Saturday, February 28, 2009

Some random Bull

Rose leading ROY race here.
Even if he does not become a defensive stalwart by the end of the year, Rose probably will still deserve the award, especially if he's the only major ROY candidate to push his team to the playoffs. So far, so good on that count.

Rookie of the Year race

1. Derrick Rose, Bulls. Needs to translate his offensive aggressiveness to the other end of the floor.




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Rough loss in front of President Obama -
You know when Aaron Gray, Anthony Roberson and Lindsey Hunter come off the bench to play the final few minutes of a game, things have gone either really well or else very badly. In this case, it was the latter, as the Bulls were humiliated 113-90 by the Wizards — otherwise known as “The Worst Team in the Eastern Conference” — in front of “First Fan” and Chicago denizen Barack Obama.

Yeah. Sorry ’bout that, Mr. President. No we can’t, apparently.





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Playoff odds show the Bull in 7th, but they seem to keep losing games they should win.




Johnny "Red" Kerr Photo Tribute

Norm Van Lier Photo Tribute



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Second trimester report -
Rookie of the Year, Two Trimesters In

Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Interesting claim made recently by Suns coach Alvin Gentry, who loudly anointed the Clippers' Eric Gordon the league's best rookie.

"And I don't care who else you mention," Gentry said.

Gordon, though, has the same problem as Memphis' O.J. Mayo or Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook when it comes to dislodging Rose from his status as the league's longstanding Rookie of the Year favorite: Chicago's record is a lot better.

That usually swings things when the statistical comparisons are fairly level.

When the difference between the top two rookies is vast, as seen last season when Atlanta's Al Horford was never really in Kevin Durant's zip code in the ROY race, voters might be more willing to stray from the team-success doctrine so many of us employ.

The gaps we see now don't compare. Gordon, Mayo and Westbrook have all had some gaudy games, but none of them -- not even Mayo -- can claim any meaningful separation from Rose, not even with the Bulls' guard subjected to a couple of recent fourth-quarter benchings after his big start to the month.

Westbrook is certainly gaining with all that athleticism. And Mayo, no matter what you think of his shot selection, remains the best pure scorer in a deeper-than-usual draft class that also finds Brook Lopez and Kevin Love making notable contributions in Year 1.

Rose, though, should be able to hang on as long as he maintains his season-long levels of production and Chicago continues to contend for a playoff spot.

And assuming that crunch-time exits are not the new norm for June's No. 1 overall pick.




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Interesting / sad view of finances in the NBA
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This season? We talked about money. Constantly. We didn't even know about the line of credit on the horizon; that didn't leak until the Monday after the All-Star Game. (On Thursday, we learned that 12 teams will accept the league's offer to borrow $200 million from JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, with between $13 million and $20 million available to each team.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Rest in Peace



(picture from www.blogabull.com)

More sad news.

Thursday was a sad day for the Bull organization. Two great men passed away: "Stormin' Norm" Van Lier and Johnny "Red" Kerr. I know I have a ton of memories of Red announcing games. No one will ever forget "The Shot" against the Cavs, and Johnny's call: "THE BULLS WIN! THEY WIN IT!" (scroll to the 3:20 mark).

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cool Bull story

The Bull got to meet President Obama today -
The Chicago Bulls became the first professional sports franchise welcomed to the White House by President Barack Obama on Thursday.

A trip to the White House is usually reserved for the team that wins the championship game of its respective sport. But Obama, a former senator of Illinois, is a lifelong Bulls fan.

The Bulls are in town to face the Washington Wizards on Friday.

Bulls rookie point guard Derrick Rose was in awe of the opportunity to meet the President.

"It was crazy just being here," the No. 1 pick of June's draft told NBA.com.

"I've never had the chance to be at the White House, but the President gave us the opportunity to come, so that's what we did. I was nervous just to stand next to him, but then for someone like him to even know my name was just amazing."

Rose said he was impressed with Obama's knowledge of the team.






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Interesting thought on TrueHoop -
A lot of great players defy their positions: Is Tim Duncan a forward or a center? What is LeBron James? (Power wing? Is that a position?) But if you had to pick the prototypes for the five positions, whom would you pick? On HoopsWorld, Mike Moreau makes the case for Bob Cousy, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, and Wilt Chamberlain as the NBA's five prototypical position players. UPDATE: A conversation I just had with Rob Mahoney of The Two Man Game. Rob's in bold: "What do you think about MJ as the prototypical shooting guard? Yeah, weird to me. Prototypical shooting God, perhaps. But who's like him? No one at all. I guess every other shooting guard ever is doing it wrong."

Some randoms, and some sad news

Rookie watch at ESPN -
Derrick Rose, Bulls
Most scouts believe that being a rookie at the point guard position is tougher than at any other position. One of the biggest reasons is because point guards typically have to defend the guy with the ball more often than the other four positions do.

Rose is experiencing difficulty in that area. His poor defense has led to his being pulled late in games in favor of the defensively focused Kirk Hinrich. Rose seems willing to be a good defender -- and his speed and strength suggest that it's an area he can excel in -- but considering how big of a role he plays on the offensive end, it's not surprising that he's in over his head on the defensive side of the court right now.


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Free Agent watch -
Group III: The real, honest-to-goodness unrestricted free agents

Finally, here are the guys who will be on the market with no strings attached. Although there is a lot of star power here, most of the big names are on the back end of their careers.


1. Ben Gordon, Bulls
Gordon is an explosive scorer and has one of the sweetest jump shots in the game. But he is undersized and streaky, and he doesn't play great defense. On virtually every team, his best position will be coming off the bench as a high-scoring sixth man. What is that worth in today's NBA? Not the $50 million the Bulls offered him and he turned down. Gordon will have plenty of suitors, but as his agent learned the hard way this summer when he sought to get him traded to another team via a sign-and-trade, no one is going to break the bank for Gordon … not even the Bulls now that they've added John Salmons to the mix.




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Stormin' Norm passed away.

Konerko won't stand in the way of a trade if it helps team...

I know baseball really isn't in full swing yet, but it's coming soon enough so I feel obligated to add some Sox posts...after all they are part of the name of this sweet blog.

Chicago Sun-Times: Konerko open to a trade if it helps the White Sox

Konerko earned his "10 and 5 status" last year which means he has the right to veto any trade for his services. Paulie says that if the 2009 Sox are underperforming he would be open to a trade:
''You never know because the answer could be you help them by leaving,'' Konerko said. ''I would never be opposed to that. It doesn't have to be a breakup that's antagonistic. It doesn't have to be a thing where heads are butted.''


I love Paulie and think he'll bounce back and have a better offensive output this year than last year...he likely won't approach his stellar 2005 (.283/40/100) or 2006 seasons (.313/31/113) because he's getting old and his numbers have been declining, but I don't see why he can't put a .285/30/90 season together if he stays healthy, as the article states:

...his '08 season should get an asterisk: Konerko was battling a hand injury most of the first half, limiting him to a .217 average. As the hand got healthy, he hit .333 in August and then hit nine of his 22 homers in September.


But hopefully the Sox won't be in a position where they need to trade Paulie because they are playing horribly.

On an unrelated note, there's a team in my euchre league (yeah I'm in a euchre league, big whoop wanna fight about it?) named "Konerko's Bonerkos". What will they do if you leave Paul?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bulls All-Defensive Team

Recently in the Magic post-game thread Pezza commented:

Hinrich, Tim Thomas, Salmons and Miller are all better defenders than Rose, Ty
Thomas and Noah and as we've seen from competitive teams the ability to trade
offense for defense is huge in the NBA today. -Extremo


My question is that after one game are we really convinced of this?

There's no doubt that Kirk has been the top defender on this team for the past couple seasons, but is he that much better than Derrick? I would say against bigger stronger guards (Chanuncy, D-Wade types) yes. He is much more polished than anyone else we have. Against smaller quicker guards, however, we've seen that Kirk has a tendancy to get worked (TJ Ford, Rafer Austin to name the most recent). To me it's a wash between him and Derrick against quick PG's.

Are we really ready to annoint Tim Thomas a better defender than Tyrus Thomas? I'm certainly not. Tim had a solid night against the Magic, and was actually a decent matchup with Lewis playing the hybrid 4, but in no way does he have a bigger impact on the defensive end than Tyrus' rebounding/shot blocking.

While no one would go out of their way to call Brad Miller a defensive stud, he has certainly proved over his NBA career that he can body up with the best in the league and use his size to fill up the lane. On the other hand Jokim Noah has gotten better and better on the defensive end as the year has progressed, and while he has a tendancy to lose focus when playing off the ball, he still does a very good job guarding opposing big men (the buzzer beater block on Bosh comes to mind).

Personally, I think that while he has certainly been MIA on many of the offensive possessions this season, perhaps the Bull's best defensive player this year has been Luol Deng. Often responsible for guarding opposing superstars, Luol's D has looked very similar to Tashaun Prince's the last few seasons. Yet still Vinny has him on the end of the pine in the fourth quarter.

I suppose the point that Matt from Blog-a-Bull was trying to make is that in crucial parts of a game you need to have your best players on the court and Vinny has more than proven over his young NBA career that most of the time he has no idea what players to have on the court and simply goes by "feel" or "his gut."

My biggest fear is that VDN will come up with some sort of expirimental "defensive" line-up at the absolute worst time. I picture it being something along the lines of Kirk, Gordon, Salmons, Tim Thomas, and Miller in for the last 5-6 minutes of the 3rd quarter of game 3 of the playoffs (assuming we make them). At that time I picture the Celtics extending a 4 point lead to 16 and going on to move to 3-0 in the series.

Derrick Rose ESPN the Mag Feature

The Gamer Blog: Bulls phenom Derrick Rose talks video games, custom systems and crossing up Andre Miller

Derrick Rose was interviewed in the Playstation player's suite during All-Star weekend. Here are some of the highlights from the feature:


Your first year in the league and you already have one of the top selling jerseys, people are playing as you in the video games, how does it feel to get so famous so fast?

It feels good to know that fans really like my game and that I'm marketable like that. I never really thought that coming in, that I'd have the chance to be this marketable, but it's happening.





Did [your brothers] teach you your ambidextrous ways?

I actually broke my right arm when I was younger, so I kept working on my left hand. That's how I got like that.



Note: my first born son is getting a basketball for his 5th birthday followed by a crowbar to the tibia.



What's the one part of your game you need to work on in order to help the Bulls make a playoff run?


I need to work on my all-around game. Of course I'm a scoring point guard, but I've got to work on my dribbling. I need to get smarter about my decisions and I need to get a little more vocal. As a point guard, you need to be vocal. You need to be like a coach out on the court, you need to be the leader. Another thing, when I drive to the hoop, I need to make all of my layups. That's a big thing, being able to finish.



Love hearing him talk about being more vocal and more of a leader...this IS his team and the sooner he realizes it the better.

Looked great against Magic

The Bulls came within two points of tying their season high for points and established a high with 48 field goals.


Rose scores 22 in win over Magic, but sits in fourth


The Bulls’ shooting was phenomenal: Almost 60 percent in the first half and over 56 percent for the game. Seven Chicago players scored in double figures. As a team, they scored 30 or more points in every quarter but the third. They won the rebounding battle 44-38. They limited their turnovers to 11 (and the Magic scored only 12 points off those miscues).


Legit concern at Blogabull -
The main problem with his over-reliance on the bench tonight wasn't as much this game in a vaccum, but what it could mean for future games, and especially future fourth quarters. This is because Vinny's already established himself as a bad NBA coach. If he were a good coach, there wouldn't be so much handwringing after a truly fantastic performance by the Bulls.

But we've seen where Kirk Hinrich has a couple good games and then he's left in a game against Indiana even though he's personally sabotaging the whole team (and Derrick Rose is on the bench). We've seen where Tyrus Thomas gets his minutes slowly stripped away under the guise of teaching professionalism. I'm not worried about the young guys losing confidence, I'm worried about the team being hurt by not playing their better players (who just happen to be young) more, and in crunch time.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Deng injured

Missed practice for a wrist x-ray.

Bull

First game with the revamped roster - underwhelming. Maybe it was the
11am start, or adjusting to the new roster, but the Bull did not look
great in the loss to the Pacers.

I'm willing to give it a few games for everyone to get adjusted -
assuming Vinny has a system in place for everyone to adjust to, which I'm not sure about yet.

And anything that makes D-Rose happy is fine by me: Game recap -
Those struggles, though, did little to temper the Bulls' optimism about their revamped roster. They know they can play better, and they know all three newcomers will help.

''I'm loving that they're here,'' Rose said.



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Negative reaction to Sunday morning's game -
It was a game the Bulls should have won, particularly considering their spirited win over the Nuggets on Friday night. But, of course, they did not, losing 98-91 at Conseco Field House.

So…what happened? Well, basically, it was the same old story. Troy Murphy (27 points, 14 rebounds) joined the growing list of not-so-great big men (along with Anderson Varejao, Joel Przybilla, Nick Collison, Zaza Pachulia, et al.) who have notched their season-high in scoring against the welcome mat that is Chicago’s defense.




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Lots of stats showing how good the 2008 rookie class is doing.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bull and finally some (sad) Sock news

Pax says he wants to keep BG -
General manager John Paxson has left the door open for Ben Gordon to remain with the Bulls. Gordon, who will be an unrestricted free agent July 1, turned down two long-term contract extensions. He rejected a five-year, $50 million offer in October 2007, and a six-year, $58million offer last October. He signed a one-year qualifying offer of $6.4 million. "In our minds, we have not ruled out keeping Ben Gordon at all," Paxson said. "There may have to be another move in the summer that makes sense. Even though the last two years we've tried to hammer out deals and it hasn't worked, I understand his value in what we're trying to do and his ability to score. That's important. But that's down the road. There's nothing we can do today to definitively know what may happen. But I respect and value Ben."



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From my game preview -
The Nuggets won when these two teams met in Denver earlier this season, getting 20+ points from Melo, Billups and Kenyon Martin. Hopefully the Bulls can get three players going like that in tonight's game at the UC, continuing the pattern of splitting the season series with the Nuggets that has been ongoing for the last four seasons.


What actually happened when the Bull beat the Nuggets -
Ben Gordon scored a season-high 37 points to lead the short-handed Chicago Bulls to a 116-99 win over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.

Luol Deng scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and Tyrus Thomas added 21 and 12 to give the Bulls their second straight win since dealing four players to the Sacramento Kings on Thursday.




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Great performance (LeBron)

Great game (Lakers / Hornets)



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Crede is joining the Twins -
Third baseman Joe Crede is reportedly staying in the AL Central for the 2009 season, but leaving the division champions for the runners-up.

The Chicago Tribune, citing an unnamed source, reported that Crede agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Twins. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Crede played in just 97 games last season for the Chicago White Sox because of back injuries, hitting .248 with 17 home runs and 55 RBIs. He was named to the 2008 All-Star team before injuries derailed his season for a second consecutive year.

In 798 career games, Crede has 125 home runs -- including a career-high 30 in 2006. He is known for being an above-average defensive third baseman.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Loads of links

Linking again to my game preview on Blogabull.

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BG interview
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Is Derrick Rose the best rookie in the NBA?

BG: I think so.

What makes Rose so special?

BG: His poise and being able to come into the NBA and shoulder so much responsibility already have been impressive. He seems like he gets better with each game.



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This might be overrating Salmons a bit, no? -

I guess among the bottom feeders Chicago did the best job in picking up John Salmons, Tim Thomas and Brad Miller. Miller will give them a threat to score as well as provide veteran toughness and smarts. Salmons provides the Bulls a player that has size in the backcourt and a unique ability to find lanes to the basket, which with Derrick Rose gives them the best twosome in the league at getting to the basket – other than Ginobili and Parker in San Antonio.



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Similar reaction to everyone else
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For starters, the Bulls are a better team now than they were two days ago. They've addressed two of the major problems they had to start the season -- a lack of big men and a logjam of imperfect players the wings. Miller, who was with the Bulls for a year-and-a-half, is a useful 7-footer who can score on the pick-and-pop with Derrick Rose and pass the ball well out of the high post. Such assets are rare, even at 32 years old.

And the Bulls have brought in Salmons, a very nice addition who carries one of the most cap-friendly contracts in the league at just $11 million over the next two seasons. There were at least six other teams (Cleveland, Denver, San Antonio, Dallas, Oklahoma City and Portland) hot after the 6-6 Salmons, averaging an impressive 18.3 points per game this year. As general manager John Paxson pointed out, the Bulls managed to acquire those two without giving up a starter, though Paxson did lament giving up the well-liked Nocioni.


"The two players we got in return, I think fit us really well," Paxson said. "We needed a big guy that fits everything we try to do offensively. And, Brad, we're comfortable with him. He has been here before. More than that, he is a skilled player, he is a very good passer and we run a lot of things at the elbow where the big man has to handle and pass and dribble hand-off. He is a veteran who has the experience and know-how of being in the NBA game. So, as we're looking at this year and next year, Brad, in my mind, will help our young bigs.



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Negative reaction to the trade -

How do you feel about waking up to Brad Miller? Instead of a star, the Bulls got a guy who's about to turn 33, has started his decline, is slow and doesn't play defense. But he's tall and he can shoot well.

All that talk, and the Bulls get a journeyman-plus. Figures. General manager John Paxson never has been able to land a star without the luck of winning a lottery.

But that might not be fair to Paxson this time. It was unrealistic to expect he could trade off a bunch of scrap for Stoudemire. Only in this strange world of NBA trades and signings was that ever a possibility.


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Two fun playoff predictors (both via truehoop)

- Hollinger at ESPN

- Kubatko at basketball-reference

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More trade analysis from bythehorns -
Are the Bulls a better team today? Yes.

Look, Rome wasn't built in a day. In fact, that McDonald's down the street? It wasn't built in a day, either. This wasn't a dramatic 'Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to the Celtics' uber-makeover. (And how often do those even happen – let alone work out - anyway?) No, we didn't bring in a superstar. Or even a regular star, for that matter. What John Paxson did was address a few of the team's glaring needs while clearing future cap space for a strong run at a bona fide superduperstar in the [insert dramatic music here] Summer of 2010. That's win-win, right?

We needed more size up front, some interior defense and a center who can score. We got all that. Miller is hardly a defensive wiz, but he's at least got the bulk and veteran wiles to body up to opposing big men. He's not much of a post player, but he can shoot and pass as well as or better than most centers. And he seems genuinely psyched up about returning for a second stint with the Bulls...Miller's not a long-term answer. But he's a decent stop-gap. Especially if he's motivated, and it seems like he is.



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Pax is staying, which is what Kmart suggested yesterday.

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Supposedly, KD's-future-former-team got the better of the Bull in the Thabo trade. All these people have obviously not watched Thabo for the last couple seasons.


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Missed trade opportunities -
Amar'e Stoudemire to Chicago – Once Terry Porter was fired in Phoenix it became clear that Stoudemire wasn't going to be traded, but before that point there were strong indications over All-Star weekend that STAT was Windy City-bound in exchange for Tyrus Thomas, Drew Gooden, Thabo Sefolosha, and a draft pick. Would've been a coup for Chicago, but the Suns are probably better off having stood pat.

Kirk Hinrich to Minnesota – Had Bulls GM John Paxson sent the Captain' packin' to the Twin Cities, he wouldn't have gotten much in return. Chicago was looking at Jason Collins with Rashad McCants or Brian Cardinal for Hinrich, not because those guys make the Bulls better, but because those guys' salaries don't commit the Bulls long-term the way Hinrich's multi-year, multi-million dollar deal does. That would've completed Chicago's reformatting, sending away all the bad long-term contracts not in Chicago's future (Hinrich, Nocioni) and all the veteran players who would take away minutes from the young guys (Hughes, Gooden). Oh well. Three out of four ain't bad, and Hinrich is probably the most helpful and talented of the quartet.


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T-Woo is back. With a new swing.

Game preview on Blogabull

My game preview and trade analysis has been posted on Blogabull.

Stoudemire could miss 8 weeks/rest of the season

ESPN - Suns: Stoudemire could miss 8 weeks

A day after deciding to let the trade deadline pass without making a major money-saving move, the Phoenix Suns' inactivity has turned incredibly costly.

The beleaguered Suns announced Friday that Amare Stoudemire was forced to undergo eye surgery to repair a partially detached retina suffered in a Wednesday night rout of the Los Angeles Clippers. It is Stoudemire's second eye injury since October and the All-Star forward could miss the rest of the regular season.

Stoudemire's return to physical activity has been estimated at eight weeks by the Suns. He underwent surgery Friday morning, although the club said in a statement that "recovery varies on a case-by-case basis."

Senior writer Marc Stein covers the NBA for ESPN.com.


How awful would this headline have been if he was in a Bulls uniform?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bulls Very Active at Trade Deadline

In two days the Chicago Bulls managed to go from front office failure to deadline day winners acquiring the two most talented players to move teams on Wednesday. While unloading Nocioni's contract and shipping out Larry Hughes would have been successful in and of itself; perhaps the Bulls best move came after the dust had settled when it was discovered that Thabo Sefolosha was moved for a 2009 first round pick.

While it's unlikely that the pick will be in the lottery with Denver sitting comfortably at the 2 seed in the west, it certainly will have plenty of value in the offseason. The Bulls have to like their chances of being able to package their two first round picks with Kirk Hienrich, thus taking another hefty long-term salary off the books for 2010.

To me the Bulls have to be the clear cut winners on deadline day. While they didn't land the big fish in Bosh or Amare, they were able to get the next best players available from Sacramento, keep all of their young core assets (Derrick, Tyrus, Noah, & Luol) and perhaps most importantly position themselves to move (or be able to move) all of their bad contracts before 2010.

Does Paxson seriously want to resign now? This was perhaps his best 2-day stretch as GM since the Isiah fleece or the 1.7% death row pardon. 

Either way... it's starting to become fun to be a Bulls fan again.

Thabo to the Thunder for a lotto pick...wait, what?

Bulls trade Sefolosha for draft pick


The Bulls have traded Thabo Sefolosha to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a 2009 first-round draft pick, according to SI.com.

The move is not a surprise after the Bulls traded for John Salmons on Wednesday. Salmons, a shooting guard/small forward, plays essentially the same role as Sefolosha.

Because the Thunder own the first-round picks of the Nuggets and Suns, the Bulls will receive the lesser of those two picks.


I don't know about anyone else but getting a (likely) lottery pick from the franchise formerly known as the Seattle Supersonics seems like a fleecing to me. Maybe it's karma for the crime that happened in Seattle...or maybe Stern thought a first rounder was sufficient punishment after he saw this.

EDIT: since we might be getting the Nuggets or Suns pick...I guess it probably won't be a lottery pick.

DC's first official post: Would you rather ...

Pay $37.5 million over the next 4 years for a backup point guard or pay $4.9 million over the next two for Jarrett Jack?

Hinrich is a quality PG and a good defender ... but is he really going to be on the court in crunch time when defensive stops are needed when Derrick Rose is our PG and you can't waste a spot on the floor with an extra point who can't fill it up as well as your options at 2? Especially for $10 mil a year?

Trade #2

Hughes to Knicks for Tim Thomas and Jerome James.

At first glance this looks like a better trade than it is. Jerome
James is not an expiring contract this year - he has a player option
for 2010 - so it does not free up money to resign BG.

Kmart, DC and I could only come up with these reasons for this
virtually pointless trade:


-1- Gets the Bull a much needed backup PF (now that we traded Noc and Gooden). Thomas can pick up 12-15 minutes per game behind TT.

-2- Turns one expiring contract into two. Pretty much doesn't matter if
the Bull are going to let the contracts expire - rather than move them
- which would keep cap space in 2010 to sign Bosh. It also saves the
Bull about $.5M in cap space - "The trade is a wash financially for both teams. Hughes makes $12.8 million this year; James and Thomas make $12.2 million combined."

-3- It is a "thanks for sitting quietly at the end of the bench for a
couple months" trade for Larry Hughes.



Kmart also found some info about the Jerome James contract insurance /
injury retirement relief ... Supposedly we can apply one year from the
date of the injury - which is next January. His contract would then
come off the books for the entire season.



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Trade grades -

Miller / Salmons -
"Chicago: This is an outstanding deal for the Bulls, who dump one bad contract in Nocioni and get a big boost for the playoff run with Salmons and Miller. Of course, the Bulls were hoping to strike richer with their combination of Drew Gooden's expiring contract and the $5 million exception from the Joe Smith trade, but once Chris Bosh and Amare Stoudemire were off the table this was the next best option.

The moves set the Bulls up for a nice free-agent run in 2010, especially if Salmons opts out of his contract that year. And since Chicago is enough of a major league city to be a free-agent lure despite its blustery weather, the Bulls stand a decent chance of ending up with Bosh or Stoudemire via that route a year and a half down the road.

In the short term it helps too. In Miller, the Bulls get a physical interior player who can shoot and pass, and one who may be rejuvenated by playing on a better team. He should be an excellent complement to the Bulls' more athletic but less skilled combo of Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah. Certainly he's better than Aaron Gray.

As for Salmons, he's quietly become among the most productive two-way wing players in the league and should supplant Larry Hughes and Thabo Sefolosha in Chicago's guard rotation. If the Bulls' discussions to move Kirk Hinrich pan out, it seems Salmons' role will be nearly as large in Chicago as it was in Sacramento. Certainly he's a major upgrade over Nocioni, who had taken to hoisting wild shots, and could put the Bulls over the top in their quest for a playoff berth.

However, if I'm wrong and the Bulls can't carve out playing time for Salmons, there could be trouble. The one negative about Salmons is his reputation as a me-first guy who gripes if he's not getting lots of minutes and shots. Grade: A-minus"




Getting rid of Hughes' corpse -
"Chicago: Once I recovered from the shock of the Bulls reacquiring Thomas, I realized it was a pretty good move by Chicago to create some wiggle room beneath the luxury tax for next year and unload an unhappy camper.

Thomas replaces much of what they lost by trading Andres Nocioni -- as a 4 who can space the floor, he should get plenty of opportunity in the Bulls' system. They'll hope and pray that James qualifies for some kind of medical retirement that allows him to be stricken from the cap, because he's not going to help them on the court. Grade: B-"

Kmart's first official post - Here's my thoughts on the trade:

While it's easy to be disappointed in this trade at first because it didn't involve anyone named Amare, the Bull made a clear upgrade Wednesday afternoon. Apparently, there was some deep deep fan love for Noc, as all I have heard from casual fans is what a travesty this trade is and how John Paxson is sabotaging the team. To the casual fan Nocioni was a hard working, all heart player who gave 110% every time he stepped on the court. I've always loved having Teen Wolf on our team - - until last offseason.

The game within the game of basketball is against the salary cap. When Pax, gave Noc $7-8 million a year to come off the bench as a 6th or 7th man through 2010, it was a bad signing. This worsened when Noc (29) showed up this season with all the heart and hustle of the past, but clearly a step or two slower - - which now appears to be the downside of his career.

When you sign players to bad contracts in the NBA, most of the time it forces you to make bad front office decisions - - like taking bad contracts back. (or forcing you to let Ben Gordon walk for nothing).

The Bulls were fortunate to not have to take any bad contracts back in this deal. Brad Miller a more than serviceable center (when healthy) is off the books after next season, and John Salmons is a versatile 2/3 that can backup Luol/Ben and at $5-6 mil per is a very moveable contract. Unfortunately, it appears that unless the Bulls find a way to move Kirk or Larry Hughes today - - Ben Gordon is likely gone. While this is disappointing, the trade gives the team a clear upgrade to the front court, and exonerates them from Noc's near immovable contract.

Lastly - - assuming we don't trade Hughes or Miller we can let a combined $26 million walk off the books before the biggest free agency in the history of the NBA. An all-around win for team Paxdorf.

More on the trade

Good thoughts from Pez in yesterday's comments. My quick response: Although it would be nice to start a big player at Sg and finally not have the tiny backcourt, I'm fairly certain there is no chance that Salmons starts at the 2.

If he does start at SG the first three off the bench would be Kirk, BG and Noah (assuming Mad Bad Brad starts over him). That leaves no one (... Thabo?!) to spell Luol at the SF spot. Doesn't make sense to become that thin at SF and have 4 guards (Rose, Salmons, Kirk and BG) - when you could just have Salmons come off the bench and head up the second unit at SF. Salmons off the bench gives us much more lineup flexibility, as the first three would be Kirk, Salmons and Noah.

Not sure how this plays out long-term, but I don't think it makes sense to re-crowd the backcourt and intentionally create such a glaring weakness (no backup SF).





I do think Salmons starts at the 2 eventually (maybe next season), which makes BG expendable this offseason. Hopefully the Bull at least make him some kind of respectable offer without breaking the bank, because I will be sad to see the Bull' all-time leading 3PT shooter walk away.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Trade

Noc and Gooden to Sac for Salmons and Miller.

Quick thoughts: Upgrade in the frontcourt because ...
- No more Noc and Gooden (more minutes for TT and Noah)
- Miller should get Gray's minutes (Miller has some basketball skills)


Love getting Salmons, but my only concern is that it might bury Gordon. Salmons is bigger and can fill it up, and with Gordon leaving (now almost certainly?) - it might be hard to find tick for both.





Also, whichever team gets the best (or headline) player usually "wins" an NBA trade ... I think we got the best of this deal (I hope so because they were dumping salary) and the ESPN headline reads "Bulls get Miller, Salmons from Kings in big deal"




-----------------------------


Interesting long-term thoughts on the trade - "Chicago needed a post presence, and Miller provides that to some degree despite the fact that he's not exactly the player he once was, and Salmons should be a much more effective backup three than Nocioni was. However neither of these two guys push Chicago over the hump and make them immediate contenders.

The point, it seems, was to turn the Bulls into a free agency player in 2010 while putting out a slightly more competitive team for fans to nibble on while they wait to land a big fish. With Hughes and Miller both expiring that summer Chicago will have $25 million off their books. If rumors about Kirk Hinrich getting shipped to Minnesota in exchange for even more cap space (Jason Collins and Rashad McCants or Brian Cardinal), the Bulls will have freed up another $9 million.

Nocioni and Hinrich are the two guys most agreed the Bulls could afford to lose now that Luol Deng has been signed to a lucrative contract and Derrick Rose is clearly the team's future at point guard. Getting out of those two contracts to pursue a bigger ticket item in '10 would prove to be pretty savvy for a GM like John Paxson, especially considering he's expected to step down from that role in the next week."

Excellent thoughts ...

from Kmart in the Comments of Response to Comments - I considered the ideas, but decided to "ignore" them to make my point. I cannot disagree tho, the league has long been dominated by the big man (Duncan, Shaq & Hakeem in the last 20 years).

However, we cannot completely ignore where MJ took the league, and where it is headed now. There is no longer a long line of dominant big men ... in fact, there are hardly any true, young, back-to-the-basket big men left. Off the top of my head: Superman, Bynum, Al Jefferson, Amare ...

The league is getting smaller, faster and more athletic. The top players are mostly SGs, SFs and some PGs. Think of: D-Wade, LeBron, Kobe, Granger, Durant, Brandon Roy, CP3, D-Will (plus the rookies: Rose, Russell Westbrook, OJ). The future of the league appears to be moving in this direction. That's not to say you don't need/want a big that can dominate and score, but it might not be as necessary as it seemed to be in the past.

Again, I am choosing to ignore the fact that from this group, only D-Wade has won a title (with Shaq), and if Kobe wins this year it will be with Bynum and Pau. There was never a dynasty built around a SG until the MJ Bull - but the idea of building around a SG/3 seems much more reasonable now than it did pre-MJ, and the same applies to building around a PG.




--------------------------------------------------



Rose misses practice - "Derrick Rose is sitting out practice to rest a sore back but expects to play Thursday against the Dallas Mavericks."

Rose may just be tired after a LONG All-Star weekend - "Derrick Rose lost the rookie game, won the skills contest and felt overjoyed that all-star weekend finally was over."


Gooden close to returning, and I am NOT excited / happy. It better not result in a decrease to TT's minutes.



-----------------------------------




N.B.A. = No Balls Association - "Portland, its time to grow some. You have the most young talent in the league, but you all are scaring me. If you don't make a move or two to improve your team, your going to turn into the 2006-2008 Chicago Bulls. Full of young talent, balked to making some major moves (KOBE), and ended up realizing that their talent were no more than B+ players at best. You have the chance to go get Amare, go get him! You too could use some veteran leadership at the wing, go get a Richard Jefferson or a Vince Carter. You all could make a serious run at this thing, don't let it slip away.
We just talked about them earlier, but Chicago needed to grow some a long time ago. With GM John Paxson at the helm, they had amassed some of the best young talent in the league, Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Tyrus Thomas, Joakim Noah, Thabo Sefolosha, and now they have the uber-talented Derrick Rose. Yet, they waited so long to see their talent mature is that now they still have no type of post game whatsoever, they have too much personnel on the wings, and a logjam at PG with Hinrich and Rose. Why not package Hinrich and Ty Thomas to get Amare? Send Hinrich to Miami for a Daequan Cook and a pick? Chris Bosh would look really good in the Bulls uniform. Plus here's another question, why are the Bulls a half-court team? You have one of the most talented, athletic young floor generals ever since J. Kidd hit the court in the mid-90's, yet you want to plod up and down the court and set up the offense? You have athletes, let them boys run and get up and down the floor. Its almost insulting to watch."

Response to comments

There have been a few comments to a recent post (near the end) that had a link to FB&G, which suggested that successful franchisees have a long-term plan and commit to it. They decide where they are going and how they will get there, then commit to coaches and players that fit the bill.

All of the comments generated referenced the recent Celtics as a team that had no plan, but then turned into an NBA Champion overnight. They traded for a few "final pieces" (don't forget that they gave up a pretty healthy future in Al Jefferson and last year's #5 pick - Jeff Green) to win a championship without such a long-term plan. However, I do not think that the Celtics example is dismissive of the premise, instead it is the exception rather than the rule.

Rather than pointing to a one-and-done Celtics team (that's right, no repeat because they have ZERO CHANCE of getting past the Cleveland LeBrons this year), I would instead point to two recent teams that better define the "long-term plan = success" rule: 1990s Bull and Spurs over the last decade.

Let's look at some similarities -

1990s Bull - lucked into the greatest player ever at #3.
Last-decade Spurs - lucked into greatest PF ever by somehow winning the lottery.

[Long-term plan decided without much thought ... build around superstar.]

1990s Bull - put pieces in place around MJ to take advantage of his skillset.
Last-decade Spurs - put pieces in place around Timmy D to take advantage of his skillset.

1990s Bull - eventually won 6 titles in 8 years.
Last-decade Spurs - eventually won 4 titles in 9 years.


Sort of sounds like the current Bull team, no? Lucking into a superstar / potential HoF PG by winning a lottery we had no right winning. Now we know the long-term plan - build around D-Rose. If we can put the right pieces in place, we can compete for multiple titles over the next 10 years (following the 1990s Bull / last-decade Spurs rule), rather than hope to throw together a one-and-done championship team (under the current Celtics exception to the rule).

Trade things

Hinrich being dealt? - "The Bulls have been shopping Larry Hughes and Gooden for months, but multiple executives suggested Tuesday night that Kirk Hinrich suddenly was closer to relocation than any other Bull entering the final day and a half of trading.

Minnesota, according to NBA front-office sources, has strong interest in Hinrich and is pursuing the 28-year-old to address a void at lead guard that hasn't been filled by Randy Foye (whose success this season came after a shift to shooting guard) or the undependable Sebastian Telfair."



Not rumors, but should happen - "3. Knicks send David Lee, Malik Rose and Jared Jeffries to the Bulls for Tyrus Thomas and Larry Hughes.

View this deal in the ESPN Trade Machine

Why should the Knicks do it?
It would help the Knicks tremendously in the summer of 2010. Not only would it clear the last $6 million of Jeffries' deal off the books, but it would ease the Knicks' worries about losing Lee for nothing this summer in free agency.

If Thomas were to keep developing, they could pay him in the summer of 2010 along with LeBron. If he were to struggle, they could let him go and bring in two big free agents with all of their cap room. In the meantime, Hughes would help shore up a big hole at the 2 and he too would come off the books in 2010.

Why should the Bulls do it?
Lee would bring a change in culture to the franchise. He's a double-double machine and a good locker room guy. They'd have to pay him this summer, but given the horrific financial market, it probably wouldn't cost them a fortune. It also would save them some money heading into the summer; getting Hughes off the books would clear an extra $7 million or so under the cap.

Will it happen?
Maybe. The Knicks don't want to lose Lee for nothing and they would love to move Jeffries' contract. The Bulls need a shake-up and adding Lee would help get the team back to its winning ways."

Great find from DC -

"The Moneyball guy [Michael Lewis] wrote an article about Shane Battier for the NY Times - it's an interesting read - here's one of my favorite points when talking about tendencies and efficiencies of various scorers throughout the league:

"The San Antonio Spurs' Manu GinĂ³bili is a statistical freak: he has no imbalance whatsoever in his game — there is no one way to play him that is better than another. He is equally efficient both off the dribble and off the pass, going left and right and from any spot on the floor."

And I used to think this guy was overrated ... open mouth, insert foot."




The article discusses the deficiencies of basketball statistics, mainly the inability to measure the worth / value of a defensive player like Shane Battier. - "Battier has routinely ­guarded the league’s most dangerous offensive players — LeBron James, Chris Paul, Paul Pierce — and has usually managed to render them, if not entirely ineffectual, then a lot less effectual than they normally are. He has done it so quietly that no one really notices what exactly he is up to.

...

Here we have a basketball mystery: a player is widely regarded inside the N.B.A. as, at best, a replaceable cog in a machine driven by superstars. And yet every team he has ever played on has acquired some magical ability to win."


The article (definitely worth the read) was discussed in a recent Bill Simmons podcast (with John Hollinger).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More on Bosh

Another source of the rumor, but the Suns are not trading Amare. (And apparently the Raptors are not moving Bosh).

Bull getting BOSH?!

Which team does not make this trade?

Raptors: Know they are losing Bosh in 2010 anyway, Amare is locked up
to a longer contract.

Suns: Want -1- young talent (TT), -2- draft picks (check), -3-
expiring contract (Gooden)

Bull: Assuming we can lock up Bosh to a long-term contract (which we
should be able to - big market & Bird Rights allow us to offer the
most $), then we are swapping TT's potential for Bosh's proven talent.



Sign me up!









Interesting - "This is a recurring theme here at FB&G, but I think it is a point that
is hard to repeat often enough — winning organizations have a
blueprint and stick with it. They know what kind of team they want to
be, they hire a coach that will execute that type of play on the
court, and then they go get players that fit that system."

What exactly is the Bulls' plan?? We've spent the last few years acquiring assets, but what are we actually doing long-term? (Apart from the obvious of building around D-Rose).

Chat with a Pistons Fan ...

Has convinced me to re-evaluate this move more objectively. Steve basically said that we have a pretty legit team (one of the best PGs in the east, scoring 2, backup PG, versatile 3, and big guys who run and rebound). But we are still only decent / good, so rather than being content (like the 2005-06 Pistons), you make moves.



So, am I severely overrating TT? Or the hope that TT will eventually become "Amare-esque"? Obviously it's not a guarantee ... and isn't Amare everything us Bull fans have been dreaming of for the last few years? A big, versatile, athletic PF that can hit the jumper and play with his back to the basket?

Maybe we should make this move. Is our current roster really getting us to the promised land? Again, my instinct is to consider 3-4 years from now when D-Rose and TT are matured and hitting their prime. And I would hate to get Amare and wind up in the 2nd round of the playoffs for a few years, then when D-Rose is ready to go to the next level, Amare is on the decline.

But think about it - Amare Stoudemire on the Bull! The team that gets the biggest name / best player almost always "wins" an NBA trade, so it's hard to argue that the Bull are not the clear winners if we end up with Amare.




So the real question is: do we want to get significantly better right now with a 26-year-old Amare, the type of scorer / athlete that we've dreaming of for years? Or ride it out and hope that our 22-year-old, rough-edged TT can turn into that 4 years from now?


But does any of this matter now that Amare is unlikely to be traded??

Monday, February 16, 2009

Omission ...

From my "ranking assets" post - pointed out by Kmart: "JJ as I was debating the trade I didn't see Thabo on your list of assets. I'm curious if you would put him ahead of or behind the 2009 pick.

Assuming we had to include one of these two in a trade. Which would you give up. Thabo or the pick?"

And Kmart was exactly right ... not sure if I would put Thabo above or below that pick - thoughts??

1. D-Rose (enough said)
2. Tyrus Thomas (almost as untouchable as Rose)
3. Luol Deng
4. Joa-Noah (looking good, could be a legit center on a fast-paced team)
5. Ben Gordon (higher if we could keep him without breaking the bank)
6. Kirk Hinrich
7. 2009 Draft pick / THABO??
8. Noc
9. Gooden
10. Aaron Gray
11. Lindsey Hunter, Ced Simmons, Michael Ruffin
12. Larry Hughes


Thabo is young (only 24) and is only in his 3rd NBA season, but has shown little offensive improvement. PLus, he's not really the D stud he was hyped to be. On the other hand, the Bull are showing as the likely 8 seed in the East, so it will not be a great draft pick.

New MJ Commercial

(via TrueHoop which linked to Docksquad Sports)

(Can't embed the video for some reason - so watch it here.)

I guess it could be worse

Pax might not be that bad after all, or at least not as bad as the Suns.


Rose had fun at All-Star weekend - "Rose said he received congratulatory text messages and playful kidding from teammates Kirk Hinrich and Drew Gooden, but he said the best part was watching his mother enjoy herself."




Dunk that finished the Skills Competition (from the SunTimes):

Trade - Not Amare?

Trade with the Clippers? - "The Bulls, meanwhile, continue to debate the pros and cons of Stoudemire. According to NBA sources, they also are monitoring the Clippers' situation to see if Chris Kaman or Marcus Camby can be pried loose.
Two league executives said Sunday it appears less likely Stoudemire will become a Bull, if he is traded at all."

Or maybe the Amare deal is still on? - "After last night's All-Star Game, Stoudemire sounded resigned to the idea that he would be traded and that it could happen as early as today. League sources in Phoenix have hinted that the long rumored deal between the Suns and Chicago could get consummated as early as today, a deal that would send the expiring contract of Drew Gooden, Thabo Sefolosha and Tyrus Thomas to the Suns in exchange for Amar'e Stoudemire."

And maybe TT is overhyped? - "So why, in spite of all this, would I be willing to trade this budding young hoss for an apparent malcontent/head-case who "can't rebound"? Because that malcontent can really, really score, and I agree with Kelly Dwyer that the root of the Bulls' recent problems are much more offense-related than defense-related.

A couple things first: While Amare' has never been a great rebounder, it's only this season where he's been hanging around the dreaded Aldridge line of 12.8% TRB. Indeed, throughout his career, Amare' has been an adequate-to-good defensive rebounder (career DRB 20.1); it's only at the offensive end where his boarding gets suspect. That doesn't concern me too much as, so long as any deal does not include Noah, Amare' will be playing alongside one of the best offensive rebounders in the league."



Stupid rookie rankings based on the Rookie/Sophomore game - "Derrick Rose – Chicago Bulls – 4 points, 7 assists, 1 steal
After playing a game Thursday night and missing an entire night's worth of sleep just getting to Phoenix, D-Rose just didn't have it in him. He led his team in assists, but couldn't find the energy to really compete."

But KD was ridiculous in that game.

Sad to say goodbye ...

I'm hoping that the Suns will keep the current roster now that they have made a coaching change, but Amare might still be on his way here for TT - "As we await clear signs as to whether Stoudemire indeed remains in play -- which should be forthcoming Monday -- we can confirm that many teams still see Chicago as the most likely trading partner for the Suns.

One source close to the situation maintains that the Suns have a standing offer from the Bulls for Stoudemire that would definitely deliver blossoming forward Tyrus Thomas and Drew Gooden's $7.2 million expiring contract. The Suns like those two pieces. A lot.

Unclear is how much more Chicago would be willing to put into the deal.

Joakim Noah? Thabo Sefalosha? A first-round pick?"

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Response

To a comment received (from Derek) on the "ranking assets" post from a few days ago - "Why is tyrus thomas untouchable. What is his potential ceiling? Amare?"

I would have to agree that TT's ceiling is Amare, but it's clear that Amare already reached that ceiling. I realize he is "only 26" but he is already in his 7th NBA season and gone through microfracture surgery. Plus his best numbers came under Dantoni, a system that is currently making Chris Duhon look spectacular in NY. Amare is great and that is meant to take nothing away from him - but some of the numbers are the result of the system. It also seems like he might be a bit of a bad locker-room / teammate (got Matrix traded, but now still having problems).

D-Rose is only 20, and it takes most PGs 3-4 years to reach their potential, NBA prime is usually 26-31 or about 1000 career games. That means D-Rose's prime is 6 years away, and Amare is entering his prime now. By the time Rose hits his prime, Amare will be on the decline. On the other hand, TT is only 22 and beginning to show signs of greatly improving. He started developing a jumpshot this summer (which Amare didn't get right until 2 years ago), and can certainly bulk up and develop a post game because he's only 22. If he continues on that growth curve, he can develop with D-Rose - so even if his prime is Amare-esque, it will better coincide with D-Rose's prime. Plus, no micro-fracture surgery on his knees. Not to mention the fact that TT is a great weak-side defender, and Amare has shown a complete lack of desire to play any defense.

Rose

Rose wins the Skills Challenge (Video)





Saturday, February 14, 2009

Trade and Rose

Amare expects to stay with Suns, but - "The Bulls remain engaged in trade talks with the Suns, though no decision is expected until closer to Thursday's trade deadline. Several news outlets, including the Tribune, have reported the Bulls have discussed a package centered on the expiring contracts of Drew Gooden and Cedric Simmons, along with Tyrus Thomas, draft picks and maybe Thabo Sefolosha."


I still hate the trade, but
apparently we are the leaders - "According to league sources, Chicago and Cleveland are among the contenders. The Bulls would send Drew Gooden and his expiring contract ($7.1 million), Tyrus Thomas (this season at $3.7 million, next season at $4.7 million) and Thabo Sefolosha ($1.9 million and $2.7 million this season and next, respectively) to the Suns. The Cavaliers are believed to be offering a package including the expiring contract of Wally Szczerbiak ($13 million), Anderson Varejao ($5.7 million this season with player option worth $6.2 million for next season) and rookie forward J.J. Hickson ($1.3 million this season and $1.4 million next), although more pieces would need to be included to make that deal work."


Stoudemire said Rose is "a super athletic and a fast and explosive point guard," leading some to believe that Stoudemire could be interested in heading to the Windy City.





D-Rose is tired - "As much as Bulls rookie Derrick Rose just wants to enjoy himself at his first All-Star weekend, he's just too tired. Isn't this supposed to be a relaxing break from the hectic nature of the NBA season?"

Friday, February 13, 2009

Slam Dunk Contest Top 10

Highlights on the ESPN NBA page.

10 - Hate Nate Rob in the Contest b/c he took 54329 attempts.

7 - Should be higher, that dunk changed the contest.

Ommissions: Dwight Howard off the back of the backboard, JR Smith behind-the-back in the air, and some others I'm probably forgetting

Great idea ...

teams should rank their assets. Idea is that you would not trade #1, more willing to trade lower down the list. Here's my quick list for the Bull:

1. D-Rose (enough said)
2. Tyrus Thomas (almost as untouchable as Rose)
3. Luol Deng
4. Joa-Noah (looking good, could be a legit center on a fast-paced team)
5. Ben Gordon (higher if we could keep him without breaking the bank)
6. Kirk Hinrich
7. 2009 Draft pick
8. Noc
9. Gooden
10. Aaron Gray
11. Lindsey Hunter, Ced Simmons, Michael Ruffin
12. Larry Hughes

Can't believe ...

... it took me so long to link to my favorite article of the year: NBA Trade Value - "Of all the lousy coaching hirings recently (Terry Porter, P.J. Carlesimo, Michael Curry, Sam Vincent, Reggie Theus, Marc Iavaroni), what's funny is Vinny Del Negro was by far the worst. It's even scarier in person when you're sitting behind the Bulls' bench; I know a reader once compared Vinny's coaching to Shooter's taking over Hickory High that first time, but actually, it's more like watching an old person getting ready to go through a metal detector at an airport. Just complete confusion and panic and a lot of stopping and starting and glancing around. I feel bad even making fun of it. Let's just move on."



Reinsdorf said Pax rumor is not credible - "Shortly after that, the Bulls released a statement from owner Jerry Reinsdorf that said: "Pete Vecsey is not a credible enough source to comment on. Two weeks ago he had John being fired. Now he has him resigning."

Later Friday, the Chicago Tribune reported that Paxson "is strongly considering resigning as Bulls general manager, likely at the end of the season." The Tribune said that Paxson has talked about his wishes with Reinsdorf, who has tried to persuade him to stay."
I personally don't care as what Pax does as long as he doesn't trade TT.

Pax Resignation

Confirmed.

Whoa

Pax to resign - "Do I know this to be fact? No. But two people in the know maintain John Paxson will resign as Bulls GM soon after Thursday's trade deadline expires."


Someone agrees with me, we don't need Amare - "I am in the rapidly shrinking minority of those who say trading for Stoudemire is the wrong move. Don't worry: Whatever you call me, my wife has called me worse."



Pre-Nash Amare v. Current TT - "In 2003-2004, Amare Stoudemire was a 21 year old, second year player on the pre-Nash, pre-D'Antoni Suns. Here are his Per36 stats from that season compared to Tyrus' since December 1st:

Per 36 Minutes

Amare, age 21 - 20.1 points, 8.8reb, 1.4ast, 1.1stl, 1.6blk, 3.1to, 3.3pf, 15.4fga, 7.7fta, .536 TS%
Tyrus, age 22 - 14.9 points, 8.3 reb, 1.5ast, 1.5stl, 2.5blk, 1.7to, 3.7pf, 11.0fga, 5.3fta, .559 TS%

I admittedly cut some corners since Tyrus is a year older here, with one more year of NBA seasoning, and these numbers are for just his three good months instead of a whole year. But three months is a decent chunk of basketball, and I was surprised how well Tyrus matched up."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Not trading ...

Larry Hughes. (Scroll to the note at the bottom).


And I state again: we better not give up TT for Amare. Can you imagine if we gave up all this? - "One scenario that is very possible and has been discussed the most would be a deal that would send Drew Gooden, Tyus Thomas, Thabo Sefoloshia and a 1st round pick to the Suns in exchange for Stoudemire. However, Steve Kerr would like Joakim Noah added to the deal as well."

I will consider not being a Bull fan if Pax is that dumb. (And I fear / know that he is.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New Jordan Brand Commercial - Lead The Charge

Really?

Is Amare really an upgrade over TT? - "But Thomas Tuesday had another monster game with 22 points and 10 rebounds, his fourth consecutive double/double and sixth in the past seven games. Thomas is now averaging over the last eight games 15.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 1.6 steals. Plus he's had double figure rebounds in six of the last seven games, and a lack of rebounding has been one of the major criticisms of Stoudemire's career. Is this a fluke for Thomas, or does almost three solid weeks of play suggest the light finally has gone on for the talented 22-year-old?"

Slightly older and more polished, he comes with a bigger salary, a restructured knee, and a prime that ends before D-Rose's prime starts

Johnny "Red"

Great summary of the ceremony - "There was a stirring video homage with footage of Johnny both as a player and a color commentator. They gave him a collage of pictures and mementos for display in his home. A bust (representing his broadcasting days) was unveiled, and it will be prominently displayed in the United Center as long as that building still stands. Last, but certainly not least, Johnny was presented with the 2009 John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. And there were some veryspecial guests, including Kerr's lifelong friend and NBA Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes, Jerry Colangelo (who convinced Johnny to coach in Phoenix many years ago), Kerr's old broadcasting buddy Jim Durham, NBA commissioner David Stern (who made his cadaverous appearance via video), the great Scottie Pippen, and the even greater Michael Jordan (who, in honor of their past together, clapped some rosin powder in Johnny's face). I didn't think it would be possible to top Jordan's speech, but then they aired a video tribute from Barack Obama, otherwise known as the freaking President of the United States! Kerr earned his reputation as the NBA's original iron man for playing in 844 consecutive regular season games, but the fact that he wasn't weeping like a child after all that is proof positive that he has a heart forged of pure steel. I know Iwas crying. (But in a manly way. While crushing rocks with my bare hands.) Even MJ was misty-eyed throughout. It was everything Johnny deserved. The only part of the event that hurt was seeing Johnny - who had always been so vigorous – appear physically diminished. In case you didn't know, Kerr was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year and his declining health has been something of an open secret around Chicago (to long-time Bulls fans, anyway). In fact, his condition is the reason that the organization moved up the ceremony, which was originally scheduled for April. Johnny's son, Matt Kerr, had to read a statement that Johnny had prepared. And when Johnny finally did speak, it was obviously with great effort. I can only hope that Johnny's health will improve, at least enough for him to enjoy this long-overdue honor for many years to come."


"For a moment at the United Center, time stood still. Or, rather, it went back to another era."

Some video of the tribute.






We cannot give up this much - "Most Stoudemire suitors believe the Bulls have the chance to offer the best package, which could include the expiring contract of Drew Gooden, rapidly emerging forward Tyrus Thomas, Joakim Noah and possibly a draft pick. Bulls GM John Paxson recently had his assistant, director of player personnel Gar Forman, return to Chicago from the college scouting trail to pore over trade possibilities with him. The Bulls are clearly determined to land Stoudemire."


Ridiculous pass from AI.

More rookie ranks

Four way tie - "This week's observations
Derrick Rose, Bulls
Rose played unbelievably well on the Bulls' seven-game road trip. What he's doing as a rookie point guard is amazing, especially with the rest of the league figuring out ways to defend him.

He has added some floaters on penetrations. He is knocking in his midrange jumpers with regularity. He is taking much better shots most of the time. And he is even learning how to throw lob passes off ball-screen penetrations, which has helped teammates Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas get more involved in the offense.

He still gets cooked on defense too often, but his offensive (and rebounding) efforts more than make up for that issue. I've never been higher on him than I am right now."


And here Rose is third (which is obviously wrong).

Rookie rankings

D-Rose is #1 at HoopsWorld - "#1 (1) – Derrick Rose – Chicago Bulls (22-29) – 16.8ppg, 6.4apg, 3.6rpg
The Bulls are 4-2 on their recent West Coast road trip (and easily could've been 5-1 after a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Mavericks over the weekend), and that success has come largely in part to Rose's stellar play. He's scored in the 20s four of the last six games and just continues to watch his assist numbers rise. If he wins the Skills Challenge on Saturday evening, he'll just have one more bullet to tack onto his resume."

Excellent thoughts

from KMart in a fanpost on Blogabull - "The more I weigh this trade...

The more I feel like we are partially betting against ourselves on this one. Even though there are a lot of teams looking to add Amare, I feel like even some of our stinker packages are better than the best offers some other teams are making.

I am starting to believe that Tyrus is untouchable. I think it would make more sense to hold on to him and let him and Derrick develop alongside one another. I would also like to see what Noah could do after a second (hopefully serious) offseason.

I’m becoming increasingly skeptical that this trade makes us better in the long run. It feels like Wallace/Chandler version 2.0… or even worse J Kidd/Devin Harris.

Offer any combo of Noc, Kirk, Hughes, Gooden, Simmons, Thabo, Gordon, and picks and see if they’ll take that. If they don’t then what have we really lost besides Amare – a knee?

In the offseason/next year we can package Hughes expiring with Noc and Kirk for a difference maker. (and if we can’t do that we’ll at least have the $ to make a run at some 2010 FA’s)

Keep Noah, Tyrus, Deng, and Rose as a young nucleus and give each of them 35-40 mins a game for the rest of the season. See if they can get you in the playoffs and see what you have from there. I feel that now would be a mistake to give up on all of our young talent especially since they have begun to show what they are capable of night in and night out."


It sounds legit. The Suns have shown interest in Kirk, so if we can make him the centerpiece, along with Gooden's expiring, Thabo (or Noah if necessary) and some picks; I would pull the trigger. There is virtually nothing that could get me to trade TT (as I've been saying for weeks/months). If he continues to work on his J this summer, it makes the D-Rose/TT pick and roll even better next year. Teams would have to respect that and it would open the slip screen (which is all he does now). If TT and Noah can each develop one legit post move (it cannot be that hard if Aaron Gray has a drop step), we would have a legit 4 and 5. Luol is the perfect compliment in a pick and roll offense, knocking down his 18-20 footers. All of a sudden we have 4 legit parts out of 5? Crazy to think.
I would love Amare, who wouldn't? But the Suns are not getting fair exchange, so we shouldn't be the team offering way more than other teams. If we could get him to be the "veteran" with Luol, Rose and TT - so fun to watch and would only get better. Here's a trade being tossed around that will never happen!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Shouldn't this tell you something ...

And that something is that we should NOT trade TT - "In a somewhat surprising development Monday, several sources indicated the Phoenix Suns do not have much interest in Miami's Michael Beasley and would prefer Tyrus Thomas in a trade for all-star power forward Amare Stoudemire."

Suns might want Kirk because they fear losing Nash? (Fine with me if it helps keep TT)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Someone else

who doesn't want Amare over TT - "An athletic power forward who can’t defend at his position (or at center) and would rather shoot face-up jumpers than execute a move in the low post? We already have that guy. His name is Tyrus Thomas. Look, Amare may be an All-Star – who despite intense lobbying via an Internet marketing campaign barely beat out Bruce Bowen for a starting spot on the Western Conference squad, by the way – but he’s basically an older and much more expensive version of a player the Bulls already have on their roster. And then there’s that whole “his knee was reconstructed through microfracture surgery” thing."

Not worth it ...

The Suns want TT for Amare - "Any Bulls package would include the expiring $7.1 million contract of Drew Gooden. Two league sources said the Suns also are most intrigued by forward Tyrus Thomas, and his play on the recent trip explains why."


Amare for Marion / Beasley? I doubt it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Still not sure ...

... I'm sold on giving up too much to get Amare. If we could get him and keep TT, sign me up. Looks like we are one of the few teams that have what the Suns want - "The Bulls are among a handful of teams that have engaged in trade discussions with the Suns for four-time All-Star Amare Stoudemire, according to league sources.

It's unknown what specific proposals, if any, the Bulls have presented and one league executive stressed it's too early in the process to declare any team the front-runner for the big man's services. The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 19.

It's also unclear if the Bulls are convinced Stoudemire is a good fit, given he owns an opt-out clause after the 2009-10 season and almost certainly will be demanding a maximum contract that would run six seasons and rise from about $20 million annually.

Stoudemire, 26, also is perceived as an uninterested defender who occasionally has acted aloof with teammates, raising leadership questions."





And Dirk killed us in overtime the other night.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hate this idea

I would hate the Bull if they traded anything more than leftover french fries for Vince Carter.

Still linked to Amare - "Sources told ESPN.com that the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons and Portland Trail Blazers are among the many teams with whom Phoenix has exchanged trade concepts, with the Bulls and Heat believed to be pursuing Stoudemire hardest at this early stage."

I mentioned this the other day, but it's still shocking - "The Bulls wrap up their seven-game road trip tonight at Dallas having already accomplished something no Bulls team has in a decade: post a record above .500 on a trip of five games or more."


Two awesome things: BG might play horse and Noc hunted wild pigs.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Trade and Rose

Gooden expendable with TT and Noah playing well.

NBA Rumors - Bull want to trade Hughes, teams interested in Gooden's expiring deal.



Rookie watch and rookie rankings.

Guest post ...

Compliments of Kmart:

Here's a list of (somewhat) reasonable trade's I would pull the trigger on from least reluctant to most reluctant but would still do it.

1)Noah / Gooden / Gordon for Amare

2) Noah / Gooden / Thabo for Amare

3)I'll miss you... =(
TT / Gooden / Thabo for Amare



My take on things: The Suns would be most likely to go for the last option, but I would absolutely hate to see TT in another uniform. I would be happy to send Noah (without TT) + others, but not sure if that's enough. The Bull might be better off waiting til next year when Hughes' corpse has value to package with Kirk / Noc or something like that. If we do something now, might have to take a bad contract with Amare and give up a draft pick or something?

I cannot tell if I am severely overvaluing TT and Noah, but a part of me thinks they could be good with Rose and Deng in about 2-3 years. Amare is 26 and has had injuries. Am I really talking myself into keeping this team together? Yes. I have always been adamant about keeping TT, and I think Noah can be a good center on a fast-paced team. He is just now getting into shape and has looked good lately - so what if he has a good summer and plays well all of next season? I realize starting TT and Noah means that we continue without a "low post presence" - but didn't we once win 6 titles without that? If TT keeps developing his jumpshot this summer, the pick-and-roll with Rose / TT could be ridiculous. Add Luol waiting to drain 18 footers, and all of a sudden we don't need much from noah (just energy / rebounds / defense).

Trade?

Could the Bull get Amare? (And more importantly: can we get Amare and keep TT? I've heard a rumor with BG instead of TT). Either way, I don't see it happening. But supposedly Amare is available, and the Bull have what the Suns want.




The Bull beat the injury-riddled Hornets earlier this week. I really like when Rose, Kirk, Luol, TT and Noah play together. Blogabull likes the starting lineup VDN has used recently, and it's hard to argue. We have almost looked like a basketball team.

Here's a possible reason why - "the biggest reason is the improved play and consistency of power forward Tyrus Thomas and center Joakim Noah."

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Crazy stat

The Bull are now 4-1 on this 7-game trip, which means that they will finish 4-3 at worst. Neil Funk mentioned during the fourth quarter that the last time the Bull had a winning record on a 5+ game road trip was 1997-1998.

Non-Bull

Kobe is ridiculous. (And with 20/20 FTs, he is 1/5 of the way to the all-time consecutive FT record in just 1 game).



Tiger is practicing. (I predict a Grand Slam this year.)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bull, Rose and Random

D-Rose had to ask out the Suns game - "He was agonizing over asking out of a game for the first time in his career, so one can imagine how Rose would have felt to miss a practice with a slight sprain on the top of his left foot."


Three game winning streak - "File the Bulls' three-game winning streak under ''You have to crawl before you can walk.""



ROTY prediction - "ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls.

With all due respect to Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, it's probably a two-man race between Rose and Memphis' O.J. Mayo.

Rose is our choice because he's second in scoring (16.8) and first in assists (6.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.36). The offense runs through him, and the Bulls are still within striking distance of a playoff spot.

Mayo hasn't done quite that much, even though he is best among rookies at 37.7 minutes and 19 points per game after Wednesday."


Another ROTY watch - "#1 (1) – Derrick Rose – Chicago Bulls (21-27) – 16.7ppg, 6.3apg, 3.5rpg
The Bulls have won three in a row (all of them road games) and Rose has played a large part in each of those wins. While his jumpshot seems to have reverted a bit in the last few weeks, he court vision and assist numbers just continue to climb. For just having turned twenty years old earlier this season, he's such a mature, calm player that there are some games where you'd never even guess he was a rookie."


Not scathing, but pointing out that maybe Rose is overrated? - "Don’t get me wrong, Rose is really, really good. But “worlds above every player on that team” is, at this point, a fairly serious overstatement."


Looks like VDN is staying - "The chances of Vinny Del Negro getting fired this season are about as great as Jerry Reinsdorf singing karaoke at halftime of the next Bulls home game."








What if the Bull could get Bosh? - "Stephen A. Smith of ESPN has reported that Chris Bosh has already informed GM Bryan Colangelo that he will not resign with the team in 2010."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Great chat

from Bill Simmons (and of course the D-Rose question caught my eye) - "Steve Chicago: Once it became clear that Pax hiring Del Negro was the sports equivalent of "Secret of My Success", only the exact opposite, the only thing I can look forward to is your NBA trade value column. When can I feel the joy of seeing Derrick Rose rated in the top 25?

Bill Simmons: I went Wednesday night and watching Dunleavy and Vinny go head to head reminded me of the days when David Charvet and Andrew Shue would act in the same scenes in Melrose Place. By the way, the Bulls couldn't be more miserable as a group... they all have glazed looks on their faces and no energy at all. We might have to send FEMA to Chicago to save Derrick Rose."



Bull:
Assistant coaches

Larry Hughes (scroll all the way down)

Beat the Suns, Beat the Suns



SUPER BOWL
Pick to win: Steelers (-7)
Cheering for: Cardinals

Final score: 27-17

Great chat

from Bill Simmons (and of course the D-Rose question caught my eye) - "Steve Chicago: Once it became clear that Pax hiring Del Negro was the sports equivalent of "Secret of My Success", only the exact opposite, the only thing I can look forward to is your NBA trade value column. When can I feel the joy of seeing Derrick Rose rated in the top 25?

Bill Simmons: I went Wednesday night and watching Dunleavy and Vinny go head to head reminded me of the days when David Charvet and Andrew Shue would act in the same scenes in Melrose Place. By the way, the Bulls couldn't be more miserable as a group... they all have glazed looks on their faces and no energy at all. We might have to send FEMA to Chicago to save Derrick Rose."