Sunday, February 21, 2010

Click-a-Bull (Warrick, Kirk, Trades, Noah)

The moves made by the Bulls at the trade deadline seemed to be a salary dump (Salmons) and trying to avoid letting another 1st round pick walk for nothing (Tyrus). But it's entirely possible that the Bulls got better at the same time. The new additions are playing well, and the Bulls have a new spring in their step. Flip, Hakim and Noah coming back from injury make this Bulls team legit to make some a little noise in the playoffs. It also allows me to end my grudge against Taj, as the TT dream is officially dead - so I can now view Taj for what he is: a pretty legit PF prospect. I'm not quite there yet, but I am beginning to like Taj. With all of the additions (and not really losing much), the Bulls will be a very difficult out in the Eastern Conference playoffs.


Could Warrick Be a Long-Term Bull?
Hakim Warrick is going to spend the next few months living out of a hotel room. After all, there really is no point to purchasing any sort of real estate when you're only guaranteed to be spending two or three months in your new city. Recently traded from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Chicago Bulls, Warrick and his expiring contract are in the Windy City for cap relief, but that doesn't mean he can't make the most out of the meantime.

"You want to be aggressive and just know that when you come in they're not going to ask you to do too much," Warrick said about his first couple of games with the Bulls. "I'm just trying to learn the plays and get comfortable, and I know that's going to come with time. Being able to get out there and play with the team, getting to know the new guys, it's just going to ease the transition for me."

That transition could prove especially difficult for Warrick, who never has never been traded before. In fact, before this year he'd never spent as little time with any team as he did with the Bucks. After growing up in Pennsylvania, serving all four years at the University of Syracuse, and spending his first four NBA seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies, Warrick isn't accustomed to so much moving around.

"It's tough," he said about all the moving he's done in the last several months. "But when you get to the NBA you've got to expect it. You've seen some of the greatest players in the history of the game get moved at some point. To expect to be in one place and not be moved is unrealistic, so you've got to be able to deal with it and just know that it's part of the business. No matter what, you've got to be ready to play."

This most recent move could prove to be a blessing in disguise, however. Warrick has an opportunity to be an active part of a playoff roster for the first time in his career.

"I haven't been to the playoffs since my rookie season," Warrick explained. "That was the last time I've been there, and I didn't really have a big role with it being my rookie season, so it's good to finally be in a rotation and have a good role with a team that has real playoff aspirations. Hopefully I can get there and do some damage in the playoffs."

Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro has said he intends to use Warrick quite a bit because of the length and athleticism he brings off the bench.

Kirk Hinrich sets record for most 3-pointers in Bulls' history

Kirk Hinrich will never be beloved in Chicago. He's been trade bait for the past three seasons, due to his contract (which definitely overpays him at $9.5 million, but decreases the next two seasons), and a long shooting slump he wandered into. Its fans are too busy morning the loss of Ben Gordon's incredible ability to hijack possessions or whining about how Taj Gibson was a terrible draft pick as he continues to rack up double-doubles and improve this season.

Hinrich is a defensive-stopper combo-guard who, throughout the course of his career, has been an okay-to-good shooter. Not the stuff that goes on posters and YouTube very often. So few will recognize the accomplishment Hinrich set last night as he hit his 771st three-pointer as a Bull, becoming the all-time franchise leader for made three-pointers.

After the game, Hinrich was predictably low-key about the accomplishment, saying essentially that he only held it because he'd been with the Bulls for seven seasons. Hinrich passed Gordon, which really puts forward the fact that no great three-point shooters have stayed in Chicago for very long.

Still, it's a shame that Hinrich's contributions to the team aren't more noticed, as he may not be the flashiest player or able to nail pull-up 35 foot threes instead of working the offense, but he's still proven to have had quite the career.

Deadline deal tidbits

I was incorrect on the first rounder coming from Charlotte, as though they potentially owe a first-rounder already through 2014, apparently they can trade another pick conditionally contingent on when they give up their initial pick (it can't be the very next year as you have to have one first-rounder in consecutive years). Per ChicagoNow, the pick is first available in in 2012 and is lottery-protected, with the protection going down until being fully unprotected in 2016. I think it's a valid question whether the Bulls could've sacrificed that 'asset' to get better immediate guard help than they did, but future firsts never hurt.

To make room on the roster for the acquisitions, Chris Richard was released. While he was by far the cheapest option to waive (as he was only on a 10-day contract), this does put them without any centers outside of Brad Miller, and Warrick is even less of a post player than Tyrus. I'm guessing they didn't waive Hunter because as a veteran his salary is mostly paid by the league, and similarly with Jerome James because as a fatass his salary is mostly paid by insurance (unconfirmed, but I'm pretty sure that's the case).

Perhaps another true big shows up on the waiver wire soon. I'll trust JamaicanPi's cap numbers here showing that the Bulls moved far enough under the tax to sign a veteran free agent. While I don't expect Joe Alexander to help, Gar Forman confirmed in an interview that he will be with the Bulls (and not stay in the DLeague). You can watch Gar's entire press conference from Thursday here.

From what I read this morning, the Bulls expect the Bucks tradees to be ready for tonight, but are less sure about the players from Charlotte. I hope that Charlotte trade gets I can watch the Bobcats tonight.

And the winner's are ... our NBA awards at the break

The NBA season hasn't been all about guns, ammo and Tyrus Thomas trade rumors. Here are the Daily Herald NBA awards at the all-star break:


Most improved: Joakim Noah, Bulls. This is a pretty good race between Noah and a couple of Houston Rockets. A solid case can be made for all three. Noah went from 6.7 points and 7.6 rebounds last season to 11.2 and 12.0 this year.

Rockets point guard Aaron Brooks has become a star in his third NBA season with 19.4 points and 4.9 assists, up from 11.2 and 3.0. Houston power forward Carl Landy isn't a great rebounder, but the former Purdue star raised his scoring average from 9.2 to 16.3 points.


Worst acquisition: Ben Gordon, Pistons. Injuries have been a huge problem in Detroit this season, but it's tough to say the Pistons got a good return by giving Gordon a contract worth $11.5 million per year. Detroit has been a huge disappointment with an 18-33 record.

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