Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Click-a-Bull (Where are Bulls?; Bulls want Harrington?; 6 FA Options; Collapse a Blessing?; Noah Update)

Where are the Bulls?
Remember last season, when the Bulls co-starred with the Celtics in one of the most exciting playoff series of all time?

Last night a team by that same name -- the Chicago Bulls -- played the Grizzlies.

But it was not the same team. Not at all.

Eight players saw time in the Bulls' Game 7 in Boston. Care to take a guess how many of those eight took the court Tuesday night in Memphis?

The eight who played against the Celtics in Game 7 were:

* Ben Gordon (now in Detroit)
* Derrick Rose (injured)
* John Salmons (playing in Milwaukee)
* Joakim Noah (injured)
* Tyrus Thomas (playing for Charlotte)
* Kirk Hinrich (suspended)
* Lindsey Hunter (now the teams' player development assistant)
* Brad Miller -- who actually played last night.

Wizards, Blazers, Bulls Expected To Be Interested In Harrington

In all likelihood, Al Harrington has only 15 games left in his Knick career. He will be an unrestricted free-agent this summer and it is doubtful that the forward is in the team's long-term plans.

The Wizards, Blazers and Bulls are expected to be interested in Harrington, according to a source.

But Harrington may prefer to stay in the New York metropolitan area and sign with the Nets if they want him.

"If they had interest in me, I'd take a strong look at that," Harrington said about New Jersey. "It's still the city. It's still home. I'd rather play at the Garden, but I'd play in Newark, too."

Harrington rarely passes up a shot but still wishes Mike D'Antoni had featured him more offensively.

"It's been like that since I've been here," Harrington said about not being appreciated. "I'm too nice of a guy. That's the problem. If I was a [jerk], nobody would hassle with me."

Harrington seems to understand that his days as a Knick are numbered.

"At the end of the day, I'll definitely have a job next year. Someone's going to want my services -- if it's not New York, somewhere else."

My one word response: NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chicago Bulls 2010 Offseason: 6 Potential Free Agents

The Chicago Bulls, like several other teams, have made a big gamble in creating salary-cap space for 2010. They let Ben gordon walk away, and gave up Tyrus Thomas and John Salmons for basically nothing, to save cap-space. I'm not sure that this was a good idea, not only di they give two good players away, but gave them to their playoff competitors. They have probably taken themselves out of playoff contention. Wouldn't a core of Rose, Deng, Noah, Gibson, Gordon, Thomas, Salmons, and Hinrich, with a vet or two, be pretty good by itself, especially in a few years?

Nonetheless, the Bulls have put themselves in a position to sign a top free agent. They had better succeed in finding one to make it worth their sacrifices.

Note: When looking at offseason acquisitions, sign and trade deals are quite likely, as the player can make more money that way, and everyone benefits.

Why The Bulls’ Collapse Is A Blessing In Disguise (UPDATE)

Let’s face the facts: The Bulls, as it stands right now, are probably going to be the odd team out in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt.

They’ve lost eight straight. They’ve given up over 100 points in 11 consecutive games, something that hasn’t happened since 1986. I would have never thought this was possible before this season, but the loss of Joakim Noah in the middle has really hurt this team’s defense.

But here’s the positive spin on this downfall: a lottery pick. If the season ended today, the Bulls would have the 11th-worst record in the league, meaning if the odds fall where they should, the Bulls would have the 11th pick in the draft.


The Bulls getting into the playoffs was supposed to be the sell to all the big-name free agents: “Look how good our team is and look at the cap space we have to sign you!” They were supposed to be the team that had the best on-court talent to couple with one of the superstars; this was a great selling point.

And, well, that’s still true: This team is better than the Knicks, Nets, Heat, Wizards and Clippers (arguably) on paper right now. But injuries have killed them down the stretch.

The situation is the Bulls won’t make the playoffs not because their talent couldn’t get it done, but because their talent got injured down the stretch. That’s a big difference.

If a free agent can realize this and see that the Bulls might be able to pick up someone with some promise with that early pick, the Bulls might actually be better positioned to attract a free agent than before, because they’re only adding to the talent base.

Does this make sense?

As the comments of that article noted: When we got Milwaukee to take Salmons, we gave them the rights to swap 1st round picks. That didn't seem like a big deal, but the Bucks have made a run since the all-star break and could severely hurt the Bulls when the draft rolls around.

Noah nearly ready to go

Joakim Noah quivered with excitement, his legs literally shaking, as he detailed plans to return from missing eight straight games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

"I'm real close," Noah said. "I think I can go Saturday."

Unfortunately for him, that's only his plan, not necessarily that of the Bulls.

"Joakim is feeling better but there's a process in place for him to come back," coach Vinny Del Negro.

That process involves Noah likely returning next week in limited minutes. Del Negro said there's an outside shot Noah could realize his plan and get spot minutes Saturday against the 76ers but that it's unlikely.

This is for sure: Between Noah traveling for the first time in weeks and running without pain, there has been more good news than bad of late.

"I'm feeling a lot better," Noah said. "But I'm in that window where I have to be careful not to get this close and do something foolish."

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