Friday, January 15, 2010

Click-a-Bull (Haiti, Trades, Mailbag, Reinsdorf, Hollinger, and more)

Chicago Bulls to Assist in Haitian Relief Efforts

Team to match fans donations at Friday’s game; Hold relief drive at Feb. 2 game

The Chicago Bulls announced today they will assist UNICEF with their on-going relief efforts from Monday’s devastating earthquake in Haiti.

During Friday’s game versus the Washington Wizards, the Bulls will donate all net proceeds from the 50/50 Raffle ticket sales and in-arena auctions to UNICEF in support of rescue and relief efforts. Additionally, the team will match every dollar that is raised.

Throughout the game, the Bulls will run scoreboard messages, radio, television and public address announcements encouraging fans to assist by texting “HAITI” to “90999” to make a $10 donation to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts. The donation will be charged to the donor’s cell phone bill.

In response to the disaster, the Bulls will also hold an emergency relief drive on Tuesday, February 2 to help provide important bare essentials to Haiti. Prior to the tip-off of the Bulls’ home game against the Los Angeles Clippers, fans are encouraged to drop off items at any of the United Center admission gates.

Fans not attending that evening’s game can still assist in the ongoing emergency relief efforts in Haiti by visiting or calling 1-800-4UNICEF.


My post from earlier today: What Should the Bulls do Before the Tade Deadline?
Over the past couple of seasons, the Bulls have been part of many trade rumors involving TT Tyrus for Amare, TT for Carlos Boozer; some more recent rumors involving Kirk for Caron Butler, Salmons for any expiring, and even Noah for T-Mac!

So how does this all play out? And how does it affect the Bulls this summer?

K.C. Johnson's Bulls mailbag

The Bulls begin a stretch of 10 of 12 games on the road Thursday night in Boston. That means I'll be more acquainted with your questions than my wife and kids in the very near future.

Whether that's a good thing or not is debatable. This is not: Your questions continue to engage me. So let's tackle some answers.

Hey. I was wondering why I don't hear anyone discussing a trade between the Bulls and Rockets. Tracy McGrady's contract is expiring and the Rockets don't want him anymore. We could get rid of John Salmons and that player option. TMac would improve the Bulls this year and we would still have freedom in the free-agency market this summer. The Rockets would get another role player for a team of role players. --Sim, Chicago

And this question assumes a very big assumption--that the Rockets want Salmons. My educated guess is that the Bulls would do Miller, Jerome James and Salmons for TMac in an instant. But at least for now, the Rockets are holding to all expiring contracts and a young star. There is no chance the Bulls part with either Rose or Noah merely for the chance to make a big splash in free agency. Remember from 2000: Nothing is guaranteed in that field. I'd also take slight exception to your point about TMac helping the Bulls this year

Reinsdorf sees Bulls as poised to improve
So far, the Bulls are meeting the expectations of chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.

During an interview on Comcast SportsNet, Reinsdorf suggested the Bulls should make the playoffs this season. Through Wednesday's games, the Bulls were the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.

"I think we have built a roster where the core is pretty good," Reinsdorf said. "I really think this team certainly ought to be in the playoffs this year, and if you add one really outstanding player to it, I think we can go all the way."

The outstanding player would come in free agency, theoretically. The Bulls are hoping to have around $20 million to spend next summer, when several superstars will hit the open market. Among the players expected to be available are LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Amare Stoudemire and Manu Ginobili.

Reinsdorf admitted the Bulls have compiled a wish list of players to target, in order, but refused to reveal any of it.

John Hollinger explains his (formula's) Bulls pessimism

A playoff-less future:

Currently, Chicago holds the No. 8 spot in the East and is tied with Toronto in the loss column for No 7; based on this information, you might conclude the Bulls are in great shape for a playoff run.

Not so fast. Chicago has played only 16 road games and has one of the league's worst road records at 3-13; only Indiana, New Jersey and Minnesota are worse. Not only do the Bulls still have 25 road games to go, they're the only team facing two negative evening-out trends at once. Chicago's average scoring margin of minus-3.7 per game is nowhere close to what we'd expect for a 16-20 team; the Bulls should be more like 12-24.

As a result, the Playoff Odds favor No. 9 New York to make up a game on the Bulls and bypass them for the final playoff spot, and projects Chicago's current neighbors in the standings, Toronto and Charlotte, to outdistance the Bulls by five game in the final table.

I still think they'll squeak in, what these projections can't account for are things like injury, or guys like Hinrich and Salmons overcoming terrible months to get more to their career norms. Granted, that assumes nobody else gets injured the rest of the year, which may not be reasonable.

We'll learn a lot in the upcoming road-heavy schedule, including a game in Boston tonight that, without Garnett and Wallace, is actually winnable. Sort of like the entertaining yet not-exactly-well-played playoff series where the Bulls also had a chance. The same series we'll probably hear a lot about (and in bloviating terms) tonight: the game's on TNT, and that's likely the last time their studio crew paid any attention the Bulls.

God Sends The Bulls A Flood Warning, A Rowboat, And A Helicopter. They Run Back Inside Their House.

3. Chicago Bulls 85 – Oklahoma City Thunder 98

Date: 1/4/10

CHI at-rim: (24 – 53), 45.3 percent, 29 missed

The Bulls missed more shots at the rim than the normal team attempts on any given night. Just stunning. Granted, when you take a league-high 53 shots at the basket, you’re gonna miss your fair share. The Bulls were assisted on only 9 of their 24 field goals there so most of them likely came off of penetration and offensive rebounds. The Thunder only blocked 9 of the 29 misses which leaves 20 that were straight up errant. As I noted earlier this year when I profiled the Thunder, they allow a ton of shots at the basket but teams find little success in actually converting the chip-ins. This game serves as a microcosm of the Thunder squad.

via Hoopdata – The Missed Bucket List: The 5 Worst Performances At the Rim.

HoopData runs down the worst at-rim performances of the season. And the Bulls are popular attendees.

Can you really be successful if you don’t convert at the rim? Should the Bulls consider that before they go trading for a wing?

You can’t really look at Noah and believe he’s going to evolve into someone you can give the ball to and expect him to score consistently. That’s no knock on Noah. He’s doing everything else so well this season, if he had low-post back-to-basket moves he’d be a top flight player in this league. But Brad Miller’s the other heavy-rotation big and he loathes the paint and loves the top of the key, while Taj Gibson’s too measley to make an impact (and he’s inefficient).

The Bulls need a substantial makeover, and it’s going to take more than just one big free agent to fix it if they want to contend for a title… whenever the Lakers get done pwning everyone.

Bulls make statement with 96-83 road win over Celtics

A popular tradition in Boston during the past few seasons is to punctuate a Celtics victory with video of vintage American Bandstand disco dancers, with special focus on a bearded gentleman wearing a tightfitting Gino Vanelli T-shirt.

Well, the Bulls knocked off the Celtics 96-83 on Thursday at TD Banknorth Garden, so the disco dancers stayed off the videoboard.

But a certain song by K.C. and the Sunshine Band would have been appropriate for the Bulls' locker room celebration. That's the way the Bulls like it against the Celtics - with Kevin Garnett on the bench in street clothes.

Garnett didn't play in last spring's playoff series between these teams, which was obviously a big reason why it took seven competitive games to decide the winner.

In the first two Bulls-Celtics contests this season, with Garnett on the floor, the Bulls lost to Boston by 28 and 26 points. Without Garnett, the Celtics didn't get their usual open looks from 3-point range, going 4-for-17, and had no one to stop the Bulls from building a 48-42 advantage in points in the paint.

Except for a few seconds in the first quarter, the Bulls (17-20) led this one from start to finish, opening up an early 17-7 advantage and never letting up.

Forward Luol Deng got the best of Paul Pierce, just as he used to do in the pre-"Three Amigo" days. Deng hit 8 of 13 shots for a game-high 25 points. After sitting most of the first half in foul trouble, Derrick Rose scored 9 of his 17 points in the final seven minutes to finish off the win.

Joakim Noah (15 points, 11 rebounds), Taj Gibson (14 points) and Kirk Hinrich (11 points) also played well for the Bulls, who won their third straight.

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