Back in the spring of 2005, while Scott Skiles was holding the Bulls hostage, the question seemed painfully obvious.
Why would they bother handing all that money to Skiles in a new contract when Phil Jackson was available?
Jackson was on hiatus and discussing with several teams a return to the NBA, but the Bulls buckled to Skiles' demands, and that young core of Ben Gordon, Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng never amounted to much under the burden of a beast.
They whiffed on the chance to get Jackson, the window closed, and he's been in Los Angeles ever since.
Well, that window is open again and it might allow both Jackson and Kobe Bryant to jump right through it and land in Chicago.
Jackson's a free agent after this season, and the talk in L.A. is that the Lakers will expect him to take a big pay cut from the $12 million he's currently earning.
And while that may seem a bit out of the Bulls' price range, considering they found the cheapest deal imaginable in Vinny Del Negro, they can take some of the money they saved with Vinny and pay Jackson.
The homecoming itself, along with the burial of all the bad blood and memories, would be worth whatever Jackson costs, not to mention the fact that he's a great coach and he'd be terrific for Derrick Rose.
Pax Speaks About Trades and Bulls' Summer Plans
John Paxson, vice president of basketball operations, spoke at half time of the Bulls awful loss to the Wizards last night on ESPN 1000.
I refuse to talk about the game because let's be honest it was a very bad loss to a equally bad team that may have the Bulls on the outside looking in come playoff time. I will say one quick thing, Derrick Rose needs the ball in his hands. After he single handily brought them back from being down after they blew their halftime lead with them down by 1 with 1:55 left in the game and then they don't score another point while losing to the Wiz 101-95.
Ok back to Pax. He had some interesting things to say about free agency and why the Bulls should be appealing to teams.
"We know there's no certainty in [free agency]," "There are a lot of teams with cap space, but our view is we have an All-Star player in Derrick Rose; we have an up-and-coming outstanding center in Joakim Noah; a dependable, very good small forward -- definitely a top-10 small forward in the league -- in Luol Deng, and we have Taj [Gibson], who's been terrific."
Really is Deng a top ten small forward?
"You factor in this is Chicago, and we have a great history, it's a great city and there are opportunities outside of basketball if they want them. We think we're sitting in a very nice position to try to attract."
Chicago may want to opt for Plan C this summer
We all know Plan A for the Bulls and Knicks and Nets and Clippers and Heat and Kings and Timberwolves and Wizards and anyone else who can get far enough under the salary cap to add one major free agent, like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
I happen to be for Plan C because I believe the odds are long that any of those three actually leave their teams and leave $30 million or more on the table—the NBA labor deal was set up to try to keep free agents from leaving their teams. And even if they do leave, it would be near impossible in some places to put together a competitive team around them.
The Bulls may be the best prepared with an actual nucleus of signed, competent NBA players, like Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson. But once you reach the salary cap estimated at about $53 million, which the Bulls would come close to by adding one max free agent and a team like the Knicks would with two, then you have to fill out the rest of your roster with minimum salaried free agents or second round draft picks. For a team like the Bulls, for example, that would mean adding maybe a half dozen minimum salaried players to go with their core and one top player.
Is that enough to be a championship contender? Perhaps, as in this NBA era there aren't many teams with quality bench depth or strength. In fact, this is what most believe the new NBA is likely to look like after the new collective bargaining agreement eventually comes into effect, a league of a few super salaried players and three quarters of the roster minimum or low salaried players.
Sort of a mirror of what may be the coming U.S. economy of the super rich and everyone else shopping at the second hand store.
Does Hakim Warrick come back for the league minimum? Flip Murray? Brad Miller? Aaron Gray? OK, maybe Gray.
Look at the Knicks, talking about signing, say, James and Bosh. They'd have to let go David Lee and recently acquired Tracy McGrady for two max free agents. They'd have left Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Toney Douglas and Eddy Curry. So you've got LeBron and Bosh. Anyone getting a rebound? Setting a screen? It's why I believe they aren't going there and why I think the Knicks' plan is to try to retain Lee, sign someone like perhaps Wade or maybe Carlos Boozer or Amar'e Stoudemire or Joe Johnson, and then after getting rid of Curry next season, sign Carmelo Anthony, who has a 2011 opt out about the time Kenyon Martin and Chauncey Billups will be fading. Plus, Anthony supposedly has longed for a return to the East Coast to get the attention he feels he's been denied in Denver.
I still believe the Bulls will exhaust Plans A and B and take hard shots at Bosh or Wade. But here's a Plan C to consider to show there are options:
Yes, I'm back on Monta Ellis. You hear the Warriors will trade him this summer as they want to settle on Stephen Curry at shooting guard and know the two cannot play together. The Warriors have long had interest in Kirk Hinrich, who'd fit better with Curry and can defend. Plus, maybe you throw in James Johnson and that No. 1 you got from Charlotte in the Tyrus Thomas trade. Then you sign Lee, who'd require far less than the estimated $16.5 million maximum. Now, you've also got $5 million or $6 million or more left to maybe bring back Warrick and Miller or go out into a market for some pretty impressive players who will be looking for deals as the market dries up.
Seriously? Monta and David Lee? Not sure why I linked to this.
Click for pic: Derrick Rose 3D Magazine Cover
Rose, Gibson hooked on gaming
Like fellow NBA stars such as Kobe Bryant, the Bulls' Derrick Rose keeps his video game system locked inside his briefcase, making his passion for "NBA 2K10" portable.
"It's sick," Rose said of the case that holds an Xbox 360, a TV and controllers. "Mine has the Bulls logo on it, my number. We '2K' it out on the road all the time.
2K Sports delivered these secret agent-like gaming devices to top stars throughout the league, including Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith, Chris Paul and Tyreke Evans.
Tulsa 66ers sign Chris Richard
The Tulsa 66ers announced today the re-acquisition of forward Chris Richard.
The 6-9 forward was called-up on a 10-day contract to the Chicago Bulls on Feb. 6, averaging 2.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 assists in five games.
The two-time national champion from the University of Florida started nine games earlier this season with the 66ers, averaging 10.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. The former number one selection for the 66ers in the 2008 NBA D-League Draft played 20 games during the 2008-09 season, averaging 12.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists for Tulsa.
In order to make room on the roster for Richard, the 66ers released forward Rodney Webb. Richard will wear number 32 and is expected to be in uniform tonight at home against the Springfield Armor at 7 p.m.
I like Chris Richard. It's not the NBA, but I'm glad he found a place to continue playing basketball.