Free Agent Watch: Bulls in “lead” for LeBron, Amar’e and luck

More thoughts on potential free agents:

LeBron James:
The only “news” we currently have about where LeBron will end up in July is all rumor and speculation. But according to ESPN’s Chad Ford, the Bulls are leading the Race for the King: “I keep hearing that the Bulls are atop his list at the moment. That could change, but that’s the word around the league at the moment. [Top three are:] 1. Bulls. 2. Knicks 3. Heat … I think the darkhorse is Dallas who’ll try to acquire him via sign-and-trade. As for the Cavs, it doesn’t look very good at the moment, but things can change. I think owner Dan Gilbert would essentially have to give him the GM job as well to keep him there.”

In unrelated news, I’m currently “in the lead” for Bionic Superhero of the Future, along with Lou Ferrigno, Homer Simpson and the Easter Bunny.

Okay. Sarcasm aside, the New Jersey Nets were also in the running for LeBron. Until last night, anyway. As Ford noted: “If they can land [John] Wall, they suddenly become much more competitive in the LeBron James sweepstakes. if they don’t land Wall, I think we can scratch them off the list. That’s some pretty big stakes.”

They were big. Unfortunately for the 17 remaining Nets fans — and 17 might be too high a guess — the Washington Wizards won the number one pick in the draft lottery and will almost certainly take Wall. The Nets, who were one of the worst team’s in league history last season, ended up with the third pick. Even if the Wizards go crazy and pass up Wall, there’s no way he will get past the Philadelphia 76ers, who have the second pick.

By the way, Bulls player development assistant Lindsey Hunter literally laughed away the idea that LeBron and Derrick Rose wouldn’t work well together. With all due apologies to John Hollinger.

Said Hunter: “I laugh at a situation like that simply because you have two guys who very easily could average over 20 points apiece. When you can walk into an arena and have that in your pocket, you’re winning. That’s an easy choice. That’s not even something to think about.”

Agreed. Even if Jay Mariotti is begging LeBron not to go to Chicago.

One last thing. There was a rumor going around yesterday that had LeBron trying to get Doc Rivers — who just last night coached the Boston Celtics to a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals — to come with him to Chicago. It sounded a little silly at the time…but Rivers upgraded the notion to very silly.

Said the Doc: “I’m not even going to answer that one. It’s funny, I told someone today that’s the first time I’ve heard about it. I said ‘I’m either going to be in Boston or home.’ And one guy said, ‘Well, home is Chicago or wherever else.’ I said, ‘That’s just stupid talk.’ I think that’s just ridiculous.”

Amar’e Stoudemire:
The Phoenix Suns got blown out by the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. Lamar Odom — who finished with 19 points and 19 rebounds — was a huge catalyst. Meanwhile, Stoudemire had only three rebounds in 35 minutes.

What’s worse, here’s what Amar’e had to say about Odom’s big day: “I’m not giving him no hype right now; he had a lucky game in Game 1. We just got to make sure we box him out. I think I focused so much on [Pau] Gasol and [Andrew] Bynum to where he snuck in there and got 19 boards, so now we just got to make sure there’s three guys out there that can rebound well [when] adding Odom. So, we got to do a better job on them.”

Luck, huh? See, to me, rebounding is more about hard work and determination than luck. Do you know who leads the Suns in defensive rebounding during the 2010 NBA playoffs? It’s 37-year-old Grant Hill with 59 defensive boards. Meanwhile, Stoudemire has only 41 defensive rebounds despite playing 75 more minutes than Hill. What’s more, Stoudemire barely ranks ahead of Steve Nash in Defensive Rebounding Rate in the playoffs (12.5 to 10.3). Hill leads the team in DRR at 22.2.

There are several things that bother me about Stoudemire as a big man…and rebounding is one of them. I watch the Suns play a lot, and it seems lik Amar’e isn’t a big fan of going after contested defensive rebounds. And at times, he doesn’t do a great job of boxing out. Again, Lamar Odom outrebounded him 19-3 a couple days ago.

Over the long haul, rebounding wins basketball games, an I’m wary of big men who rebound below expectations. It probably won’t matter, because by all indications the Suns are going to break the piggy bank to re-sign Stoudemire. But it’s worth thinking about, because I’m sure he’s one of the outer blips on the Bulls’ free agent radar.

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24 Responses to Free Agent Watch: Bulls in “lead” for LeBron, Amar’e and luck

  1. PTFC May 19, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    I’ve though about the Amare situation many times also, but then I remembered the Bulls will have 2 rebounding machines next to Amare and that’s Taj and Noah, not to mention Lebron is a pretty solid rebounder as well.

    Rose, insert SG, lebron, Amare/Gibson, Noah equals no real rebounding problem and multiple championships.

    Replace Amare’s name with Bosh and it’s the same deal.

    thirdsaint May 19, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

    It goes without saying but Jay Mariotti is perhaps the biggest moron there is as far as sports writers go. He’s like a speck of dust when compared to someone like Bill Simmons.

    ctw724 May 19, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    All I can say is this.


    If LBJ or DWADE for that matter want to WIN, they should consider coming to CHICAGO.

    Personally, I would like to see WADE and BOSH in Chicago.

    My view hasn’t changed much.

    BULL4EVER May 19, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    I would love to LeBron and Bosh in the mix with Chicago, man let me tell yall.First Chicago got Jordan from the 3rd pick from the 1984 draft and we Bulls fans know how that totally turned out, then Chicago beat the odds by winning the No.1 lottery pick and picking up Rose from the 2008 draft, now they may pick up LeBron from the those Cavaliers from the free-agent market.Chicago has been getting totally lucky from time-to-time by ending up with totally rare talent and it takes total luck to end up with these type of totally rare athletes like Jordan, Rose and LeBron.May superstars continue to sign with the Bulls 4ever.GO BULLS.

  5. LL Smokes Jays May 19, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

    Yeah but the Bulls also got really unlucky when Jay Williams crashed his motorcycle and Ben Wallace cashed out when coming to this team. It hasn’t all been positives.

    Boppinbob May 19, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    Personally I would forget about getting a starting PF in FA. Taj Gibson is the starter. Gibson’s rookie numbers were better than Pippen’s, but he did play approx. 7 minutes more per game. Gibson’s numbers are also better than Horace Grant’s who played a similar role to Taj. Based on those comparisons he should remain a starter. Get a solid PF for the second team who can compete for playing time with Taj. I do not think that Bosh, Boozer or Stoudemire make the Bulls an NBA champion. If the Bulls do sign James, then the should unload Deng, he deserves to start somewhere. The Bulls plan B should be a big scoring SG to fit in the rotation with Rose and Hinrich. A young, athletic center to back up Noah should also be a priorty. The Bulls have 3 potential future all-stars in Rose, Noah and Gibson. They also have 2 solid players in Deng and Hinrich. Johnson has shown flashes of potential. If the Bulls have to go with “Plan B” they could still be serious contenders next year if they build the team with solid depth through the draft and FA.

    Ron Santo May 19, 2010 at 5:55 pm #

    I think the Nets deserved the first pick just for being that bad last year.

    Best Basketball May 19, 2010 at 5:59 pm #

    D-Wade has a ring. LeBron does not. Forget about LeBron. Can you imagine a backcourt with Rose and Wade? It would instantly make the Bulls the most fun team to watch since….ever. Not too mention Wade is a winner.

    bullsfandom May 19, 2010 at 6:32 pm #

    Am I missing something or can’t Lebron play the 2 guard? He is one of the fastest men in the game and he wanted to guard both Rondo and Rose this past postseason. So in theory he should be at least a halfway decent defender on an opponent’s 2 and create MASSIVE matchup problems on the offensive end, right?

    Trm3 May 20, 2010 at 12:59 am #

    I know what u mean Best Basketball..I’ve been wanting Wade since the beginning of the season. Either him or Lebron would be fun to watch with Rose.

    I’m getting a little tired of the rumors cause we haven’t even gotten to June yet let alone July. These rumors are just building up so much hope. I just hope I wont be let down.

    LUVMYBULLS May 20, 2010 at 1:37 am #

    According to Salary cap expert Larry Coon if the Bulls did a sign-and-trade for James involving Deng, they’d be about $1.1 million short to sign the likes of Chris Bosh or Dwayne Wade. So If you add an additional player in that trade like a James Johnson who reportedly makes 1.5 million your good. Now you can acquire a Chris Bosh. Now charlotte is need of a point guard in a major way. If we trade Kirk Hinrich for Stephen Jackson we would have an dangerous extremely dangerous line-up. Because Even if you sign a Lebron James you still will have to be able to match up to a Orlando or Lakers to Win It all. Just image this line-up.

    1 Derrick Rose PG 21 6-3 190 Memphis $5,184,480
    12 Shannon Brown PG 24 6-4 210 $3,990,000
    2 Sherron Collins PG 23 5-11 200 $855,000.

    7 Stephen Jackson SG 32 6-8 215 $7,650,000
    42 Tony Allen SG 28 6-4 213 $3,500,000

    6 LeBron James SF 25 6-8 250 $25,779,912
    5 Damion James SF 22 6-8 224 $1,500,00.

    4 Chris Bosh PF 26 6-10 230 $20,779,912
    22 Taj Gibson F 24 6-9 225 $1,039,800

    13 Joakim Noah C 25 6-11 232 $2,455,680
    31 Darko Milicic C 24 7-0 275 $4,540,000
    27 Johan Petro C 24 7-0 247 $4,825,497

    ch12 May 20, 2010 at 4:24 am #

    lebron should stay with clevelend. if he leaves before 10 years, he’s a sell-out and I have no respect for him. malone + stockton stayed with utah. i totally respect them for that. i even mostly respect garnett since he waited way long in minnesota and they had a REALLY bad team when he left. leaving a playoff team because you want a championship (and couldn’t get it even though you had the best record) when you’re only 25 would be typical lebron. me me me me me.

    DJ May 20, 2010 at 4:40 am #

    Once again, it is not going to happen. Just like most ESPN writers thought Lebron James would go up against Kobe in the finals. (Last year and this year with that NIke commercial.) Did it happen yet? NO! lol that is just my opinion….

    Max May 20, 2010 at 4:55 am #

    @ TRM3 I know what you are talking about. Michael Jordan was asked at a Golf Tournament by Jay Marriotti where he thought Lebron was going to sign and he responded “Chicago” and then walked away. If MJ is saying it then that just makes me dream about it even more. I don’t know what to think about the report that he was House Hunting in Highland Park.

    Luke May 20, 2010 at 5:08 am #

    Alright, You guys can take this however you want, but just so you know, its enough to have me a semi-believer.

    A friend ran into Derrick Rose at a restaurant the other night. The friend isn’t a huge sports fan, but still knew he should go talk to him. He asked Rose what the bulls were going to do with all the money they have.

    A summary of Rose’s response: Sign and Trade for LeBron and sign Bosh. On top of that, he said that LeBron has been looking at homes for the last week somewhere north on the north side.

    Normally that would not mean a lot to me, but seeing as it is the 2nd time now that I have heard about LeBron shopping for homes in the Chicago area, I am starting to think this whole LeBron to the Bulls thing is going to happen.

    I am not really looking to get responses from non-believers: I understand this is basically an anonymous message board where anyone can say anything. But being a die-hard bulls fan and being as up to date as possible, I tell you that I am 75% convinced that LeBron IS looking for homes here and I believe LeBron/Bosh has a high chance of happening.

  16. i am the 6th man May 20, 2010 at 10:27 am #

    yeah it makes sense for lebron to come to chicago. it proves to critics that he isn’t just out there for the money. he put on a show in cleveland and now its time to get serious in chicago.

    i think amare or bosh is also gonna happen, and it’s gonna be great. i know that both are afraid of getting hurt so they dont do the dirty work, but that’s what noah, taj, and lebron are there for. i think people are afraid that our beloved bigs will disapear in the shadows of this star power, but this way everybody has distinct roles and will get credit for it.

    also, i mentioned this a couple of posts ago, but it was like comment #138 by the time i read it. i think hinrich should still be a starter. i think that rose and him work well together, and even though sometimes a bit wild, i really like it when he’s got the ball. and his defense rocks. and most importantly cares about the game and tries to play it smartly. deng is too expensive as a sub. anything deng could do, lebron could do better. liked the guy but it’s not good for our bulls

  17. i am the 6th man May 20, 2010 at 10:35 am #

    hmmm i re-read my comment about anything deng could do, lebron could do better, but i guess you could say that about any player. what i should have said was that i think kirk has a lil more killer instinct in him than deng. i always felt that luol disappeared during big time situations. kirk is a great player to have lat in the game and will keep chippin away at a lead even if they’re down 30 points

  18. David May 20, 2010 at 12:50 pm #

    Lol, getting Lebron/Bosh is TOO good. We’d be like the yankees of basketball. Buying our way to greatness, not built from the ground up. Just saying…I’d still like one of them though :)

    thirdsaint May 20, 2010 at 1:21 pm #

    The difference here David is everyone is on an even playing field with the Cap and we really aren’t buying a championship so much as strategically using the money wisely. I certainly won’t feel bad about it. 😛

  20. Spider Webb May 20, 2010 at 8:14 pm #

    Has anyone thought about the future past next season. If we want to keep Rose, or if we want to get Noah, then we can’t sign two max contracts. Someone won’t get paid. Eventually, we would have to give Rose a max contract, and with James and Bosh, or Wade and Bosh, Noah would be left out. He is a vital piece and we can’t afford to lose Noah. Face it, its not going to happen. Maybe just Lebron, or just Wade, unless someone is willing to take less money, which i doubt. I see Boozer and Rudy Gay, or maybe Lebron and an average big man (cant think of all who will be available). Im a die hard Chicago sports fan like the next man but seriously we have to think long term

    DJ May 21, 2010 at 6:25 am #

    Thank you Spider Webb! here is a realistic fan….. (LONG TERM CONTRACTS FOR OTHER PLAYERS beside James and Bosh that is another big Key factor this summer!)

    DJ May 21, 2010 at 6:43 am #

    People you will be surprise how many teams don’t think about their other star players upgraded contracts. It’s like buying a new car it may look cool and all but, at the end you are going to pay a lot of money for it. Especially if someday you don’t have a lot of money left to keep affording it.

    Trm3 May 21, 2010 at 8:23 am #

    Maybe u didn’t fulling read Spider webb comments..he said he was down with either getting James or Wade..which u my friend said it’s unrealistic to even think about getting any of those players. So really since Max and I are just wanting one of those guys and were unrealistic for thinkin that..I guess Spider Webb is unrealistic as aswell.

    After all we are all stupid cause neither James or Wade wanna come here. Chicago is terrible and has no hope.

    Max May 21, 2010 at 8:21 pm #

    It’s the end of the world Trm3 and we should just accept David Lee…….Why would you buy a Bentley when you could buy a Ford Focus!!!

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