Don't bid on older FAs

Props to Susan for putting this amazing piece together:

Players who played over 25000 minutes in their first 9 seasons.

Player, PER through 9 seasons, Minutes played after 9th season, PERs after 9th season, Seasons played total
Dave Cowens, 17.4, 3173 MP, (14.8, 12.6) 11 seasons
Shawn Marion, 20.8, 4237 MP, (16.0, 14.1) 11+ seasons

Antoine Walker, 16.7, 4909 MP, (14.4, 9.6, 11.4), 12 seasons
Dave Bing, 18.3, 6717 MP, (16.0, 15.3, 13.4), 12 seasons
Randy Smith, 16.9, 5638 MP, (17.0, 12.2, 14.5), 12 seasons
Louie Dampier, 15.7, 4431 MP, (10.4, 13.7, 13.3) 12 seasons

Isiah Thomas, 18.9, 9247 MP, (17.4, 16.0, 15.4, 15.2) 13 seasons
Stephon Marbury, 19.7, 6160 MP, (16.4, 15.3, 13.8, 4.4) 13 seasons
Hersey Hawkins, 16.9, 6544 MP, (15.4, 14.0, 11.4, 14.3) 13 seasons
Larry Bird, 24.2, 7072 MP, (19.8, 21.9, 19.7, 21.0) 13 seasons

Mitch Richmond, 17.9, 8803 MP, (20.4, 15.5, 16.5, 14.9, 10.7) 14 seasons
Allen Iverson, 21.1, 12125 MP, (25.9, 19.6, 20.9, 15.8, 13.6) 14 seasons

Michael Finley, 17.5, 11154 MP, (14.3, 12.7, 13.7, 11.4, 11.4, 6.6), 15 seasons
Scottie Pippen, 19.5, 15695 MP, (20.4, 16.8, 15.3, 14.9, 15.3, 12.4) 15 seasons
Dominique Wilkins, 21.9, 11500 MP, (22.2, 24.3, 21.4, 16.3, 19.6, 15.4) 15 seasons
Glen Rice, 17.0, 8127 MP, (15.2, 16.2, 13.7, 8.0, 11.9, 7.3) 15 seasons
Sam Lacey, 14.8, 7212 MP, (14.9, 13.5, 7.4, 15.6 (for 20 miuntes of play), 7.2, 6.5), 15 seasons

total players, 132744 total minutes, 7808 MP on average, 18.5 PER on
average up to 9th season, 10th season 17.1 PER 8% loss of productivity,
11th season PER 15.5 14% loss of productivity, 12th season PER 14.8 20%
loss of productivity, 13th season PER 14.1 26% loss of productivity,
14th season PER 12.8 31% loss of productivity, 15th season PER 9.64 47%
loss of productivity

So we're looking at 92% of what the
player's total was in season 10, 86% in season 11, 80% in season 12,
74% in season 13, 69% in season 14, 53% in season 15.

The wheels are about to fall off the Joe Johnson bus.   I've been adamantly against Johnson since the rumors surfaced that the Bulls would pursue him.   Looking at the history of guys in his position, and it's more and more scary.  

Now Amare and Boozer have had 8 years, but neither have played anywhere near as many minutes.   I'm not sure what that means exactly, since both have failed to play nearly as minutes due to being hurt all the time. 

I would expect that would make their future trajectories just as bad, but I'm not really certain and without the minute requirement there are simply too many guys to look up stats on to figure it out.

Even applying this same theory to Wade/Bosh/LeBron, you would see that a typical player is going to still go through a dip in year 10, 11, 12, etc..    Those guys have played seven years, so we should start expecting a modest decline in the final years of their deals as well.   I'd maybe throw LeBron out as an exception since he's obviously superhuman relative to the other guys in his physical body, but I do think it's fair to expect some decline from Wade/Bosh in the final three years of their deals.

It's also the reason why Dirk Nowitski and Manu Ginobili should be right out even if people are thinking about them as backup plans. 


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  • I think Lebron is on steroids or something....

  • I think Lebron is on steroids or something....

  • I wouldn't be surprised one bit. I think there is a significant percentage of the NBA on PEDs (this % would be even higher if we could prove marijuana was a PED). Would basketball fans react the way baseball fans did? I don't think they would. It's a different set of fans with a different mindset.

  • Hard to deny the numbers. In the past I've been open to Johnson just because I think people undersell his overall talent, skillset and the impact he would have on the team the first two-three years. We'd be a lot better, but I now buy the decline is too risky argument. Mostly it's because we have more faith in Rose taking the team somewhere--we don't desperately need that 2nd guard anymore. Now, I just want a good big to go with Rose--we can find a shooter or steady role player to fit next to Rose long term. I have found it a bit frustrating, though, that in most of the discussions in these threads and elsewhere, the decline argument is directed at Johnson and Wade gets a pass, given their ages are quite similar, and Wade's body has taken a whole hell of a lot of punishment, not to mention plenty more games missed to injury. Yes, Wade is better. Everyone knows that. And I'd crap my pants if we signed him, but outside of Lebron or Bosh--I'd really only be truly comfortable with the late 20s guys on a shorter deal. The elite aren't taking that. Does Boozer? Probably not.

    Last week we talked about a youth-oriented plan B. It was hard to find the right fit (Lee isn't it--Gay could be, but how does he fit in the lineup?). Ultimately, using our "flexibility" to obtain players closer to our core age entices me, though.

  • In reply to muhammond:

    Hard to project who we could take with our max money. Would Allen or mcgrady take a 10 mill 1 year deal? Could we spend the rest on Camby/Miller/Warrick one year deals. Does that get us anywhere?

  • Better to piece together a good team for one year then look for permanent solutions next summer rather than wasting it on a bad singing that handcuffs the Bulls for years.

  • I think we need to pair Rose with Bosh at all costs. We need a scoring big, then find a SG who can spread the floor at 2-3 million. Wade needs the ball to much and will get old fast. Try to resign Warrick & Miller and your set. Does this work within the cap?

  • I understand the hesitation about Joe Johnson v. Lebron/Wade/Bosh, and maybe even Boozer/Stoudamire (though I'm less convinced). But here's my question. Let's say that Lebron and Wade stay put (very possible) and we lose Bosh, Stodamire, and Boozer to NY, MIA, and someone else (also entirely possible). Let's also say we can have Johnson if we want him, but need to give him a competitive contract (which will likely be close to max when considering all the available money out there). Face with that very realistic possibility, do you forgo signing Johnson and either wait a year or try to sign 2 lesser players, or do you lock him up knowing that he's probably only going to give you 2-3 very good years and then a few more capable years at a high price? It seems like you would choose the former. I think I would choose the later.

  • In reply to rorypshea:

    Rory, along with Doug you are just about the only voice of reason on this site.

    You point out the unfortunate reality of the upcoming free agent conundrum. The odds are definately against the Bulls or any other single team getting Lebron, Wade or Bosh. Personally, I see Lebron and Wade staying put, with Bosh going to Miami to join Wade and the despised Pat Riley.

    Therein lies the rub, what do the Bulls do then. "Settle" for the lesser players, Johnson, Amare, Boozer to give the fans something and use the cap space when we have it, or try to save it for the next year.

    Noah will not necessarily eat up our cap space, his qualifying offer is only $4.2 millions less than 1 million more than he is on the books for in 2010, leaving us room for a max contract, if we manage the rest of the 2010 roster conservatively.

    The fans would be pissed if we skip 2010 to take a shot at Carmelo, who will be the Lebron of 2011, and there is the uncertainty of the lockout that summer.

    However, if you cannot get Lebron or Wade or Bosh, would you rather wait for Melo, or settle for Johnson, Amare or Boozer. I would however, do a sign and trade involving Deng for any of those 3 guys.

    If winning a championship is the goal, I say wait for Melo.
    We are not likely to have cap space for the forseeable future after 2011. So like the Knicks, we might have to view free agency as a 2 year plan.

  • LeBron always looked older than his age. Same goes for Greg Oden. If I hadn't known who Oden was, and someone told me he used to be a backup center in the NBA during the early 80's, I'd be inclined to believe it.

    So, no, HGH wouldn't surprise me in the least.

  • Great topic and great post BullsfaninATL....Players that hit 30 decline period. Stay away from Joe Johnson! He will want max money plus there might be a lockout in 2011 leaving one of Johnson's better years behind him. Thats why Id take Rudy Gay or Joe Johnson right now.Gay is only 24 years old with his best years ahead of him... Plus Gay will be cheaper. But ya....I really want Bron,Bosh or Amare...Wade would be nice as well...but like Doug would probably be a 3 year ride with him...and his body has took a pretty big beat down the last couple years.

    Get yourself a superstar big man this summer and find a SG that can spread the floor through Free agency or Draft.

  • ***Gay over Joe Johnson***

  • In reply to Csharp:

    Gay over Double-J has more of a ring to it.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    Amare just dropped 41 an 12 on Tim Duncan and the Spurs yesterday....I would take Amare anyday! Plus he's still 28...Bulls better go after him if we cant get Bosh. Only difference between Bosh and Amare is that Bosh is 2 years younger and doesnt have the injury past that Amare does....Other then that...there both great and the Bulls should get at least one of them. They both can run the pick and roll great...Rose with either one of them would be dominate!

  • FYI, Wade is only 6 months younger than Johnson, and so far demonstably more injury prone.

  • Well, that is not true, we can attempt to do a sign and trade centered around Deng, to get him the max max.

    If executed properly this move would allow us to end up with 2 max free agents, Lebron and Bosh perhaps, Lebron and anybody should be the goal.

    As I have said all along the only plan should be the Lebron plan, we should do anything and everything to make it clear to Lebron that we will do whatever it takes to get him here and to win multiple championships once he is here.

    Bosh is still a fallback position, as is Wade. Everybody else is just plain settling for leftovers.

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    Anybody given any thought to how the Bulls fill out their roster next year since they only have 6 players under contract?

  • The only Max Free Agents I'm interested in are Bosh, D-Wade, and Stoudemire. I know nobody wants Amare at Max, but he was a big part of that Phoenix team that should have made it to the Finals. I think he's got one more run at rebounding and playoff elevated scoring.

    I'd be elated if we got any one of those three. Again, I think Miami and other suitors will spend over the luxury tax to suit up a decent roster behind these guys. The Bulls by their own statements on unloading Salmons as the only means to sign a Max player and their past history are indicating they will not go over the luxury tax.

    It's very possible that a Max Free Agent wants to go to a ballclub that will not have a hampered/sub-par roster to stay under the cap. The Bulls are known as cheap(compared to other franchises that have exceeded the cap when going for a contender/champ/multi-star roster/run). It's a shame because I think a D-Rose/Wade or Bosh/Stoudemire pairing in a Chicago market could make that free agent perhaps considerably more money then say in Miami. The hype of a big city pairing of stars in a city like Chicago with the huge popularity of Derrick(jersey No. 4 seller in the NBA) could go national in ad campaigns with huge bucks to said free agent. If the Bulls were only willing to go a bit over the cap say $5 or 6 Mil(not 10 or more like N.Y./Mavs etc.) I think one of those big three very likely come here. That and getting a name coach like Byron Scott(sorry Vinny). Unfortunately we may not be as innovative and aggressive as a Riley with getting around the raises and extra years pay with an insured sixth year etc.

    Lately I see Derrick's charisma coming out more when I watched that NBAtv interview after the Portland OT win, and him joking with Noah on the bench. No doubt he and Dwyane or Chris or Amare could make a whole lot of money playing together. I just doubt the Bulls would be financially aggressive to orchestrate the moves it would take to get it done. I hope I'm wrong, but I see no diversion from the usual second city spending/second rate acquisitions this summer.

  • While I applaud the effort, it seems to me that this study suffers from the same problems(selecting data that fits the hypothesis)that have plagued the flawed IPCC global warming studies.

    I don't see Jordan, Kobe, Magic, Kareem, Hakeem and scores of others who were winnning championships well past their 9th seasons, and 25,000 minutes.

    It makes me wonder if PER measures athletic ability moreso than winning ability. I would bet that most players who lead their teams to championships do not do so in the highest per seasons, see Garnett in 2008. Stockton and Malone finally made the finals in 97 & 98 clearly not the peak of their careers. Jordans numbers in the second 3 peat were not as good as they were in the first, and those were not as guady as his early(losing)years. Kobe had his best seasons(statistically) in between the Lakers championships.

    Most athletes are at their althletic peak in their mid 20's, and a clearly not as athletic(they may become stronger) as they hit 30, which is why I suspect that PER is for children and winning is for adults.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I had big problems with PER, partly because it just seemed so instantly and universally embraced as 'Thee' valid measure/ranking of NBA players. Studying so many Finals performers and perrenial All-Stars the gold standard for me remains field goal percentage.

    However, where there's high reliance/mass affirmation for any stat, theory whatever, there's usually some legit meat on it's bones beyond the hype.

    In my still limited look at PER, the guy that stands out to me is AI. Iverson has many seasons where he defiles my gold standard with paltry low 40's field goal percentages. Yet he did effect winning(made it to an NBA Finals), and was considered one of the best players of his time for nearly a decade.

    What it comes down to for me is that FTA's(free throw attempts) which effect PER significantly get mentioned at times, but often go overlooked. I remember when Michael Jordan began dominating, and the Bulls started winning a lot of games(granted with Scottie and Horace added). But the thing I laughed about was, 'Hey, towards the end of ballgames we become unbeatable if it's close because our guy will get to the line/get points every time down the floor.' Same thing with Iverson. The dude averaged 9 count em' 9 or more free throw attempts per game. That's an extra 16 or more points per game with guaranteed points during both scoring droughts and ends of ballgames.

    That this feature of PER, FTA's, is huge need only to be associated with the great scorers Michael, Kobe, and D-Wade. They all have 7 to 9/10 FTA's per game for the prime/winning chunks of their careers. It doesn't make PER perfect or not over used. But it does highlight a very, very important component of great scorer domination/winning.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Also in regards to Derrick and his relatively low PER of 18(for a guy scoring what 23 or 24 ppg since late December) he's only averaging 4.2 FTA's per game. Though lately that number has been higher. Derrick, like the other top scorers(if you think he potentially is one), has to find a way to create/draw contact around the basket, and needs to be a strong advocate to the refs to become one of the accustomed get the foul call/premier scorers.

    This to me is Derrick's greatest hurdle in front of him if he wants to effect his team's winning like one of the top players he says aims to be. That and playing pick and roll defense competently which often he is not doing/failing at/runs compliantly into bigs/picks(see the Washington game).

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Hey Susan if you are reading this congrats on wasting your time and effort on compiling this list because Bulls will end up with Mr. Johnson once they strike out with the big 3.

  • Well, even if that is the case, and I am not a capologist, by next years trade deadline, or the summer of 2011 we out to be able to move Hinrich's contract which will have only $8 million left in 2011. this plus Noah's 2010 salary(3.2 million) would make up for Noah's cap hold, or actual salary, allowing us to retain a max salary slot.

    Obviously, this plan is an even bigger risk than the 2010 plan, but again if the goal is winning a championship vs just getting better but not being good enough to matter, then you almost have to take the risk, nothing ventured nothing gained.

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