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
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.

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