The most important, but least surprising, news of the preseason is that Derrick Rose has agreed to a five year max extension with the Chicago Bulls. Interestingly, it seems all of us doing the math on the extension somehow did it incorrectly, as Rose's first year of salary was only 16.3 million while everyone was calculating 17.4 million.
I had forgotten myself that the calculation for maximum salaries is different than the one used for calculating the salary cap, this is related to the last agreement but almost certainly applies here as well:
whichever is greater. They use a different cap calculation to determine the maximum salaries, which is based on 48.04% of projected BRI. For example, even though the actual salary cap for 2005-06 is $49.5 million the 0-6 year maximum salary is $12 million, not $12.375 million. Note that as with the salary cap itself, they appear to have used hard figures for 2005-06, rather than applying their formula.
The good news is the Bulls will have about one million more in salary cap space per year than we thought about a week ago.
On to the game...
This game played out similarly yet totally different from the first preseason game. They lost all of the little areas (free throws, turnovers, offensive rebounding) but dominated with vastly superior offensive and defensive execution. The Bulls shot 50.6% from the field while holding the Pacers to a meager 36.8%.
Richard Hamilton played great in his debut
It's interesting how low our standards for starting SG have fallen that Hamilton scores 13, and I feel he played great, but it was impressive how much of a difference he made for the Bulls offense. The overall team passing was tremendously better once their were five players on the floor who could pass and were all a threat.
Hamilton impressed in all facets of the game, he knocked down open jumpers, scored well on the break, moved the ball well, and even knocked down a three.
It's only one game, but seeing even just this glimpse of Hamilton has to give Bulls fans a very positive vibe about what the team will accomplish this season. I think the Bulls made a much bigger upgrade than the Heat this year, the only question will be whether it was enough.
Don't look now, but Derrick Rose is a PG once he has people to pass to
Derrick didn't put up the gaudy numbers we've seen from him the past, but he led team offense to an outstanding performance. The ball movement was crisp, they spread shots around, virtually everyone shot a high percentage. If you want to get nit picky you could complain that he didn't knock down his open three point shot, but unlike some others, I hope he keeps shooting it, because it will be deadly as he improves it.
Carlos Boozer had a nice comeback game
After getting ripped on after the first game, Carlos came back with an excellent offensive performance scoring 24 points to tie for the lead amongst all scorers with Tyler Hansbrough. I'd condemn Boozer for giving up as much as he got, but in all fairness, Hansbrough did plenty of damage on Taj Gibson as well including a stretch where he scored seven points and drew three fouls on Taj in about 2 minutes.
As long as Carlos is giving the Bulls efficient offense, he'll be a massive plus to the team even if he isn't able to contribute mightily on the defensive end of the court. He did that tonight, and hopefully that continues on into the regular season.
Joakim Noah's throwing a block party
Noah hasn't dominated the glass as much as we're used to, and he was held without an offensive rebound [though in fairness, they were shooting an insane percentage for much of his time on the floor giving him few chances], but he played incredible help defense turning away the Pacers at the basket all night.
Noah also moved the ball well on offense and his creative passing will pressure opponents even more with Rip Hamilton in the fold as a target now.
All in all, everyone played fairly well, and the Bulls won again. If there's one concern going into the regular season it might be the foul rate the Bulls have had so far this preseason. However, fouling is typically always up early on, and I doubt it's much of a concern once the regular season gets going.
I'm predicting a Merry Christmas for Bulls fans when they debut against the Lakers.