May 29, 2012
Sam Smith of Bulls.com recently discussed the possibility of the Bulls acquiring Pau Gasol.
And here’s the attention-grabber:
“The interesting part, according to Lakers’ insiders, is Gasol would like to play for the Bulls.”
So with Gasol most likely out as a Laker and wanting to play in Chicago…
…what do the Bulls do?
As Smith points out, trading for Gasol would require a major restructuring of the Bulls as we know them. In Smith’s scenario, the Bulls would likely use Luol Deng and Rip Hamilton to acquire Gasol from the Lakers and then flip Joakim Noah:
You could get two players for someone like Noah to replace Noah and get a guard. Maybe Atlanta with a sign and trade for Kirk Hinrich and Marvin Williams; Charlotte for B.J. Augustin, Gerald Henderson and B.J. Mullens, Houston with some package including Kyle Lowry and Courtney Lee; New Orleans for Trevor Ariza, Jarrett Jack and one of their lottery picks; Denver with Wilson Chandler and Andre Miller or Arron Afflalo; Minnesota with Luke Ridnour, Derrick Williams and maybe Anthony Randolph or Wes Johnson, though they’d need something back like the Bulls’ No. 1 pick.
Assuming any of this is possible — pretty big assumptions — the Bulls would come out with competitive talent that could still complement Derrick Rose when he returns (be it next season or the season after).
Of course, it would also be a stab to the heart of the fans who have come to love the team that’s been fielded the past two seasons. Unfortunately, due largely to Rose’s injury and cap restraints, major changes are coming no matter what. After all, due to the cash being paid out to Rose, Deng, Noah and Carlos Boozer — around $55 million between the four of them — management will probably have to let go of a few member of the Bench Mob (possibly C.J. Watson, Kyle Korver, and/or Ronnie Brewer).
If Rose was healthy, management would probably be willing to roll the dice on this current group. With Rose out for many months to come, they may choose to slice payroll and start preparing for the next team built around their MVP.
And trading for Gasol might be step one of that plan.
December 12, 2011
Jason Richardson is reportedly going to sign a four-year, $25 million contract with the Orlando Magic. So you can officially cross his name off the list of potential Bulls shooting guards.
Apparently, J-Rich decided to go for money over winning. After all, Dwight Howard has demanded a trade. So unless Orlando pulls off an amazing trade for several quality players, the Magic aren’t going to be very good this season. And maybe not for a long while to come.
As ESPNChicago’s Nick Friedell points out, finances will likely prevent the Bulls from acquiring other high profile targets such as Arron Afflalo, Jamal Crawford and Nick Young. Which makes Rip Hamilton the team’s most likely target. And all signs point to Hamilton inking a deal with the Bulls.
Additional reports indicate the Bulls may go after Howard.
That’s not going to happen.
As Friedell writes:
Again, according to capologist Larry Coon, in order to make the numbers work in a deal which would include Hedo Turkoglu (there’s little doubt the Magic would include Turkoglu’s contract in any proposed deal for Howard) the Bulls would give up Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Omer Asik and Taj Gibson, plus probably a draft pick or two. Does Smith really want to build his post-Howard Magic squad around Deng and Noah? Both have had injury problems in the past; but what is surely more alarming to Smith is the fact that Deng and Noah have guaranteed contracts worth more than $100 million over eight years.
Not to mention the fact that Asik and Gibson are due for big raises over the next year. Does Smith really believe that the best deal to make revolves around that kind of guaranteed money within his own conference?
There are major questions whether Howard would even want to play in Chicago, and the deal outlined above simply wouldn’t be that attractive to the Magic…not if they’re going to rebuild. So let’s assume Dwight won’t be walking through that door any time soon. As in ever.
Neither is Kurt Thomas, who plans to sign a two-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers. I’ll miss Big Sexy. He was professional and tough, and he really came through when Noah was injured last season. Still, Thomas is the league’s oldest player, and with the emergence of Asik, Kurt was a luxury more than anything else.
One major non-luxury is the future of Derrick Rose. But the Bulls are on the verge of taking care of that. According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
Rose will win on the bottom line soon. General manager Gar Forman said the formality of Rose’s five-year, $94 million extension is being finalized with Rose’s agents, Arn Tellem and B.J. Armstrong.
Said Forman: “Derrick is the centerpiece of what we’re putting together here. We want Derrick to be a Bull for a long, long time. It’s very important that we put the right pieces around Derrick.”
My take: We will soon see a Bulls team that look very much like last year’s squad…except that Hamilton will replace Bogans as the starting two guard. Which means, as long as everybody stays healthy, the Bulls can be as good as anybody.
October 11, 2010
According to Mitch Lawrence of the NYDailyNews:
“The Bulls are looking into whether Boozer really suffered the injury to his shooting hand – as he said he did – after tripping over a bag at his home as he went to answer the door on Oct 2. … Immediately after Boozer provided an explanation, red flags went up around the NBA. After investing $80 million guaranteed in Boozer last summer, the Bulls want to make sure that he’s telling the truth, remembering that he once famously reneged on an agreement to remain with the Cavs in 2004. From what we hear, that may have factored into the Bulls’ decision to check out his story.”
This isn’t terribly surprising. And, quite honestly, I think people would have had their doubts regardless of whether Boozer reneged on that under-the-table handshake deal with the Cavaliers all those years ago. After all, Boozer is going through a divorce — and has been since March of 2009 — which is always stressful. And the way his injury happened just sounds fishy. After hearing the basic details of the injury and having absolutely no background or context whatsoever, a friend and occupational therapist told me: “I deal with that sort of thing all the time. It’s a punching injury. He punched something and broke his hand.”
So sure, there’s reasonable doubt and an $75 million contract involved. Of course the Bulls are going to investigate the situation. That’s just due diligence. I mean, imagine you had just bought a $1,000 plasma television. Then imagine you came home and found it was broken, and your children told you it had fallen over all on its own. You’d look into it, right? You’d ask questions. Nobody wants to throw away money. Everybody wants the truth.
Which is why I’m not ready to label this investigation a big deal just yet. I’m also not ready to label Boozer a big, fat, dirty liar. With all the freak accidents I’ve suffered, I’m willing to dole out a little benefit of the doubt. For example, back when I was in college, my girlfriend accidentally knocked over a 50-pound stereo speaker. I happened to be laying on the floor beneath it at the time. It obliterated my nose. Just obliterated it.
Now, it just so happened that it was a big party weekend at my school. I had a heck of a time convincing the nurses and doctors at the emergency room that I hadn’t been drinking. Ditto for my friends, family and professors (because I had to have surgery, and therefore missed some classes). Nobody could believe it wasn’t a party mishap…that it was just an accident.
I’d like to believe that Boozer’s incident was just that: a freak accident. Do I have my doubts? Am I concerned? Well, I’m a human being, so there you go. The Bulls are concerned too — as they should be — and they’re investigating. If it comes out that Boozer was fibbing — just like when Monta Ellis was discovered to have injured himself in a low-speed moped accident after telling his team he’d hurt himself working out — then we can judge him.
Until then, it should be “innocent until proven guilty.” I’d rather spend time thinking about basketball. Speaking of which, did you hear that Ronnie Brewer returned to practice and hopes to play in Tuesday night’s home game against the Toronto Raptors…?
September 9, 2010
According to Mark J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports:
“Carmelo Anthony(notes) still hopes to persuade the Denver Nuggets to trade him, preferably to either the Chicago Bulls or New York Knicks, an NBA source with knowledge of Anthony’s wishes told Yahoo! Sports. The Knicks have limited assets to offer the Nuggets, which makes the Bulls a more appealing potential trade partner. The Bulls can offer a replacement small forward in Luol Deng, as well as two young forwards in James Johnson and Taj Gibson. New York officials would like to make a run at signing Anthony next summer if he were to opt to become a free agent. The Knicks will have salary-cap room with Eddy Curry’s contract expiring after the season.”
Spears further adds that ’Melo a) would like to be traded before the season starts and b) understands that he may not get his choice of destination (the Clippers, Nets and Rockets are all interested).
I think a lot of Bulls fans would love to flip Deng (and Gibson or Johnson) for Anthony. And on the surface, it seems like a no-brainer. I mean, here’s a guy who last season averaged 28.2 PPG (third in the league behind Kevin Durant and LeBron James), made the All-NBA Second Team(LeBron and KD were the First Team forwards), and finished sixth in MVP voting (a very distant sixth, but still).
And yet…I have my reservations. ‘Melo is high-volume scorer. No doubt about it. But many people are starting to realize he’s also somewhat of an inefficient gunner (ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh describes this in length).
Which begs the question: Is Anthony an upgrade from Deng?
I can hear the howls of dismay already, but bear with me for a minute. Yes, ‘Melo scores more than Deng (about 11 PPG more last season). But his Usage Rate is 33.4 (third in the league behind Dwyane Wade and LeBron) to Deng’s 21.9. Denver’s offense runs through Anthony, and he was carte blanche to shoot the ball. Not so for Luol.
Furthermore, Anthony shot the ball less efficiently than Deng. Last season, ‘Melo’s Effective Field Goal Percentage was .478, while Deng’s was .482. Not a huge, gaping difference, but the edge goes to Luol. And interestingly enough, Deng’s three-point percentage over the past three seasons (.364, .400, .386) is better than Anthony’s over that same stretch (.354, .371, .316). It might also be worth stating that Luol’s career field goal percentage (.474) is higher than Anthony’s (.459).
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that Deng is a better scorer. It’s clear that Anthony has the more complete offensive skill set. What I’m saying is that his shooting efficiency is lower than Deng’s and his PPG stats almost certainly benefit from extra looks.
It’s also interesting to note that Deng and Anthony both have a career Offensive Rating of 107 points scored per 100 possessions. However, Deng’s career Defensive Rating is 104, while ‘Melo’s is 107. So basically, over the course of his career, Anthony has given up as many points per 100 possessions as he has scored, while Deng is +3 PP100.
Furthermore, Deng is a better rebounder. Last season, Luol averaged 7.3 RPG to Anthony’s 6.2 RPG. But forget the raw numbers. Deng had a Defensive Rebounding Rate of 15.8 and a Total Rebounding Rate of 10.7. Anthony’s numbers were 13.1 and 9.9, respectively. ‘Melo did have an edge in Offensive Rebounding Rate (6.7 to 5.6), but that makes sense considering how dialed in Anthony is on the offensive end.
Extra offensive rebounds also may be a given since, as Haberstroh observed: “Anthony got his shot blocked a whopping 109 times last season, which ranks as the second-highest total in the league, according to Hoopdata.com.”
I could go on to point out that Deng has the advantage in some other advanced statistical categories (such as Block Percentage, Turnover Percentage and Defensive Win Shares). But I don’t want to beat a dead horse here. The theme is that advance stats show us that the gulf between ‘Melo and Deng may not be as wide as the raw numbers seem to indicate.
Again, I’m not necessarily saying that Deng is better than Anthony. And he certainly hasn’t been as healthy (although ‘Melo has missed at least 13 games in three of the last four seasons). But Anthony, for all his many scoring moves, is a volume shooter who is accustomed to lots of shots and a fast pace (the Nuggets were 5th in Pace Factor last season).
Ask yourself these questions: Is ‘Melo going to get volume shots in Chicago? Alongside Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer? Would Anthony be that much of an upgrade over Deng that it would be worth potentially sacrificing chemistry (there’s still only one ball) and giving up depth (probably Gibson)?
Maybe. But I’m not so sure.
June 25, 2010
After being one-upped in the all-important “Cap Space Race” by the Miami Heat — who created extra financial flexibility by trading Daequan Cook and their first round pick in last night’s draft — the Bulls countered by reportedly agreeing to send Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick to the Washington Wizards for (you guessed it!) extra financial flexibility.
Take that, Pat Riley.
According to ESPN the Magazine’s Ric Bucher: “The Chicago Bulls have a deal in place that would move Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick to the Washington Wizards, freeing up enough cap space to pursue two maximum-salary players in this summer’s free-agent market, sources with knowledge of the Bulls’ plans said Thursday.”
Now, the reason I say the Bulls have “reportedly” agreed to this trade is because it cannot become official until July 8. See, that’s when the Wiz will have enough room under the salary cap to absorb Hinrich’s contract without exchanging a player or players of similar value.
So last night, the Bulls selected Kevin Seraphin with the 17th pick. And yes, he slapped on a Bulls hat after his name was called, but it’s somewhere between “very unlikely” and “highly unlikely” that he’ll ever wear a Bulls jersey. He’s headed to Washington. Know what I mean? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more.
After picking Seraphin, Gar Forman released the following statement:
“This evening we selected Kevin Seraphin with the 17th overall pick of the NBA Draft,” Forman said. “At this time, we are currently in discussions to trade our draft rights to Kevin Seraphin; however, we will not be able to complete a trade until after the moratorium period concludes on July 8.
“With that said, we are not at liberty to identify the team that we are talking to or reveal any other specifics of potential trades. Therefore, we will have no comment on this selection until we have completed all trade discussions.”
Mind you, Chicago’s agreement with the Wizards is what you’d call a “good-faith deal.” In other words, either party could back out before July 8. Obviously, the Bulls aren’t going to — they started trying to dump Kirk’s contract about fve minutes after the ink dried — but Washington could.
However, it appears the Sacramento Kings — who relieved the Bulls of Andres Nocioni’s contract back in 2009 — would be willing to make a Hinrich-for-cap-space exchange if the Wizards get cold feet.
But assuming the trade goes through as planned…what does that mean?
According to Bucher: “Either way, moving Hinrich and the pick would push Chicago’s space under the cap from $20 million to more than $30 million. That puts the Bulls on equal footing with the Miami Heat in pursuing not just one but two members of a free-agent class that is expected to include LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Amare Stoudemire and Joe Johnson.”
So…although a theoretical core of Bosh-LeBron-Wade would trump LeBron-Noah-Rose, would it trump Bosh-LeBron-Rose-Noah? Or LeBron-Johnson-Noah-Rose? Or Boozer-LeBron-Noah-Rose? Or LeBron-Noah-Rose-Stoudemire? Or Bosh-Johnson-Rose-Noah? Or…?!
And that’s not to mention Luol Deng, Taj Gibson and James Johnson. The only other supporting character the Heat have on staff right now is Michael Beasley…and they want nothing more than to get rid of him.
Look, I was a big fan of Kirk Hinrich. I liked the utility he provided. I liked the way he could play both guard spots, the way he could defend three positions, the way he never backed down and did what he was told with relatively few complaints (the occasional sour look notwithstanding).
But let’s face it: Expunging his salary opens up a lot of amazing possibilities for the Bulls. Many things will have to happen before it’s all said and done – two big-namers must agree to sign, and management will have to fill out the roster with a couple shooters and a few capable backups — but the Bulls could become championship contenders by as early as…
And seriously, why wouldn’t the big-namers want to come here? As John Jackson of the Chicago Sun-Times pointed out: “With a nucleus of point guard Derrick Rose (the team’s first All-Star since the Jordan era), center Joakim Noah, small forward Luol Deng and power forward Taj Gibson, the Bulls have more quality talent in place than any other of the teams with significant cap room.”
And don’t think the big boys aren’t taking notice.
This is what Bosh had to say on ESPN Radio yesterday: ”Chicago is a team worth checking out. When you have a city like Chicago and you have young talent like Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah and a new coach like Tom Thibodeau, that’s something worth looking at. I know they’re all about winning. I know they have a winning tradition in Chicago and I know they’re trying to get back there.”
Of course, Bosh also said: “Toronto is a great place. … They have a lot of good things going. And they’re definitely a team that I’m going to be looking at very hard because they can do things that other teams can’t.”
In other words, they can offer him more money than anybody else can. So, like I said, many things will have to happen before Bulls fans start buying their 2011 NBA Finals tickets in advance.
But it’s starting to look like the sky’s the limit.
December 29, 2009
Vinny Del Negro isn’t worried about all those rumors of his impending doom. In fact, he finds them kind of amusing:
“It’s just funny to me. There’s really nothing to say. You have all these people that have rumors, and everyone has their sources. It’s just not accurate. I don’t have time to deal with rumors. I talk to Gar and Pax every day. They’re at practice every day. It’s just that you got to deal with those things. It’s unfortunate. Everyone has their source. No one’s sources so far have been very accurate. My focus is getting the team ready for [Tuesday's game] against Indiana.”
Maybe Vinny and Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith should form a support group.
At any rate, what else could Vinny say? “Yep, I’m done. Who wants to go get shots at the Billy Goat?” The bottom line, as always, is that the current coach is still the coach until he isn’t the coach. Maybe Vinny is suffering from a case of denial, but I’d much rather have him remain upbeat than see him tying a hangman’s noose on the Bulls bench.
February 20, 2009
Sorry, Peter Vecsey. You were wrong. Again. Pax is still on the job.
From the Chicago Sun-Times Sports Staff: “Before I talk about the last couple of days, I do want to make one statement about the story that was out about a week ago. I have no control over stories and rumors that are printed, and I don’t feel the obligation to have to respond every time something comes up about me or a trade or anything like that. And so I left it alone. I’m the GM of the Bulls. I’m not resigning. I’m here. I’m going to be here. So that puts an end to it. I’m not going to answer any questions about that. It’s over. I’m the GM of the Bulls. That takes care of that.”
It certainly does.
February 13, 2009
Well, I guess. Maybe. Possibly.
According to Peter Vecsey of the New York Post– whose first line is “Do I know this to be fact? No.” — claims Pax will resign as Bulls GM after the trade deadline expires next Thursday and that Assistant GM Gar Foreman will take over for the rest of the season.
Vecsey’s unnamed source also said that “he wouldn’t be surprised if Doug Collins were approached again at the season regarding the coaching job (currently held by Vinny Del Negro) and as GM, or both.”
I’m not quite sure what to make of this. Vecsey has a long and storied history of being wildly, epically wrong. In fact, he was once dubbed “the Isiah Thomas of sports journalism” for incorrectly claiming that Derrick Coleman needed a heart transplant. (Coleman, often thought to be missing during his career, turned out to be fine). Vecsey’s had plenty of other blunders too, like when he insisted that the Pacers were going to trade Ron Artest to Seattle for Brent Barry and guaranteed that Steve Francis (then with Houston) was “going to the Denver Nuggets in the next 48 hours.”
Vecsey was also sued a while back by Danny Fortson for defamation after he wrote in a column that Fortson was a “thug,” a “thugged out player,” a “vacant lot,” a “meaningless mass,” and “gangsta or a wanksta.” I’m not saying that Vecsey is wrong…I’m just saying his credibility, with me if not the Post, is pretty much nil.
I’ll keep watching the situation, though.
Update! The Chicago Sun-Times has supposedly confirmed Vecsey’s story. Meanwhile, Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune remains dubious. Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald says that the Bulls are denying the rumors: “…a Bulls insider told the Daily Herald Friday that the report is ‘the farthest thing from the truth’ and Paxson isn’t planning to go anywhere.” Now the Associated Press has stated Pax is still “on the job” and that “team spokesman Tim Hallam said Friday that Paxson had not resigned and was in Phoenix for the league’s competition committee meeting.” NBA.com is running a report that: “Several league sources told TNT’s David Aldridge that Chicago general manager John Paxson has said that health concerns have caused him to consider quitting. Two sources said that they had been told Paxson had an ailment that threatens to become more serious.”
The Latest! Mike McGraw now says it’s all a false alarm. Stay tuned.