Yesterday was the first day that signings were leaking around the league including several players the bulls were "targeting", and the league nixing a trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers
Jason Richardson is the Bulls target
Not surprising, but this has been reported by multiple beat writers. I wrote a few days ago that I think it will come down to Richardson and Vince Carter. I don't think the Bulls will look to move on Jamal Crawford, but his name has still been floated around [though the Bulls trading Brewer for him has been debunked and also makes no sense for Atlanta IMO].
J.R. Smith is still a possibility returning from China, but he's not someone that I think management has ever been interested in, and I think he only comes here if all other options fail.
Chris Paul was almost a Laker
All parties had agreed to a trade.
Lakers: Chris Paul
Rockets: Pau Gasol
Hornets: Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic
Pretty tremendous return for the Hornets, as you could build a very solid team around those four guys, and quite frankly, that team would be better than the team they will actually put on the court this year. The complain might be that Odom is 32, Scola is 31, and Martin is about to turn 29.
A lot of declining pieces there. That said, the Hornets could easily flip all three of these players to contenders for boatloads of picks/prospects in a follow up trade if they wanted, or they could simply field a playoff team with those players in tact.
The deal was nixed, reportedly, to stop the flooding of superstar players from small markets to large markets. It was killed for "basketball reasons". However, it sounds like a "to support small owners" reasons, because this trade would have massively increased league revenue. Imagine if a Howard trade comes afterwards and the NBA gets a Heat / Lakers final with James, Wade, Bosh, Howard, Kobe, and Paul in it? Ratings are through the roof, interest is through the roof.
It will be interesting to see if Stern sticks with this or not. When Stern nixed the deal, he effectively made it impossible for the Hornets to trade Paul at all. Now, Paul will potentially leave New Orleans for nothing putting New Orleans in a far worse spot going forward which isn't good for the franchise.
However, there are a few options that could still happen. An amended version of this deal could still end up going through today, and it wouldn't surprise me.
Random other thoughts on this "almost" trade. Seems like kind of a lousy deal for Houston to me. I know someone will say Pau Gasol is an "A" list player while Martin/Scola weren't, but Gasol is 32, and the Rockets don't have enough time to build around him. Plus when he was in his prime, the Grizzlies couldn't build a team to win a playoff game around him.
He's the same age as Scola, and scored the same number of points last season. He scores with greater efficiency, and grabs an extra board or two per game, and while he's clearly better, he's only an incremental upgrade over Scola. For that, you're throwing in a 23 point per game, high efficiency offensive scorer?
The Rockets trade their two best players for Pau, and I don't see someone waiting in the wings to step up and replace Martin. They'd have no time to build a contender around him and would be worse in the short term for having him. The deal is virtually cap neutral as well as Pau makes just 1 million less than Scola/Martin combined and will be vastly overpaid by the end of his deal most likely.
This trade was also a huge risk for the Lakers. Chris Paul is a bad ass, but how is he going to play with Kobe, and his knee has been pretty balky. I don't know that the Lakers are immediately better on the court with this trade, and clearly they were hoping to swap Bynum for Howard as a followup move to pair Paul/Howard going forward.
If the Lakers couldn't pull off the follow up move, they still have Chris Paul to build around, but they're probably worse off this year as their pieces wouldn't fit together nearly as well as last season and the total talent level probably declines, especially since they wouldn't get maximum benefit from Chris Paul's superstarness since they already have an ultra closer.
Impact on the Bulls?
Probably good. A second superteam to go through would make our path to the championship all the more daunting.
Caron Butler to Clippers for 3/24
Seems like an oddball move for the Clippers. Perhaps they just figured they were out of the running for Paul and Dwight because they're the Clippers and not the Lakers. However, why use up so much cap room on Butler? I would have exhausted every possibility to bring in Paul/Dwight prior to making this type of move.
As for the contract, seems pretty reasonable. 8 million is a good chunk of change to play Butler given his recent health, but when you look at the follow up signings it wasn't so bad. They also managed to lock him in for just three years which means they aren't on the for too long if things go south.
Impact on Bulls?
Negligible. There was a lot of smoke around Caron Butler to the Bulls, but they hadn't extended him a MLE offer, so he clearly wasn't a top priority for them. If they had extended him a full MLE (4/21.3) it would have been interesting to see if he'd have chosen us or whether the Clippers would have added a fourth year.
Either way, Butler's not a SG, I've been saying that for quite some time, his arrival to Chicago would have only made sense because it was just a good deal to lock him in at 5 million and would give the Bulls flexibility to trade Deng whom no one will really want at his salary anyway, so such flexibility is minimal.
Tyson Chandler to Knicks (rumor 4/58)
With Tyson Chandler going to the Knicks, New York has a legitimate team to field and will become a significant threat in the East. They have two dynamic scorers, and someone to clean up the glass and defend around the rim. They'll be competing heavily with the Bulls and Heat to sit atop the East.
Nearly 15 million for Tyson Chandler though? Wow. The only thing worse than that is paying 15 million a year for Ben Wallace.
It will be interesting to see if the Paul trade falling apart, and potentially Chris Paul being forced to free agency, will impact whether this signing goes through. If the Knicks know Paul will be a FA, they could keep their cap room open and add him next year for nothing potentially.
Paul would still have to take a pay cut, my guess is the Knicks still get this done.
This signing also signifys the Knicks are willing to go to complete cap hell, damm the tax, to win. This shouldn't come as a surprise as they can probably sport a 100 million dollar payroll and remain profitable even with the new tax. However, in a couple years, Amare + Melo + Chandler would cost them 55 million without anyone else.
They'll still need supporting players.
Impact on Bulls?
Will make the East considerably tougher to get out of.
Pistons sign Tayshaun Prince 4/27
My first thought was that this was a horrible signing for Detroit, but then I remembered, Detroit is basically a crappy small market team, and the only reason we forget that is because Joe Dumars caught lightning in a bottle and ran a successful franchise for so long.
However, Prince is 32 years old, Detroit is going no where. Why bid at all just to lock in another bad contract that you'll want to dump desperately in a year or two?
Impact on Bulls?
Helps raise the market for mediocre role players. If Prince is getting 4/28, it will be a heck of a lot tougher to sell Richardson on 4/21. Also removes Prince as a target, but he would have been a horrible fit here anyway.
Shane Battier to sign with Heat (full or most of MLE?)
Haven't seen the numbers yet, but Shane Battier announced he'll sign with the Heat. This should improve the Heat a decent amount. At the end of games, they can pull the PG and put in Battier, they now have three tremendous perimeter defenders, and Battier can still knock down the open corner three.
Battier has been a guy who's steadily impacted winning his whole career with his style of game and is a perfect role player for them.
Impact on the Bulls?
It really amps up the pressure for Chicago to find some type of threat to match. The Heat can double on Rose with 2 of their three perimeter defenders and still leave someone of high quality on Deng. If the Bulls don't have a strong offensive option at the two or on the inside they'll really struggle if Rose can't defeat the double team.
Eddy Curry to sign with the Heat
I know it's the vet min, so who cares, but really, who cares? Curry adds everything the Heat don't need and nothing that they do, and that's if he's actually in shape.
Impact on Bulls?
None, but none of our vet min signings will have an impact on the Heat either, so I don't mean it as real criticism, the ROFL is for those who think this matters.
Mike Dunleavy to sign for 2/7.5 with Milwaukee
Impact to Bulls?
Dunleavy's not a tremendous fit on the Bulls, but for a shade under four million per season he's a solid player. He shoots well from the three point line, scores efficiently, and has a bit more off the dribble game than Kyle Korver. That said, he's a pure three that we really simply wouldn't want.
Shannon Brown to sign for 1/3.5 with Suns
Impact to Bulls?
One more potential target off the market, however, I'm not a fan of Shannon Brown myself. I don't see him as a good shooter or shot creator. He's an athletic defender who provides a bit more shooting than Brewer, but isn't really a need for the team. He might have been an upgrade over Bogans, and the pricetag was certainly cheap. This is one of those signings where maybe you wish you made it if you can't work out something better later, but you don't make it now because there are still so many better options available.
Jason Kapono 1 year vet min deal with Lakers
He gives the Lakers some outside shooting which they need, but he wasn't someone the Bulls would have pursued, so negligible impact for Chicago.
Nene may get a max contract offer from Denver or someone else. -- Holy stupidity batman!
DeAndre Jordan is looking at an 8/40 offer from the Clippers will likely find a higher offer sheet elsewhere - Holy stupidity part 2!