Interesting notes from "Ask Sam"

Sam Smith's blog and mailbag are always must reads, so check out the full link.  However, here are a few of the notes I found most interesting.

But you'd have to deal Kirk into someone's cap space, and that was
proving unlikely with Portland and Minnesota no longer that interested.
Ben deserves our praise and I'd welcome a warm reception next season.

Now at this point, Portland still thought they were getting Hedo Turkoglu, so their interest may have changed, but the oft-rumored Hinrich to Portland idea didn't seem to fly.   The Minnesota lack of interest was reported by their owner awhile ago, so that doesn't prove surprising.   We'll see if things heat up with the Blazers at all going forward or if the Bulls would even attempt to move Hinrich at this point or stand pat on the summer.

It was pretty clear the Bulls were not going to offer Ben anywhere near
$55 million given their priority to pursue free agents next year. If
they had, they would have been out of that possibility and come next
year you would have been asking how they could give up a chance to get
one of these great players.

If we moved Hinrich to create cap room and signed Gordon or cap situation would basically be a near wash next year.   Gordon would probably have about a 1 million greater cap number than Hinrich.   If Salmons opts in next year then the Bulls won't have enough money to offer a FA the max.   If he opts out then the Bulls would have enough money whether it was Gordon or Hinrich on the books.

Yes, the Bulls have, on some
level, gone all in. They are taking a risk for a star, and, after all,
isn't that what most fans have been begging for in recent years? I
always hear the Bulls are conservative, pick good guys from big
colleges and safe picks. OK, they're going for the jackpot. They may
miss, and if they do they know they'll get a lot of criticism. But why
not take a shot? They're saying, in effect without trying to hurt Ben,
that they are not a championship contender with him. And they are not.
So let's take a step back and make a move to be a championship
contender.

As stated above, if the Bulls trade Hinrich for expirings then having Ben Gordon doesn't prevent them from pursuing a star.   It would just come down to which group do you think a star would find more appealing; one with Hinrich or one with Gordon.   Which group has a better chance of reaching the playoffs and experiencing the success necessary to lure a star?

I think the group with Gordon is probably more likely to do that.   A lot of that will depend on Rose's development though.  Some of Gordon's greatest value comes in his play at the end of games.   If Rose can consistently play goto guy in that role then it mitigates the loss.   If not, the Bulls have no one else who fans can even hope will hit clutch shots operating out of isolation.

Most around the Suns still believe there will be a deal with the
Warriors. I have noted this many times, but there is no chance to trade
Deng until he proves--at least over 20 games--he can play and doesn't
need surgery. The Suns definitely want a big man and the Bulls don't
have one to give. The Warriors have Biedrins, who is pretty good. And
the Suns don't have that much interest in Thomas despite what you may
have read. Other than that....I don't see the Bulls involved in the
Stoudemire sweepstakes. I do like Stoudemire and I would listen, but
the Suns clearly would want Noah. For now, I don't think the Bulls will
give him up.

W're not giving up Noah for Amare?  That may be true, but if it is, it's got nothing to do with Noah and everything to do with the Bulls not trusting Amare on the megadeal extension.   We've heard before that the Bulls would not max Amare.   It just seems like they aren't that interested.

There's been buzz for a year in Miami that Wade isn't particularly
enamored with the Heat's personnel. You hear Michael Beasley in most of
the trade talk. The Heat has a lot of moves to make to appease Wade. It
would be hard for him to leave given he's the No. 1 sports star in
Miami and it is a sweet place to live. But if you have a solid nucleus
with a potential star like Rose and he is from Chicago and has strong
family and business interests here, you'd have to say there is a chance.

Of the 2010 guys, Wade strikes me as the one most likely to stay put.   I'd be very surprised, given his injury history, if he didn't sign the max extension this summer to stay with Miami.   I would also be very surprised if the Heat couldn't get Chris Bosh for Michael Beasley and change today.   They know Bosh isn't coming back, and they're unlikely to get that much value later on either.

Given that Wade's not a fan of Beasley, it would seem to be a perfect deal.    Either way, Wade to Chicago has always struck me as an odd fantasy.   Of the superstars out there, he'd be the worst fit for the team and would likely appreciate that fact.   I don't think he'd want to sign here if he could find somewhere else because we don't have the pieces to complement him on a championship run.

It seems like the "Wade is from Chicago" thing is the only real connection.  If you're going to hope for unlikely then hope for LeBron in my opinion.   Not to say that I wouldn't take Wade.  You take any one of those max worthy guys if you can get them.

Johnson may never be and he's a risk. I talked to several GM's and
every one had Johnson top three to five in talent. So how did he go to
16? Yes, there are issues of interest in playing despite what he might
have said so far. But ACC coaches hated planning for him. The Bulls
took a shot on a high ceiling guy and I like that.

Sam and I are united on this one.   I don't know if Johnson was in my top three to five talentwise, but he's pretty high.  The only thing stopping him from being in my top three is that he's 22 and not 19. However, that's a pretty big thing.

Tons more at the actual blog, so check it out.

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