and I'm wondering if we couldn't get him for a draft pick and either JJ or Taj. They would probaby want Taj, which I'd be hesitant to do with Boozer's injury concerns, but since Rudy's so much cheaper than Redick couldn't we just go out and sign Luis Scola to be our first big man off the bench? Is Rudy still a name getting thrown around regarding the Bulls?
Sam: Rudy's name is thrown around by a dozen teams. Portland has remained uninterested in trading him. It's almost certain Houston will match anything on Scola. The Bulls should be done with restricted free agents if Orlando matches.
I have been reading about Omer [Asik] and it sounds like he has been injured three times, why did the Bulls want him and sign him?
Erwin St. Rose
Sam: The injury last year was a shoulder separation which can happen to anyone and isn't an ongoing problem. He seems OK from a knee problem a few years back. Plus, I've seen him at the Berto and he moves extremely well.
Why arent we looking at a defensive minded wing player like Raja Bell, Ronnie Brewer, or Matt Barnes? Redick on Wade would be a nightmare.
Sam: They are. I think they view Redick as a backup, though it also seems a lot of money to me for that. I've heard Brewer may return to Utah, as Deron Williams is close with him.
I still don't understand why Toronto agreed to sign and trade Bosh to Miami for what will be a pair of very low first round draft picks. Couldn't they have received more from a Western conference franchise and thereby foiled the creation a super team they'll have to compete with for the next six years? As far as I can figure, this decision indicates one of two things: Either Bosh told them he would refuse a sign and trade with any other team and sign with Miami regardless (in which case I wish they had called his bluff) or Toronto management is involved in a global conspiracy that permits them to profit from this atrocity.
Sam: I believe it's the former, though you never dismiss a good international conspiracy involving Canada. Bosh decided where he wanted to go and went. He has accepted a five year deal. Obviously he wanted six, and at that point rather than just be vindictive, the Raptors and Cavs with LeBron decided to get something. And as you can see with the Jazz getting Al Jefferson, a trade exception, which you get on that kind of sign-and-trade, can be very useful in getting a player. Toronto had a half dozen places to send Bosh with a sign-and-trade, but he insisted on Miami only.
What do you think of the Bulls trying to make a play for Al Jefferson with the T-Wolves and move Boozer to the 3? Do you think Deng and Picks would be enough? Would we need to throw in Taj? I think if we could acquire him we could definitely contend with the Miami Dream Team.
Sam: It looks like the Jazz have him. Minnesota seemed pretty clear it didn't want players of any substance in return and the Bulls didn't have the cap space to absorb a guy like that. Plus, Boozer is a four. I don't think they had any chance to make a deal with what they had, especially after signing Korver. Plus, Minnesota sees Love as a four.
If the Bulls are interested in a shooting guard, why waste time and money with JJ Redick when you can probably go out and get Jon Scheyer for way cheaper? He's as good of a three point shooter as Redick and he led the Blue Devils to a championship as a point guard. He could act as a backup to Rose in an emergency as well as knock down shots when Rose is on the floor. Sure he doesn't have the NBA experience but at the price he could probably be picked up for it would be worth taking the chance.
Sam: I'm not an expert on Scheyer, but the consensus among NBA scouts seems to be he's a marginal NBA player. Of course, two years ago many were saying that about Redick, but he did come on and even outplay Vince Carter at times to help out the Magic in the playoffs. Plus, Scheyer is with the Heat, and that may be even more perfect for him if he can just make shots. It's not like he'd be guarded on that team.
LeBron is 25; current leading research indicates that the frontal lobe in young men doesn't fully develop until around 25. He's a kid and never appeared more so than during the "decision," as if he hadn't truly comprehended all of what he was doing. You could tell he had terrible cotton mouth.
Sam: But what was Rodman's excuse?
In your article of "Bulls want to add J.J. Redick after Kyle Korver" at the very end of it you talk about the possibility of getting another wingman like Matt Barnes. I've watch Barnes in diferent games and situations, I might be misstaken, but he doesn't strike me as a player that helps the team chemistry or mental toughness of the team. I know for a fact that those things are very fragile on a young team such as the Bulls where 4 players are under 25. If they are trying to build a team similar to the 2004 Pistons, don't you think the should pay close atention to the temper of the players?
Sam: That has been something of an issue with Barnes, which is why he moves around as well as being in the wrong place at the wrong time so often. That said, I believe the missing elements remains toughness and attitude and he's a guy who'll give you some of that. Which is why I also mention Raja Bell and why Kobe Bryant wants him. By the way, I've heard Bell won't go to the Lakers. One thing you do is watch who the top guys want. They don't always know, but when it's not a friend, it means something, and we know from when Bell tried to decapitate Kobe they do not seem close. As guys around the league say, players will tell you who they don't want to play against. Guys don't like playing against Barnes.
What about The Three Am-EGOS?
Marc A. Brauer
Sam: I think Riley has the t-shirt rights already.
Did you see when Chris Broussard was on SportsCenter saying they Bulls told Lebron they won't give him special treatment like having his friends work for the organization, also being able to fly on the plane with the team?
Sam: I've had some Bulls fans say they were glad the Bulls did that, but I've talked to everyone in the meeting from the Bulls side and they said the subject never came up.
Any chance the Bulls continue their Utah Jazz East movement and look to deal Deng for Kirlenko? I know Kirlenko makes more so it would probably take away the rest of the Bulls' cap space (assuming Redick comes), but I think Kirlenko could be a defensive monster with Noah in Thibodeau's system and defensive schemes and his contract is shorter than Deng's. Deng would likely fit really well with Sloan as well.
Sam: Now that Kirilenko is down to his final season I assume the Jazz hang on to him to get off that $17 million. Though I do hear the Bulls may want the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to sing the pregame intro.
Who would have been a better catch considering age, contract value, health issues, playing style and fit: Carlos Boozer — constantly injury prone, over paid, 29 next year, doesn't play defense much, is smallish for his position, okay he's better at pick and roll though Al Jefferson — $13M, $14M and $15M for a F/C who has great post play, he's merely 25, yes he came from a bad year and an injury but has played more games than Boozer has for the most part and he's younger, he is bigger and would pair quite nicely with Noah to serve against Dwight, Bynum/Gasol and other bigs.
Sam: I'm not sure because Jefferson looked so bad last year. He was slow and without much lift and a bad team basically gave him away. There's injury issues with Boozer and I have mentioned in the past I have suspicions about him. But Jefferson wasn't able to run the court at all last season and you have to with Rose and Noah and I hope Thibodeau understands that. Jefferson's been a black hole player, meaning the ball goes in and never comes back out. If he returns to full health and runs the court he could be a smallish center, but for now Boozer is a better fit.
Why was Cleveland fined 100K and LeBron not? David Stern stated that he shouldn't have embarked on "The Decision." And advice he received was poor, and that the decision was barely produced and poorly executed. Why not fine LeBron then for his poor decisions made during the way he conducted himself in free agency? I'm not venting on LeBron and I'm not saying that Dan Gilbert is right, but is Stern pampering LeBron because of the great ratings and revenues the NBA will receive in the future season?
Sam: If the league fined players for poor decision making and accepting bad advice, the nation's poverty rate would increase dramatically and further wreck the economy. Stern was just being a good American and Democrat as far as I could tell.
Just saw a picture of James Johnson in Las Vegas and he looks to be in incredible shape. Maybe about 20lbs lighter. Do you think the bulls might consider utilizing him at shooting guard? He was already extremely athletic when he was heavier and his athleticism should only improve at a lighter weight. He can handle the basketball extremely well. He has great vision and has three point range. At 6'8" 230lbs he could be a beast at shooting guard.
Sam: That is my new project. I don’t think the coaching staff sees him quite that way, but I’d make that my summer league project. I don’t know what they’re doing with the summer league team, but I’d put him at shooting guard 30 minutes a game. Summer league play often is stupid. I’d run it like baseball runs the minor leagues: You hire eight guys to get your one guy ready. If you have one summer league guy who’ll make your team, play him every way possible in his best spot. The issue with Johnson is Vinny last season never defined what he is. I think he showed late in the season when he got a chance he could defend. He clearly likes the perimeter better, so I don’t think he’s a good four. So he’s supposedly a three, but Deng eats up too much time there. Obviously, shooting guard is the issue for now and I agree he can be an unusual mismatch. You don’t have to move your feet great at two as much as chase guys. He’s obviously athletic. He needs someone to take the big arc out of his shot, but he’s got the quickness and size to make himself an interesting mismatch. I’d run him constantly at two for the next week to get an idea. Anything else is likely a lost opportunity.
I think Al Harrington will be a good bench player do they have any interest in him?
Sam: There may be a money issue with Harrington as well as a health issue as his knees are big problems. But the Bulls almost traded for him last season and have had interest, though since he’s more a four these days I doubt very much.
If there were ever any doubt,there remains none. (The Bulls) signed Kirk Hinrich to his ridiculous contract, without the foresight that by doing so,it made keeping Ben Gordon difficult. (They have) done the same thing by signing J.J. Redick to a 19 million front loaded contract. What is the difference between Kyle Korver and Redick? Four inches!
Sam: I think the point is to have the floor spread with three point shooting, which has been their weakness. A big weakness, especially now with Rose and Boozer. It didn’t seem to hurt Orlando having the floor spacers the way the game is played now. The larger point with Gordon was the money, and had they matched or paid him they never could have gotten into serious free agency talks. I know it didn’t work out, but they had to take the shot. I’m not a big Redick fan because of the defensive issues, but while it is easy to say go get Jason Richardson or O.J. Mayo, the league is not in the market of helping the Bulls. Both contracts are two year guarantees, so they should be easy to trade if it becomes necessary. The investments seem reasonable.
How do you feel about resigning Brad Miller? I'm looking at the roster and I see that there's no good backup for Joakim and with the injury history of Joakim in the back of my head I think that is a must. Especially because Brad is gifted center with a good jumpshot and who sees the court well.
Douwe van Veen
Sam: I’m for it and as I don’t expect a big trade into the cap space, I believe Brad would like to return and will as long as he can get a comparable offer. Though I have heard the deer are scared here and prefer he brings his rifle to Texas.
Wow, Farmar to the Nets for 4yr 12 mil?! Quite a bargain. He wouldve
been a perfect addition to our offense and would fit a huge need. How
did we let him pass us up??
Sam: Seems to me $12 million is a lot for a backup point. But I’m not as well off as some fans.
Can Miami find 9-10 guys to play for the 15 million or so they have left to spend or do they go into the luxery tax to get a few quality guys? If not that means at least one of the big 3 has to be on the court all the time . Will this not become the Bronx zoo of basketball with Lebron and his entourage banging into Wades and Bosh's entourage. This will make for a great tabloid story all year. Boo Hoo for Miami.
Sam: If only. Actually, they seem to be doing a pretty good job adding talent. It looks like Haslem will turn down much more money from Dallas to stay. Stackhouse said he wants to go there. Ilgauskas might. They look like they are going to have the veteran bunch they won with in 2006 and a much better core than Wade and an aging Shaq.
So from everything I've read, it looks like the Magic are going to match the Bulls' offer sheet for JJ Reddick. With that said, wouldn't a player like Ronnie Brewer or Rasual Butler be nice options. Also, I heard the Minnesota is looking to dump Ramon Sessions contract. Wouldn't he be a nice fit at 2 that can also play the 1 if need be?
Sam: I assume they are. Brewer if he is healthy as there are some rumors that’s why Memphis let him go. Sessions seems paid too much for his talent and as a backup. Minnesota wants to give him away. Does that tell us anything?
With Orlando's signing on Richardson, it appears that the Bulls have increased their chances at getting Reddick and maybe possibly Matt Barnes. Also, with the addition of Korver and Reddick, who's going to play D on Wade and Lebron when we meet in the conference finals?!!
Sam: From your mouth to God's ears as my mother would say. Not necessarily as Richardson may be replacing Barnes for the Magic. I haven't heard much talk of Barnes with the Bulls, though I've said I like him. He's more three and they do need a defensive two. Raja Bell? Ronnie Brewer? Shannon Brown? Earl Watson? Trenton Hassell? Rodney Carney? Michael Finley? There aren't a lot of great choices.
What about Gerald Green? I have always liked how he has played. Why dont the bulls sign him and get him out of Russia?
Sam: If you are in Russia and every NBA team passes there usually is a good reason other than your love of borscht.
Is there any chance that the Bulls put together a package to acquire Carmelo Anthony? The fact that Luol Deng has placed his house on the market makes me believe that he's been notified by the Bulls that he's being shopped around the NBA. Acquiring Anthony would legitimately pose a threat to the Heat's projected Eastern Conference supremacy.
Sam: Everything I have heard is the Nuggets plan to keep Anthony this season to make one more run with what they have and not waste the last year for Billups and Martin. As for Deng, I am unaware of his housing plans, though I’d assume if he thought he was being traded there would be plenty of time to put his house up for sale, assuming he actually has. It’s not like while making more than $11 million a year he needs the quick cash. Everyone on the Bulls knows everyone but Rose has been mentioned in deals leading up to free agency. I expect Deng to be with the team this season. Maybe he’s buying Kirk’s house.
Joe Alexander is not on the summer league roster. Have the Bulls given up on him?
Sam: I don’t know. I heard he has some injury issues and there were questions about summer league. It’s been vague, though missing summer league probably doesn’t bode well for him. Some of the other guys they got last season like Law and Kurz apparently decided to try with other teams, though the backup point guard spot obviously remains open.
Do you think Shawn Livingston would be a perfect addition to the Bulls? He
is an Illinois product with good passing ability and works the pick and roll
well. He looked great with the Wizards at the end of the season.
Sam: He did look much better. He doesn’t have the athleticism and explosiveness anymore, but he is a smart player and I’d take a chance. Obviously, there still are injury concerns as he didn’t move that fluidly. But at a decent price he’d be a nice backup. And you have to get Rose off the floor, especially as he seems a lock for the USA team and will have a month of play late in the summer at the World Championships and you are going to want to get him off the floor a lot in November and December.
Shouldn’t Eddy Curry be the main story these days? Let me explain… I think Wade, LeBron and Bosh all made a pact to join forces and had it planned all along. I doubt they agreed on where though as that is pretty much outside their control. Although Wade probably let Riley know of the plans and that explains why he went like a possessed man to clear the entire roster.If Knicks managed to move Eddy Curry’s contract, they would’ve been in position to sign all three players to similar deals as what Miami offered. If that happened, wouldn’t all three choose to join forces in NY rather than Miami? After all, it’s no NY in terms of having global city. Of course, it was nearly impossible to move Eddy Curry (literally and contractually) and hence he became The Man Who Stopped LeBron, Bosh and Wade from coming to NY.
Sam: C’mon, hasn’t Eddy been through enough? For his sake, I hope the jackals in New York don’t pounce on that theory.
How about Josh Childress? Big guard. NBA experience. From what I see Phoenix is offering almost nothing. Bulls could do better. What do you think of Childress?
Sam: It sounds like Childress is about to go to the Suns and I think his price is way more than the Bulls would be paying for a backup, especially now that they also have Korver. But it seems most likely this was one of those long done deals. Turkoglu and Childress were represented by Lon Babby, who seems about to become the Suns GM. He’s close with those guys and is in line for the Suns job, so he brings his players. Not sure almost $35 million is almost nothing.
I thought I would take a moment to point out the hypocrisy of Dwayne Wade. Many have pointed out the shallowness of his pronouncements after the Chicago meetings that family would enter his decision making process then he swiftly goes back to South Beach in MIami, Partytown USA .
However, the equally ridiculous hypocrisy is that i nitially, Wade accused the Bulls for a lack- of- loyalty. Then, ironically, Wade orchestrated one of the most prolific executions of a lack- of- loyalty by any athlete ever.
The only good thing to come of this is that the Heat are now the dream team you hate. I hope it implodes.
Sam: Too bad they are loading up impressively, but it’s nice to have an enemy. There’s no question Wade conned Chicago and the Bulls. I never thought he was particularly bright, but it looks like he could make a heck of a chess player. It seemed he was several moves ahead of everyone. He threw out that lack of loyalty thing to give LeBron and Bosh pause while he worked on them and then stalled the Bulls pursuit of LeBron and Bosh while he made like he was interested in Chicago with that home is where the heart is dance, and he got everyone to suggest he would be even a better fit. All the while he worked LeBron and Bosh to join him. Really, if you step back you have to give him credit as it was a masterful con job. Like we all said, he’s been a heck of an actor in those commercials.
If LeBron's main concern was about winning titles why didn't he come to the
Bulls? He could have had Bosh come with him. Is Dwayne Wade really better
than Rose, Noah, and Deng combined? I think LeBron just loves the attention
that this "super team" provides. It seems he traded a great young core to
go play with his buddies on the beach.
Sam: And your problem with that? It’s difficult for me to, in the end, condemn someone from moving to Miami Beach from Cleveland. He’s 25. That’s what kids do. I also think he didn’t want and was tired of the responsibility of everything being on him. Everyone thought he needed that, but most read him wrong. He doesn’t want to be Jordan or Kobe. He wants to be Pippen, but friendlier. I think he liked the idea of Wade having the responsibility fall on him.
Shame on stern for fining Gilbert. Players are ruining the game of basketball, now you will be seeing us turn into MLB where only 4-5 teams are constantly getting all the talent.
Sam: That’s the fear of many fans and a threat to the league for next season. If you think you are the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals, why bother?
No now I am reading that Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire were all at Carmelo's wedding in NY and that they are colluding to come together in NY with the Knicks and start their own trio.
I also heard that when Miami and Cleveland would play each other, Wade and Lebron would stay at each others house. Could you imagine Bird staying at Magic's house when they were playing each other or Jordan staying at Malone's or Thomas's house when they played Utah or the Pistons - or even Kobe staying with Paul Pierce when he was in town for a game. What a joke?
Can you believe this? What in gods name is going here and what is Stern going to do about this. This is getting ridiculous. The NBA is going to be a shell of what it already has become, which at present can be compared closely to Professional wrestling and showmanship for television.
As an educated consumer, it makes me sick that I still actually follow the league. Now I see why a lot of my friends have been so down on the NBA for years. Most of them do not even follow it anymore. I see why.
Sam: As I wrote in my Monday column, it was a bad time for the NBA. This melding of super teams or at least stars together would be bad for competitive balance, which is why the league might go for a hard cap and shut things down for a year or more. That could then result in a classic redistribution like we see with the Blackhawks and the Bulls would lose someone like Noah. So which is worse? It seems bad now, but once the games start it will get better, and we do have some real enemies now like the old Celtics when they won all the time. Let’s give peace a chance.
Do you think that Thabo Sefolosha would be perfect for this Bulls team as it stands right now? Kyle Korver can shoot the heck out of the ball, but he sure can't defend. With Hinrich gone, the Bulls will be sorely lacking some defense at the two spot. Thabo, although his offensive game seems like a lost cause, could be the perimeter defensive stopper that the Bulls need.
Sam: Yes, he would be. But then the Bulls wouldn't have Taj Gibson. But, yes, they do need a defensive two even if they get Redick, or, especially if they get Redick. My sense is they see Redick and Korver as backups, but I'm not sure how you get a high level starter at two guard, especially if you get Redick. If they get him, I assume it becomes him.
With the Nets loading up on wing players you think they'd be willing to move Courtney Lee?
Sam: It's a good name and a good idea, but I checked and heard as they mostly struck out in free agency they are not looking to move guys and want to keep him.
It looks like the Magic will match the offer for Redick. Would the Bulls have any interest in Ronnie Brewer?
Sam: Another name. Memphis didn't keep him as I heard there may be some injury issues. He doesn't space the floor with his shot, but he can defend. I assume Derrick gets better defensively, but he isn't about to make all-defense. It will put the Bulls and Thibodeau's defensive scheme at a disadvantage if they cannot get a better defensive presence on the perimeter.
What has the Bull's interest in Raja Bell been?
Sam: I like Bell. He's a bit older, but a tough guy who can make a three like Bruce Bowen. I haven't heard his name much as I think his price is said to be high for now. If it comes down maybe something happens. Although there is money tied up with Redick, the Bulls still have about $5 million to make an offer to another player while Orlando makes up its mind on Redick.
Why aren't the Bulls looking at Josh Howard he would be perfect next to Rose and with shooters off the beach. I like Korver and Redick but they are not starters.
Sam: Haven't heard anything about Howard, though I'd guess he wants a lot of money and there are physical questions after that serious knee surgery.
I like the price for Korver, however 20 million for 3 years for Redick doesn't make much sense. Why wouldn't we go with a bigger 2 guard in Anthony Morrow?
Sam: I think the issue with Morrow was his value was relatively low and that Golden State would match most anything. He's been the choice of fans, I know, though I have heard the staff isn't that fond of his game. But he's gone now with the Nets making an offer sheet.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Lebron hurt his chances to compete against MJ or Kobe to be one of top 2 players of all time? If MJ joined Magic and the Lakers and won his first and last ring with Magic, I think he wouldn't be the best to ever play.
Sam: I think LeBron said he doesn't care about that and he is one who really believes Jordan should be No. 1 and not him. He played the role for everyone because they expected it of him, but he, in essence, said, "Let those guys fight for it. I'm going to the beach."
Andre Iguodala? I think the Bulls should pursue Iggy. He can defend and create his own shot. He's a perfect partner for Rose. I believe he's on the block because Philly has Turner now.
Sam: I've gotten this suggestion a lot and I don't get the sense he is on the block at all and not threatened by Turner, who hasn't played well in summer league. Plus, new coach Doug Collins sees Iguodala as a slashing three and is excited about having Iguodala. I don't see the 76ers dealing him, and certainly not to the Bulls given that contract as Collins has no interest in Deng.
Why are fans being so distasteful towards the Heat-trio? If they joined another team, those fans to would be happy, then the miami fans would be booing. I think there's just a lot of haters out here. I find that b-ball is returning to its roots in the NBA: to have won while winning championships. Didn't these guys take a pay cut? I've ben saying the only way to have the 3 were to do that, and that may be only 1 or 2 of them would be willing to do that. They proved me wrong, and proved that they're hungry for titles, and not just cash. I just wish it were our Bulls.
Sam: I think once the games start a lot of that will diminish. The TV show probably played a big part in that as well as the disappointment in so many cities as fans thought there was a possibility and LeBron played so much to the drama. Hardly anyone likes the Yankees and they seem OK with that.
How bad will be t-mac on bulls uniform?
Sam: Not sure exactly what your wording means, but McGrady would be a horror and I am sure will never be in a Bulls uniform unless he buys one of those new Boozer replica jerseys.
Help me to understand something. Many reports indicate that Wade, James and Bosh have planned this charade for up to 2 years (going back to their days in the Olympics). If that's the case the whole free agency period for them was a farce and this was straight up collusion. If collusion was such an evil thing for baseball owners in the 1980's, why is it acceptable for basketball players today?
Sam: The owners are meeting in Las Vegas this week and they are going to ask David Stern. Maybe players will stop hollering collusion, but it is in the labor law for employers. The NBA has a rule but doesn't know how to enforce it given guys can talk about their career plans and should with one another.
What are the chances that the Bulls would go after Gilbert Arenas? I think he would make a nice shooting guard to go with what the Bulls already have and he is only 28!
Sam: Obviously another problem guy, but it's not possible with his $20 million salary unless you give up way too much. And talk about bad defense on the perimeter. Arenas has been considered the worst defensive guard in the league.
Do you think the Bulls have a shot of getting Shaq? Shaq maybe old and percieved to be slow, contrary to the up tempo game by the Bulls. But Shaq could be useful against Magic's Howard and other teams the Bulls can abuse in the paint.
Sam: He didn't seem to help the Cavs. The Bulls will not inquire and I doubt Shaq would be interested in being a backup to Noah. Shaq is getting into that Iverson area where he is going to have trouble being a backup and is way too disruptive compared to his worth. He'll get picked up, but I see him more as a negative anywhere as he changes your game and is a locker room issue.
The Timberwolves are looking to trade Ramon Sessions to get rid of his contract. The TWolves are looking for a salary dump so they can sign Luke Ridnour. Should the Bulls try and get Sessions as a backup for Rose? They would probably have to give nothing in return, maybe a 2nd round draft pick.
Sam: He has two more years at about $4 mil each. My guess is they are looking to spend much less than that on a backup point as they also need size up front more.
Is it completely out of the question for the Bulls to consider signing Allen Iverson? I think he still has a lot left in the tank.
Sam: Yes. Tank would be the word, as in the season.
Do you think Matt Barnes is on the Bulls radar?
Sam: I hope so as I like him, but I haven't heard his name.
Jerry Stackhouse was on NBA TV pimping himself out to Miami, made me sick.
Sam: It's what Riley is counting on and why they are going to be good. Juwan Howard? Guys are going to want to go there, sadly enough.
Do you think the Bulls are interested in Larry Hughes, he's a solid defender and can knock down shots?
Sam: You're kidding, right? Were you not here the last time he was here? Now there's a disruptive guy. Maybe he'll play with Iverson, Shaq and McGrady.