July 17, 2012
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes:
The Bulls completed the trade of Kyle Korver to the Hawks reported last Friday, however the Timberwolves dropped out of the thoroughly discussed three-team deal.
Korver’s $5 million contract becomes guaranteed for the 2012-13 season and slides into the Hawks’ trade exception created when they dealt Joe Johnson to the Nets. The Bulls received a $5 million trade exception and cash.
That cash was originally headed to the Timberwolves, who were going to send a second-round pick to the Bulls, a source said. A trade exception allows the Bulls to acquire a player whose contract is up to $5 million without sending out any salary. They expire after a year if unused.
And that, as they say, is that. This was a straight-up salary dump. The Bulls have so much cash committed to Carlos Boozer, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng that management is pinching every possible penny to avoid the luxury tax…which they’ll end up paying anyway if they match Houston’s $25.1 million offer sheet on Omer Asik.
The Bulls are going to be hard pressed to replace Korver’s three-point shooting. Last season’s two best percentage three-point snipers — Korver and C.J. Watson — are gone (Watson signed with the New Jersey Nets).
It’s hard to see the Bulls spreading the floor, especially early on when Rose and Deng are both out, which is going to have a really negative impact on the offense. Today’s NBA offenses are predicated largely on three-point shooting. Not sure how the Bulls are going to adjust now that they essentially don’t have any (save for Kirk Hinrich, who isn’t a high percentage three-point shooter).
July 13, 2012
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes:
Pending a passed physical, the Chicago Bulls have traded Kyle Korver to the Atlanta Hawks via the Minnesota Timberwolves in a move that saves them $500,000 and nets what is expected to be either a second-round pick and traded player exception or a player with a small contract from the Timberwolves.
The Bulls had until Sunday to either guarantee Korver’s $5 million option for 2012-13 or waive him and pay Korver $500,000. The Bulls had talked to the Hawks about trading Korver into Atlanta’s traded player exception acquired in the Joe Johnson trade to the Nets.
They ultimately used Minnesota to facilitate the deal.
Not sure what the actual end result of this trade will be. This could be a sign-and-trade for Kirk Hinrich so the Bulls can save their mini mid-level exception, which is worth around $3 million, or maybe team will come away with a draft pick or another player.
Regardless, it’s a bittersweet goodbye to Korver, who was Chicago’s only premier three-point shooter. In fact, the Bulls’ top three long-distance snipers were Korver (43.5 percent), C.J. Watson (39.3) and John Lucas III (39.3).
All three of those guys are gone now.
It makes me wonder how the Bulls are going to spread the floor next season. Hinrich can hit the three, but he hit only 34.6 percent of his treys last season and his career three-point shooting percentage (37.8) isn’t exactly sizzling.
Anybody with working eyeballs could tell Chicago’s offense ran more smoothly last season when Korver was on the floor, and in fact he led the team (with Joakim Noah) in Offensive Rating at 120 points per 100 possessions. According to NBA.com, Kyle was second on the team (to Luol Deng) in simple plus-minus (+325). BasketballValue also highlights the value of having Korver on the floor.
The Bulls saved some money on this deal. Sure. But — unless management has another move up its sleeve — they became a worse offensive team.
February 25, 2011
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes: “When the Bulls refused to include Omer Asik in trade discussions with the Rockets for Courtney Lee, it was thought management tiptoed past Thursday’s NBA trade deadline. But according to multiple league sources, the Bulls aggressively pursued Grizzlies shooting guard O.J. Mayo, offering Ronnie Brewer, two first-round picks and one second-round pick. The Grizzlies rebuffed the offer.”
But…the Grizzlies were willing (if unable) to trade Mayo to the Pacers for Josh McRoberts and a first rounder? Really? And why?
Johnson continues: “There’s a longstanding theory Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley, who has a home in the St. Charles area, doesn’t like doing business with the Bulls for competitive reasons. Whether that factored into the Grizzlies turning down what appears to be a more substantial offer than that of the Pacers is unknown.”
So, despite the all the hand-wringing and teeth-nashing by Bulls fans (myself included), it would appear management did their due diligence in pursuing an upgrade at the SG position. I mean, Brewer (whose contract expires in 2012) and three draft picks (including two first rounders) would have been a pretty solid return for Mayo.
Oh well. It’s not all doom and gloom.
Johnson added: “What is known is the Bulls move forward with their core of young assets intact and roughly $2.9 million of salary-cap space. They will monitor players whose contracts are bought out and must be added by March 1 to be playoff-eligible. They also could sign some Development League players. At this June’s draft, the Bulls will be in position with four first-round picks, cap space and contracts that expire in 2012 for Brewer, C.J. Watson and Kyle Korver (who has a partial guarantee for his third contractual year). They also will be able financially to make a move once a new collective bargaining agreement is set.”
I know it’s not easy to accept. It’s natural to have wanted an upgrade over Keith Bogans. But, really, this is smart management, folks. Forward thinking. Instant gratification isn’t always a good thing, even if it does provide, uhm, instant gratification.
Said Bulls GM Gar Forman: “Every year there seems to be two or three guys who are excellent players and teams are looking for expiring contracts, multiple draft picks and young assets. We didn’t want to make a deal just to make a deal. We want to make the right deal. We don’t know what we’re facing going forward (with a new CBA). Our feeling was we didn’t want to give up a young asset when you don’t know what’s on the horizon. We want to see what the playing field is going to look like. When you look at our roster and our books, we’re going to have opportunities.”
I still can’t say I’m totally happy with how things turned out. But I’m feeling better about them.
February 24, 2011
February 23, 2011
The James Johnson era is over in Chicago. According to the ESPN.com news service, the Bulls have traded him to the Toronto Raptors for the Miami Heat’s first round draft pick, which the Raptors obtained in the sign-and-trade deal that sent Chris Bosh to Miami.
It’s not exactly shocking that management would ship Johnson for essentially nothing. After all, J.J. has appeared in only 13 games this season and compiled more turnovers (18) than field goals (17). Let’s face it, his stint in the NBA Developmental League notwithstanding, Johnson was a bust-a-rama. He sure isn’t going to make it on to Basketball-Reference’s list of the best players ever traded at midseason.
And yet…his general bawfulness isn’t why the Bulls dealt him.
Sure, the Bulls have been scouring the D-League for potential shooting guards, but the guy’s they’re looking at would have serious trouble cracking coach Tom Thibodeau’s rotation. So, clearly, management has other gambits in play.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes: “After shedding Johnson’s $1.7 million salary, the Bulls now possess roughly $2.9 million of salary cap space and have stockpiled draft picks. … One source said talks with the Grizzlies regarding O.J. Mayo continue, although his $4.45 million salary would need to be matched and not fully absorbed into cap space. The Bulls could add players like the Cavaliers’ Anthony Parker, the Clippers’ Rasual Butler or the Rockets’ Courtney Lee merely for draft picks with their cap space. The Bulls also could wait until after the trade deadline to see if any prominent players get bought out, and then try to sign them with cap space.”
Okay, quick thoughts.
Rasual Butler: A 36 percent career three-point shooter who can’t crack Vinny Del Negro’s rotation on the Los Angeles Clippers. I wouldn’t want this guy on the Bulls even if he didn’t have the Clippers stank all over him.
Anthony Parker: On the one hand, he’s a savvy vet who’s hitting nearly 40 percent of his treys this season (and 41.3 percent for his career). On the other hand, he’s 35 years and 249 days old. He’s a minor upgrade over Keith Bogans. His contract expires after the season. Basically a rental…which makes me feel iffy. If he’s not part of the team’s future, is there really a point to bringing him in?
Courtney Lee: I’d feel better about Lee than Parker. He’s young (25 years and 143 days) and proved he could stick the three for both the Magic in 2008-09 (40.4 percent) and this year’s Houston squad (42.5 percent). Of course, despite playing for the always-scrappy Rockets, Lee has is giving up more points per 100 possessions (D-Rating of 112) than he’s scoring (O-Rating 107), and that bugs me. He’s also on the books for two more seasons after this one, so while he’s better than Parker, he also represents more of a commitment. The big question: Does he potentially push the Bulls over a championship hump? I doesn’t feel that way to me.
O.J. Mayo: Yes, he’s having a disappointing season. And yes, that disappointing season has been made worse by his 10-game drug suspension and that fight he had on the team plane with teammate Tony Allen. But he’s a young kid with loads of potential. He’s proven he can score (18.5 PPG as a rookie) and shoot (about 38 percent from downtown over his three-season career). Mayo is also a pretty good ball handler and an above-average competitor who, in my opinion, would benefit greatly from playing for Thibs and alongside Derrick Rose. Essentially, he has the biggest upside of any of the guys the Bulls appear to be considering.
Update! According to Yahoo! Sports: “The Chicago Bulls are still pursuing shooting guard Courtney Lee, offering a first-round draft pick to the Houston Rockets, sources said. Chicago could make the offer more intriguing with the addition of the Miami Heat’s 2011 first-round pick that the Bulls acquired from Toronto for forward James Johnson on Tuesday. For now, the Rockets are determined to bring back size and want Bulls center Omer Asik in any package for Lee.”
Quick take: Joakim Noah has missed 48 games over the past two seasons. Kurt Thomas crawled out of the sea more than a million years ago. Asik is raw…but the Bulls need that insurance at the center position. I’m okay with giving up the first rounders, but the team should try to hold onto Asik unless he’s part of a bigger deal for a more significant upgrade.
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.
February 19, 2010
A jump shooting power forward? He's perfect for the Bulls!
Let me preface this post by making — or, rather, re-making – the following points:
First, the trades that brought these four players to Chicago were not made to improve the team in the long-term. They were made to cut salary for the already legendary Summer of 2010 and the ensuing free agent bonanza.
Second, it’s highly likely that all four of these men will vanish in a puff of smoke the second their contracts expire. So do yourself a favor and don’t get attached to any of them. Nor should you expose them to bright light, get them wet, or ever, for any reason, feed them after midnight. You never know…they could be gremlins.
Warrick has a big wingspan and good speed for a power forward. Unfortunately his body is more Reggie Miller than Karl Malone. Warrick weighs in at a mere 219 pounds. For comparison’s sake, that puts him at one pound less than Devin Brown…who plays guard. And you know what that means: Hakim often gets pushed around in the paint by bigger PFs, which is just about everybody.
Warrick has some decent hops and he’s always a threat to throw down a dunk, but he’s so-so on the boards (7.4 rebounds per 36 minutes) and a poor shot blocker (0.4 per 36 minutes). It might help if he bulked up a little. It’s weird, too, because Warrick is 27 years old, spent a full four years in college, and this is his fifth season in the NBA. Why hasn’t somebody given this guy a map to the weight room?
According to ESPN’s John Hollinger: “Offensively, he loves to set up at the elbows, especially on the right, and either shoot a jumper or make a quick drive and draw a foul. He’ll also post up against smaller players when he gets a switch and can be effective shooting short-range hooks despite a lack of muscle. He can finish under the basket but tends to pick up traveling violations while winding up before he rises for the shot.”
ESPN Profile, Basketball-Reference, Hoopdata, Wikipedia Entry
Maybe we should just call him “Expiring Contract #1. Seriously. Alexander is a fantastic athlete who has virtually no chance to make a significant contribution to the Bulls. Or maybe any contribution. Before the Bucks took him with the eighth overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft, Alexander was described as the best athlete on paper at the draft.
Joe had the second most number of 185lb bench reps (24), the second highest max touch (12’0.5″) and the second fastest 3/4 sprint time (2.99 seconds). Here’s the “but”: Alexander hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since April 14, 2009. In fact, the Bucks assigned him to the NBDL’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants back on January 20. And he hasn’t exactly been lighting things up in the D-League (10.5 PPG, 40 percent shooting).
I guess we have a new Aaron Gray.
ESPN Profile, Basketball-Reference, Hoopdata, Wikipedia Entry
Meet Flip. He’s the man who will probably be stealing some of the minutes Jannero Pargo hasn’t been getting. Or maybe he and Pargo will end up splitting John Salmons’ minutes. It’s hard to say. But…
…here’s what Vinny Del Negro had to say about Pargo after Wednesday night’s win over the Knicks: “J.P.’s kind of been the odd man out all year. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve done a very good job with him. He’s been a total pro. He works in practice. Sometimes matchups have been difficult for him. It’s nice to see him play well.”
Hmm. Sounds like VDN was trying to pump up a player who was recently described as “disgruntled.” Probably because Del Negro already knew about the Salmons trade and therefore also knew he was going to need Pargo now.
As for Murray, well, he’s averaging 9.9 PPG (which is also his career average) while shooting 38.9 percent from the field and 31.3 percent from downtown. Oh, and 1.8 APG. Did I mention he’s a guard? Yeah. If the Bulls were building things — large things — out of bricks, they’d have their man. As it is, he’ll be battling Pargo and Brown for PT.
Here are some high and lowlights from Hollinger: “A 6-3 guard with a nose for the basket, Murray sees nothing but the goal when he puts the ball on the floor and sometimes dribbles himself into trouble as a result. However, he usually makes a quick move for a shot, so it’s not as if he’s pounding away the shot clock the way some shoot-first guards do. … Defensively, Murray did a good job against most 2s despite giving up inches, and has the size and quickness to keep a good chunk of the league’s 1s at bay as well. He’s a poor rebounder and fouls a lot but is active in passing lanes and ranked 10th among shooting guards in steals per minute.”
ESPN Profile, Basketball-Reference, Hoopdata, Wikipedia Entry
Shall we dub him “Expiring Contract #2″? He’s appeared in only 14 games this season and he’s done it for two different teams (five for the Golden State Warriors and nine for the Charlotte Bobcats). His averages — 3.4 PPG, 25 percent shooting on threes, 0.7 APG in only 7.1 MPG — tell you pretty much everything you need to know.
Huh. Maybe I should call him “Only In A Blowout” instead? If only because I’m pretty sure Darko Milicic owns the rights to Human Victory Cigar. But here’s some random trivia: Law is the great nephew of Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks. And there’s the Windy City connection! Bam!
Anyway, here’s Hollinger’s scouting report: “Law has been more competent on D than on offense. He has good size and moves his feet fairly well. He doesn’t gamble much, he competes and he helps out on the boards, so this part of his game isn’t the problem. … Offensively, he has the size and quickness to get the job done and has been an effective finisher when he can get the step on a defender. Unfortunately, his inability to shoot is submarining his career. Opponents don’t respect his J and lay off him waiting for the drive, and Law often responds by making a hesitant shot fake and then dribbling into traffic hoping for a better outcome.”
I hope his accuracy when handing out Gatorade is better than it is for long-range jumpers.
ESPN Profile, Basketball-Reference, Hoopdata, Wikipedia Entry
February 18, 2010
In the comments section of the my last post, I provided the following quick scouting report for new Bulls player Hakim Warrick: “Long and athletic…excellent leaper…a dunk waiting to happen…good shot blocker…perimeter game needs work…too skinny. Sound familiar?”
Yup. It’s a skill set eerily similar to the one belonging to Tyrus Thomas. So it would seem that, between rookie Taj Gibson and Warrick, Thomas would be, shall we say, very expendable.
According to ESPN the Magazine’s Ric Bucher: “Sources say [Thomas'] likeliest destination is Charlotte for Acie Law, Flip Murray and a protected future first-round pick. That frees Chicago to let disgruntled Jannero Pargo go and adds some off-the-bench scoring punch for Chicago. The deal for Milwaukee’s Hakim Warrick and Joe Alexander for John Salmons replenishes Chicago’s front line. Warrick is only six pounds lighter than Thomas, which is probably about the weight of the chip Thomas has on his shoulder against coach Vinny del Negro.”
Well, it appears to be official. Barring something unforeseen, the Tyrus Thomas era in Chicago has come to a banner-less end.
And, in all honesty, it kind of had to happen, didn’t it?
Things simply weren’t going to work out between the Bulls and Thomas. Too much baggage. The good news is that Tyrus is going to get a fresh start, plenty of minutes and a fantastic coach in Larry Brown. The bad news is that, if things don’t go well for him in Charlotte, people might stop blaming his organization for his low basketball IQ and general lack of progress.
As for the Bulls, they lose Ty’s “limitless potential” — whatever that means at this point — and get back a couple more expiring contracts. That makes Four! Four more expiring contracts! Ah, ah, ah! All of which means Chicago will have some extra cash to play with next summer.
So…yay. I guess.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m cautiously excited about the potential of picking up a star or two next summer. But I’m not ready to start kicking dirt on this season. And, really, it doesn’t feel like the Bulls are getting any better through these trades. Maybe not any worse, but not really any better, either.
I can’t say I’m going to miss Tyrus. In another reality, and with a different attitude, he might have been able to play All-Star-level basketball in the Windy City. If that ever happens now, it will be for another team.
But I’m not all that worried about the possibility.
Brad Miller auditions for the New York Lyric Opera
Last year, the Bulls turned their season around by acquiring Brad Miller and John Salmons from the Sacramento Kings. This year, Chicago is sending Salmons to the Milwaukee Bucks for Kurt Thomas and Francisco Elson. I’m sorry, make that the expiring contracts of Kurt Thomas and Francisco Elson. That distinction is pretty important.
Update! This trade may change so that the Bulls end up with Hakim Warrick and Joe Alexander instead of Thomas and Elson. Which doesn’t change all that much from Chicago’s perspective. They’re just different expiring contracts.
This trade wasn’t pushed through to make the Bulls a better team. Not right now, anyway. But it will clear almost $6 million worth of salary off Chicago’s books for next season. That means the Bulls will be about $20 million under the cap for the already legendary Summer of 2010.
Of course, Cleveland’s move for Antawn Jamison should put to rest any thoughts in Chicago — or New York, or anywhere else outside of Cleveland – of landing LeBron James. However, Amar’e Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson and others are all theoretically still in play. Of course, John Paxson and Gar Forman will have plenty of competition from the Clippers, Heat, Knicks, Nets and Wizards…all of whom will have the same kind of wheelin’, dealin’ cash.
In the meantime, the Bulls are a little worse.
Don’t get me wrong. Salmons hasn’t had a great season by any stretch of the imagination. But he’s still the team’s second-best three-point shooter and its third-leading scorer. Make that was. I guess it’s time for Devin Brown and Jannero Pargo to step up.
Said Derrick Rose: “Man, that’s crazy thinking about John leaving. He just came here [in a trade with the Kings on Feb. 18, 2009]. But, it’s the NBA. If he does get traded we’ll definitely miss him, but [the season] must continue. … It hurts your team a little bit. Like when you have a game right after [a trade]. But that’s just how the NBA goes.”
Added coach Vinny Del Negro: ”It’s never easy. It’s never fun. We’re dealing with good character people. It’s part of the business. You just have to deal with it, and move forward.”
It’s part of the business. That about sums it up. That doesn’t make it feel any less awkward, though.
And how awkward must it have been for Salmons before last night’s game against the Knicks? Del Negro got a call before the game telling him to leave Salmons at the team’s hotel. Not a very nice way to say goodbye.
But, yeah, it’s just business.
That left the Bulls — who are still without Joakim Noah (plantar faciitis) – two men down for the second game of their home-and-home series with the Knicks. Fortunately, the Knicks are still the Knicks. And they have so many irons in the trading fire that they probably had some focus problems of their own.
Nate Robinson, who was rumored to be on his way to Boston, missed the game with “flu-like symptoms.” Jared Jeffries, who was supposed to be involed in a trade for Tracy McGrady that is now off the table, played only six minutes after hyperextending his right knee.
But hey, with or without those two guys, it’s not like the Knicks play defense.
Still, New York sprinted out to a 64-53 lead at the half and went up 74-60 when Al Harrington drilled a three-pointer with 8:33 left in the third quarter. But believe it or not, the Bulls were saved from a blowout by an offensive explosion from Brad Miller. Miller — who finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds — scored 13 huge points in the third, and he did it in a variety of ways.
Miller started things off by nailing a trey, which meant his defender (David Lee) now had to respect his jumper. If you know anything about Big Brad, you know what that led to: an up fake followed by slow, loping, but ridiculously effective drives to the basket…and one. Miller than went to a rare post up and executed an up-and-under for another three-point play. After that came another up-fake-and-drive that Miller finished off with a running eight-footer. In between all that, he grabbed an offensive rebound, got fouled and hit both free throws.
After that running jumper, Miller grabbed a defensive rebound on the other end and threw a full-court pass to Kirk Hinrich for a layup that pulled the Bulls to within 78-74 with 5:43 left in the third, forcing Mike D’Antoni to call a timeout. But the damage had been done.
Chicago pulled to within two points by the end of the quarter and you could tell the players were stocked. Everybody wanted in on the action. Pargo opened the fourth quarter by canning a three-pointer. James Johnson drove in for a layup. Miller hit an 18-footer. Tyrus Thomas knocked down a couple buckets. Hinrich drove in for a layup. Deng earned (and hit) a couple foul shots. Rose swooped in for a layup. Miller hit another three. Deng connected from 19 feet. Rose got another layup. Deng got a layup. And so on.
All Mike D’Antoni — sorry, make that Mike ‘Antoni — could do was call timeouts and pray the Bulls would stop hitting shots. You can’t start teaching defensive right before the trade deadline. Chicago ended up outscoring the New York 33-25 in the fourth quarter. Game, set, match.
Seriously, just a dreadful defensive game for the Knicks. The Bulls hit 27 shots at the rim and scored 70 points in the paint. On the road. I sure hope anybody who played for the “bloodbath” Knicks teams of the 1990s weren’t watching this game. It would have been enough to drive them to drink.
I should also mention that Derrick Rose was huge. He finished with a co-game-high 27 points (10-for-19) and helped out Miller by scoring six points in a 12-2 third-quarter run. He also had 6 assists. It’s hard to believe the kid is dealing with a bruised hip and a sore back. I guess sometimes playing the Knicks is the best prescription for a player’s aches and pains.
1st timeout: Thomas missed a layup
2nd timeout: The Knicks had free throws coming
3rd timeout: New York had free throws coming again
4th timeout: Deng got fouled (2-for-2)
5th timeout: Hinrich hit a jumper
6th timeout: The Knicks were forced to foul
Quick trade thoughts:
As of right now, it looks like the Bulls are finished making trades, which will probably leave their fans either yawning or feeling a little disappointed. I’m guessing people wanted management to either seal a deal to free up even more cap room for next summer or pull of a trade that would — how shall I put this? — actually benefit the 2009-10 Chicago Bulls.
Again, as of right now, not gonna happen.
Fiscal responsibility and future planning are the co-names of the game. Especially with the Bulls one game over .500 (27-26). Maybe if Chicago hadn’t been able to recover from that 10-17 start, disappointment might have forced a more aggressive approach. But if management knows this team can play .500-ish basketball and compete for a playoff spot, they probably figure they won’t have to face a fan revolt this season…which makes pinning all their hopes on next season that much easier.
On a personal level, I’m bummed about the Salmons trade. I like the guy, and I hope he succeeds in Milwaukee. I’m also mildly put off that the Bulls couldn’t swing something that could benefit them in the short term as well as the long term.
But hey, it’s just part of the business, right?
Recap, Box Score, Advanced Box Score, Play-By-Play, Shot Chart, Photos.
January 27, 2010
So…what does the Devin Brown acquisition mean for the Chicago Bulls? Who is he, and what skills does he bring to the table? Can he break into the rotation or will he simply take over Aaron Gray’s role of passing out Gatorade in the team huddles?
For starters, here’s a scouting report on Brown from ESPN’s John Hollinger: “Few players were more unrelentingly ordinary than Brown before last season, as he ranked at or near the league average in virtually every statistical category. But at 30 he’s lost some athleticism and began doing what most average players do at this age: quietly falling out of the league. He’s a below-average outside shooter and doesn’t have extraordinary quickness or elevation at the rim. He offsets that with a wide frame that allows him to draw fouls, and he rebounds well for his size. Brown is a good enough ballhandler to play point guard in a pinch but only at the offensive end. He lacks the quickness to keep many shooting guards in front of him, let alone point guards. His strength makes him tough to post up, but he lacks the length to challenge shots.”
Well, that doesn’t sound very promising, does it?
However, Hollinger’s scouting report was written before the season began. Here’s a more up-to-date take on Brown from Niall Doherty of Hornets247:
“Devin Brown was putting up some nice numbers earlier this season, frequently scoring in double figures and shooting better than 45 percent from three in December. But that was exceptional for him. He’s never been known as a legit three-point threat and has only once averaged double figures for a season. He’s prone to slumps and streaks, and he just turned 31 years old last month so don’t expect him to get any better.
“All that said, he can do a few things well. Aside from Chris Paul, Brown was one of the few players in New Orleans who was willing to put the ball on the floor and attack the basket. He’d just put his head down and barge towards the goal. Granted, he’d often pick up a charge doing that, but his aggressive play was a nice contrast to perimeter-inclined guys like Peja Stojakovic and Morris Peterson. Devin can also be an asset defensively, able to body up to big wings and give them some trouble, though he’s likely to get beat by a quick first step. All in all, Devin Brown’s not a terrible player — at least not this season — but he has no business starting in the NBA.”
Alrighty, then. It’s probably safe to say Brown is not the final piece of Chicago’s championship puzzle.
It seems unlikely that Brown will see very many minutes right away. Maybe he and Jannero Pargo can keep each other company on the bench? However, in the big picture, it does seem likely that the Bulls traded for Brown in case they get the chance to dump the contract of Kirk Hinrich or John Salmons. In fact, it took almost no time at all for a Hinrich to the Lakers rumor to heat up (after which it immediately cooled down).
Given that the Bulls have clearly pinned much of their future plans on the already-fabled Summer of 2010, it’s probable that they will do everything they can to clear a little more cap space before the trade deadline. Of course, any deal involving Hinrich or Salmons could be bad in the short term, since both of them have been playing well since Vinny Del Negro pulled the switcheroo that sent Salmons to the bench so Captain Kirk could start. And their improved play — along with Derrick Rose’s recent ascent to superstardom — has made the Bulls a much better team.
Would giving one (or both) of them up be worth a shot at making the Bulls a much, much better team next season?
More Devin Brown:
Profile, Stats, Splits, Game Log, News, Photos, BBR, Wiki.