2010: Order of operations (if cost is not a factor)

There seems to be some confusion over which guys I like and don't like next year due to some poorly phrased sentences and perhaps some things I've said not being read in the correct context (or perhaps me not fully considering all options in the case of a couple guys).   Thus I've decided to come up with the order of guys I would select for the Bulls throwing price out of the equation, since it's something that can't really be estimated at this point as it depends on who does the bidding.
1: LeBron James - Seriously, nothing needs to be said about this.

2: Chris Bosh - I suspect many won't want Bosh at this slot, opting for one of the next two guys.  However, Bosh is young enough, healthy enough, and good enough to form a great long term inside/out tandem with Rose.  He's also a capable defender rather than a one way player.  He's not a class A level superstar, but his fit is so perfect that it allows the Bulls to get the most out of him.

He's had some minor injuries, but he doesn't pose significant injury risk going forward, his attitude seems good, and his game would mesh well with the team allowing them to get the most out of him.

3: Dwyane Wade - He's a top five player while Bosh isn't, so why not Wade at #2?  Simply put, his game occupies the same space on the floor as Derrick Rose.  I don't like a backcourt without a guard who can shoot the three.  Zone defenses will be extremely effective at stopping this tandem as both rely on penetration at the rim, and the Bulls won't have any one to space the floor.   The trio of Rose, Wade, and Deng would be so much worse than the sum of the parts due to the fact that no one onthe team would be a three point threat.

This doesn't address Wade's significant injury risk either, as he's more likely, IMO, to break down than either of the guys listed above him.   That all being said, he's obviously a legit superstar, and I'd be thrilled to have him.  The total talent level would be immense, but it'd be difficult to get the team to live up to that talent level IMO.

4: Kobe Bryant - Technically, he'll probably be a FA.  His age is worrisome, but he's held up magnificently as far as injuries go.  He may be a slightly better fit than Wade, but his age makes him a worse target.  Plus, the Lakers will never let him leave, nor would he want to leave the Lakers.  If he's there, you still have to take him of course.

5: Amare Stoudemire - If he didn't have attitude and health concerns than Stoudemire would be #2 on the list.  His offensive talent level is  immense when healthy, but his defense is poor, his attitude is crap, his eye is iffy, and his knee won't last six more years.  Stoudemire to the Knicks for $120 million seems like an absolute lock to me.  The Knicks need to make a splash and won't lure any of the above guys forcing them to gamble on Stoudemire as the next biggest name.  

A healthy STAT in the pick and roll with Derrick would scare opposing defenses to death, but there's just so much risk going forward with him long term.

6: Dirk Nowitski - Yeah, he's older, yeah, he probably won't hold up that much longer, but even so, he's a great fit next to Rose for as long as he can hold up.  If he was two or three years younger then he'd be awfully high on this list.  It will be interesting to see if Dallas locks him up or not.

7: Joe Johnson - Johnson played off the ball in Phoenix, but his off the ball game isn't worth a huge contract.   Johnson earns his money in isolation and as a distributor / focal point of the offense.   If you wanted a guy to play off the ball, then Gordon would have fit better as he's a better pure shooter and is much quicker coming around screens and pulling up for shots.  

Still, Johnson's a very high quality player, and he's a good enough shooter that he still spaces the floor well.  He's an okay fit, but the Bulls need a (young version of) Ray Allen more so than they need Joe Johnson.  

8: LaMarcus Aldridge - The Bulls would have to pay him the max to gethim and even then Portland might match.   Still, until he signs a deal  with Portland, he's next on my list.  His game would fit in great with Rose, and I'd feel good about him on a long term contract.  

9: Carlos Boozer - Real low character and past injuries make him a scary long term sign, but his game fits with Rose, and the Bulls desperately need to upgrade the front court.

10: Rudy Gay - The Bulls could probably win a bidding war with the Grizzlies over Gay, but I'm not a big Gay fan.  The one thing I'll say in his defense is that playing for a team like Memphis tends to make your team game look like crap, so he may thrive a bit more in a new environment.

What's interesting about this group is that if I were to speculate as to how much each of them makes.  I think only LeBron, Bosh, Wade, and Kobe would be guys that I'd actually bid on.   I think Amare, Dirk, Johnson, Aldridge, Boozer, and Gay will all make max or near max money which is more than I feel they'll be worth given either their age, injury history, attitude, talent level, or some combination of those things.

There's a lot of players out there, but there's still more buyers than players.  If some of the absolute top guys stay with their present teams then there will be ten teams competing for the second tier guys and max contracts will be handed out like Halloween candy to guys whoa re maybe in the 15-20 range rather than the 1-10 range in terms of total talent in the league.

Now I may have forgotten someone again, so if so go beat me up, though I didn't forget David Lee (not what we need, but probably 11th), Yao Ming (no way this guy is ever effective for consecutive seasons), or Tyrus Thomas (could work his way into the mix with a breakout season).

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  • Nice breakdown Doug. The way you have it laid out it seems like if we don't get Bosh it could get ugly. Lebron, Kobe and probably Wade all go back to their teams. That leaves us with having to pay max money to Amare(not!), trying to pry away Joe Johnson or overpaying Boozer. Not great options. Dirk will go back to Dallas as will Aldridge to Portland so that brings you down to Gay even though we have Deng at SF and David Lee.

  • My 2 cents...

    Doug, my comments are similar to yours, only slight variation.

    If money is no object, who do you want?

    1) Lebron James. Agreed, same reasons as yours.
    2) Chris Bosh. Agreed, same reasons as yours.
    3) Dwyane Wade. Agreed, same reasons as yours. You call it the "uses same space" as Rose arguments. I would also add, adding Wade devalues use of Rose. Also, no two superstar guards in memory won an NBA championship with lesser players at forward and center.
    4) Kobe Bryant. Agreed.
    5) Amare Stoudemire. Agreed.
    6) Dirk Nowitski. I kind of agree. How do you say "Ben Gay" in German?
    7) Joe Johnson. I don't know, I don't know his game.
    8) LaMarcus Aldridge. Disagree. I don't see the Bulls paying free agent money to get LaMarcus. It would prove they were poor judges of talent to trade him to Portland for Tyrus and Thabo in the first place. It's a rare NBA team willing to admit a mistake.
    9) Carlos Boozer. Agree with your assessment but disagree with him being viable on list. The Bulls could have had Boozer this year but didn't want him badly enough. The 3 way trade was viable but Bulls wanted too much for Hinrich. If Bulls didn't take him the easy way this year, why would they want him next year?
    10) Rudy Gay. He's another .67 value ball player whose ability to make others around him better is questionable. In one year we'll know if Deng is health/productive or if James Johnson is taking his place.

    Given that you need to pay people money to play, and that Reinsdorf knows good player values on the market, I think LeBron James is out and Chris Bosh is in, I hope.

    Reinsdorf won't get into a bidding war for LeBron James. Chris Bosh is a good fit and if the Chicago Bulls go for him as their first pick choice in 2010, I think it could work.

  • Doug where do you see our competition for Bosh? Toronto, Chicago, Miami, New Jersey? This is assuming Amare goes to NY which like you I think is almost a lock. Miami could get Boozer so it might be just Toronto, Chicago and New Jersey.

  • Lebron would be a prefect fit too bad he's a tool.

  • Good list. I agree with most of it, especially Bosh slotted slightly ahead of Wade. I'm also with you giving Dirk a little love. Probably not a guy you want to sign up for five years, but he'd be a demon the first two or three with Rose given his offensive acumen. I know we can't, but in terms of evaluating his impact, honestly, how good would the Bulls be this year if we could magically slot him in Brad Miller's spot?

  • Great post, spot on analysis.

    Particularly agree with you on Amare, he would be #2 on my list if it weren't for all the if's, mostly the health ones for me. I agree he ends up a Knick. I just like his aggression much more than I like anything about Bosh. Bosh is a wimpier version of Gasol, so he needs to be with a Kobe, Lebron or Wade, will Rose become one of them, I don't know. I see Bosh joining Lebron or Wade, he needs someones shadow to hide behind.

    Reluctantly agree with your analysis of Bosh ahead of Wade, but getting Wade is so much sexier, kind of like the Bears getting Cutler. Wade and Bosh, however, is another story altogether.

    I think the key to 2010 is the team that creatively and aggressively finds a way to get 2 of these guys to come together as a package deal. Preferably Lebron and anybody. This will almost certainly require a S&T in addition to cap space.

    Cleveland and Miami will be in the drivers seat because they already have Lebron and Wade, so they only have to convince one guy to come. Miami is especially worrisome because NBA guys seem to love the sex appeal of the city, even though it is a bad basketball town.

    Aldridge at Deng money would still be steep, a max is Rashard Lewis insane.

    Gay would interest me, but what happens to Deng, maybe we can S&T him to Memphis.

    I like Joe Johnson as the second guy, not the first or only guy, as I said Lebron and anybody is the move.

    Nowitski just seems to old for Rose, and again would have to be the second guy, don't think that Cuban lets him get away.
    Don't waste your money on David Lee, we already have Noah.

    I really believe that the Bulls have a much better shot at Lebron than anybody is giving them credit for. He seems like the guy who would want to challenge the Jordan legacy. There is nothing that he can't do in Chicago that he can in New York(or Jersey), so unless his ManCrush on Jay Z is beyond huge, fogettaboutit. That leaves staying in Cleveland, Miami and the Bulls. We are in the game, we need to borrow Jerry Angelo's MOJO and make it happen.

    #1 Lebron and Bosh
    #2 Lebron and Amare
    #3 Lebron and Wade
    #4 Wade and Bosh
    #5 Wade and Amare
    #6 Lebron and Nowitski
    #7 Lebron and Johnson

  • then unless you believe he isn't leaving Cleveland, the odds that he signs with the Bulls are pretty good, no.

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