Sunday, May 31, 2009

NBA Finals

Well I hope the Magic enjoy it this year, because I see the Bulls repping the East in the Finals for the next decade.

This week sucks tho, as we go from Sunday to Wednesday with no playoffs to watch. You should definitely check out "World's Most Amazing Events" on Discovery, it's a bit slow-moving (each episode could have been 45 minutes rather than an hour), but phenominal to watch in HD.



As for the Finals this year, I have no idea what to expect - but I'm hoping for 7 games. The Magic won both games during the season, but not sure if that means anything at this point. Kobe needs to win this year (his window is closing) to establish/cement his legacy. If he doesn't win this year, he'll never win a title as THE MAN on a team, so he will basically be forgotten (or remembered only as the "placeholder" between MJ and LeBron). So I see Kobe's competitiveness taking over, and Kobe taking over any close game in the 4th. Lakers in 7.




JA Adande's first look -

And yet ... I'm still picking the Lakers over the Magic in seven games in the NBA Finals.

For starters, a couple of observations about those two regular-season games, which the Magic won 106-103 in Orlando on Dec. 20 and 109-103 in Los Angeles on Jan. 16.

One, Jameer Nelson was the leading scorer for Orlando in both games, torching the Lakers for a total of 55 points, another one of those quick point guards that have torn up L.A. throughout the season. But Nelson had a season-ending shoulder injury in February and won't be around to exploit the Lakers' biggest weakness. Mid-season pickup Rafer Alston has had some effective games in the playoffs, but he won't lead the Magic in scoring this series.

Two, the Magic shot 40 percent or better on 3-pointers in both games, exceeding even than their regular-season average of 38 percent. And they will have good shooting nights in the Finals. But will they have four of them?





Tarnished Rose: Allegations Could Prove Costly


Right from the start, the message was crisp and direct _ just like Derrick Rose's passes.

The Chicago Bulls were starting over and identifying their new leading man was as easy as flicking in a wide-open layup that afternoon in June. He was the guy slipping on jersey No. 1 after being drafted No. 1, the kid who grew up a few miles away and was now charged with turning around the franchise.

Rose delivered. But now, he's on the receiving end.

The explosive point guard who led the Bulls to the playoffs and won the Rookie of the Year award has come under a cloud cast by an NCAA investigation of major violations at Memphis during the only season he played there. That news was accompanied by media reports that someone at Chicago's Simeon Career Academy had temporarily changed a D to a C on his college transcript.

Yes, the past few days have been painful for Rose. And the sting might linger.

"This is going to be a multiyear story, and the problem for Derrick Rose is he's at the foundation of this," said Marc Ganis, president of Chicago-based consulting company Sports Corp. Ltd.

In a letter to Memphis, the NCAA says an unknown person took the SAT for a player _ with his knowledge _ and that the player used it to get admitted. The governing body says the athlete played for the Tigers in the 2007-08 season and the 2008 NCAA tournament. Only one person fits that description _ Rose.





Things we learned -

A Franchise-Changing Collapse in Cleveland?

I guess you can call me a witness. Either that, or a sucker.

I was very skeptical of the Cleveland Cavaliers early in the season and kept predicting the team's demise at some point. It's not that I thought they wouldn't make it deep into the playoffs, but I just didn't think they were the best team in the East.

As the season progressed, though, the Cavs kept proving me wrong. Near the end of the season I really started becoming a believer. Watching the Cavs roll their first two opponents in the postseason only strengthened my believe in Cleveland. I didn't buy into any of the talk about not being tested in the first two rounds being a problem. I also didn't buy into the notion that the Magic winning the regular season series 2-1 would have any bearing on the playoff match-up.

I should have known better. The playoffs are about match-ups, and Orlando was a very tough one for Cleveland.

The question that Cleveland is left asking now is whether the Cavs just ran into a bad match-up or if the team has some real holes that were exposed late in the season.



Listen to Sir Charles at 0:44 -
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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bull Bear Sock (oh my!) Links

Apparently the Bulls are a desirable team to play for -

T-Will could become a star: Former Louisville star Terrence Williams could become a media darling in whichever city he lands in, but he may also become a headache for some of the writers that cover the team. He seemed disinterested throughout most of the proceedings, but he did open up a little more once we started talking about the prospect of him playing for the Bulls.


Louisville's Terrence Williams was unique in expressing a specific desired result for the NBA Draft -- he likes the Bulls.
"I would love to play for the Bulls," he told me. "I told them that in the meeting. I told [Vinny] Del Negro that I would love to play for him 'cause I love their style and I love how Derrick Rose distributes the ball as a young point guard. I love Ben Gordon, I love their young players with [Joakim] Noah, [John] Salmons, I love everybody on their team and I love the way they play. It fits my style. I'd love to play there."



Let's hope D-Wade or C-Bosh feels the same way!




The New York Mets have traded backup catcher Ramon Castro and cash to the Chicago White Sox for right-hander Lance Broadway.


Free agent linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa agreed Friday to a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears after leading the St. Louis Rams in tackles four of the past six seasons.


The Chicago Bears reached a two-year contract extension with defensive lineman Israel Idonije, the team announced Friday. According to a source, Idonije received a deal worth $7 million in new money. The team guaranteed $3 million of the contract. Idonije is now signed through 2011.



Quentin update -

Guillen expressed confidence that Quentin will return to the active roster when he's eligible on June 10.

"We have faith that the injury isn't that bad," Guillen said. "We cannot be playing short[handed] for six to seven days. That's our problem. He should be back on the day he's supposed to be back."




You have to feel bad for Randy Brown -

Former Chicago Bull Randy Brown's three NBA championship rings were sold at auction Thursday for $53,833.

The winning bidder, identified only as "RingKing," outbid Michael Jordan's publicist.

A judge ordered them sold following Brown's 2008 bankruptcy filing. The minimum bid was $19,000.

Earlier this month, Brown said the rings -- from 1996, '97 and '98 -- were his most cherished possessions.



Bears signed a lot of rookies to contracts
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Although the big news of the day coming out of Halas Hall was the signing of reserve defensive lineman Israel Idonije to a two-year contract extension, having seven rookies agree to terms on four-year contracts shouldn't go unnoticed.

At least two of the seven, fourth-round pick D.J. Moore and fifth-round pick Johnny Knox, could have significant roles once the season starts. Moore could crack the starting lineup at cornerback, and Knox's blazing speed makes him a threat at receiver. Knox's signing bonus was more than $200,000. Fourth-round pick Henry Melton could be in the mix at defensive end.

And don't discount receiver Derek Kinder, the seventh-round pick out of Pittsburgh. He could contribute as well, considering how shaky most people believe the receiving corps is.

Linebacker Marcus Freeman (fifth round), safety Al Afalava (sixth round), and offensive lineman Lance Louis (seventh round) all agreed to terms as well. Afalava and Louis might have a tough time making the 53-man roster, although the needed depth at safety could help Afalava's cause.

Third-round picks Jarron Gilbert and Juaquin Iglesias have yet to agree to terms. They could play immediately, with Gilbert in the defensive tackle rotation and Iglesias possibly a No. 2 receiver.




No question MJ is best ever. I'm linking to this because I have a question ... On the left-side of the photo at the top, isn't the pic of MJ dunking flipped or something? I swear I've seen that pic before and MJ is actually dunking with his right hand, but there it's flipped to look like his left ... am I confused?!

The greatest basketball player. EVER.

I was trying to explain my favorite MJ clip to Coe and Kmart at the bar last night, so I decided to post it here. If you're an old-school Bulls fan, try watching this without getting chills.

Downloads: 0 Views: 1812





And listen to MJ's cocky post-game comment, it's awesome.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Hollins' call still resonates after 15 years - ESPN.com

To keep up the officiating theme of the past two days...

Remembering the notorious foul call in the 95 playoffs
Pippen got back a split-second too late, Davis released the ball and then Pippen made contact with Davis' arms on the follow-through. The shot bounced off the right side of the rim, and for the briefest of moments it appeared the Bulls were going to win the game. But Hollins had blown his whistle, a late whistle, just as the shot was approaching the rim.

"When I heard the whistle, it was like 'What happened? Who fouled?'" Pippen recalls. "I didn't think I had made a foul."

Technically a player is defined as being in the act of shooting from the time he goes up for the shot until after he has landed back on the ground. Except, as even Davis admits, "That's a call you normally don't get."

Today, with concern about defenders sliding under shooters and causing injuries, it gets called more often. That wasn't the case back then, and certainly not with a playoff outcome riding on it. Steve Kerr had been hit the same way several times that year, his first with the Bulls, and never was sent to the free-throw line.

"I went to the ref every time and they said, 'It doesn't matter, the shot was released," Kerr says. "Back then it was not called. And every time I asked the ref, I got the exact same explanation: Once you release the shot it doesn't matter."

This time Davis was awarded two free throws. He made them both and the Knicks won. After the game, Phil Jackson didn't take any questions when he addressed the media. He made one statement that lasted exactly 38 seconds. His main point: "I've seen a lot of things happen in the NBA, but I've never seen anything happen like what happened at the end of the game."

The Knicks wound up winning the series in seven games.

"Have I ever seen a single call make a difference like that?" Pippen says. "No. Never ever. It cost us the whole series."

More links and D-Rose scandal?!

But first, a mini-rant ...

Reggie Miller is by far the worst NBA announcer on the planet. I hate when he is assigned to playoff games (I realize he was a sub for Doug Collins last night, but they could find someone else). Reggie is terrible, even worse than the woman who did the back-end of some double-headers on ESPN during the regular season.

He offers no analysis or insight. Yesterday he said: Mo Williams is the first Cav other than LeBron to score 20 points this series, and that's the first time Mo has reached 20 points this series. Really Reggie?! Idiot. Did Reggie also start asking himself simple questions and answering them? Yes.

I could watch Marv Albert announce chess and it would be exciting, but Reggie ruins Marv's excellence and makes me want to mute the games.

I hate Reggie Miller (almost) as much as I ... HATE. THE. CELTICS.




And another mini-rant ...

I know it's been said/written before, but the plays teams run at the end of quarters are absolutely stupid. Those are generally big plays because they can get a home crowd fired up for the second unit at the start of the 2nd and 4th quarters (or take a crowd out of it if the road team scores) ...

And teams continuously do the stupid "player X dribbles the clock down then takes a long step-back jumper" play. It's boring, and it's obviously not the best offensive play the team has - otherwise they would do it all game right?

Some teams are excluded from this criticism (Suns and Magic run a pick-and-roll, but the Magic usually end up with a Hedo step-back J anyway). But think about most teams: Cavs with LeBron, Lakers with Kobe, Bulls with BG ... it's always the same. Couldn't they run that player off some screens and get him the ball in the post, or run the normal offense and make sure it ends up in that players hands?!







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


Now some links ...

Why look at another PG? -


Jonny Flynn and his agent, Leon Rose, mapped out a predraft workout schedule for the potential lottery pick based on teams that need a point guard.

Then the Bulls called.

"I couldn't understand why they would bring me in either," Flynn said at the NBA predraft camp at Attack Athletics, confirming the Tribune's report of his Sunday workout. "But they said there are times they wish to move Derrick [Rose] off the ball. When they said that to me, it fell into place."

Whether Flynn is on the board when the Bulls use the first of their two first-round picks in the June 25 NBA draft is impossible to predict. At No. 16 and No. 26, the Bulls have numerous options.







Rose had a grade changed at Simeon -

A year ago, Derrick Rose became the No.1 overall pick in the NBA draft, selected by his hometown Bulls and eventually dazzling enough onlookers to be rated the top rookie in his class.

His ability and promise remain an immutable truth for the present and future. It's Rose's past, though, that is becoming a bit more clouded.

First came news Wednesday out of Memphis that the NCAA is investigating an allegedly fraudulent SAT score of a Memphis basketball player from the 2007-08 Final Four team, reportedly Rose.

Then a Chicago Public Schools source said Thursday that a grade on Rose's high school transcript was changed from a D to a C by someone at Simeon Career Academy in the final semester of his senior year.



Issue with Rose's SAT score also
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A Chicago Public Schools source said Thursday that a grade on Rose's high school transcript was changed from a D to a C by someone at Simeon Career Academy in the final semester of his senior year.

On Wednesday reports surfaced in Memphis that the NCAA is investigating an allegedly fraudulent SAT score of a Memphis basketball player from the 2007-08 Final Four team, reportedly Rose.


"Mr. Rose is aware of the allegations reported in the press," Daniel E. Reidy, Rose's attorney, said in a statement. "Mr. Rose cooperated fully with the University of Memphis' athletic and legal departments' investigation of this issue when he was a student, and that investigation uncovered no wrongdoing on his part.

"At this time, Mr. Rose sees no reason to engage in further discussion regarding this matter and will instead focus on his career as a professional basketball player."





Ripple effect of the allegations
-

Let's say you're of the cynical, entertain-me-now school of fandom.

You don't care a wit that young Bulls star Derrick Rose has been implicated as the beneficiary of some serious academic cheating at both his alma maters -- Simeon High School and the University of Memphis.

According to NCAA allegations first reported by the Memphis Commercial-Appeal and Chicago high school sources informing the Sun-Times, some person other than Rose allegedly took his college-entrance SAT, and someone with access to Rose's Simeon transcripts changed one of his grades from a D to a C just as Rose was applying to colleges.

So what, you say. He's a pro now. He was always gonna be a baller. Go, Bulls!

That's fine.

Live in your world of beer-can-on-the-belly sports relativism.

But just ponder the ripple effect and the hypocrisy revealed by the academic fraud before you lumber to the fridge for another cold one.



***** UPDATE *****

Memphis denies allegations -

Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson said the Tigers have no reason to believe a former player -- identified by sources as Derrick Rose -- took a fraudulent standardized test prior to enrolling at the university.

"If we thought that we wouldn't have played him," Johnson told ESPN.com Thursday.

Johnson wouldn't confirm that Chicago Bulls rookie Rose is at the center of the investigation. But he denied any knowledge of someone else taking a standardized test for a Memphis player.

Forde: Kentucky sees, hears no evil

There are still plenty of questions to be answered, but don't tell that to Kentucky or its fans. The NCAA allegations at Memphis? No need to dig up the past -- that doesn't involve next year's dream season. Forde

In a letter to the school the NCAA says an unknown person took the SAT for a player, with his knowledge, and then the player used that test to get into Memphis. The NCAA said the athlete in question played for the Tigers in the 2007-08 season and the 2008 NCAA tournament. The only person who played just that season was Rose.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Links

Great BS article on the terrible officiating in these NBA playoffs -

This was one of the bigger moments in recent NBA history: The time when our latest hope for "The Next Jordan" actually did something MJ would have done. Like so many other die-hards, I spent the next 24 hours rehashing the moment through phone calls and e-mails and texts. This wasn't about hype, or blowing things out of proportion, or racing to put the proper context in place before everything else. This was just a beautiful moment, one of those nights that made us remember why we waste so much time following sports.

Two nights later, Cleveland and Orlando played an unspeakably awful game that featured a whopping 58 fouls. All the momentum from Game 2 was gone. Here was the new NBA in its new age of unadulterated impurity: Teams hoisting bad 3-pointers, referees trying to "manage" the game and failing, players going one-on-five, stoppages again and again and again, free throws and more free throws, more stoppages, more mismanaging by the refs ... by the time it was over, I wanted to commit a flagrant one on myself. The two teams combined to attempt 96 2-point field goals, 43 3-pointers and a staggering 86 free throws. In other words, there were nearly nine free throws for every 10 2-point field goal attempts. Egads. The next night, Los Angeles and Denver combined to play a similarly brutal game: 113 2-point attempts, 55 3-pointers, 84 free throws. Yuck.

You might argue this happens every playoffs: We bitch about bad calls or choppy games and nothing ever changes. But this spring feels different for two reasons. First, the NBA can't seem to replenish its officiating ranks. 1937, 1939, 1943, 1944, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1951, 1951, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1955 ... those are the actual birth years of 13 current referees. In professional sports, athletes slip from the ages of 34 to 39 unless they extend their stay with PEDs. In the NBA, in which officials are required to run or jog for 150 minutes and make split-second decisions on hundreds of plays, we're expected to believe that the aging process doesn't apply. And if you believe that, I have some Bernie Madoff stock tips for you.



Long list of players are available this summer.

Mock draft ... do you like the Bulls' projected picks?


Draft prospects in working out Chicago.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Random links ...

Hard to predict anything in these 2 series, but some random thoughts ...

Is Mike Brown an idiot?! Or is LeBron terrible at defending the pick-and-roll?! There must be a reason Mike Brown keeps LeBron on Rafer instead of having him guard Hedo - who has been destroying the Cavs running the pick-and-roll for the Magic.

Either way, I think the Magic will close out the Cavs, especially if they keep draining 3s. But I don't think the Magic will beat either team from the West. I guess it depends on how tired/exhausted Kobe really is though.





Looking for an excellent analysis of the LOST season finale?? Click here.


MJ went to a Hawks game -

So I'm standing in the United Center suite with Mr. Hockey himself, Michael Jordan, and his buddy, Kid Rock. We're killing time between the first and second periods of the Chicago Blackhawks-Detroit Red Wings playoff game, and I'm thinking, "NHL, where have you been all my life?"

I mean, when's the last time you saw MJ at a hockey game? Even more incredible, when's the last time Jordan slipped on a personalized No. 23 Hawks sweater (but only after team officials sewed a red patch over the maker's company logo), walked out to his seat and happily posed and waved to the geeked crowd as the Versus cameras recorded every surreal moment? After all, who thought MJ would commit to the Indian?

"That's never happened," says an amazed Jay Blunk, the team's senior vice president of business operations. "We celebrate the little things."

"It's validation," says Hawks president John McDonough, who has known Jordan for years. "It's validation."




Bulls interested in Shaq?!?!
-

There is a possibility Shaquille O’Neal could be in a Chicago Bulls uniform next season. In a rather surprising discovery, the Phoenix Suns aoneal.jpgnd Bulls plan on engaging in trade talks that could send the future hall of fame center to Chicago, as soon as teams are allowed to talk after the playoffs. Suns GM Steve Kerr is looking to deal Shaq and is said to be interested in Loul Deng. The Suns would like to move the aging center mainly because he has slowed the up-tempo Suns down drastically. They feel Deng could bring some young, athletic energy back to the team. The Suns also feel Deng could still live up to his potential and contract if he can stay healthy.



The Bulls worked out Johnny Flynn, who is projected as a possible lottery pick -



With two first-round picks in what is widely considered to be a weak draft, it's impossible to predict what the Bulls will do on June 25.

Nevertheless, news that the Bulls worked out Jonny Flynn over the weekend is intriguing merely because most mock drafts have the Syracuse point guard listed as a lottery pick. The Bulls own the 16th and 26th selections.

Flynn worked out with St. Mary's point guard Patrick Mills and Arkansas point guard and Marshall High graduate Patrick Beverley.

The Bulls didn't announce the workout, which is a fairly common practice.

The Bulls also conducted a workout of wing players with reputations of athleticism that included Arizona's Chase Budinger




Tyrus needs to work on his J.


D-Rose's top 10 games of the season.




Mark Cuban fixes Wall Street -


Call it Madoff’s Law. Where there are consistent returns, it doesn’t mean that the risk is reduced, it means you can’t see the risk.

In a world where public companies always have to make more money than last year, they have no choice but to convince themselves they are avoiding risk. Now with Madoff’s law, they can know that is not the case.

So how do we fix Wall Street ? Rather than limiting pay on Wall Street, I would do the exact opposite. I would ask the Obama administration to recognize where the real problems are. The problems are not with the innovators. The problem is less with the immitators. The problem is with the 3rd group, the idiots who think that by copying the others while accepting lower returns, they are making smart decisions.

I would create additional forms of licenses (outside the patent office, managed by the treasury ?) that any financial institution can apply for ( with a signicant fee that makes this a government profit center and keeps out patent trolls) and receive for a new financial instrument. Once approved as original, with as many risks as can be having been documented, I would grant the financial institution some period of exclusivity to market and sell the product. It could be 3, 5, 10 years. I dont know what the exact right number is. What I do know is that while it will keep the price of that financial service artificially high for some period of time, it will also give the government a means of tracking what new financial instruments are being considered and marketed. The ones with the greatest upside will always try to get protection. It will also give the innovator and the markets a chance to see how the “law of unintended consequences” applies to the product. Before all the copycats get their shot at it.

In addition, because the companies that receive the “exclusive license” will always try to protect their license, the government will always be made aware of anyone trying to compete with their products. Which will make them a far more effective “regulator” than anything a government institution can do.

...

Here is what it comes down to. The problems we have experienced did not come from the innovators, they came from the idiots who thought there was no risk for them if it worked for the imitators before them. That caused the market to inflate quickly and with the undesirable consequences we have all experienced. If you try to limit pay on wall street, the innovators will go outside the reach of regulators and do what they need to do to get paid. If instead you reward the innovators and make it easier to make money, you will be able to monitor, reform and understand the impact of the new financial products before they go “generic” and the imitators and idiots get a hold of them.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Quick hit links

Re-signing BG is a priority for the new GM -

Re-signing guard Ben Gordon will be the top priority of new Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Forman heading into the offseason.

Forman met with reporters on Thursday, a day after being promoted to his new position, and he said he believes Gordon wants to stay in Chicago.

"There's still a lot of steps until we get to that point," Forman added.

Gordon, who becomes a free agent on July 1, played a key role in the Bulls' impressive performance against the defending NBA champion Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs. The Celtics won the seven-game series that featured four overtime games.

Forman replaced John Paxson, who will remain with the Bulls as executive vice president of basketball operations. Forman is in charge of day-to-day basketball decisions, while Paxson will deal mostly with long-term organizational planning and talent evaluation.

Forman was on several college coaching staffs before joining the Bulls as a scout after the 1997-98 season.

"One thing I can tell you about Gar is that in the time we've worked together he's very organized, very detailed," Paxson said. "Growing up in basketball, he has coached and scouted and has very, very good eyes for talent and evaluation."

Paxson has been criticized for some of the decisions he made as general manager from 2003 to 2009. A trade he made last year, however, helped the team solidify around overall No. 1 draft pick Derrick Rose.

John Salmons and Brad Miller were acquired from Sacramento for Andres Nocioni, Drew Gooden, Michael Ruffin and Cedric Simmons.

"Our goal is going to be to bring back the core of this roster, this playoff roster for next season," Forman said.






Chicago sports bucket list -

11. Watch Michael Jordan hoop at Foster Park.

A random weekend visit to this South Side gym can turn into a special treat, because it's the place where MJ still shows and proves that he can't be messed with. Bad finger and all, "$" often runs with a collection of the best players to ever come out of the city. But this isn't the PG-13 Jordan; this is the R-rated version. His words to those who try to guard him are often just as vicious as his jump shot. Keep the kids at home.







Bill Simmons mailbag
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8. Current NBA players as first-Ballot Hall of Famers ... 9.5

Kobe, Iverson, Duncan, Nowitzki, Nash, LeBron, Garnett, Kidd and Shaq, for sure. That's nine. Of the young guys, Paul, Howard, Rose, Durant, Melo and Dwyane Wade have the best chance (in that order), but I wouldn't bet my life on any of them because it's so early. Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Chauncey Billups and even Tracy McGrady have long-shot chances for the first ballot depending on how their next few postseasons play out. That's about it. So basically, I'd have to nail one of those last 10 guys I just mentioned to win my bet? Yes. I'm in. Over.



I think Rose will be a no-doubt-about-it first ballot Hall of Famer!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Peavy nixed trade

No deal -

The agent for San Diego Padres pitcher Jake Peavy expressed doubt early Thursday that his client would sign off on a proposed trade to the Chicago White Sox.

By Thursday evening Peavy had nixed the trade, the Chicago Sun Times and Chicago Tribune reported.

Big move for the Sox?!

Today was off to a great start when I woke up to a text message that the White Sox were trying to trade for Peavy. Now it seems that he is vetoing the trade because he prefers the NL -

The agent for San Diego Padres pitcher Jake Peavy expressed doubt Thursday that his client is ready to sign off on a proposed trade to the Chicago White Sox.

Agent Barry Axelrod told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick that Peavy has a "strong preference" to stay in the National League. That preference, along with Peavy's fondness for his new home in Southern California, could impede a proposed deal that would send the pitcher to Chicago.



And the Sox got crushed today -

Joe Mauer hit a grand slam, two doubles and drove in six runs as the Minnesota Twins routed the White Sox 20-1 Thursday, matching Chicago's most-lopsided loss in team history.



Another reason today sucks ... my favorite Chicago Bear Rex Grossman is trying out for the UFL -

According to UFLAccess.com, which is a site for fans, former Bears quarterback Rex Grossman will participate in drills in front of UFL head coaches.

The Web site quotes a Las Vegas television station, saying that another player, Graham Harrell, will also participate in the drills in a "pro day" in Las Vegas.

A representative from the UFL would not confirm any players who will be in attendance at the workout.




Cutler honeymoon -

For those compelled by precision, for those looking for the exact moment when the Jay Cutler hype machine clicked into overdrive in Chicago, I propose May 17, 2009, at 1:40 p.m.

At that exact moment this past Sunday, Chicago Bears play-by-play man Jeff Joniak grabbed a microphone at the team's annual fan convention and formally introduced the new quarterback to a fan base long in search of its savior.

Some clapped; others yelled. Some pulled out their cell phones; others pulled out their digital cameras. Young and old, male and female, it didn't matter. From grandmas to baby girls, from frat boys to business execs, everyone wanted to see the hero, everyone wanted to hear him speak. With each passing second, more and more fans squeezed closer and closer to the stage. It was as if Cutler were John, Paul, George and Ringo all rolled into one.

And in a way, he is. That's what happens when a franchise that hasn't had a franchise quarterback in half a century mortgages its entire future on the right arm of a 26-year-old Pro Bowl answer.



After Paxson made arguably his best move (acquiring Salmons and Miller), he has promoted and will no longer be Bulls GM -

Gar Forman has been promoted to general manager of the Chicago Bulls, replacing John Paxson, who will remain with the team as executive vice president of basketball operations.

The Bulls announced the move Wednesday in a release promoting a Thursday news conference.

Forman has been director of player personnel the past five years. He joined the organization as a scout in 1998 and became the team's director of player personnel in January 2004.

Paxson is expected to retain a major say in personnel moves, but was not immediately available for comment Wednesday. He had been GM since April 2003, when he was officially hired as executive vice president of basketball operations.

The new titles reflect a shift that had already taken place over the past year, with Forman assuming more day-to-day responsibilities. That included the lead role in contract negotiations with Luol Deng and Ben Gordon and input in the coaching search last summer.

Besides helping Paxson evaluate potential trades, free agents and coaches, Forman coordinated Chicago's amateur and pro scouting as director of player personnel.




*********************


NO BIG MOVE FOR THE BULLS!! At least not involving TT -

No Moving Tyrus: This time of year speculation runs rampant for a lot of players because trades are a big part of the NBA Draft and because teams want to start as early as possible planning out their roster for the next season. Players' names are bandied about like people are trading basketball cards and rumors can be sparked at the drop of a hat. The latest victim of such speculation seems to be forward Tyrus Thomas of the Chicago Bulls.

Thomas has had his ups and downs in his three seasons in the NBA. Some say he is a tweener forward; not really a small forward and not really a power forward. Still, he played more consistently the second half of this season when the Chicago Bulls made their postseason run, and he was solid during their seven-game first-round series with the Boston Celtics.

The Bulls have stated they would really like to keep as much of this year's team together as possible, adding in forward Luol Deng and his return from injury. Unrestricted free agent guard Ben Gordon is an obvious question, but Thomas is not.

While many have already traded Thomas in whatever deal strikes their fancy – to Phoenix in a package for Amar'e Stoudemire is a popular one – the Bulls are committed to Thomas being part of their future. The word on the street is the Bulls will open contract extension talks with Thomas' agent this summer – he is eligible for an extension that would kick in for the 2010-11 season this summer – to keep him in Chicago. That's where Thomas wants to be and that's where the Bulls want him to be.

Yes, anything could happen, but it would seem that moving Thomas is not in Chicago's plans at all. Quite the opposite.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Random thoughts from the draft lottery ...

- Is Mike Dunleavy potentially dumb enough to trade the #1 pick and a terrible contract (Zach Randolph maybe?) to the Bulls for Kirk, TT, Noah, BG (sign-and-trade) and a future #1?? Paxson better be on the phone.

- How fun are the team-who-shall-not-be-named going to be to watch for the next few years? Young core of Durant, Westbrook, Jeff Green and Ricky Rubio ... I might sign up for league pass just to see them play. (Random side note: I am looking to get 100 level seats for a couple games next year (maybe $100-$150 seats), and this is likely to be the first game I try to get ... does anyone want to go with me??)

- So glad D'Antoni cannot get Rubio.

- Not lottery related, but Melo looked ultra good last night. He's so very under-rated. If LeBron (the athletically-gifted-man-child-freak) did not exist, people would talk about Melo as the prototype player to build a team around.




The D-Rose draft lottery from a different perspective
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As soon as they announced the pick, and you knew you the Bulls had won, is there a particular moment that stands out in your mind, considering that you had been the city's good luck charm?

Steve Schanwald: (Laughs) It was one of the most memorable moments of my 30-year career in the industry. It was beyond belief. If I was gonna beat the odds though, it might have been a little bit better if I had beat the odds in the state of Illinois' lotto drawing, personally. But, no, it was a real thrill and of course, it was national TV, and I remember my cell phone, which was in my pocket, was just exploding, 'cause it was on vibrate, with texts and e-mails. All I could think of was Andy Warhol's famous 1968 quote about everybody in the world is gonna be famous for 15 minutes, and I think that was my 15 minutes.

I was surrounded by microphones, which, of course, you see on TV all the time, but you never think you're gonna be in a situation where there are cameras and microphones in your face, and people firing questions at you. It was quite an exhilarating feeling. [The Lottery win] was a break that at the time the Bulls organization desperately needed.

You might have seen the Internet coverage after the fact -- Everybody was wondering, "Who is this guy from the Bulls," considering that you were sitting up on a stage with celebrities and several former players. Were you looking around at any point going, "Wow!"

SS: Well, yeah. There's no question about it. It was like the multiple choice answers were, "Giraffe, elephant, rhinoceros, mouse" and I was the mouse. (Laughs) And, of course, everybody -- all my friends and family from around the country were watching and of course [Doris Burke] is going down the line and she introduces Jay-Z ... Dwyane Wade was down in front of me; she introduces all these guys, and she gets to me, and she introduces me as "Stan Schanwald" and not Steve Schanwald, and all I could do was say, "That's the story of my life right there." My moment on TV, on national TV ... it's bad enough that I'm in the shadow of Jay-Z but then she calls me Stan.

So they got it down to the top three, and the top three were me and Dwyane Wade (Miami) and Fred Hoiberg (Minnesota) ... and I told the floor producer, I said, "Please make sure you tell Doris that in the highly unlikely event we win this thing, please don't have her come up to me and call me Stan again. Once was enough." So I saw him kind of talking to her, and she was feverishly changing whatever card was given to her. So, it was typical.







***** UPDATE *****

This isn't the trade I had in mind for the Bulls
-

LA's other team managed to keep itself in the news by winning the Griffin sweepstakes, but now attention immediately turns to how they'll juggle the frontcourt. The obvious solution would be to trade Randolph, but he has two years and $33 million left on his deal and he's one of the league's most difficult personalities. That shrivels the market for him to just a few teams, even if the Clippers are willing to take back bad contracts in return. (A lot of clubs won't touch the guy at any price.)

But it's hard to imagine the Clips playing Randolph and Griffin together, since both are natural power forwards and Randolph won't do jack on defense. So trading one of the other frontcourt players (Camby or Kaman, most likely) doesn't really solve the problem -- it has to be Randolph. One would also have to think the Clippers are desperate to provide a better role model for Griffin than Z-Bo, a gifted post scorer on the court but a scoundrel off it.

So where they can possibly offload Randolph? A few places, actually. A deal with Milwaukee for Richard Jefferson would work, providing the Bucks more post scoring and a replacement for likely goner Charlie Villanueva. However, the Bucks supposedly deep-sixed a deal for Randolph when he was a Knick and might turn their noses up at this idea too.

A few other partners come to mind. Golden State could even out its roster at a stroke by sending Jamal Crawford and Corey Maggette to the Clips, and we know they won't ask Zach to play any D. Memphis is desperate for a power forward and could do a deal for Marko Jaric, Darko Milicic and the Grizzlies' pick at No. 27. And Chicago, which really needs a post scorer to get to the next level, could make it work for Brad Miller and Tim Thomas … a deal that doesn't really solve the Clippers' frontcourt logjam, but does achieve the aim of ridding the team of Randolph.

All of this gets back to one simple NBA truth -- there is no such thing as an untradable contract. Every player has his price, and it's tough for the Clippers to make a deal that replaces Randolph's production because so many teams see him as radioactive. But if the Clips lower the bar to just clearing the deck for Griffin, they can make it work.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What a difference ...

... a year makes. (Oops - DC already beat me to a post about tonight's NBA Draft Lottery.)




Last year the Bulls won the draft lottery with 1.7% odds. A franchise-changing event that likely saved John Paxson's job, and turned the Bulls into a legit team for the next 10 years.



Here's how it went down:


Downloads: 0 Views: 13402


That eventually lead to the Bulls taking D-Rose, celebrated with a "Derrick-Rose-B-Q" ...




On that note, I realize the draft will not be as exciting for Bulls fans this year, but does anyone want to party or go to a bar?



This year, it looks like Blake Griffin is going to be the #1 pick regardless of what team wins the lottery.

So how much would you be willing the Bulls to give up to obtain the real "BG" with this year's #1 pick??

A sign and trade with Ben Gordon is virtually giving up nothing if we assume the Bulls are not bringing him back. That being said, would you trade:

Captain Kirk, TT, BG and a future 1st rounder? Plus we take back a terrible contract or 2??

What about the same deal but switch salmons for Kirk??

Are either of those deals enough?? We would be going forward with a core of Rose, Griffin, JoaNoah and Luol. I would give up virtually anything for that core.

Would you be happy if the Bulls gave up:

Kirk, TT and Noah? Is that enough? Or too much??

It's almost impossible to say that it's WAY too much (even if it looks like it at first glance). Last year we would have said that TT, Noah, BG, Kirk and a future #1 was WAY TOO MUCH for the #1 pick (which might be true because you never know what you're getting and you'd have nothing else but the #1), but knowing what we know now - I'd give up virtually anything for D-Rose. People much smarter than me have said that D-Rose has "no ceiling." ("Regardless, after Games 1 and 2, the ceiling has been removed for Rose. I am prepared for anything over the next 12 years. Anything.")

So what would you give up to pair Blake Griffin with D-Rose??

ESPN NBA Draft Lottery Machine

Looking for some time to kill? Check out the ESPN lottery machine:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/lottery2009/mockdraft

I can't tell you how many hours I spent on this last year trying to get the Bulls the no. 1 pick and Derrick Rose. Luckily the Bulls hit the jackpot (I like to think due in some small part to my time spent on the lotto calculator.)

So far I have gotten this nightmare scenario for the NBA:

1. Minnesota - Blake Griffin
2. Memphis - Ricky Rubio

There is no way in hell that Stern would allow the top two prospects to go to Minnesota and Memphis, would he? Somehow I doubt it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

"Whatever Stern says, happens"

I have to admit, I was sucked into the "Kobe v. LeBron" hype. And it's pretty clear that David Stern has called in the fix to set up that matchup ... at least based on current advertisements. The 2 do play for the best 2 teams in the league, so it wouldbe a good match-up, but ...

But shouldn't we all be hoping for Bron v. Melo?! Same draft class, totally different career arcs ... but meeting in the NBA Finals could bring the "arch-rival" aspect back into play. Kobe is in the back-end of his career, but LeBron and Melo are both young and hitting their primes. It's arguable that Bron and Melo are the two best players from the best draft class in recent history. (Obviously you could argue D-Wade over Melo, but Melo is so underrated - matchup nightmare, can score whenever and wherever he wants).

All that being said, I think the Rockets series woke the Lakers up and they will beat the Nuggets, but we'll see. So if I could pick right now - I'm going Lakers in 6, Cavs in 5. Not too far off what I said at the start of the playoffs.


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Big Phil showed me this great video yesterday, look how long Stacey King keeps it up ... he can't get enough ...

Downloads: 0 Views: 38431



Ridiculous.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Playoff predictions Review (Round 2) and Links

Here's my original Playoff Preview, and [Updates and new thoughts are in bold and brackets]

WEST - ROUND 2:
LAKERS v ROCKETS
Again, Battier and Artest can bother Kobe ... but the Lakers are DEEP. Pau has been great this year. Bynum is great on D. Lamar is great coming off the bench (and getting minutes with the first unit). Plus, remember what happened last time Artest tried to get in Kobe's head? Lakers in 5. [Actual: Lakers over Rockets in 7. Rockets without Yao and T-Mac look pretty good, plus it seems like a good idea to go small against the Lakers - who would have thought?! This was tougher than I thought, but Kobe and the Lakers got it done.]


NUGGETS v MAVS
At this point, I cannot imagine why I picked the Mavs to be the Nuggets. For all the talk about how good the West is, this is the 2nd round match-up?? Nuggets in 6. [Actual: Nuggets over Mavs in 5. Everything is coming together for the Nuggets at the right time: they have a deep/talented front-line, great bench (Birdman for energy, JR for scoring), a big homecourt advantage, a good veteran PG, and a crunch-time scorer.]


EAST - ROUND 2:
CAVS v HAWKS
LeBron is too much. Cavs in 5. [Actual: Cavs over Hawks in 4. Cavs are 8-0 in the playoffs, possibly sweeping their way to the finals?!]

BULLS v MAGIC
The dream ends here. We need Hedo and Shard to stay hurt, and need to get D-Howard in foul trouble. If we steal an early game, we can make it a series ... but let's be happy with a first-round win over the defending Champs. Magic in 6. [Actual: Magic over Celtics in 7. I was wrong with the Bulls beating the Celtics, but got this winner right anyway. Magic looked good in Game7, I don't think it matters tho, no one is beating the LeBrons.]






Here are my picks from the conference finals from my original Playoff Preview -

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS:
LAKERS v NUGGETS
Do I really have the Nuggets this far? Gross. Lakers in 4.


EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS:
CAVS v MAGIC
LeBron v Dwight. Not even close. Cavs in 5.






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If you like GirlTalk, you should check out E-603. Download the album here.



Fixing the Bulls
-
Where To Go From Here

The immediate issue for Chicago is figuring out what to do with Ben Gordon. Considering he's led the team in scoring for the last four seasons and is very much capable of hitting big-time shots, there are plenty of reasons to keep him around. But with the emergence of John Salmons as a legitimate replacement for Gordon (remember that Deng will start at three when he's healthy next year), it might be wiser for the Bulls to let BG walk and save their money for the Free Agency Class of 2010.

Because eventually, let's face it, the Bulls need to land a dominant big guy if they ever hope to be competitive. When Chicago gets hot, they can hit jumpshots all night, but when those shots stop falling they lose the ability to do any work from the post. What's the better investment, Gordon or the possibility of Chris Bosh, Amar'e Stoudemire, or maybe even Yao Ming? The Bulls certainly feel loyal to BG, but when one considers the business end of this argument, taking on $10 million a year for a one-dimensional streaky shooter might not be the smartest move.

Next season is going to be about developing Rose and Noah and figuring out which pieces on the team are going to work well with those two. It also will hopefully be about remaining fiscally responsible so they can be a player in the following summer's free agency. Despite all the odds, Chicago is still in a great spot to be a player for big free agents or a big trade. If they don't screw it up, they'll be in the Eastern Conference Finals within three years.



Reaction to the JoaNoah pics from a few days ago -
What'd you expect Joakim Noah to be doing after the Bulls were eliminated? Watching the Celtics-Magic series?

TMZ.com has gotten some photos from the paparazzi (who knew Noah had risen to the level of paparazzi?) that show the young Bull romping on the beach in St. Bart's with a young lady, reported to be his girlfriend.

The images leave little to the imagination -- at least of his lady friend -- but hey, Noah had a good playoffs and has earned some rest and relaxation.

Anything else going on in the photos? We'll leave that for you to decide.


Those famous pics linked here.



Tons of D-Rose photos.







Bulls mailbag -
Do you think the Bulls will re-sign Ben Gordon? --John Martin, Edwardsville, Ill.



I’m to sports predictions what Milli Vanilli is to music--a fraud. I get most everything I predict wrong. So take this for what it’s worth, but I say no. I think too much has to happen--Gordon has to want to come back, the Bulls either have to make another move or enter luxury-tax territory--and I think there is some lingering animosity from not being able to strike a deal the last two summers. If Ben leaves, beyond what the Bulls will miss on the basketball court, the media who cover the team regularly will miss one of the most professional, stand-up players we’ve covered. He’s a go-to guy in the locker room.



Should the Bulls re-sign BG? Let us know in the comments here.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Reader comment & Links

Here's a recent reader comment -

hey fellas, just wondering what your take was on the latest Simmons rant. Actually has a bit of merit

"With a 12-man roster, you'd only need to train five or six guys to pull off that press. Let's say next season's Bulls trained the following five: Joakim Noah, Ty Thomas, Kirk Hinrich, Lindsey Hunter and Generic Athletic/Hungry Swingman X. They practice and practice until they become a well-oiled pressing machine. For the first five minutes of every second and fourth quarter, they unleash that killer press on their opponents … who, by the way, would be playing backups during that time, making it even more effective. Wouldn't that be an ENORMOUS advantage? Wouldn't that swing a few games? Wouldn't opponents dread playing them? Wouldn't opponents have to waste practice time preparing to break that press? Wouldn't it be even better at home with the Bulls flying around and their fans going bonkers? The key would be not putting "press miles" on your top guys and your wealthiest guys (who would never be totally invested because, again, they're really, really wealthy and don't need this crap). In this scenario, the Bulls wouldn't press with Rose, Deng, Brad Miller, Ben Gordon or even John Salmons if they could help it."


whole article pretty interesting - http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/090513/part2




First, the whole article (all 3 parts) is worth the read, some interesting stuff in there.

Second, I understand why he's included for defensive/athletic reasons, but I have a problem with JoaNoah as part of the press unit. Simmons says "the key would be not putting "press miles" on your top guys and your wealthiest guys" so it defeinitely wouldn;t make sense to include our starting center.

Third, as for the actual idea of using a press. It's never really been done in the NBA for the reasons in the article: hard (or impossible) to convince NBA players to actually do it. I do think it could work in the right circumstances, but it would be hard. For instance, with the 5 guys Simmons listed ... JoaNoah is the energy/intangibles guy in the first unit - so if he's killing himself in the press we need to replace that. With an 8-man rotation and a 5-man "press unit" there must be some overlap, but it cannot be your starting center.

Other than that I would love to see it - it would make games much more exciting/interesting if it could be done right. And it would be a great way to use the 11 and 12 bench spots - rather than using them as just glorified cheerleaders.


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Some excellent BG analysis (via BlogaBull) -

Does Ben Gordon go one on one too much? This is a common complaint put forth by Gordon detractors. Since I have the means, the time, and the intense desire to find out the truth I decided to research this topic by the numbers.


First, let’s look at the Bulls perimeter players themselves, here’s a list of the percentage of times each guy goes 1 on 1 followed by the NBA percentile in their effectiveness of doing so.

Bulls players isolation usage and effectiveness:
John Salmons 25.65% / 51%
Ben Gordon 20.34% / 69%
Derrick Rose 14.24% / 47%
Luol Deng 9.09% / 6%
Kirk Hinrich 9.02% / 52%

What does this mean? Well first, it means supporting John Salmons to take over for Ben Gordon because Gordon goes one on one too much is ridiculous. Salmons goes one on one more and is a lot worse at it. It also means those who feel Rose is the best scorer in an isolation appear to be wrong. His 47th percentile in the league makes him an average scorer one on one.

Luol Deng should never have isolation opportunities as his numbers are scary bad, and Kirk Hinrich looks like he does a decent job for the limited chances he has. This also backs up my assertion that the Bulls were better off giving the ball to Gordon at the end of a game than Rose as Gordon was a substantially better scorer in an isolation situation.





JD suspended -

Earlier in the day, Major League Baseball suspended Dye and fined him an undisclosed amount after he threw his helmet and it bounced off an umpire in Wednesday's victory at Cleveland.

Dye was ejected by plate umpire Mike DiMuro after being called out on strikes with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. Dye argued briefly with DiMuro and was ejected after slamming down his helmet, which bounced off the umpire.

"I didn't turn around so I didn't even know it hit him," Dye said. "I still haven't seen the replay so I don't even know what it looks like."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Willy ...

Proof dogs aren't that smart.

video














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The new "Where Amazing Happens" commercial with Shaq and Kobe ...

Downloads: 1 Views: 135335



This idea would be awesome if they did it with Jordan's shot over Ehlo with Johnny 'Red' Kerr's call. First just Jordan, then the Cavs-defenders and MJ, then Ehlo when they both jump, then the crowd and and Red screaming "THE BULLS WIN! ..."

Actual email ...

from Kinsloe:
http://photos.tmz.com/galleries/joakim_noah_in_st_barts#41940

thought you could blog about this! hahaha.... i thought he was supposed to be working on his jump shot???

JoaNoah's off-season "workouts"

Finals are finally finishing, so I'll be back to blogging more. Hopefully I'll get into the swing of baseball season and get more White Sox posts going. Anyone have any Blackhawks links they'd like me to share?! The NHL playoffs started or something?!


*** UPDATE ***

A few extra links ...


D-Rose got a new whip.


And you could meet D-Rose this Saturday ...
OK, here’s the skinny. Derrick Rose, he of Rookie of the Year/Lord and Savior of Chicago Basketball fame, will be at the adidas Sport Performance Store at 845 N. Michigan Avenue (Water Tower Place - Fourth Floor) this Saturday from 2pm - 4:30pm.

Rose will be signing autographs, there will be limited edition Rookie of the Year apparel, discounts on merchandise and a framed Derrick Rose jersey giveaway.

... anyone want to go with me?!




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Well if you didn't love JoaNoah after this ...


Downloads: 0 Views: 11109




You certainly have to respect him after this (WARNING: NOT SAFE FOR WORK!) [As a heads up, the link below the pic labeled NSFW has more (read: better) pics!] Also note, the link came in as a reader submission - Thanks duckfart!



Mark Cuban's blog is worth reading everyday, and now he's posting some "classic" posts that are his favorites ...

Success and Motivation

I did it too. I drove by big houses and would wonder who lived there. What did they do for a living? How did they make their money? Someday, I would tell myself, I would live in a house like that. Every weekend I would do it.

I read books about successful people. In fact, I read every book or magazine I could get my hands on. I would tell myself 1 good idea would pay for the book and could make the difference between me making it or not.

I worked jobs I didn’t like. I worked jobs I loved, but had no chance of being a career. I worked jobs that barely paid the rent. I had so many jobs my parents wondered if I would be stable. Most of them aren’t on my resume anymore because I was there so short a time or they were so stupid I was embarrassed. You don’t want to write about selling powdered milk or selling franchises for TV repair shops. In every job, I would justify it in my mind whether I loved it or hated it that I was getting paid to learn and every experience would be of value when I figured out what I wanted to do when I grew up.

If I ever grew up, I hoped to run my own business some day. It’s exactly what I told myself every day. In reality, I had as much doubt as confidence. I was just hoping the confidence would win over the doubt and it would all work out for the best.




Success and Motivation, Part 2



So my career in Dallas begins. I’m a software salesperson with Your Business Software in Dallas. $18k per year. The first retail software store in Dallas.

I have to sweep the floor and be there to open the store, but that’s not a bad thing. When I tell my future ex-girlfriends that I sell software and am in the computer biz, I’m not going to mention the sweeping the floor part. Plus, I had to wear a suit to work, and the 2-fer madness specials looked good at happy hour after work. Better yet, the store didn’t open till 9:30am, which meant if I had a fun night, I had at least a little time to sleep.

I bet right about now you are questioning where my focus was? Where was my commitment to being the future owner of the Dallas Mavericks? Please. I was stoked I had a good job. I was stoked it was in an industry that could turn into a career. At 24, I was just as stoked that the office was close to where the best happy hours were and that I might finally have more than 20 bucks to spend for a night on the town.

Since I’m talking about partying, I do have to say that my friends and I were very efficient in that area. Beyond living off bar food and happy hours, we literally would agree that none of us would bring more than 20 bucks for a weekend night out. This way we all could pace each other. At least that was the way it was supposed to work, and it did until we figured out the key to having a great night out on the cheap. They key was buying a bottle of cheap, cheap champagne. I can’t even spell the name, but it was a full bottle, and it cost 12 bucks. Tear the label off and as far as anyone knew it was Dom. Each of us would grab one, and sip on it all night. It was far cheaper than buying beers or mixed drinks all night, and we never had to buy a drink for a girl, we just gave them some champagne! Of course the next day was hell, but since when was I responsible enough to care about a hangover…





Former Bull Corey Blount -
Although Judge Craig Hedric did not sentence Blount to the maximum 10 years in prison, he rejected Blount's claim that the marijuana was intended for personal use and to share with friends.

"Cheech and Chong would have had a hard time smoking that much," Hedric told Blount.





D-Rose is wonderful
-
A few days earlier, I had asked Chicago Tribune Bulls beat reporter K.C. Johnson what it was like to deal with Rose on a daily basis. I knew Rose only from covering him during the University of Memphis' Final Four appearance a season earlier. Back then he was quiet, polite, modest to a fault.

Turns out he was no different as a Bull.

"Too good to be true," said Johnson, a veteran NBA reporter.

So I introduced myself to Rose. He stares you in the eye. He doesn't big-time you. He does his best to answer your questions.

I told him that I thought some of the Celtics didn't want to see him or the Bulls anytime soon. He laughed and said, "I wouldn't say that. They're a good team. Seems like they're willing to face anybody. But we gave them a run."



Buerhle is an all-time White Soc great -
If it seems like you've read all about Buehrle, and that he's been with the team longer than Minnie Minoso, you're not far off. Buehrle joined the Chicago White Sox in 2000, just two years after getting drafted in the 38th round, so if you don't appreciate him by now, you will when he's gone.

Since joining the rotation in 2001, he's been one of the most consistent pitchers of his era and could go down as the best starter in White Sox history -- left-handed, right-handed, whatever.

The left-hander with the homophone for a surname has won 127 games (and counting), thrown a no-hitter, posted a start and a save in consecutive World Series games, logged 200-plus innings a year (his workload over the past eight full seasons is the most in baseball), and earned his teammates' eternal respect by getting them out of the park at a reasonable hour nearly every start.

His personal guarantee, according to one teammate, is he'll either win fast or get his backside kicked fast. There isn't a lot of nuance to Mark Buehrle.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Links (Bulls, Bears and White Sox)

Bulls 'Player Impact' graph here.



BlogaBull's early assessment of the offseason -
I've been a bad blogger this week. There were some nice tidbits on a lot of players in the exit interview process, but there likely isn't going to be much new information until the draft and free agency.

What was gleaned was that Tyrus may be back on the block, Gordon wants to stay, Kirk wants to stay, Deng may not play for the UK after all, Rose is working hard, everyone thinks this is building towards something...what, I'm not sure.

But it's already started here as the Ben Gordon free agency approaches: that letting him go is somehow 'necessary'. I'm a mostly simple man when it comes to team building: Get good players. Keep good players. Trade for better players if you can. Letting Gordon go would go against that philosophy since he's one of the top players on the team.





Bulls owe it to fans to endure the luxury tax for one year
One thing the Bulls should do, though, is not let the luxury tax get in the way of doing what's best to for the team to keep moving forward - whether that's re-signing Gordon or making another move to improve the team. Here are five reasons why:

• Most importantly, the Bulls owe it to their fans, who have filled the seats at the United Center and helped make the franchise the most profitable in the NBA this decade, according to an estimate by Forbes Magazine.

• Paying the tax would be only a one-year proposition, because the Bulls will have around $25 million in expiring salaries next season between Brad Miller, Tim Thomas and Jerome James.

• As much as the Bulls would like to make a taller lineup work with John Salmons at shooting guard and Luol Deng at small forward, that's a risky proposition. Salmons is coming off a nice season, but it's the first time he's averaged more than 12 points in his NBA career.

Plus, there is no telling whether Deng's stress fracture in his tibia will continue to be a problem. If Gordon leaves and Deng is unavailable at the start of next season, the Bulls are down to Kirk Hinrich at two guard and Salmons at small forward, without much in reserve. If everyone turns up healthy and playing well, the Bulls will have options in the trade market.

• If a trade opportunity comes along at next year's deadline, whether it's for Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire or anyone else worth acquiring, the Bulls will need some depth to have enough pieces to make a deal.

• The Bulls only have themselves to blame for being close to the luxury-tax level, thanks to the Ben Wallace signing that didn't pan out beyond one season.

For the past several years, it was set in stone that the Bulls would not let their payroll grow beyond the luxury-tax threshold, which triggers a dollar-for-dollar tax on any excess salary.

They'll probably need to pay the tax in order to re-sign Gordon, and some team insiders believe there is a possibility that could happen. The team certainly finished the season on a high note, taking the defending champion Celtics to seven games in one of the most dramatic playoff series in NBA history.




White Sox woes -
Two simple words from Ozzie Guillen's mouth summed up the last few dismal weeks of White Sox baseball.

''We stink ... '' the manager insisted, when describing his club's current place in the Central Division pecking order, ''and we are only three games out.''


Another former Royal on the White Sox
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The ''Ken Williams Halfway Home for Wayward Royals Pitchers'' rolled out another cot on Monday, as Jimmy Gobble was just the latest reliever to hopefully ride in on a white horse and try to stabilize the middle of the Sox staff.

It didn't get lost on the left-hander that he follows a long list of former Kansas City pitchers before him, including Mike MacDougal, Andrew Sisco, Horacio Ramirez, Ryan Bukvich, D.J. Carrasco and Octavio Dotel since 2007.

Only Carrasco and Dotel have been successful.



Bears sign tight end Michael Gaines

Last week, veteran tight end Michael Gaines figured the best financial situation would determine his NFL future. After a Monday visit to Halas Hall, Gaines altered his approach.

"When I got there, money pretty much went out the window," said Gaines, who agreed to a one-year contract with the Bears, the terms of which were not disclosed. The minimum salary for a veteran with four to six credited seasons is $620,000.

"It was all about handling business and just winning."

Gaines, who played for the 0-16 Lions last season, sees the Bears as his best opportunity to win now.

Monday, May 11, 2009

More White Sox ...

News on Jenks.


Contreras demoted to work on his stuff

After clearing waivers, the White Sox sent veteran right-hander Jose Contreras to the minor leagues to work through struggles with his command, ESPNChicago.com reports.

Sources close to the situation told ESPNChicago.com that Contreras was the one who suggested he be sent to the minors instead of being relegated to the bullpen.

In the meantime, the White Sox have called up left-handed pitcher Jimmy Gobble from Triple-A Charlotte to plug into the bullpen. Left-handed pitcher Clayton Richard will start Tuesday night's game in Cleveland and become the temporary replacement for Contreras.

Contreras had to clear waivers, which meant all 29 teams had 48 hours to claim him and his $8 million-plus contract that remains from his $11 million salary.

In particular, Contreras will work on his split-fingered pitch, which he has not been able to command against left-handed hitters this season.



Ozzie not happy about the White Sox offense -
On a day when a pitcher such as Texas Rangers starter Vicente Padilla has his sinker working, hitters can't expect to do too much. And the White Sox hitters didn't Sunday.

It's when they haven't hit against lesser-caliber pitchers that the team has seen real problems, captain Paul Konerko said.

''You could be swinging well against a guy like today, and it's a tough day,'' he said after Rangers defeated the Sox 7-1. ''But too many days we do it against guys who aren't throwing well.''

The Sox got one hit off Padilla (2-2) through seven innings and two hits for the game. They fell to 2-6 in their last eight games and 2-2 on their homestand.

''A very no-life day. That's what it looked like to me,'' manager Ozzie Guillen said. ''I know when you're struggling it's not easy to get pumped up and smile and enjoy this game. Padilla pitched well, but at the same time, I didn't see any life.''



Today starts a match-up with the Indians.

MLB reviewing Bobby Jenks' pitch behind Kinsler from Saturday

Bobby Jenks - Yeah, I was throwing at that guy... - Deadspin

MLB is reviewing the pitch Jenks buzzed behind Kinsler's back on Saturday after Jenks had this to say about it:

Yeah, I wanted to go in and send a message, and I think that message was sent," Jenks said after he had finished up his seventh save in as many opportunities. "Basically, I was saying, 'I'm sick of seeing our guys get hit and hurt and almost get taken out of the game.' I threw it with intention."


I was watching the game. It was a one run game with two outs in the 9th and Kinsler, who could easily swipe second and be in scoring position after getting plunked, was batting. That's how I talked myself into the fact that Bobby couldn't be dumb enough to try and hit the guy. Turns out he was just trying to send a message ("With a one-run lead, I didn't want to put anyone on base. I just wanted to say, 'Hey, we can play that game, too.' Other than that, the important thing was getting him out after that pitch.")...but timing is everything, Bobby, and if you had hit him it could have been costly.

Padilla hit two of our guys and we have a history with him so I'm all for protecting your teammates and think that, lately, umpires are way too quick to give out warnings...especially when they only warn the team retaliating. But wait until the next day and drill someone in the ribs with two outs and no one on base in the 1st inning. That will send the message across just fine.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Flagrant?!

Can we get some clarification David Stern and Stu Jackson?!?


This is a flagrant 2?

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But this is a "play on the ball"??


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Seriously?!

Friday, May 8, 2009

White Sox?!

Well, with finals and the NBA playoffs I'm not fully into the swing of baseball season yet. However, Mark Buehrle flirted with a no-no last night, so here goes ...



Mark Buehrle gives up 1 hit in 8 innings of 6-0 victory

Like they did so many times during their 2008 American League Central title season, the White Sox responded to a vocal challenge from manager Ozzie Guillen.

Mark Buehrle carried Guillen's mission one step further Thursday night as he retired the first 19 batters before settling for a 6-0 victory over Detroit to snap the Sox's four-game losing streak.

"We needed this one," Guillen said.

Buehrle lost his bid for a perfect game when Placido Polanco lined a one-out, two-strike double down the left-field line in the seventh inning. After receiving warm applause, Buehrle walked two batters before Gerald Laird flied out to center.



White Sox' Mark Buerhle flirts with no-hitter, beats Tigers 6-0

Hours before his team's game against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, White Sox general manager Ken Williams issued a warning to his pitching staff that it might want to start protecting a lineup that suddenly has become target practice for opposing hurlers.

''You've got to be tough through this season,'' Williams said. ''You can't allow other teams to pitch inside and knock your players down and not reciprocate. You have to establish the inside part of the plate and move hitters off the plate in order to open it up more. If you don't do that and allow the other team to do it to your hitters, then you're losing at both ends.''

By the time the sixth inning ended, it was the Tigers' lineup that was looking for protection -- from facing Sox lefty Mark Buehrle.

Buehrle (5-0) retired the first 19 Tigers he faced, taking a perfect game into the seventh until second baseman Placido Polanco broke it up with a one-out double down the left-field line. It was the only hit allowed in eight innings by Buehrle, who struck out five and walked two in the 6-0 victory.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bulls Future

BlogaBull weighs in on BG -

After watching Houston turn into a great team after losing T-Mac, I have to ask you guys to consider for just one second Ben Gordon being replaceable. I have to say he has been my favorite Bull since he was drafted and no matter how much people would talk about his defensive deficiencies and streaky shooting, I loved him and wanted the bulls to keep him as our starting shooting guard. However, with the emergence of Derrick Rose, the void for a superstar has been filled and has allowed me to look at Ben Gordon without being biased.

I have to say I would love having Ben Gordon as a bull, just not as our starting shooting guard and would not break the bank for him. You have to look around the league at the starting 2 guards for playoff teams and you will see as much as offense is coveted, unless the player can play defense, he is most often coming off the bench to provide a spark when the first/second options are on the bench. I mean Antoine Wright is starting for the MAVS...come on. The only one I can think of off the top of my head who does not fit this mold is JR Smith but at least he doesn't have to work as hard as Gordon on defense to make up the 6-7 inches he sometimes gives up. As many other people have said before, our other 4 positions are not good enough to make up for Gordon which is different in Denver.

Gordon has said recently it's not so much about starting as it is about money, respect so I do not think he'd be as opposed to coming off the bench as he was earlier in his career. Plus, I do think he can play with Rose as this has been his most consistent year. He is a real problem for teams bringing in their second units and having to worry about a guy that can go off and extend a lead or bring us back fast. I think rather than Salmons starting, Hinrich should take the starting 2-guard spot. He has really improved his catch and shoot skills and still provides us a guy that can handle the ball and dish (I kno some of u complain abt his lack of vision but he is a huge upgrade in this regard over Salmons and Gordon) while Rose is out there with him.

On the other hand, if we lose Gordon because some team pays him crazy money, I don't think the Bulls are in a position to mortgage their future on this guy. He is not a superstar and he is not worth having two bad contracts on your team crippling you from making big splashes when oppurtunities are there. From a contracts standpoint, Pax has put us in a great position overall (except for Deng...*shudders*) and Gordon is not irreplaceable. So if the asking price is too much, let him go and move on and don't fret about it. If you can replace T-mac's or iverson's scoring and become a better team, we don't have that much to worry about.



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Fixing the Bulls -
What started as another dismal-looking season for the Chicago Bulls ended in of the most vibrant bursts of postseason fire in NBA
Playoffs history. This year was like a good novel—an interesting cast of characters gets tossed into conflict and are forced to undergo a series of events en route to a relatively happy ending. There are heroes, villains, and everything in between. The Bulls were one of this year's most interesting stories, but are they good enough to compete for a championship right now? Not likely, which means there are changes headed for Chi-town just beyond the horizon…

Bulls Bright Future.

The road ahead looks smooth for Bulls

They drove away from the Berto Center earlier this week. Derrick Rose wearing his gray Bulls skullcap. Joakim Noah with his window down, hair flowing like Nick Ashford. There seemed to be a sense of serenity and certainty surrounding them. As if they knew something.

Like something great is waiting for the Chicago Bulls. Like ... it's within their reach.

As the players exited one by one, cameras and microphones and young fans hovered outside of the team's practice compound. Pictures were taken, sound bites given. It was so unlike last season -- when there were relatively no smiles, no evidence of hope, and the end came in April not May.

This time, the Bulls exit the season with a degree of hope that's on par with their football counterparts on Lake Michigan after the news of Jay Cutler's arrival went public. Finishing a couple shots away from advancing to the second round of the NBA playoffs can do that for a team. Especially one that was thinking of pingpong ball combinations midway through the season.

But that all changed this spring against Boston. Now that their season is over, the former "Baby Bulls" (can we please drop that name now and come up with a new one?) will look toward next season with an anticipation of greatness unfulfilled.

Or better, unfinished.

The series against Boston forced the Bulls to discover something about themselves as a unit that they had not been given the time or opportunity to learn previously. They learned who they are and what they are capable of. They learned that this time next year, they will be at the Berto practicing for their next playoff opponent, not saying goodbye.