So two days ago, Chicag Bulls fans were feeling somewhat of a sense of euphoria. There was New York Times report that the Chicago Bulls, after creating more cap space by moving Kirk Hinrich, were going to sign both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Things are slightly different. Can you believe how much can change in two days? There are now reports that there was some sort of mini-summit between the three big gets this summer. Bosh, LeBron, and Wade had some sort of meeting in South Florida over the weekend. This is according to a report from the Sun Sentinel in Florida. Not only that. Now we got Stephen A. Smith, the rabid NBA insider that everyone knows well from his days on ESPN, reporting that the three knuckleheads are going to be forming a grand triumverate in Miami, with Pat Riley coming back as head coach. Smith is insistent that it's happening. He claims his sources are very credible and they have never let him down over 14 years. And the man does not go out on a limb unless he's extremely confident on the accuracy of the report. You can listen to him talk about it extensively here. This is scary stuff. This is the exact opposite of what was being reported two days ago. And this is the exact opposite of what we want to happen.
Now regardless of what Stephen A. says, do I believe that the Moe, Larry, and Curly will end up in Miami? No, I do not. You have to have a basic understanding of people. Especially egomaniacal athletes. These guys are incredibly two-faced. And they're only looking out for numero uno. LeBron could have easily said, "Oh yeah D-Wade, I'm coming to Miami and I'm bringing Bosh with me." Does that mean he meant it? Absolutely not. LeBron, when and if he said such a thing, is very aware of the fact that Wade is aware of the fact that LeBron is going to listen to each and every sales pitch before he officially makes up his mind. LeBron knows that he can always come up with an excuse for Wade that has to do with how good a sales pitch was and how he was excited about coming to the Heat, but after the sales pitch by Team X, he doesn't feel like he can pass up that opportunity. And Wade is very aware of this. That is why Wade is covering his tracks by meeting with teams himself. Teams such as Chicago, New York, and Dallas. Now if Wade thought it was a done deal, would he meet with all three of those teams? If this is a done deal, is Stephen A. trying to tell me that Wade's tour is nothing but a dog-and-pony show? No. It should be fairly clear to everyone that no one's mind has been made up about anything. I do not think the summit actually went and changed anything. There is nothing that Dwyane Wade could have said to LeBron that he didn't already know two days ago when the Bulls were guaranteed to land him and Bosh.
And I'm sorry, but I just cannot buy into the fact that LeBron is willing to share the spotlight with Dwyane Wade, both of whom are two of the top 3 superstars in the league, for the next 5 years. I just don't see it happening. I don't see how that can be appealing to LeBron, when he can absolutely own the spotlight in Chicago, but play with a younger version of Dwyane Wade in Derrick Rose.
Meanwhile, these reporters have to keep the news flowing. This is an exciting time for sports television and radio, and these reports do nothing but boost ratings and sell newspapers. So it's no surprise that certain personalities are going out on a limb at times when they usually wouldn't. I'm just saying, don't bank on anything anyone is saying...only LeBron knows which way he is truly leaning. He can say whatever to whomever, maybe to just avoid hurting anyone's feelings...or maybe just for leverage. The truth is, he knows what's best for him. And to me, playing alongside Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, and Chris Bosh is better than playing alongside Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and absolutely no one else. It doesn't take a genius, people.no comments
The Chicago Bulls have come to an agreement to trade Kirk Hinrich, along with the 17th pick in tonight's draft, to the Washington Wizards. What the Bulls will be getting in return is unknown as of yet. Via Chad Ford of espn.com:
"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 on this summer's free-agent market, sources with knowledge of the Bulls' plans said Thursday.
It wasn't immediately clear what Washington would send to Chicago in the trade.
The deal can't be officially consummated until July 8, when the Wizards will have room under the salary cap to absorb Hinrich's $9 million contract without having to send back anything of similar value.
Since it's a good-faith deal for the time being, there remains a chance it could fall apart. But according to one source, the Sacramento Kings are prepared to make a similar deal with the Bulls in the Wizards' stead if that were to happen.
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, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Amare Stoudemire and Joe Johnson."
What the Wizards or Kings really get out of taking on Hinrich's salary isn't really clear to me. The Wizards will now have an explosive backcourt after tonight with Arenas and Wall. Where does Hinrich fit into the picture? Backing up Wall? You're going to pay a guy $9 mill to back up Wall? And same with the Kings...backing up Tyreke Evans? I dunno...bizarre. But this is ridiculously good for the Bulls, because it seems that they have put themselves in a position to sign two max guys, although it is unclear as to who they are getting in return. I'm thinking they're getting future draft picks.
More to come...
So the NBA Draft is tonight.
The night could go two ways. It could be a historic night in that it could bring the Bulls a step closer to bringing in LeBron...or it could just be blah.
First, let's talk about blah. The Bulls have the 17th pick in the 1st round. At that pick, you can either select a solid NBA-ready player, or a "project." For example, with the 16th pick last year, the Bulls took James Johnson. A "project" to say the least. My point is this...you can't expect much from the 16th overall pick. Especially not in this year's draft when the field is pretty sub-par. And the Bulls have one below that this year. However, that being said...there are some very serious gems that can fall to 17 this year. It is even possible that two potential stars in this league may both fall to 17, which I will discuss shortly. The bottom line is the Bulls should be looking to address their needs with the pick. And what are their needs? Shooting. The one thing I said repeatedly throughout last season was how desperate the Bulls were for a solid three-point shooter. Terribly desperate. So knowing this...the Bulls should be targeting two guys.
I'm going to tell you right now, he's not likely to fall to 17. However, if he does, he has to be one of two options that you absolutely must consider with the pick. He's got a truly NBA-ready 6'6" frame. He's got a fluid lefty stroke. He's fairly deadly from three-point-land, and I'm talking NBA three. Definitely a prolific scorer, and definitely can defend opposing slashers and shooting guards, albeit not consistently quite yet. There are teams stupid enough out there to take players like Gordon Heyward and/or Avery Bradley ahead of him. He should not fall to 17, but I can see it happening, so the Bulls absolutely have to be praying that it does so that they at least have the option of grabbing him.
However, a guy that I actually like better than Henry is James Anderson out of Oklahoma State.
There are several things I like better about Anderson over Henry. Truth be told, they are nearly identical as basketball players. Both can light it up from the outside, both have nearly identical frames, and both will be studs in the league. So if the Bulls get either one...trust me I will be more than thrilled. This is not a James Johnson situation. Either guy will come in and contribute immediately (unless of course they're playing behind LeBron). However, Anderson's three-point shooting ability is absurd. He is a more consistent and prolific shooter than Henry and I also think he is a better and more aggressive defender. Both of their abilities to finish around the basket are pretty much identical. I just think Anderson is a slightly better shooter, a slightly more prolific scorer, and a slightly better defender. The experts seem to think that Henry might possess a few more intangibles over Anderson, I don't really know what that means, nor do I see that in the film. Given all these factors and their identical frames, I take Anderson over Henry, given his superior ability to knock down the three at will. Plus, I just don't trust lefties that much. Sorry X.
Either one of these guys take some of the scoring load off of Derrick Rose (if we don't get LeBron) due to their ability to shoot and slash, so they would be welcome additions.
There are some rumors out there. The latest one floating around is that the Bulls are trying to trade Luol Deng and the 17th pick to the Clippers for the 8th pick. Why would this happen? Well, the Bulls would obviously be looking to dump Deng's contract, and the Clippers are trying to get better right now and aren't really in the free agent hunt with Donald Sterling still around as owner. That would give the Clippers a lineup of Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Luol Deng, Blake Griffin, and Chris Kaman. That is a formidable lineup indeed. For the Bulls, the move would remove Deng's $10.3 million salary as well as the $1.3 million that would be owed to the 17th pick, while adding $2.1 million that will be owed to the 8th pick. That would put them at roughly $30 million under the cap...pretty much enough to sign both LeBron James and Chris Bosh to max deals. Ummm...yes please. If this happens, I don't see how the Bulls don't convince LeBron and another max guy to come to Chicago. And frankly, I'm not that concerned with who the Bulls would take with the 8th pick if it were to happen, because at that point, you're thinking more big picture (like free agency).
But let's say it does happen. Obviously, you lose Deng...and you can't automatically assume you get LeBron, so you immediately become pretty thin at small forward. Obviously you're looking to draft a 3, so you're looking at Luke Babbitt or Paul George.
I really dislike Luke Babbitt's lack of athleticism. He's a good shooter with a good skill-set, but I don't know how well it will translate to the NBA level. Plus, he will be a massive liability on the defensive end. And that's really not going to fly now that Tom Thibodeau is around to make this an elite defensive team.
On the other hand, I'm a big fan of Paul George. George is a ridiculously good shooter from long-range, which is exactly what the Bulls need. His release is incredibly quick and I think he's a tremendous athlete. Pair the guy with Derrick Rose for Derrick to dish it out to him as he spots up in the corner and they become a deadly duo...especially with that release. I think if you actually get the 8th pick, you have to go with Paul George.
But I'm not holding my breath. It would be a pretty big blow to lose Deng if you don't sign LeBron, even if you are able to sign a guy like Bosh. However, at this point, you have to go all in...and I'm sure it's a risk Gar and co. are willing to take. Like I said, big night ahead...big week ahead. Big week indeed.
By the way, every song in each of the above videos is absolutely sick...so you should highly consider watching them.no comments
Here's where we're at right now folks. While news has been kind of slow, this is what we know:
1) Tom Thibodeau has been hired as the Bulls next head coach. For my thoughts on that, see my earlier entry here.
2) Tom Izzo has turned done the Cavaliers' offer to be their next head coach. This has apparently derailed their entire coaching search. They now have no real prospects, as they were really banking on Izzo. This also most likely hurts their chances at LeBron...as Byron Scott is a lott less an exciting option than Tom Izzo. I would say that this is a good development for the Bulls.
3) The NBA Draft is 6 days away. The Bulls could be gearing up for some wheelin' and dealin'. Then again, they might not be. I'll have an entry previewing the draft up shortly.
4) In terms of news regarding free agents, there really have been no new developments. The Bulls are still in the running for every single major free agent, except for maybe Dwyane Wade who seems to have totally shunned the Bulls organization. As a result, we shall shun him back.
5) And free agency is now exactly 12 days away. 12 DAYS till the Bulls return to stand tall amongst the NBA's elite. 12 days. It's been 12 years. Now we only must wait 12 days. This city is rabid right now. The Hawks just won. The city wants more championships. The fans are getting greedy. No one wants it as much as us right now. It's honestly something I can feel in the air amongst Bulls fans. And all I can think about as I watched 2 million Hawks fans come out and shut down the loop last week...and as I watched the Lakers win the title tonight...is I want that. Bulls fans want that. And we want it just as bad as the Hawks fans did. And we want it more than the Lakers fans did. We're deprived right now. Starving. If the Hawks celebration didn't show LeBron or anyone else what it would be like to win here and make LeBron or anyone else want to come here to experience this great city and its great fans, then I don't know what will. But all I know is we're 12 days away. I'm going to start counting down the hours.no comments
What's sweeter than that very look on Paul Pierce's face. YEAAAAHHHH boy.
I gotta say...if it wasn't the Bulls, I'm glad it was the Lakers. Those of you that know me are well aware that I am a big Lakers fan for many reasons, and they're pretty much my de facto 2nd team. Congrats to the Lakers and for Lakers championship coverage, check out the With-Malice Lakers blog.no comments
So it looks like the Bulls are going to make an offer to Boston Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau. Thibodeau is the defensive architect of the Boston Celtics defense and helped guide the Celtics, whom I hate dearly, to the 2008 title (as well as this year's finals). They could reach an agreement by the end of this weekend. If they get things done by then...well then...that is...um...lighting fast for this organization. Slightly surprised. I thought this would seriously drag into July. Either way, I have some mixed feelings about this.
First, the bad. After experiencing two years of Vinny Del Negro, you'd think the Bulls organization would try and avoid hiring a head coach with zero head coaching experience. Seriously. The Bulls always seem to strive for the marquee names, but then fall for the flavor of the week new guy...who this time...happens to be Tom Thibodeau. And how many free agents are truly excited about playing for a first year head coach? On top of that, the Bulls happen to be one of the worst offensive teams in the league. Now surely, come July 1st, that's bound to change. However, as of right now, when nothing is guaranteed, to hire a defensive specialist when offense absolutely must be your greatest concern just seems odd to me. I thought that was the whole issue with Vinny...the fact that he wasn't a good x's and o's type of coach on the offensive end. Don't we need a guy who's more of an offensive specialist rather than defense?
Now, the good. Tom Thibodeau is no Vinny Del Negro. He's coached in 87 playoff games. That's right, count 'em. 87. He coached under Jeff Van Gundy, who is absolutely in love with the guy, for 7 years. During his tenure with the Knicks, he helped them set a record when they held 33 straight opponents under 100 points during the 2000-2001 season. His defensive coaching exploits in the 2008 finals and 2010 playoffs have been very well documented. It's safe to say that the guy isn't just a defensive specialist, he's a freakin' defensive wizard. He is to defensive schemes what Tex Winter was to offensive schemes. While he may be a first year coach, the guy has been around...and he's been around FOR YEARS. There is probably not an assistant coach who has ever been more prepared to take on a head coaching vacancy more than Tom Thibodeau.
Everyone knows defense wins championships. Fans know it. Players know it. Superstars know it. Ask Mike D'Antoni. Any superstar should be and probably would be thrilled that they're coming to play for a coach who not only stresses defense, but is a defensive mastermind. As long as the Bulls take care of signing the offensive talent, Thibodeau should take care of the defensive end of things.
So if you absolutely must sign a first-year coach, Thibodeau is the guy. A VDN he is not. I cannot stress that point enough. However, I do wish the Bulls would wait until they are absolutely sure Phil Jackson isn't interested come postseason, or even Doc Rivers if he leaves Boston, who would be quite popular in his hometown of Chicago. I'm not sure why Paxson and Gar Forman felt like they absolutely had to fly out to LA to interview Thibodeau on the eve of Game 1 of the finals. Maybe they thought Thibs would take the Hornets offer? Or maybe they just wanted to make sure he didn't accept it by letting him know that they were very interested. Kind of like leading a girl on and making her stick around just in case a hotter girl your eyeing doesn't end up panning out. That's what Thibs is right now. And I don't really feel like they have to rush with an offer, because he clearly seems much more interested in the Bulls job than the Hornets' considering he let the Hornets' offer lapse past their Thursday deadline and they seem to be moving on with Monty Williams.
But hey, with the batch of coaches that are available as of right now, I guess the Bulls really have no reason not to hire Thibs. I prefer Thibs to Byron Scott, Mo Cheeks, and even Lawrence Frank even though all of them have prior head coaching experience, simply because I prefer someone who stresses a specific discipline and is consistent with it...unlike Vinny who was just all over the place. Then again, I buy into a defensive culture, which has always been the Chicago way.
So bottom line, if we go with Thibs...I can dig it.no comments
I had to post this video some fans made for the ongoing campaign to bring LeBron to Chicago. If you are a Bulls fan and this video does not give you goosebumps, please click on the "x" on the top right corner of your window. Thanks.no comments
So as you can see, the LeBron to Chicago billboard, sponsored by www.sendlebrontochicago.com, has been put up. As some of you may know, I have written a guest piece for Send LeBron to Chicago and have been associated with the site in the RedEye section of the Chicago Tribune. I've been dealing with AJ Barthold for about a month now, and I have to say that I'm pretty proud of him for getting this billboard up. It's damn impressive.
For all of my fellow Chicagoans, the Billboard can be found at the intersection of Grand and LaSalle. If you want to get your mug posted in my next blog entry, go to the billboard and take a picture of yourself with the billboard in the background. Email it to me and I'll put it up in my very next entry.
As for LeBron updates, I'm sure everyone has heard of the Larry King interview by now. LeBron said some interesting things, none of which can be taken too seriously.
Larry asked him if Cleveland has an "edge" in signing him.
"Absolutely. Because, you know, this city, these fans, I mean, have given me a lot in these seven years. And, you know, for me, it's comfortable. So I've got a lot of memories here. And -- and so it does have an edge."
Listen people, he HAS to say that. If he doesn't say that, he looks like an A-hole. If he says no, that flat out looks like he's already made a conscious decision that he's not going back to Cleveland. At this point, with free agency a month away, he has to be very cautious with what he says...and this comment makes him look like a good guy. It makes him seem like he's going to give his hometown city the best shot of keeping him before he blots, so if they don't sign him, it becomes their fault. This comment means absolutely nothing and is just something thrown out there for the media to dissect and give him some leeway to remain silent for the next month.
With regards to picking his own coach...
"... I'm not one to go into the off year and say this is who I want my coach to be. Now, there are some coaches, that, you know, if I had an opportunity to play for, I would be delighted. But I'm not as far as -- as picking a coach,"
That I do believe. He understands that whatever coach he plays with will look like a genius...until his future team gets bounced from the playoffs earlier than expected. And clearly, playing for someone like Phil Jackson or Pat Riley would be incredibly and understandably enticing, but I don't think he's banking his decision on that.
And he does say the one thing I've been saying all along...
"Well, I mean, to me, I think my ultimate, my ultimate goal is winning championships, and I understand that me going down as one of the greats will not happen until I, you know, win a championship... the team that I go to or -- or, you know, whatever the case may be, will have an opportunity to win championships in multiple years and not just because of LeBron James."
Clearly, his number one goal right now is winning, not remaining loyal. He knows what teams give him a better shot of contending for a title than others. The Bulls are one of those teams, and he hints at it by mentioning that it will not be "just because of LeBron James." Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah anyone? Then again, he could be talking about the other free agents as well, but there's no way LeBron wants his legacy tarnished by the fact that he had to surround himself with Dwyane Wade to win a title.
So this interview, for me, changes nothing. For now, let's hope this billboard gets a ton of attention in the press and maybe we can bring LeBron here July 1st to take a picture in front of it? Until then, send me YOUR pics...no comments
Here's the bumbling buffoon known as Avery Johnson discussing the Bulls' chances of adding a Jackson-James package.
Obviously the fans can understand the difficulty involved in bringing in both guys. Please stop patronizing us with the "moving parts" analogy. I belive my least favorite part of the video was when he refers to Chicago as "some cold midwestern city". Those were his words, verbatim. Ummm...are you confused Avery? Some cold midwestern city? He's not being offered a job in Toledo or Davenport or Grand Rapids or Kalamazoo. We're talking about Chicago. It's not just some cold midwestern city. Funny enough, as I look out my window right now, it happens to be 80 degrees and sunny.
I'm pretty sure after coaching here for a decade, Phil is aware of what the city has to offer. Avery is definitely still mad that the Bulls showed no interest in him as a coach two years ago and still have no interest right now. I suppose I would be upset too if VDN was picked over me. Fans, I urge you to take everything he says with a massive grain of salt. He is a bitter bitter bitter individual.
However, I agree that it would be tough to leave Los Angeles, especially if the Lakers win this year. Then again, Kobe, Odom, and Artest are all past their primes. Gasol is good, but Bynum is eh. This team is not built to be a dynasty. If LeBron comes to Chicago, Phil better think long and hard about the possibility of coaching one more dynasty before he rides off into the sunset. A dynasty built around Derrick Rose, LeBron James, and Joakim Noah...three players entering their prime. He's done his job in LA...now you gotta think long and hard about coming home..
Here's a video of Broussard speaking on the story he broke last night of the Bulls trying to lure Jackson...