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Joe Johnson Out Of Mix For Bulls This Offseason?
The perception right now is that if the Bulls lose out on D. Wade, LeBron and Chris Bosh in this summer’s free-agency blitz, they’ll then target second-tier guys such as Joe Johnson, Rudy Gay or David Lee.
But as Ric Bucher wrote over the weekend ($), don’t count on Johnson:
Johnson would go to New York because he has a good relationship with Mike D’Antoni from when they were in Phoenix together and he knows he could thrive in D’Antoni’s system. But he also supposedly likes everything about his situation in Atlanta as well. Don’t put him in the mix to join Derrick Rose in Chicago, the GM said: too many unknowns, including the prospect of being second banana to Rose.
Of course, this is but one GM’s opinion, and a lot of things can change between now and the summer. But it’s one thing to potentially tempt Johnson away from re-signing with the Hawks, and a whole other to not even have a chance in the first place.
The Chicago Bulls Should Be Active at the Trade Deadline
With the Feb. 18 trade deadline just two weeks away, we should start to see some fast and furious movement from two types of teams: Those who want to get one more piece for a playoff run, or those who want to clear up as much cap space as possible before the massive 2010 free agent class drops. Guess which category the Bulls fall into.
Although some optimism seemed to be sprouting during the Bulls recent five game win streak, expectations have since fallen back to earth with another losing streak and the announcement that Joakim Noah is going on ice until after the All Star break. While it was fun to watch the Bulls make a little run and was a relief to see Derrick Rose start taking over games like he did, I think the last stretch of games has done far more to solidify the Bulls position than the winning streak did.
It has reminded us that, despite flashes of brilliance from a promising young player, this is not a team that is going to win a championship this year. With that knowledge in mind, I think the Bulls have three options here at the trade deadline:
Option One – The Bulls take their tradable pieces and make a move for a player who can help them win right away. This likely means moving some combination of Kirk Hinrich, Tyrus Thomas, Brad Miller, or John Salmons for a player like Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh or Tracy McGrady.
This option is bad for the Bulls for two reasons. First off, while adding one of these players will certainly help the Bulls to a few more wins (with the possible exception of McGrady who may very well be done as an NBA player) it does not make them a title contender, which should be the point of a move of that magnitude.
Secondly, it makes it much less likely that they will land one of the big fish from the 2010 free agency class. Your biggest asset in that race is going to be cap space and the Bulls are looking to have a ton of it at the end of this season. Brad Miller alone represents $12.2 million coming off of the books, which means that any team trading one of their star players to the Bulls is going to want that contract to come back to them.
Unless a team is willing to trade one of those players without getting that cap relief in return, this option should be very unattractive to the Bulls.
Rumors:Tyrus and Timberwolves, Hinrich staying put?
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports has been told by numerous league executives the Minnesota Timberwolves could be a sleeper destination for Tyrus Thomas.
Sounds like a solid trade partner for the Bulls, in that the Wolves have first round picks, second round picks and expiring contracts. You can’t expect a solid talent in return, but you’ll take the flexibility if it means a better standing for free agency for the summer.
As for the Wolves, I like the idea of trading Al Jefferson and trying to sell as high as possible. If Kurt Rambis doesn’t get fired, I like their chances if they put more of a emphasis of playing through their guards and opening up the offense. It’s clear Al-Jeff and the new blood up north isn’t going to work.
In the same article, the Hinrich chatter continues with talks of a three-way deal with the Portland TrailBlazers and Los Angeles Lakers.
They say Portland rejected the proposal because they don’t want Vujacic, but tell me:Why would the Bulls want to make this trade? I know Hinrich has the contract, but he’s a good player.
The Bulls became a much more efficient team when Salmons was benched in favor of Hinrich. If nothing else, leverage should have swung in the Bulls’ favor a bit. But in today’s NBA era, it seems all decent talent should be given to the Lakers for absolutely nothing.
Timberwolves could make bid for Thomas
As the Chicago Bulls prepare to trade forward Tyrus Thomas(notes) before Thursday’s deadline, the franchise’s front office has suggested to prospective bidders that they have a solid offer of a middling first-round pick and expiring contracts, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
The Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets made bids for Thomas over the weekend, league sources said. The Nuggets have actively searched for a big man in recent weeks, working to pry younger (DeAndre Jordan(notes)) and older ones (Antonio McDyess(notes) and Ben Wallace(notes)) without success.
After losing out on Caron Butler(notes) to the Mavericks, Houston has gotten serious with bids for Thomas and Washington’s Antawn Jamison(notes), sources said.
Pippen: Rose's All-Star status is only the beginning
The Bulls finally have an All-Star again and I couldn't be happier that it is Chicago's own Derrick Rose. It means so much to the city and to the organization to have a young player like that who is a genuine winner. He plays hard every night and he makes his teammates better. You can tell how badly he wants to help raise their level of play because he understands it will contribute to the team's success. Now that Derrick has reached the level of being an All-Star, he isn't going to want to lose any momentum from his upward ascent. He wants to be one of the best players in the game, and that is a very realistic goal for him.
Rose being an All-Star brings a little bit more of a presence and swagger to what is happening with the Bulls. Obviously you have to put the individual accolades aside and the team must win, but he is starting to gain a lot of respect from around the league for his play. He has been tremendous these last six weeks or so and that includes down the stretch in close games.
One of the problems with the Bulls earlier in the season was that they didn't have that one guy who could put the ball in his hands and draw fouls or do whatever it takes to get it done in the final minutes of a game. That player needs the respect of his teammates and even the officials to be in that position, and Derrick has made a lot of strides in moving towards that level. When it's late in a game and things are tough and you need a basket, someone has to step up. That player has to have the ability to create opportunities and draw fouls. Now that Derrick is an All-Star, he's legitimately respected in that sense and capable of being that guy.