Bonus Ask Sam Mailbag: More Bulls trade scenarios and Sam's message to the Twitter aggregators

Mike Sutera: NBACentral on Twitter: "There could be ‘significant’ changes for the Bulls this summer, per @SamSmithHoops. 'I was at the Draft Combine this week and heard from an insider that he believes the Bulls are done with this Big Three.'” True?

Sam: Oh that; let me explain. Yes, I believe there could be change in the Bulls core given, you know, the team missed the playoffs and Vučević is an unrestricted free agent and so the Bulls don’t have control. But I’m doing this bonus Ask Sam because this seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to rant a bit and show how the country is so much worse because of the internet and Twitter and without newspapers. Yes, it’s newspaper for me and not culture wars (that’s bad; but this is not Fox News or MSNBC).

Let me posit that getting your news from Twitter is stupid for two reasons: doing so and the information you receive making you less intelligent. This above was an answer to a reader’s question in which I used humor and irony; OK, I thought I was. It seemed obvious to me since the very next sentence after the one about the insider was, “I did hear it from him outside, so there could be a credibility issue given that.” You know, an insider speaking outside. C’mon, that’s funny! Then I wrote, “Sources who may or may not know agreed.” C’mon, a little funny? But clearly—it seemed to me—I was mocking all those breathless reports about what teams are doing, which at this time of the offseason are ridiculous because no one knows what they even can do. Including them.

Assume Denver wins the title—though none of us is going against Miami anymore—and then Jokić refuses to wear cowboy boots and a drive a pickup. Of course, they’d have to trade him and you could get a star. A little funny (maybe east of the Rockies)? But the point is teams’ views will change drastically in the weeks ahead. Sarcasm? What’s that? It’s also why it’s so dangerous to be a comedian these days. They just tweet the setup to the joke. For emphasis I added the sources were both “informed and uninformed.” So the only part the criminal aggregator used was the set up for the joke. Ever wonder what happened to the kid who never had his homework and always was asking for yours and looking at your test all the time? They’re doing those aggregations on the internet which mostly seem like plagiarism to me. Some people use your work to sell their sites. It’s the definition of plagiarism, it would seem. It’s also your fault if you rely on them for information.

This is my rule: If you can’t be fired (held accountable) for what you write, then I don’t trust or believe it. If you work for any reputable media organization and make something up, not only are you fired, but you never get to work again in the industry. So then you become an aggregator. Also, if I thought this was news wouldn’t I have put it on Twitter? Well, no, I don’t use it. But I would have written a story. Instead, it was in the middle of a mailbag answer preceding three jokes; at least one of which was funny? C’mon, one? Are the Bulls moving on from the Big Three? The only thing I’m sure of is they have no idea. No one else does. Though I will say Bulls fans writing me really do want that No. 3 pick from Portland.

John Stuercke: How about these two: We trade LaVine to Portland for #3 and another #1 pick, Scoot will be a star. We trade DeMar and Drummond for Claxton and a #1, sign Vuc as PF.

Sam: Charlotte has No. 2 and could take Henderson since LaMelo has been hurt a lot, and as the Bulls know, you can’t have too many point guards. Plus, you’d have to match salary and that would probably mean a Jerami Grant sign and trade and Portland’s then not getting an awful lot more. Drummond has a player option, so he can’t be traded. And, obviously, with the trades of Irving and Durant the Nets are back to a youth movement and less about contending immediately. Now, I’d say if you want Ben Simmons…Well, he is a point guard. Not too long ago you’d have wished he were running your team. Taking  a chance now?

Martin Skelly: A lot of fan chat in your (May 19) mailbag was with offering Zach & Caruso for the Blazers No. 3 pick which you seemed to imply wouldn't be sufficient. Could the Bulls play hardball and threaten to do a deal with the Hornets to lower the asking price a bit? If the general consensus is that Henderson is the prize to get and the Hornets don't need another PG why not bypass the Blazers all together? Throwing in Lonzo into a deal with the Hornets might make them interested. But wonder if there is also a multi deal to be had? Say like trade Zach to Orlando for the 6 and 11 picks which the guys on Cash Considerations mentioned. Then offer DeMar and those picks to the Hornets for the number 3 pick (and whatever else was required to get the pick)? We could then follow the Heat's example of having role players supporting a star player. Then still having Caruso on the bench and possibly even poaching Reaves from the Lakers as well? More minutes for White and a more important role for Williams could really help their development.

Sam: Like I said, the fans really want that draft pick. Like I also said, I now can’t see Charlotte passing on Scoot. Initially, I went Miller because of LaMelo. But if you are Charlotte you have to be concerned about the injuries. And the game often is played now with multiple players who can make plays off the dribble. If they believe he’s better than Miller they take him. And Miller still may have that college incident coming back in a civil matter or some such thing; you never know. I do think the Orlando Nos. 6 and 11 are in play. But I do believe Karnišovas when he emphatically said there was no rebuild coming. Not that they think with Miami on the way to the Finals they were a few minutes away from being them. At least I hope not. I do believe there will be changes, but not to strip it down for draft picks.

Mike Queen: If the Celtics get eliminated you break up the Tatum/Brown duo? I see them trading Brown for a haul before he hits FA. They are not paying this duo 500 total. To Detroit for #5 and Duren. Detroit gets a bona-fide star to go with Cade and Jaden while Boston gets an interior defender they so crave and they draft the best available PG at 5.

Sam: I’d generally say you have to be patient and not overreact to losing; after all, it’s the conference finals. But Boston did just get by the 76ers with Tatum bailing them out, and Brown has hinted all season about maybe leaving as a free agent after next season. Like baseball’s Branch Rickey once said, better to trade a player a year too soon than a year too late. It’s the mistake many franchises make. Detroit is bummed about that draft and I’m guessing anxious to do something. So I can see something like that. We all believed Boston would win this series, but we also had doubts they way they continue to shoot so many threes and stay outside shooting them no matter how many miss. They could use more balance and interior defense. Horford ain’t playing forever. So that does make some sense. And Detroit is in a much better position to meet Brown’s request for a huge max deal, which would be problematic having Tatum. 

Lex Grey: Very proud to see Jimmy Butler grow in to the player he is today.  Watching him and the Heat brings back memories of 90s basketball. They’re a tough, fearless, and gutsy bunch. They’re a team that has an identity, good chemistry, and everyone knows their role on the team. It’s a joy to watch. 

Sam: Everyone’s got to credit he and them now as much as we all doubted Miami coming this far. After all, they get into the play-in and get blown out at home by Atlanta. Does that sound like on the way to the Finals? But it is a valid point about Jimmy and his growth. I know a franchise never gets over the working backward second guessing of the media and some fans. But this Jimmy wasn’t that Jimmy. Jimmy had some great seasons with the Bulls. But also some awful playoffs. Like being married for a fourth time, you begin to understand it better (or so I’ve heard). This is Jimmy’s fourth team and a perfect fit. The only thing I don’t like about what Miami appears to have done is quit on the regular season. I’m not there so I don’t know what really happened. But Jimmy missed 18 games, Lowry missed 27, Herro missed 15, Vincent 14. Nobody seemed to need surgery. Now they’re all playing every game 25 to 40 minutes a game. And as you note, really really hard. The Lakers to an extent, also. The Celtics took the regular season seriously and look at that. Now, Denver did also, so there’s some hope. But you fear too many teams next season will look at Miami and figure in this era you just need to get to 10 and then begin to take it seriously.

Michael Worth: Saw this trade for Ayton. Does it make sense? The Suns need depth. I can see them getting Tim Hardaway Jr., JaVale [McGee] back, Josh Green and No. 10.

Sam: Oh yeah, JaVale McGee. Whatever happen to him? There’s usually Christian Wood in all these things, but the Suns have to now treat Ayton less as a former No. 1 overall pick than what a deal can mean for them now. They certainly need depth after the Durant trade, but they also need a point guard. New ownership probably makes it easier to note it was their mistake.

Valentin Dimitrov: I have a request/suggestion for you to relay my message to Karnišovas. Would you please ask him to go for my countryman Aleksandar Vezenkov (27y, 6-9, 225lb). He just lost the Euroleage title with his Olympiacos against Real Madrid, being the best player in the game. He is very good behind the arc (almost 40% shooter), over 80% from free throws and the cherry of the pie is over 60% for 2! Other than the 3 point shooting, he has terrific dribble penetration and lethal mid range shooting. I suppose he could play 3 and 4, perhaps 5 against smaller opponents. His rebounding is probably average. He has a great character and will be a terrific fit with Chicago, coming from a basketball family, from when Bulgaria had a great teaching system. In general, my view is that he is better, stronger and more complete player than Kukoč. Certainly better than Mirotic. Drawbacks? Perhaps his defense could be better, but he is certainly better at it than Dončić.

Sam: Better than Kukoč? Nah, I don’t believe so. He seems like he could be a possibility. One of John Paxson’s best additions was going overseas to get an older Andrés Nocioni. I don’t believe Karnišovas reads this feature. Maybe you should drop him a note to the Bulls.

Kyle McGill: I have an idea on what the Bulls should do with the Blazers. Trade Caruso + 2 future first round picks top ten protected along with giving the Blazers back their lottery protected pick for their 2023 3rd overall pick. Now the Blazers have control of all their draft picks plus two Bulls picks to trade for a superstar. The Bulls now can draft Scoot Henderson or if he’s chosen by the Hornets first, they can trade that number 3 pick to the Hornets for LaMelo Ball. Then, trade DeRozan and Drummond to Phoenix for Ayton. After that, do a sign and trade of Vučević to the Nets for Finney-Smith and Patty Mills. Chicago Bulls new starting five: G Ball, G LaVine, F Finney-Smith, F Williams, C Ayton and G White as your sixth man off the bench 

Sam: That seems simple; not (yup, just watched Wayne’s World again). The Bulls don’t have much to offer on first still owing one in 2025 to the Spurs from the DeRozan trade. Which is another reason I agree with management this is not the time to go into the hole and use picks to try to dig out. We’d all love to have Henderson because of the apparent desperate need for a point guard. But I still can’t fathom the scenario that unlocks him from Charlotte or Portland. The possibility has been speculated many times about maybe Portland gives up it’s No. 23 this year from the Knicks to unlock the provisions that limit them still owing the Bulls a first round pick from the Markkanen/Derrick Jones Jr. transaction. Another reason why it’s premature to say the Bulls have made any roster judgments since they don’t know yet about what Portland may offer, if anything. I’m not expecting they give up the New York pick.

Mitch Burrow: What about this? Blazers get LaMelo, Bridges sign and trade.
Hornets get Simons and #3. End up with Scoot and Brandon and Simons. Nice rebuild for the Hornets? 

Sam: LaMelo’s probably off the board for everyone until we see if he’s gotten through the multiple ankle issues and can play for a regular stretch. Not much has been mentioned about it, but the reports were the franchise is for sale. So that may freeze anything they consider doing to wait for new ownership/management?

Brodie Larsh: DeMar once again publicly stated he wants to play in LA. How about DeMar to the Clippers for Eric Gordon, Bones Hyland, the Bucks 1st round pick this year and the Clippers 1st round pick in 2027. Doesn't seem that great on the surface, but i'm not sure we get much more from DeRozen who only has 1 year left on his contract. Bulls might take a step back, but the Clippers would be a very tough team and would benefit from DeRozen's durability as much as his scoring.  Also heard if the Bulls pull the trigger on a DeRozen for Ayton trade, I'd look for a sign and trade deal with the Mavs of Christian Wood for Vooch. I'm hoping Vooch comes back and feel he's been under utilized and immensely under appreciated, but him and Ayton can't share the floor.

Sam: Agree that Billy didn’t seem to like the Vučević and Drummond combination, so I’d doubt it trends in that direction with Ayton. Karnišovas and Vučević both talked about resigning with the Bulls, so for now I accept that. Though I still would not be surprised about significant changes given the previous season and Ball’s status. Should I emphasize here I don’t know? I heard about DeRozan’s comments with Paul George on a podcast, but it wasn’t clear to me if that was recent or when DeMar was a free agent. DeMar has made it clear he’d never ask for a trade or give less than his all to where he is. And that he loves the Bulls. But he has been pretty open even when he was signing with the Bulls that he’d like to finish his career back home in LA. Would a significant contract extension change that? Should the Bulls look into one for DeMar? That’s another big question facing this offseason that I doubt has been decided yet (you notice I am trying to make clear I have not contacted sources).

I also wanted to emphasize that this feature is a conversation with fans. It’s not intended to break news; neither am I these days. Just to make you think. You know; by skipping Twitter.

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