At least it looks now like the Bulls may get a chance at a play in game of sorts in Toronto this Sunday with that stunning finish Sunday night when the Raptors came back from 16 down in the last seven minutes to be down three with three seconds left. Chris Bosh, with 42 and averaging 31.5 and 11.5 the last four, elected to make both free throws. Then, inexplicably, though not necessarily for a Warriors team, they threw the ball away right under the basket and Bosh missed a point blank layup that would have won it.
So the Bulls pull within one of Toronto with the Raptors still the favorite with the tiebreaker. The Bulls face the Bucks, Cavs and Nets before then and the Raptors play the Cavs, Celtics and Hawks.
The intrigue continues to swirl around Bosh, who generally is considered the top free agent to leave his team with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade expected to remain given how their teams have played, coupled with James contending for a title and the Heat being one of the league's hottest teams.
Although this has been speculated before, one of the more potential interesting wrinkles is what happens with the Lakers.
They lost again Sunday, their fourth in the last six. The Cavs already have pretty much locked up Finals home court if they get there and the Magic could pass the Lakers as well. The Lakers seem safe on top of the West, but their bench has been exposed and though he had a big game Sunday with 32 points, questions again have been raised about Pau Gasol as he had just seven rebounds. He's being called soft again in L.A. and when Phil Jackson was told Gasol said he was "very, very tough," Jackson quipped that was too many verys.
Gasol for Bosh in a sign-and-trade?
Of course, not if the Lakers win. But what little is talked about with free agents is the sign and trade. There is a huge difference for players leaving without a sign and trade and Toronto is said to be willing to dare Bosh: Go ahead and take $30 million less.
Most believe Bosh is headed to Miami to join Dwyane Wade, though insiders say Miami and Wade prefer Amar'e Stoudemire, who also is highly likely to leave. Toronto has no interest in any sign and trade with Miami and no interest in Michael Beasley.
Some who know Bosh say he doesn't see himself, anyway, as a supporting guy like everyone else does and would prefer to go to New York with someone like Marcus Camby to play center and rebound for him and someone like Gallinari to spread the court. Though the Raptors also are said to have little interest in David Lee in a sign and trade given Lee cannot play center and Toronto needs a center to complement Andrea Bargnani, whom they believe they can build with.
So Pau or Andrew Bynum?
Yes, the Lakers have two centers and part of their problem now is one, Bynum, is hurt again. He gets hurt a lot, which is a concern. Though he is a low post center.
But if the Lakers were to be knocked out, you'd think they'd look for a major move, and Bosh could be that true bigtime second scoring option with Kobe.
And who more would want someone like Gasol than the Raptors, who have the European version of the NBA with Bargnani, Hedo Turkoglu, Marco Belinelli, Rasho Nesterovic and Spanish teammate Jose Calderon? And wouldn't the Raptors if they lose Bosh-and he could choose the money and "Man" status and stay, of course-prefer him in the Western Conference? And a player who fits their team and they can build with? They might even be better.
So if you were the Bulls would you do a sign and trade for Bosh with Joakim Noah. That's another player the Raptors are said to be interested in because he plays center. The Raptors believe they have to have a center if Bosh leaves because neither Bargnani or Turkoglu can play inside. Would it be worth Bosh to the Bulls to give up Noah? They'll likely be asked.
Three Months For Lebron
Lebron James is rumored to go everywhere except overseas. Personally, why not stay in Cleveland, LBJ is only one prospect away from collecting rings annually. The notion he's going to New York Knicks because of this highbrow that exist in the so-called Mecca is priceless. Really. Far as I can see, tangibly, has to be Spike Lee, as David Lee dido's that of Monta Ellis and Shawn Marion, players with inflated stats who competes/competed in quasi-systems. Say if he left Cleveland for New York, will the plague of less talent still exist? Yes.
Los Angeles Clippers: Chris Kaman is very underrated. Imagine Kaman and LBJ operating the pick-and-roll ... that would be a sight. Kaman's averaging 18 ppg and 9rpg this season, although the team has shown disappointing over these past months (who rather to save next year than James?).
And Baron Davis will definitely give it a last-go, doing everything he can to bring credence in his backyard -- LA.
Plus it doesn't bother that former OU star, Blake Griffin, hasn't began dropping double-doubles on a nightly bases.
But the biggest selling point at its appex without question is the climate and scenery of Southland. James rep has taken a hike on its own, constantly getting labeled the leading act for overzealous moments on-court -- dancing and leading reporters on about the much anticipated 2010-11 season. I tell you what, we all know it can't get much Hollywood than that in Cleveland.
Chicago Bulls: Bulls beget different adrenaline heading into the upcoming season with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. Even though their the impetus behind such possibility, Michael Jordan still resonates over many NBA players, a handful seeking to test the height of his airness.
Just standing in his shadow is enough but to practice on the same court as he once did is provoking. Indeed, what a selling point.
Still, Bulls mangement validated themselves (I give them that much) by getting rid of contracts and still remaining competitive. They're ready to win right off the back if they were entice LBJ. In full length, this isn't far-fetched: Lebron and Derrick > Michael and Scottie.
Note: I hate LeBron, and felt dirty linking to this blasphemous article.
Gibson right pick over Thomas
The Chicago Bulls pre-game introductions were going on right in front of him, the same ones that he had been a part of so many times before, but for the first time in his career he watched them from the other end of the floor. The Charlotte Bobcats' forward stood underneath his new team's basket and just held onto the net. After spending four years in Chicago there is no doubt the experience had to be strange for him.
But as he heard one particular name during the introductions, he had to wonder what might have been.
That was the name of a certain 6-foot-9 forward out of USC: Taj Gibson.
The same Gibson who essentially took over Thomas' starting job after the Thomas broke his forearm earlier this season. The same Gibson who put together yet another double-double (14 points, 15 rebounds, his 17th of the season) during the Bulls' 96-88 victory over Thomas' Bobcats on Saturday night.
Thomas never seemed to want to leave Chicago. It always seemed as if he thought he was better than he was given credit for, especially under Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro.
But if we learned anything on Saturday night, it was the same thing that most people around Chicago had already started to figure out before Thomas left town.
While Thomas may have more all-around talent, potential and upside, Gibson produces one thing that Thomas never consistently could: results.
Chicago Bulls Can't Afford to Repeat History in 2010 Free Agency Market
When one hears the idiom "You don't know what you've got until it's gone," it is understandable that most people's minds will undoubtedly shift to high school year book quotations, cheesy pop songs, or sappy Facebook updates.
However, despite the brutalization this phrase has taken at the hands of our popular culture, it still succinctly embodies one of the most unavoidable and pervasive tragedies in human existence: no matter how hard anybody tries, it is impossible to to truly quantify how much value a certain person, place, or experience holds to them until they have been denied access to the enjoyment of that pleasure.
When you think about it, it really is an insidious characteristic for any being to have, the razor-sharp ability to fully perceive value in that which we don't have and the complete inability to fully value that which we do.
One could even argue that it is the most significant psychological obstacle most people have on their road to personal happiness, as the feeling of regret over that we have lost constantly threatens to obscure taking pleasure in that which is in front of us.
Younger siblings who have had their older brother or sister finally move away to college know this feeling.
Anybody who has ever watched their cellular phone do it's best Michael Phelps impression in a bathroom toilet knows this feeling (and I mean dropping it, in not have the battery start smoking uncontrollably in your pocket while in the bathroom).
Anybody who has had their favorite TV show cancelled (John from Cincinnati excluded) or seen their favorite band break up knows this feeling.
And boy, don't Chicago Bulls fans know this feeling.
People really don't consider us Bulls fans as tortured as we all feel after the unbelievable ride Michael Jordan gave us in the 90's.
We all had a basic understanding that the league had never seen anything like Michael Jordan. We all understood that it wasn't normal to win three championships in a row, and then do it again two years later.
We all understood the storybook elbow jumper that secured Jordan's sixth championship in eight years was both an exclamation point and the last period in the final chapter of MJ's, Scottie Pippen's, and Phil Jackson's time in Chicago.
You see, rumors had been swirling all season that the "Two Jerries" (then-Bulls GM Jerry Krause and Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf) had more than likely already settled on the path of heresy and blasphemy and were not going to retain the services of the closest thing the NBA has ever seen to an immortal being.
Therefore, most fans entered the 1998 playoffs knowing that this would more than likely be the last time we would bear witness to the unrivaled greatness we had become so accustomed to over the previous 10 years.
If Jordan was a basketball god, his last shot was as appropriately and dramatically devastating as the last thunderbolt ever thrown by Zeus, incinerating the hopes and dreams of the Utah Jazz in a maelstrom of horror, despondency, and emotional pain as the rest of us mortals looked on in awe at his seemingly divine abilities.
As we all know, that storybook elbow jumper descended silently through the rim like a disgraced angel banished from the heavens by God himself.
Bulls fans everywhere erupted to revel in the joy of both a sixth championship in eight years and the epic ending which secured that championship.
In the back of our minds, we thought we understood just what we were about to lose when the Two Jerries let MJ and Co. walk away without so much as a "Don't let the door hit you in the arse on the way out."
But did we truly know? Absolutely not.
We couldn't, because we are human and it was impossible for us to truly understand what life was going to be like in the post-Jordan era until the Jerries let Michael, Scottie, and Phil all walk in the interests of freeing up cap room for when the "famed" free agent class of 2000 hit the markets two seasons later.
In 2000, the likes of Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, and Tim Duncan were poised to hit the free agent market, and the Bulls desperately wanted to be players in that market given that MJ and Scottie were entering their twilight years.
The 2010 Salary Cap Players
Chicago Bulls - $31.9 million in 2010 salary commitments: The Bulls only have six players under contract, so add six minimum salary cap holds ($473,604) to that amount when they renounce everyone else – they have little use for any of them and outside of Brad Miller they hold very little sign-and-trade promise. They have one first round pick, which will be Milwaukee's because of a top-10 protected pick swap from the John Salmons trade, which will create a hold of about $1.5 million. They have eyes for Miami's Dwyane Wade, but could settle for Atlanta's Joe Johnson. They have the money and the culture to sell, as well as the ability to play with Derrick Rose.
Maximum Possible Space: $22.1 Million