Ah, if only to play the Knicks every night…

Well, Derrick Rose returned to a performance that could have served him well at the high-visibility all-star game. Despite a bruised hip, Rose made his first nine shots and poured in 29 points on 14 of 18 shooting, leading the Bulls to a 118-85 win against the Knicks. Clearly, the panacea for Rose, as it is for most teams, was to play the the Knicks, who have lost 7 of their last 8 games, and whom the Bulls have the good fortune of playing again tonight on the back side of a home-and-home set.

Furthering the everyone-is-better-against-the-Knicks theme, Luol Deng was the second leading scorer for the bulls, pouring in 18 on 8 of 12 shooting. 

Another symptom of playing a horrible team two nights in a row is that trade talks become even more fascinating by comparison. The latest news, not-so-ironically, is that the Bulls are also battling the New York Knicks off the court to land one of the most coveted things any team can acquire this year – a big expiring contract. And Tracy McGrady has one. These days, that’s about the only coveted thing he has.

While the Knicks supposedly look to deal rookie Jordan Hill, Larry Hughes, and Jared Jefferies, the Bulls reportedly are offering Tyrus Thomas, Brad Miller, and either John Salmons or Kirk Hinrich.

It appears the Bulls have the edge over the Knicks, mainly because Jefferies’ contract (he is due 6 million next year, plus an additional 2 if he is traded), is not attractive to the Rockets.

Let’s face it, any move that makes the Bulls more financially prepared to pick-up a Dwayne Wade or Chris Bosh is a good one. As long as there is a legit possibility of acquiring one of them (even the typically directionless Knicks are wary of parting with young talent on the possibility of landing a big name), and as long as the team that remains contains a strong supporting cast. 

Consider Luol Deng to be a second key (the first, of course, being Rose) to what kind of team could lure a superstar to the Chicago. Still only 24 years old this April, Deng needs to stay healthy and maintain his solid status an 18 ppg scorer throughout the rest of the season. If he can live up to that “great third starter” status on a Rose /(Wade/Bosh)/Deng-led team, then maybe one of the two guys in parentheses will actually realize the potential that those of us who follow the team with regularity see.

What does McGrady have to say about all this? “I’m ready to play for whoever,” McGrady said in an e-mail last night. Ah, there’s the kind of dedication that has teams fighting over the most valuable thing he can offer – the right to fire him at the end of the year.

13 Responses to Ah, if only to play the Knicks every night…

  1. brantifvan@gmail.com'
    brandon1 February 17, 2010 at 5:35 pm #

    – the right to fire him at the end of the year.


  2. PTFC February 17, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

    I say Mcgrady play a handful of games (he only played a handful of games) in the short minutes he did play and he looked like he still has a lot left in him. One game in his 7 mins he scored 10 points with a couple of rebounds and assist in like 5 minutes. Don’t be surprised to see McGrady actually be a significant contributor to the team the rest of the season if the Bulls get him. And don’t be surprise if he ends up being somewhere near his old allstar form the rest of the year and playoffs as possibly being that second “solid allstar” player the bulls would like after getting a super star player. Of course you would pay tmac a whole lost less then 22 mill in his new contract.

  3. mikemayer3@hotmail.com'
    thirdsaint February 17, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

    Hah, and fired he will be.

    I hope the Bulls can do this and have it be Salmons that gets shipped off instead of Hinrich. Salmons isn’t as critical and with McGrady here he’d just be coming off the bench anyways. His option for next year scares me because he could very well use it and add a cap hit we want gone. And who knows, maybe McGrady still has something left in the tank. He can’t possibly be worse than Pargo (who now wants to be traded, good riddance!) or Brown.

  4. mears54321@yahoo.com'
    chad February 17, 2010 at 7:46 pm #

    anyone besides me think Tyrus has done well since getting more minutes? still makes a few mistakes, but then does some good things. too bad he’s only getting more minutes so that other teams want him more.

  5. bullsbythehorns@gmail.com'
    Matt McHale February 17, 2010 at 10:33 pm #

    By the way, there was a problem with the comments feature and many comments went unapproved the past several days. Sorry about the confusion if your comment didn’t appear. This problem has been fixed and all comments published.

  6. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath February 18, 2010 at 12:38 am #


    I would like to think that Tyrus can still have a place on this team, if by some chance he doesn’t get traded. The thing that is nagging me is that he is not just playing for the Bulls right now. He is showcasing himself for the league and I don’t trust that as a true barometer. If Vinnie is going to be the coach next year, I don’t believe that a) Tyrus can let go of his grudge and b) Vinnie is developed enough in player management to heal the situation.

    If he carries this over a good ten games or more, my opinion could be swayed. I am at the point now, where I can’t wait for him to get in another uniform and have a blast. The rumor about him going to the Hornets provided a nice image. Paul would get his Tyson Chandler back and Tyrus could play with two people he could actually look up to… (Paul and Byron Scott)

  7. tc643@hotmail.com'
    Tony C. February 18, 2010 at 3:32 am #

    chad –

    Thomas has played better recently, but mostly against bad teams.

    There is no doubt that Taj is a better and more valuable player, and he continues to improve as well.

    Perhaps TT will improve further, but the likelihood that he will ever be as good and/or consistent an all-around player as Taj remains remote.

  8. sportytomboy1212@aim.com'
    DJ February 18, 2010 at 3:34 am #

    Ramous have it that comcast sportsnet reporters said that the Bulls are planning on trading: John Salmons for Kurt Thomas and Francisco Elson? What a stupid move! (I HATE IT!) 1st of all both of them are to old and they both don’t play a lot of minutes. My question to you Paxson, how does these two players help out the Bulls in the playoffs this season? I understand they both have expiring contracts but, they could have gotten something way better then that. Like a move for Al Harrington and Wilson Chandler for John Salmons and Tyrus Thomas and a 2nd round draft pick.

  9. felipeagarcia87@hotmail.com'
    felipe garcia February 18, 2010 at 3:57 am #

    Man, I hope these rumors are not true about John Salmons going to Milwaukee for Kurt Thomas and Francisco Elson?, now that is a shitty move for the Bulls. Yes they are getting two expiring contracts but, how does this move help them out in the playoffs or at least making it to the playoffs? Remember Bulls GM’s star players want to play with good players making the playoffs at least with a decent recorded. Remember what happen back in the year 2000-2003 when they had a lot of money and they ended up signing trash players. If the Bulls are planning on getting someone like Chris Bosh or David Lee to Chicago this summer they have to make the playoffs at least. Notice that I did not mention D. Wade because I know for a fact that he is stay in Miami for sure.

  10. felipeagarcia87@hotmail.com'
    felipe garcia February 18, 2010 at 4:21 am #

    Another rumor THAT I HEARD from yahoo reporter’s is that the Bulls are planning on getting T-MAC??? I hope this move does not happen

  11. josh February 18, 2010 at 4:31 am #

    You people are unbelivable. The whole reason why we traded salmons for two expering contracts was so we can sign someone else. The cap for next year is going to be lower and if we didnt trade salmons who has a 6 million player option or kirk who make almost 9 million we would not have enough room to sign a max player. That means no d wade, lebron, bosh, joe johnson, and so on. Tyrus Thomas dosnet matter if we trade him or not because he is a restricted fa. We dont have to match if someone signs him.

  12. josh February 18, 2010 at 4:36 am #

    Also the knicks are not going to take on any kinda contracts that are not expering. They want to have enough money to sign two max contracts. Thats why they traded darko to clear for incoming expering contracts that there going to get for nate robinson.

  13. mears54321@yahoo.com'
    chad February 18, 2010 at 5:14 am #

    I am sad to see Salmons go because he helped them win a lot of games last year after they traded for him. He is still a solid player and worth the money he makes. One of the only reliable 3 point shooters the Bulls had left after Gordon left. They better end up with one of the top free agents next year with this money they saved, or they will end up signing someone no better than Salmons for just as much money or more. Now they need a better scorer to replace Salmon’s scoring for the rest of this season, so I am afraid they probably will trade Tyrus for Harrington. I don’t think Tyrus is playing better in order to get other teams to want him. I think he is playing better because of more minutes and easier opponents. I think he is happy in Chicago. I don’t think he would want to go to New York. He would not get along with D’Antoni any better than he gets along with Del Negro. D’Antoni benches guys like Curry and Marbury and anyone he doesn’t like. Tyrus could end up on the bench there even more than he is on the bench with the Bulls. But if D’Antoni does play him, his stats will go up because of the running fast paced offense in New York where Tyrus will get lots of breakaway dunks and lobs if he runs the floor. Harrington does not know the Bulls offense. Things are gelling lately. I’d like to keep the Bulls the way they are and Tyrus can be a good spark off the bench when Taj gets tired or is in foul trouble. Problem is we got no 3 point shooters, Pargo has lost his touch and Devon Brown isn’t even good enough to play. Better just drive to the basket every possession, and kick it out to Deng and Hinrich for occasional 15-25 footers.

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