What does a Heat title mean to me, the Bulls, and the NBA?

The majority of NBA experts out there picked a Miami over Oklahoma City NBA Finals in preseason and that's exactly what we got. The long path gave us many moments of hoping it wouldn't end up that way, but here we are.

Miami losing last year took a lot of the sting out of them winning this year for me. I think they were humbled somewhat by not waltzing to the title last season. They thought it would be easy, and it wasn't. LeBron in particular came back this year with a considerably expanded game and while he still doesn't look like an unstoppable ice cold assassin in the clutch he came up big plenty of times and melted away far fewer this year.

I think with the confidence gained from this title that only injury will stop the Heat from winning the next couple of years. For the sake of argument, we'll say we're entering the the 2014/15 season. Wade will be 32, Bosh 30, and LeBron 29 (almost 30). The team will also be in seriously deep luxury tax territory if everyone stays together.

While the players might love to win eight titles, we know that's not going to happen. I'd say if everything goes well with their health then three to four is probably an expected amount. We'll see how much money they'll each sacrifice to stay together as well, because they'll need to keep their salaries around 15 million per player to keep things going. While these three have different ages, they're all similarly old in NBA years each coming into the draft in 2003.

I give them two more years where they're the prohibitive favorite. Miami vs the field good. However, after that, things get interesting. After two more seasons, the big three will have played 11 seasons in the NBA, Wade will be 32, LeBron 29, and Bosh 30 entering the season. Wade and Bosh have already had considerable injury problems in their career, and their odds of staying healthy will get worse with each passing season.

It will be most interesting to see what happens with LeBron. He's been a complete ironman so far, but he has an extraordinarily heavy body for the type of athleticism he plays with. Typically, that ends with the body breaking down eventually rather than going on strong forever. The muscle is all there to support his style of play, but typically the joints aren't made to absorb as much shock as a 265 lb dude jumping 3+ feet in the air 50 times a night and landing for 11 straight years.

In general, I see it difficult to stop the Heat outside of injury for two seasons, but we should start to see some decline in the big three and their ability to keep a cast together in a couple of years to open things up.

For the Bulls, they need to pick their best chance to win. They have serious decisions to make right now in terms of whether they want to continue on with the core they have or attempt a serious retooling. The Rose ACL injury gave them a unique opportunity to retool this coming season. An opportunity they could never take with a healthy Rose.

Chicago could go on with a similar cast. A cast which we've felt at times could have won the NBA title. In all seriousness if Rose and Noah were not hurt, but Bosh stayed hurt (I know the ultimate unfair hindsight scenario here), I think the Bulls would have beaten the Heat in the ECF. However, you can't play the "what if our guys weren't hurt, but your hurt guys still were" game with any real meaning.

A healthy Heat team still beats a healthy Chicago team most likely, and the Chicago team coming back next year will likely be similar to last year except notably worse for not having the depth that allowed their bench to beat up on the Miami bench. They'll be missing Brewer, Korver, and Watson most likely while Miami will come back with the confidence of having won.

I don't see Chicago beating Miami under those circumstances in the next two seasons without getting lucky with a Heat injury. That said, what if you break up this team to rebuild and then Dwyane Wade goes out with an injury, and the Bulls are no longer in position to win? It's still a large sacrifice to not go back with your best team next season because anything can happen.

That said, if the Bulls trade Deng for a mid lottery pick (seems like a fairly easy thing to do right now) in a deep, talented draft, Chicago could position itself for a quick rebuild in 2014/15. Nikola Mirotic probably comes over around that time and looks like he has star potential. They'd have a high pick in this draft, their own pick, plus whatever Jimmy Butler turns into to team with Rose, Noah, Gibson, and Asik.

That team then has the youth and prospects to trade for a star player later if one becomes available as well as field the best team in 2014/15 when the Bulls would likely lose Deng in free agency or deal with a long term contract with him as his skills and abilities decline if they were to keep him instead.

In short, the Bulls need to look at when they can create the best window to win a title. With Derrick Rose, I think the best window lies in the 2014 through 2017 seasons. It will be the midst of his athletic prime, the Heat will be on the decline, OKC will likely have had to break up the big three by then, and Chicago should have the pieces to make a serious run year after year.

There is more than one way to maximize those seasons though. Trading Deng now isn't the only path to do it. They might hang on to Deng and attempt to trade him in a package for a star later. In fact, trading Deng now could limit the Bulls ability to trade for a star later and lead the Bulls to a worse team.

There's no clear cut decision here. The Bulls front office is in a brutally difficult place. 9 out of 10 moves they make likely leave them worse off than they are now. They have a lot further down to go than up, and as such, they'll likely be judged harshly regardless of what they do.

The toughest thing to do is go from top tier team to champion, and sometimes, when a juggernaut like the Heat are in your way, there's nothing you can do to make it happen. The Bulls may have to sacrifice dearly to maximize their window. They may have to sacrifice in a way that doesn't pay off and makes the team forever worse. They may have to concede not winning the title the next two seasons to position themselves to win it in four seasons.

There's no clear answers, no clear path to victory. They can't be the Miami Heat and merely grab a couple top five players in the NBA to pair together, Dwight Howard made clear he's not in on that plan if it means coming to Chicago. The Bulls will need to gamble and hope they win, but most gamblers lose, and the Bulls fans are more likely to end up disappointed than cheering on champions regardless of the moves the front office makes.

Filed under: Management, Miscellaneous

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  • Geez, you're going to have to take our shoelaces after that post. But I agree, and they should take this opportunity to actively look for trades that make them worse in the next season or two, in exchange for having some serious potential come 2014 or 2015, though it may leave a sour taste in some fan's mouths.
    I have a feeling that the Bulls would have lost to OKC, which is the only thing that takes a bit of the sting out of this. But I'm not even so sure about that, after watching OKC fold in this series, given that the Bulls are more mature.
    As far as the Heat, #$*& those @#$^&#@#^&s in their @#%$&#@@ #!@!$^%&es. $^*%!!!!
    The NBA sure got their ratings out of letting the villains advance, because everyone watches a train wreck even if it makes them feel bad. Welcome to the Pro Wrestling era of the NBA. And it worked...I was cheering for the Pacers and then the Celtics, but I probably wouldn't have watched so much of the Finals if either had made it.

  • In reply to Gringo Rican:

    When is the next Mirotic Article?

  • In reply to azjeffv:

    Depends what's happening in the basketball world.
    They're all in the queue, but they'll be posted on slow news days when there are no ACL updates, new trade rumors, or...you know...teams winning championships.
    I'll go back and edit out references to "tomorrow" or "yesterday," sorry about that.

  • In reply to Gringo Rican:

    I agree. With the way the Thunder just folded, I think the Bulls could have beat them, but we can't even think about the Finals because we most likely wouldn't have been able to beat the Heat this year.

    I felt the exact same way last year...thinking the Bulls could have beaten the Mavs, but ultimately that didn't matter because the Bulls lost to the Heat last year.

    I understand that retooling for the 2013-14 or 2014-15 season is probably what we have to do, but in all honesty, I think trading Deng for TOR's pick plus Calderon, and presuming Rose comes back a couple months before the playoffs, the Bulls could compete next year.

  • It is this kind of "doom and gloom" outlook which leads the Bulls and quite frankly other Chicago teams to becoming perennial losers. Strategies like putting all of the Bulls hopes in Mirotic...and moving up in the draft ...is WHY they have not won a championship thus far. It is incredibly short sighted and the Bulls fans deserve better.

  • In reply to Forthas:

    Actual Doug's plan is not 'short sighted' but planning for the long term.

    The reason why teams have not won a championship thus far is because simply, the winning teams were just better. Beating somebody 4 out of 7 games is not a fluke that fans can use the excuse of 'if the ball landed this way instead of that way', or 'if we would have grabbed 2 more rebounds', or 'if we would have hit our free throws'.

    Barring injury, the winning team is almost 100% of the time the better team, and if you come back the next year with the same roster, you better not expect to beat that team you lost to.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    ...someone didn't see the officiating in the Celtics series. It was 1972 Gold Metal Match bad.

  • In reply to Gringo Rican:

    Bulls fans have no right to complain about teams getting more Free Throws than their team.

    You didn't think MJ getting all those foul calls resulting in 6 titles was injust, did you?

    Maybe it was just that the Heat drove more to the basket and the Cs didn't.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    I consistently hear a lot of good ideas from fans and am often curious about the moves the Bulls make which sometimes don't make sense. Why is it that the Lakers seem to always field competitive teams and the Bulls are always "planning for the long term" Have ANY of those plans panned out in the 14 years since the Bulls last championship. Why not field competitive team TODAY. All of this discussion around what the Bulls "will do" in a few years robs the Bulls and their fans of opportunities that might pan out immediately.

    Its not just me that feels this way. Here is an article written yesterday which echo my feelings exactly...

    http://www.suntimes.com/sports/13332362-452/telander-chicago-deserves-to-bask-in-sports-success-not-to-ache-over-failed-teams.html

    There are options for the Bulls but for some reason they just fail to purse them.

  • In reply to Forthas:

    My reply above was more about knowing the Bulls would not try to win now, so taking the next best step to building a title team, but I actually agree with you. The reason why the Bulls always seem to rebuild is because...

    Jerry Reinsdorf is cheap...bottom line. That's why the Bulls have seem to always be in 'rebuilding' mode post-MJ. He has never spent into the luxury tax, and his excuse is...'the team has never been a title contending team to do so'....but all in the meanwhile, from the sellout crowds, he pocketed $100s of million every year.

    Despite playing in Chicago with super loyal fans, Reinsdorf runs this team as if we're some small market team, and despite his propaganda about he will go into the luxury tax, he never has, even though these past 2 years the Bulls were TITLE CONTENDERS.

    The Lakers are what the Bulls should have thrived to be. Unlike Reinsdorf, the Buss family's main source of income are the Lakers. They don't have an outside business where they make their fortune.

    But even when that's the case, Buss valued winning as much if not more than making money (unlike Reinsdorf). Buss has constantly spent into the $100+mil in payroll every year, paying the luxury tax penalty every year.

    It took the league basically forcing a defacto Hard Cap (with the new luxury tax penalties being so severe, teams like LAL and Cuban have had to curve back on spending). But what this really does is give Reinsdorf another excuse of not spending into the luxury tax.

  • I'm just glad i didnt watch a single minute of this series and avoided caring at all. I guess if you say that the heat will win 3 or 4 more, I'll just have to enjoy the regular season, get pissed when the bulls get knocked out again... then tune out the rest of the playoffs, 4 more times. Let's get on with it then, looking forward to next season.

  • Too much tea leaf reading much like LeBron was a choker after 2011. Now the Heat are the odds on favourites to win the next two titles. Both are over-reactions.

    Really all I take is that the heat won 3 out of 4 close games to set the win up. Meh, could have easily gone the other way then everyone is saying how great Durant is, and LeBron sucks. Whatever. A couple of weeks ago the Heat were one quarter away from being the laughing stock for losing to an over the hill Celtics. How quickly that's thrown out for the new story.

    This isn't sour grapes on the Heat or anything, if they'd lost I'd be on here defending LeBron against the choker accusations. I just think you go to the finals, you always get two good teams and it's pretty often not much more than flipping a coin. The Heat won the toss this year, didn't last year. I find the idea that they got luckier this year than last a lot more plausible than trying to spin some convoluted narrative that they learnt from the pain of defeat blah blah blah.

    As far as the Bulls go, if they're not paying the tax then they're in a crappy spot, the new structure of the NBA make it pretty impossible to try to be a 10 deep team unless you have a lot of rookie contracts. All the trade up/blow up scenarios feel like having another roll of the dice with them stacked against you ... feels like it's like trading in 20% title odds for a 10% chance at 25% title odds and a 90% chance of 15% or worse title odds. But if they wont pay the tax and wont amnesty Boozer then damned if I know what else you can do.

    Whatever the Bulls do though, I hope it's not because they're looking over their shoulder at the Heat feeling like they need to do something.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    The Heat were the favorites to win the title last year, this year, and with the way Lebron has 'showed up' in these playoffs and Finals, why wouldn't they be the favorites?

    I'm hearing a lot of excuses coming from your post. I'm pretty sure 'if the ball bounced OKC's way', or 'if they grabbed some more rebounds', or 'if Harden showed up'...the Thunder would have swept the Heat, right?

    Well, they didn't. You want to argue every game (except for Game 5) were close? Fine...but the Heat won 3 out of those 4 close games, so it's really not a fluke that they won. They are just that good.

    A couple weeks ago when they were down against IND and BOS, they didn't have Bosh. Then Bosh came back and they played like the 'favorites' they were.

    So your proposed strategy to the Bulls for winning a title does not take into consideration what they would have to do to get past the Heat? Okay, good luck with that.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    The Heat were the odds on favorites to win last year and this year prior to the season starting. Why would they not be odds on favorites the next two years as well? I don't think that's an overreaction.

  • I really do feel that now is the time for the Bulls to retool their roster with a trade of Deng and probably other assets for a high lottery pick. Let the high lottery pick grow and get use to his Bulls team mates, bring in anotherprobably good pick in next years draft then start to make another run at contending for a championship. And I agree, barring injury to any of the big 3 of the Heat, they will be in the finals over the next couple of years while the Bulls should be somewhat... I won't say rebuild but retool. This will be the only way to beat the Heat starting in 2014-15.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I'm down for Deng ...for... TOR's 8th + Calderon.

    I'm also down for trading Asik away too. DET's 9th, NOH's 10th, POR's 11th, MIL's 12th. All those teams need Centers.

    I like Asik like the rest of you, but having Asik is a luxury the Bulls don't really need. Unless they're trading away Noah (which I wouldn't do), there really is no need for Asik.

    You can't play Asik+Noah against the Heat, especially when you have Boozer and Taj there as well. Look at the Heat, they didn't even play Joel Anthony because he was useless in this series. OKC should have sat Perkins, because he was useless as well.

  • First, I appreciate the no backlash(or apathy, ha!) to my comments yesterday on Derrick. I IMO was one of the first to recognize Derrick's star worthiness or 'jump on the bandwagon.' I like him, and root for him. I just see trouble ahead that he won't overcome unless has the courage to at least attempt to make a change. Hopefully I'm wrong, and his career and life are on a healthy path.

    As for Doug's synopsis or 'Ode to a Dying Mule'(Mule being the Bulls), I agree the odds are that's exactly what will happen. However, IMO this dire forecast has more to do with a lack of Phil, Chuck, Riley, Pop, Larry, Doc etc. then anything else. That and a submissive co-stewradship at the exec level.

    Otherwise the odds for the Bulls compared to anyone other then Miami in the east are good. The opportunity with already having a star in Derrick, one that is maybe Thee best foil or foe for Miami in the EC anyway, exists. The very fact that it exists from a money and ratings standpoint gives the Bulls some momentum IMO. His jersey sales and ratings on nationally televised games against rival stars such as Miami or Bronville were huge.

    So the Bulls actually have a lot going for them. If they trade away the wrong players, and their acquired draft picks turn out to be lackluster players or busts then the naysayers and wave of condemnation will wash over Gar/Pax like a tsunami of doom.

    Health wise Derrick Rose should make a full come back. Does he have a mentor in Thibs like Michael had Phil, Duncan had Pop, Wade in his first "championship" certainly with stellar play though himself, had Riley? Does he need that guy? I'd answer yes. Moreso then even any of those other stars in waiting perhaps.

    I'm not a Thibs basher as a person or a associate defensive head coach(glorified defensive assistant due to his genius). Only as a head coach do I think he's uncomfortable and unfit, neither a leader of men to greatness or a molder of great players in waiting. If you feel COY awards means he's the guy or because his players really 'love him' then you discount this point.

    Aside from the right guy at the right time coach aspect, Gar/Pax have not shown the backbone or autonomy to me that a Jerry Krause had and did. You can argue that point, but Michael wanted guys like Joe Wolf, and Walter Davis. Krause wanted Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant. And Kukoc. And Rodman. The guy was a blundering boob when clear cut talent or future HOF'rs or near so guys like Grant weren't in his sights. But In those situations of moment, he closed in for the kill. Like most successful figures he had his time, and then it ran out. Thus the Tim Floyd Eddie Robinson era.

    So if you buy that Thibs and Gar/Pax are the right guys for the job then the Bulls are certainly in a position to target and acquire that second star if destiny or opportunity presents itself. Not that they did the first because Derrick was a total luckout. Meanwhile what do you do? Do you keep Deng, and amnesty Boozer? Or get what you can for Lu? Otherwise you are going to have to trade Taj and Omer for picks and dump the guards C.J., Ronnie, Korver, and maybe even Hamilton to cut salary and avoid the new MegaTax.

    No, there is no conspiracy to load up a star or ratings juggernaut(except Shaq and Pau to L.A. - thanks Dave. Had to get us back with the Chris Paul renegge though didn't ya?), but a certain momentum or acquiesence does exist with a superstar and rising contender. IMO the Bulls will probably not succeed until Thibs and likely Gar/Pax are out of town. The latter could prove me wrong. But I'm convinced Thibs is not the guy.

    How will we know whether John and Gar are the right guys? The first step is now or very soon they will seize the moment and find a way to bring some good offensive players or elite accompaniment to a maestro in waiting like Derrick Rose. They may not win a championship, but they should be able to aid him with offensive talent even if not quite all-stars or championship level. That final step always takes some luck also.

    If Derrick gets that mentor he could be a champion and a top two or three player in the league for a year or two anyway IMO. He has the ultra competitor in him it takes. Right now Gar/Pax have to bring in the talent. And if that happens, and it becomes clear Thibs is not the point B to C guy, maybe they get lucky and stumble into that excellent head coach a chanmpionship team needs(unless you've got a Wade and Bosh pairing waiting in the wings).

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I said Krause often was a boob on non-star picks as he had a boatload of busts, but he also had B.J.(Armstong), Longley in trade, Oakley for Cartwright, picking up difference making bigs like Scott Williams and Brian Williams out of knowhere, Harper, Wennington etc. And he brought in Tex Winter and his Triangle offense. Though Phil had a lot to do with maximizing those support players.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Long read, but many great points you made here.

    I won't got as far as saying Thibs isn't a Title-winning coach, because Brooks and Spoelstra were the Finals Head Coaches, with the latter just winning a title and Thibs is better than he is. But I do blame a lot of what happened this year squarely on Thibs. His stubborn reluctance and inability to make adjustments cost us this year.

    I too believe Rose needs to change the way he plays. I've been calling for him to learn how to play the Pick-and-Roll game...both on defense AND on offense. If Boozer was going to stay, I wanted to see Thibs get Rose and Boozer in a film room and gym to work on how Boozer was so effective with Dwill. Rose still hasn't learned to play the Pick-and-Roll game.

    Wilbon just brought this up the other day and I too felt this before that, that Rose definitely needs a mentor. Either on or off the court, he needs a champion 'somebody' he can talk to, to just help him develop as a PG, superstar, leader of a team basically made up of older teammates.

    And after thinking about PGs to bring in like Nash, Andre Miller, Hinrich, etc...I think Chauncey Billups might be the best available PG the Bulls can get to help Rose.

  • Hope I am wrong but Gar and Pax don't have a strong history of big signings or trades. I easily see them screwing this up by half assing a rebuild by trying to be too conservative. When it comes to a big bold move they have never stepped up. Let's see if they have the stones to shake it up otherwise we are condemning ourselves to be runners up for the forseable future and history never remembers second best!

  • In reply to Chad:

    My fear is, they let Brewer, Korver, and Watson all walk, and then bring on 1 role player (I was always thinking Hinrich for the past couple years) and then saying...'we're done'.

  • Kind of funny how all the pundits and fans want to frame it as LeBron doing the impossible and winning his first ring. Virtually everyone outside out Dan Gilbert conceded what LeBron did would win him ring(s), he was/is criticized for being the best player in the NBA but then saying he can't do it alone and leaving his hometown team on national television with a slap in the face after promising Cleveland over and over again that he'd bring the championship home.

    Anyway, even if the Heat had an injury, I don't think the Bulls stand much of a chance against OKC in the finals. These teams just have more talent. Too much talent.

  • I have an idea for a trade...
    Noah + pieces to OKC for Harden(S&T) + pieces. I think that this will give OKC a better defensive presence which they obviously need, and their money will be spent in a better way overall because they won't have 3 Max contracts on perimeter players. For the Bulls it would definitely provide some scoring punch and playmaking that they really need. I think this is a much better deal for both sides, and way better than the Nash + pieces for Harden + pieces that I read on ESPN earlier today.

  • In reply to nucahx:

    Their problem wasn't a frontcourt defensive presence (although Noah is better than Perks and Ibaka). Their problem was perimeter defense and team defense overall.

    KD can't guard Lebron which is why Thabo and Harden defended him, but they really couldn't. KD was then put on Chalmers who KD can't cover either because Chalmers was just running around and getting open.

    Then the Heat's 3 point shooters Battier and Miller were just left wide open because the defenders were too busy staying on Wade and Lebron.

    Also, the Thunder acquiring Noah and subtracting Harden doesn't exactly help their financial concerns because Harden is still on his rookie contract for 1 more year but Noah is already at $11mil.

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    "he still doesn't look like an unstoppable ice cold assassin in the clutch" - are you kidding me? You need to go back and watch those games, especially the games at the end.

  • In reply to Danny Guerra:

    Agreed - that guy was not watching this series. An unstoppable ice cold assassin was exactly what he was. And I hate LeBron.
    I do suspect that part of it was the inept defense of Durant/Hardin/Thabo against him. They were all too small, like 40 pounds too small. Nobody tried to deny him the ball. He always got it with space and drove to the hoop at will. OKC will need to try and find someone who can match up opposite LeBron and pester him if nothing else. Heck, Paul Pierce is nearly a statue at this stage and still gives him headaches.

  • Doug,

    Appreciate your write-up. Hopefully, with the way things have worked out, I hope the Bulls pull the strings on Deng. Also, if the price is right and it is for a legit number 2 type scorer, I would love to deal Noah for that type player (Eric Gordon, Harden, Love, etc... - if we can). Or even with Deng, you can take a risk such as Deng to Wolves for Derrick Williams and number 18 pick. I know not all would make those trades, but the deals could be tweaked.

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    I don't see a Derrick Williams ...for... Deng straight up deal, so I definitely don't see one that includes their pick as well. MINN is not trading Love either.

    I can't risk trading Noah for Eric Gordon with his injury history. If Gordon didn't get injured so often, but then again, if he didn't, he probably would have been given a max offer sheet from his team already.

    I guess I would be resigned to Noah for Harden, but I think OKC would want the Bulls to take on Perkins's contract (Bulls need to, to match salaries) as well, and if that's the case, OKC would want something extra back. Would the Bulls do that?

    Other than Harden and Gordon, the only other 'available' legit number 2 scorers are Kevin Martin, Monta Ellis, and Joe Johnson...with the former 2 not playing defense and the Bulls aren't taking on JJ's contract (unless ATL takes on Boozer).

    Maybe Marcus Thornton, but I see him more as a chuckster which is why he gets his numbers. Other than that, the Bulls could look to trade for Tyreke or Stuckey and hope they can play SG.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Why not? Williams is not going to shine with Love playing the same position. I would not be hesitant to throw in another player either.

    Let me ask you this - Gasol for Deng - who is better? The Wolves were willing to offer # 2 for Gasol last year.

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    His point is that there is no chance that the T'Wolves agree to trade Derrick Williams with his high upside and rookie scale deal PLUS a first round pick for an injured Deng and his bloated contract. That is just silly talk.
    As for your question - Gasol is a much better player than Deng. Just because they were willing to talk trades for Gasol does not mean they will throw it away now for Deng.
    I would say that 98% of the trade proposals I have read from readers concerning Luol Deng have been wildly unreasonable. The Bulls are in salary cap hell, and they are not getting out of it by dumping Luol for a couple high first rounders. At best they get one mid round pick and accept an equally crappy contract in return.

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    Pau is better than Deng.

    Pau is better than Derrick Williams too.

    The reports about Dwill for Pau were there, but didn't pick up any steam, so I don't know if they have any validity.

    But who is better between Deng and Dwill? Probably Deng right now, but Dwill has something more valuable than Deng...and that's 'potential'. Yes, I know, that's nothing tangible that we can put on a stat sheet, but the majority of draft picks are taken on that very basis, so it matters.

    Also, Dwill's $5mil contract is better than Deng's $13mil.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Minny has been/still is desperately in search of a starting small forward(the Wes Johnson pick being a complete bust), and they have an abundance of power forwards and tweeners.

    They might be interested in Deng, and there has already been talk of them shopping Williams, although I don't see how/where he fits with the Bulls.

    Doesn't sound like a great deal for the Bulls, although the 18th pick would be high enough to get Tony Wroten who I am keeping my fingers crossed is still on the board at 29 and that the Bulls are wise enough to snap him up.

    Derrick Williams is a perfect example, by the way, of how little value even high lottery picks actually have on average, there are far more busts than franchise players.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Derrick Williams has 2 problems going for him.

    1) His draft class was super weak, which was what made him the #2 overall pick. He may or may not turn out to be anything other than a solid player, but right now, he still has value in that 'potential'.

    2) His other problem is really being a hybrid and not a set 3 or 4. Scouts had him pegged as a 4, but he marketed himself as a 3.

    He's playing the SF spot in MINN but last year Beasley was there and Adelman had to tickle Beasley's balls to keep him engaged, otherwise he would have imploded. Beasley will be gone and Dwill will start at the 3, just like he would do if he were to be traded to the Bulls (but I don't think MINN makes that deal).

  • While Taj is young in NBA years, I think the guy will turn 29 in 2015. So that would leave us with a starting 4 (unless Mirotic comes over) that relies on his athletic ability, that is almost 30. Not sure how I feel about that. If our goal is to win in 2014-2015 I think you have to move Taj.

    On an unrelated note, if you are the Thunder do you trade Westbrook for Rondo? I would in a hearbeat. I personally think Rondo is better than Westbrook as a PG, plus having Rondo's defense allows you to start Harden at the 2.

    Rondo, Harden, Durant, Serge, Perkins wins the title next year. That team (if they could keep it together) wins probably the next 5 or 6 if everyone stays healthy.

  • In reply to do53:

    We're talking about 3 years from now...and 29yrs isn't old...LOL.

    And although I would take Rondo over RW as a PG, RW is the better overall player/value.

    My guess is BOS does it (which if you believe the reports, Ainge tried to trade Rondo for RW last offseason), but unless BOS gives up the draft picks or something else that's enticing, OKC doesn't do it.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    And you left out - Westbrook is twice the defender as Rondo. Better player on both ends. And a much better shooter from distance and from the line. Rondo is a career 24% 3 pt shooter and 60% from the line. Otherwise they are similar players.
    I think Kendrick Perkins was the third best center on OKC these playoffs, behind Ibaka and Collison. The Thunder owe him more than 25 million over the next three seasons. I believe he still has trade value, and they should look into dealing him and getting some cap relief. Unfortunately, I believe his biggest fan in the league is Thibs. And I don't want to see him on the Bulls.

  • In reply to sfpaper:

    Rondo isn't that bad of a defender. He's been on the All-D 1st team and 2nd team.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    There is nothing more farcical than the NBA all-defensive teams (except maybe the gold glove awards in baseball). They are traditionally the leaders in blocks and steals (as in Ibaka and Rondo). Or the best offensive players who are mistaken as good defenders (see Chris Paul, Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant, who all regularly guard the worst offensive player from the other roster). If you look back historically, the all-D players tend to come from the highest scoring teams. Most likely because people are trying to select them statistically.
    I agree that Rondo is not bad. But he's 6'1" and struggles with big guards and often cheats the passing lanes for steals and relies on help from Garnett to stop his man at the basket when he misses.
    By the way, Carlos Boozer got a vote this year for the NBA All-D team.

  • In reply to sfpaper:

    First off, 1 vote for Boozer is different than Rondo being selected to the 1st and 2nd All-D teams.

    Secondly, you're right about the All-D teams being picked for 'name' and 'stats' as you stated, but CP3, Kidd, and Kobe use to be great defenders, and are now living under their reputations.

  • In reply to do53:

    Maybe if they could replace perkins with a guy like Asik.

  • As an objective fan (as objective a Bulls fan can have rooting against the Heat, haha) watching these Finals series, what I just saw is the Heat destroying the Thunder...breaking the Thunder's will, heart, tenacity, fight, whatever you want to call it.

    The only player who is competing non-stop on that team is Russell Westbrook, and like the criticism against the Bulls...if your PG is your leading scorer, you have no chance, as we saw with both teams against the Heat.

    So with that said, I do NOT see them getting past the Heat for the next 2 years (when Harden and Ibaka get their payraises) because...

    KD will not be adding 30lbs of muscle (meaning he will be relatively be the same as he is now).

    RW will not morph into a pass-first PG (meaning he will be relatively be the same as he is now).

    And I do not see Ibaka becoming some sort of low-post presence for them (meaning he will be relatively be the same as he is now).

    The only positive I see is that Harden will not *choke* like he did in these Finals, and that will not be enough to get past these Heat.

  • Miami won't win another title. Do you realize how many things went right for them this season? Wade stayed healthy Bosh came back just in the nick of time. I mean they got their fair share of breaks and calls in the playoffs. Down 3-2 to a old Boston team. The Bulls going down in the first round.

    Just too many things happened that all the stars had to aline like Mike Miller HITTING 8 3's? The 2-3-2 format and winning 4 straight?

    James Harden turning into complete trash. The Thunder defense looked awful. I thought Ebaka would have defended better than that but he got worked.

    Kevin Durant's defense...... if there was ever a deal of Rondo for Westbrook the Thunder blew it. He's the perfect fit on the Thunder.

    Miami wasn't even that great this season it was just LeBron playing like a mofo all season that they made it to the finals.

    I'm not so sure MIami will win 3 or 4. Two at the max they really do have some holes and Wade is getting up in age.

    I thought the Thunder would have put up more of a fight.

    The Bulls need to retool for 2014 and Mirotic.

  • In reply to souleater7:

    The Heat won't win another title???...who's going to stop them? Certainly no one in the east and the only team in the west with the talent and they need the experience and I think a better coach is OKC. The league belongs to the Heat now and as long as they stay healthy with the confidence of winning the championship, I see no one stopping them over the next few years. Other free agents will want to go there for a chance to get a ring. If anyone reading this is old enough to remember the Lakers and Celtics being in the finals every year in the 80's, this is what's going on with this Heat team. And trust me it will get old seeing the Heat in the finals every year cause as a very young teen back then I grew very tired of seeing those two teams play for the championship. Until someone in the east is willing and smart enough to put together a team that can beat the Heat, this is what non Heat fans will have to endure over the next several years

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Dude they almost got taken out by the Pacers and the Celtics. OKC's defense was shit. Wade is on the decline and you can't tell me Mike Miller is going to hit 8 3's to clinch NBA Finals every season. They were really beatable this season but they had major breaks go their way.

    1. Rose getting hurt.
    2. Playing a young Thunder team
    3. The shortened season and being healthy for the most part (LeBron)

    I don't think they'll be running off all these title just because they won this season.

    What teams? The Bulls will be back. The Thunder will be wiser next season. I just think people will be gunning for Miami next year and I don't think there depth is good enough to repeat.

  • In reply to souleater7:

    They 'almost got taken out' because Bosh WAS out.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    I still not scared of MIami. They are the best team in the league no question but this is by no means a dynasty I just don't think they have the mental make up to repeat they will be upset. Trust me everyone is going to be gunning for them and next season they'll go back to being loathed once the championship luster wears off.

    1. Besides Bosh they were pretty healthy most of the season.
    2. Teams will get better next season. I think Rose will be back by Christmas.
    3. They had a lot of lucky breaks. The slugged through the season and got the luck of that stupid 2-3-3 finals match up. I think that really was the deciding factor for them. They knew they just need to get one home game from the thunder and they could sweep them in Miami.

    My point is I'm not worried about Miami I think they just got a ton of breaks this season.

    The other thing was how OKC defended Miami was really disappointing I mean there really was no excuse how bad their help defense was. It was just pathetic.

  • In reply to souleater7:

    2-3-2 mother f'er

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Nobody is going to stop them other than father time, i.e. how fast will DWade's body break down. As long as Wade is healthy for the playoffs, they will be the favorites, maybe even over whelming favorites.

    Even if Wade goes down, Miami will still be better than the Cleveland team that Lebron dragged to 60 plus wins and one finals appearance.

    The league got lucky last year. Only luck and health will derail the Heat over the course of the next 4-5-6 years. Luckily for the league, Wade doesn't appear to be anywhere near as indestructible as Lebron, or Michael, or even Scottie.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I think the Thunder can beat them. I just think the Thunder might need to make a few defensive adjustments or roster moves. Perkins is done and I'm not really a fan of Scott Brooks.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    The next 4-5-6 years? Did you forget that the Big 3's contracts are up after the 2014-15 season?

    I doubt MIA will be able to keep those three superdivas together after that time period under the new salary cap rules.

  • In reply to mr fusion:

    No, I didn't "forget", instead I looked up the facts, and "discovered" that they all signed 6 year contracts, thru the 2015-16 season, so that is 4 more years.

    Unlike the Bulls, if the Heat wins a championship in 2015, I doubt that they will break up the team to hire Pink Floyd.

    Miami might be the only team that can keep paying them at that time as they will have their grandfathered Bird rights. Maybe the billionaire Arison family will get tired of paying for championships, but I doubt it.

    In any event, my point was that health will likely get in the way before anything else does.

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