The case for caution

The Chicago Bulls appear to be playing this off-season awfully conservatively. They're looking to trim dollars everywhere they can rather than looking to put the absolute best team they can on the floor. Losing Kyle Korver for a trade exception doesn't make the Bulls better now and only helps them later if they use it. Losing CJ, Brewer, and potentially Asik won't help them either. However, there's a case for caution with Chicago.

First, let's assume that the Bulls don't feel they can legitimately win the title this season. That's probably a fair assumption as much as we dislike it. The returning champion Heat are coming back fully loaded and made huge additions with Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis while the Thunder return a dominant roster and the Lakers may have leaped past us as well. The Bulls are probably the fourth best team in the NBA if the Lakers land Howard, maybe even if they don't.

The Nets, Pacers, Celtics, and Knicks might challenge the Bulls in the playoffs if the roster isn't 100% (particularly Rose) as well. In short, this likely isn't the best year for Chicago to go for it if their decisions impact what they're doing in the future. While I wish the Bulls had traded C.J. Watson and Ronnie Brewer while they could still be waived by other teams in order to bring in prospects, it's certainly possible there was no great deal on the table.

Getting past that, when we discuss bringing them back, the Bulls cost cutting ways may pay dividends for the long term growth of the franchise.

C.J. Watson vs Kirk Hinrich

The Korver sign and trade greatly mitigates the use of having the MMLE to spend on a player outside of Hinrich, as the Bulls could acquire another player with it rather than settle on guys at the minimum if they so choose. As such, we're now left to just compare Watson to Hinrich straight up.

I think Watson's a better player, but I don't think it's crazy to hold the viewpoint that Kirk is better either. Watson adds more shot creation and shooting while Hinrich adds better decision making and defense. If Hinrich can improve his level of play over the past two seasons where he struggled with injuries then perhaps the move works out well.

I'm not in love with Hinrich as my starting SG next season, but he's not a bad player to have back in your rotation on a reasonable deal (much like Watson isn't). Overall, I think it's easy for me to view this as a wash even if I'd have gone the other way. In fact, the general managers of the NBA collectively appear to like Hinrich more as Watson ended up signing for the minimum with Brooklyn.

Ronnie Brewer vs Jimmy Butler

I think it's interesting how many fans have bought into Jimmy Butler already. Particularly when discussing Brewer's shortcomings on offense. Brewer's not a great offensive player, but he's good at moving off the ball, has a solid mid range jumper, and can handle the ball a bit.

Jimmy Butler has thusfar looked clueless on offense off the ball, doesn't have much in the way of handles, and has been very shaky shooting jumpers [much more so than Ronnie, who doesn't have three point range but very solid as a mid range shooter]. He does attack the basket quickly to draw fouls, but outside of that, he wasn't providing much last season. I'm not saying Butler can't be better than Brewer offensively, as early as this season he may overtake Brewer.

He also may not.

Defensively, Brewer is a beast, and while Butler also looks promising, Brewer is a first team all-defense caliber defender IMO. He's elite at his position. Butler's very solid in the small glimpses he's had and did particularly well against Carmelo Anthony in two match ups. However, we haven't seen all that much yet.

In general, I think it's fair to state that Ronnie Brewer is a much better player than Jimmy Butler right now. However, that doesn't mean the swap was a bad move. Jimmy Butler has potential to surpass Brewer, and if he doesn't get playing time than we know that won't happen for sure. He makes a fraction of the cost, and if he can knock down open threes in two years he'll fit the offense far better too.

It wouldn't take much for him to build up that ability, but he needs to play in order to improve. That wasn't happening with Brewer in front of him. If we accept the fact that the Bulls weren't going to keep Brewer long term, then developing Butler this season rather than keeping Brewer in front of him will be better for the team in the long run. Even if all that happens is they learn Butler isn't an answer for anything, the Bulls will be better for giving him the opportunity.

Kyle Korver vs a Trade Exception

A trade exception hits no threes, and the Bulls lost something from their roster that they presently don't look likely to fill. However, there are possibilities still. Brandon Rush may be signed and traded into that trade exception to give the Bulls a younger, more athletic, well-rounded version of Kyle Korver. They may sign Courtney Lee into that exception [I believe this scenario may end as soon as Houston signs Asik to an offer-sheet as they won't have cap room any more to make the signing for a legal sign and trade and renounced Lee's bird rights].

I'd say the odds are pretty strong that they won't use this exception this off-season though. It will be available during the trade deadline, during the draft, and next free agency period for the Bulls to attempt to get something done. If they're able to use it, the odds are awfully high that it returns something that helps them long term far more than having Kyle Korver this season. If not, it will go down as a wasted asset, but the Bulls weren't going to flip Korver into anything else anyway.

In short, the Bulls most likely tread water

I don't think this team is stronger than it was last season by any stretch, but it's not necessarily all that much weaker either. They'll have to hope Marquis Teague pans out [of course], and they'll need Jimmy Butler to prove that he's worth gambling on as well as Kirk Hinrich to remain healthy. However, if those three things happen [and it's not a particularly crazy set of things to happen], then the bench mob may be just as good next season as it was this season.

The Bulls will still be one move away from the upper, upper echelon of teams, however, plenty of teams have won the NBA title starting in a similar spot to the Bulls. The 2006-2006 Miami Heat, the 2010-11 Dallas Mavericks, or the 2003-4 Detroit Pistons are all good examples.

It's not to say Chicago's likely to win, they aren't. However, if they have a 10% chance of winning would you want to give that up to rebuild around draft picks? How'd the 1999-2004 Bulls work for you? On the one hand, fans feel the front office is incompetent, but on the other they want them to blow up the team and trust in them entirely to pluck two stars out of this draft by trading Noah/Deng for lotto picks?

Why not bet on Dwight Howard?

On the surface I would bet on Dwight, however, the Bulls may not have the opportunity anyway. There are two problems with the gamble on Howard theory:

1: Howard has said he doesn't want to be here, and while I think we could convince him, Bulls management may have been told far more directly that there's no way in hell he's staying in Chicago in a way that's far more convincing than what we'd imagine.

2: Reports are that the Lakers are looking for high lotto picks and prospects not quality veteran players, in which case our offer went to complete crap unless we swing Deng/Noah for such players to a third team, and who knows how complex such a deal would be.

In short, while I'd make a full press for Howard myself theoretically, in reality, I may not make such a press if I had the full information and such a press may not really be possible anyway if we can't meet Orlando's demands.

It's not basketball hell

I've seen the phrase thrown around [most recently by Nick Friedell, ESPN Chicago], but by fans as well. The Bulls aren't in basketball hell right now. They have nearly as legitimate chance to win the title as you could hope for when a superteam like Miami is sitting in front of them.

Basketball hell isn't for teams who would be favored to make the ECF when healthy. It's reserved for teams getting knocked out of the 1st round with terrible cap situations. The Bulls may in fact get knocked out of the first round this season, but only if they enter the playoffs while significantly injured or have a particularly bad seed from playing most of the season that way.

The Bulls probably won't win a title with the Rose, Deng, Noah, Boozer core, but they'll be in the mix for the next two seasons and then have an opportunity to try and mix it up after that. There's no magic formula to get the Bulls a title, there's no formula to add a second superstar. Most teams would be thankful even to have one.

The Derrick Rose era may not end in titles, and we may play the role of the 90s Knicks. The Knicks weren't beating Jordan no matter what they did, and the Bulls may not beat Miami no matter what they do. Knicks fans still love those Knicks teams though, and I'll still love this Bulls one.

I'll also look to Dallas, who was persistent for over a decade. Who resigned Dirk when many thought they should just rebuild. Who won the title out of nowhere. I'll look at Dallas and remember that the truly epic stories don't start out as the favorites, and I think Derrick Rose has an epic story in his career.

Filed under: Free Agency

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  • I know it's only summer league but Jimmy Butler scored 25 last night on 7-16 shooting (10-12 FT). Not a bad sign IMO of his potential and shows that he has most likely been working on his offense a little. Hopefully it translates over to the regular season when the level of play goes up from summer league.

  • In reply to NateTags:

    If summer league meant anything Anthony Randolph would be a max player, LaMarcus Aldridge would suck balls, and Thabo Sefolosha could play point guard.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I agree with you totally, but I wasn't saying Butler is now going to be an all-star after one SL game. I was just saying that it's a sign that he's worked on his offense and maybe gained a little confidence compared to last year.

  • After watching the game last night I really like what Butler brings. I thought his handle was pretty good last night, better than Brewer IMO. He also looks more comfortable on the offensive end than Brewer did. Of course this is just one Summer League game, but I have a hard time saying Brewer is a much better player.

  • I believe Bulls fans are going to miss Brewer. Notwithstanding Butler's nice performance last night, he is not nearly as athletically gifted as Ronnie. Brewer was a late lottery pick if I remember correctly, while Butler was a borderline first/second round pick. If not for Brewer's shooting issues he would be a starting quality two guard on a good team. As it is, he was essentially the starting two guard on the best team in the league last year- record wise.

    I never quite understood Bulls fans infatuation with Butler last year. He needs to prove to me that he is more than a 10 minutes a game Sam Young type grinder out there.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    No I won't miss Brewer or Watson. Bulls fans like Butler because they see a good player.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    I agree. I don't get the Butler love either. He is solid for a late first but I think he has a low ceiling and without repeating what Doug said basically Brewer is the better overall player at this point. Maybe I am missing it but I feel many over estimate what he can do. Still I think it is good to move on from Brewer to get him playing time. Marquis Teague has a lot more upside than Butler but is quite raw.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    It's not so much a fascination with Butler as it is the 'hope' of the bench guy turning into something great. You see it across the league and even into other sports (i.e. NFL people say the best position to have on the team is the backup QB).

    Now specifically about Butler's situation...

    In a shortened lockout season with arguably the 'best bench' in the league, Thibs somehow found a way to not use the bench more and squeezing every minute out of Rose and Deng that he could.

    Even with injuries to Rose, Rip, and Deng, couldn't find a few minutes a game for Butler? And then when he does get minutes, he plays well, and then the next night (all while people are out with injuries or coming back from some), Butler doesn't sniff the floor.

    And regarding Brewer, I like him more than most because of his 1st-class defense. In fact, while I was proposing trade scenarios of Deng for Calderon+TOR's 8th, I wanted the Bulls to keep Brewer and start him at SF.

    He's the only player on the Bulls who could guard Lebron and Wade.

  • Call me crazy but I thought Butler was already better than Brewer last season in the limited minutes he got. It's not rocket science he's quicker, faster and gets to the line better than Brewer. He's a better shooter and has a high basketball IQ. Brewer maybe be a slightly better individual defender than Butler but Butler can improve and I think he'll get better and better with more minutes this season. This dude is a player he's intelligent he just needs development. I love his game and see him being a Taj Gibson like sleeper.

    I agree the Bulls are NOT in basketball hell. Basketball hell is when you're an 6th,7th,8th seed with no Star player and a bunch of over paid bums like Carlos Boozer. Maybe he meant the Bulls are in basketball hell until Rose gets back and in that case I'd agree.

    CJ Watson is probably a better three point shooter over Kirk but I'm pretty sure thats where it ends because CJ Watson lacks basketball high basketball IQ. I love his irrational gene when it comes to three's but I won't really miss him... unless they play Teague.

    Teague is so raw I went into a bout of depression. As a former PG myself I just have to shake my head at this selection at 29. He dribbles the ball high and stares down the guy he will pass too. He is careless with the basketball and lacks confidence in his shooting. He doesn't seem to know what to do when the ball is passed he just stands around watching and not filling in spots to space the floor. I was really disappointed and I believe the Bulls will need to bring in another PG or two I could see Demetri McCamey making this roster or a lower level pay PG's. This kid is really raw maybe it's just one SL game but I can't see Thibs playing him and he said as much the night they drafted him. He needs a ton of work. He's also small that he can't change.

  • In reply to souleater7:

    No offense, but there's no way that Butler is quicker or faster than Brewer, no way. It's not close. Brewer is an elite athlete, Butler is a good athlete.

    There's also no way that Butler is a better shooter than Brewer presently or that he has a higher basketball IQ.

    The statements just can't be reconciled with watching him actually play basketball.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I disagree. I think Butler is already better in all categories. Maybe not with basketball IQ but I think Butler is a better player. I think you overvalue CJ and Brewer.

  • In reply to souleater7:

    If you prorate Jimmy Butler's stats (not exactly a fair comparison). His pts and rebounds are right there with Ronnie Brewer. Brewer has a big edge in assists and steals/blks. Brewer also shot better %'s for FG and 3pt. Butler was better from the FT line though. All in all I would say the stats show Brewer was better overall last year.

    I think it was good to move on from Ronnie and give Jimmy a chance at more minutes and let him get experience in a down season.

    Surprising things were Jimmy Butler is apperently a black hole (almost no assists) and Ronnie Brewer was a horrid FT shooter (56%) last season for some reason.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I completely disagree. I think it is a lot closer than you think. I would also somewhat disagree with your statement that Brewer is an elite athlete. He is an excellent athlete, but I think you are overselling him a bit.

    I'm high on Brewer, but it was clear that he started off hot and then lost confidence in his offensive game. Aside from the occasional athletic drive of mid range jumper, he was pretty lost too. And I think Butler has much more upside than Brewer and is potentially a decent offensive player, something Brewer will never turn into. Plus, I think Butler can be at or exceed the defensive level that Brewer has and has a little more lateral quickness than Brewer, something imperative for stopping star wings.

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    In reply to DougThonus:

    I can't take it anymore...LOL @ Ronnie Brewer being an elite athlete. He is athletic, but there's NO WAY that he's an elite athlete like a LeBron James, Derrick Rose, or Blake Griffin. I really hope that you're not serious about this. If you're not trolling, who gave you this job to be a writer? Just keeping it real...

  • In reply to souleater7:

    Friedell used the wrong phrase.

    Basketball hell should be simple...bottom feeders of the league with no help in sight.

    What Friedell wanted to say was Basketball Purgatory...making the playoffs [almost] every year and getting bounced in the 1st or 2nd Round ... AKA Atlanta Hawks.

    Doug is right. Brewer is the better player right now. If you guys want to debate Butler's higher ceiling that's fine, but that's not now.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    I think that this is the Friedell article that you are referring to

    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/bulls/post/_/id/9498/bulls-face-cold-reality-with-their-future

    This is an excellent read, I couldn't have said it better myself.

    I became convinced that the Bulls were not going to match Asik when they made the Korver deal. Since Korver's $500,000 is the difference between Bulls slightly exceeding the tax line and falling slightly below the tax line.

    Additionally, as Freidell points out, they simply cannot afford the $15 million for Asik in 2014 if they want to use that as their next opportunity to strike it rich in free agency.

    Basically, they are going to ride out the next 2 years, while hoarding as much cap space for the summer of 2014. That will be the second window to built a champion around Rose.

    With both Deng and Bozo(amnesty) off the payroll, they will can go into that summer with only Rose, Noah, Gibson, Butler, Teague, and the next 2 years #1 picks under contract, which should be no more than $45 million. Then take another shot at least one major free agent star, and convince Mirotic to come over.

    It may not be fun for us, but it makes a lot of sense, even though it means losing out on Asik in a couple of days.

  • Oh! Also impressed with Malcolm Thomas I think this kid sticks the roster. Takes the White Mamba's spot. I know he had a cup of coffee with the Spurs and thats always a good sign.

  • CYZC-lobber!!!! I already want a Cyzc jersey....:)

    Jimmy looked great in all aspects of the game last night. I agree that his game itself looked more well-rounded than Brewer's ever had....but it is just a summer league game and I would like to see him do this consistently before drawing any conclusions. It is encouraging...

    Argh....Teague, You know... once upon a time there was a point guard who struggled in the the summer league. He came in with high expectations and hope....and then proceeded to **** the bed. That point guard was D-Rose. Super Cool Beas stole the show in that Miami/Chicago game (...and that may be the highlight of his career). My point is that Teague will never be Rose...but summer league for a point guard can be as pointless as virginity to a Kardashian.

  • In reply to evilhoban:

    There was a reason Teague dropped to 29 and I can see why.

  • In reply to souleater7:

    Really after one summer league game? That counts more than his consistent development and improvement at the point for a top-flight program — including a solid NCAA tourney march to a championship? Yeah, I can see how a 19-year-old point guard with the "arsenal" around him this Bulls summer league team has should be judged based on this one outing.

  • In reply to kukoc4cocopuffs:

    I won't write off Teague as a bust, however, his sloppy play and poor shooting were par-for-the-course last season. His assist-to-turnover ratio was pedestrian given the talent around him, and his shooting percentages meager, as well.

    When teams made comebacks, it was by pressuring Teague into poor decisions or poor shots.

    Fortunately, those are both things that can be worked on through coaching and experience. You can't teach quick or 'guts'.

    My point in this is that if Teague does become a good player, it will take time; and I would expect some cringe-worthy performances from the get-go next season.

  • In reply to souleater7:

    I remember when Rose was being called a bust after his summer league. lol

  • In reply to Chad:

    I not calling anyone a bust I'm just saying he's not ready for the NBA. With Rose you knew he'd be great they just need to work with Teague and maybe he'll play better tonight and he'll show why they drafted him. I'm not saying he can't get better. But he's really gotta work on some things big time.

    Again I'm not saying he's a bust I'm just saying he's really raw.

  • Losing Korver is the big loss. One of the things the Bulls did well as a team was shoot the 3. I think they were ranked 4th in the league with 37% fg. Butler can fill in well for Brewer and Kirk can be the better decision maker at the backup point. They still need to fill in that Korver role, maybe they opt to go for a combo-wing like Carlos Delfino who can fill in for the injury duo of Rip and Deng.

    Seeing the summerleague game, Teague needs alot of work, looks kind of smallish, he got totally lit up like a christmas tree on defense but we should give him time to develop. Butler looked good, attacks that rim, something that the Bulls team lacked last year. Butler is a good athlete as well. Ronnie Brewer doesn't dribble as well nor can he finish at the rim. Butler will be the better player, I have no doubt about that. Malcolm Thomas is kind of smallish for a powerforward at 6'8" but he has high energy, plays with passion. The Bulls better not let themselves get Asiked again, keep this guy on the roster for flexibility, just in case Taj wants 10 million+ and won't sing extension. Bulls can then move him at the trade deadline for draft pick/young wing. Henry Sims I like too, a legit 6'10" that I think the Bulls should take a look at, better than Powe who looked slow footed and barely can get off the ground. He's a good guy but I prefer the Bulls go with youthful athletic talent at the end of the bench.

  • WHAT - IN - THEE - HELL!?

    Invasion of the Body Snatchers II - alright, what did you alien bastards do with our Bulls fans watchdog and favorite blogger Doug Thonus?

    Look, we know this obligatory counter view is necessary for the long term viability of any media, entertainment, blogging enterprise. There's no faulting Doug here. He can't keep on with the funeral march as Bulls fans who come here are obviously interested in what positive developments might occurr. 'The day after' the calamity if you will. Bulls equated to the 2006 Mavs, Hinrich really isn't so bad etc. etc.

    Doug himself and many other die hard fans and regular posters including myself have made the point every which way of why and how Jerry Reinsdorf's cheapness just blew a huge opportunity right out of the water, and set us on the path to continued financial austerity.

    Simply put, if this were the Lakers, Boston, or Miami(at a time when they latched on to a superstar like Derrick Rose) nobody would be inferring the logic of, "hey we can't build up this team now to gain some cohesiveness with Derrick coming back full strength the following season because they won't be immediately contending." Or, "Well, Derrick and the fans no longer deserve an "all in" effort because he might not be the same player."

    That enabling logic has Chicago media and honestly many Jerry enabling fans written all over it. People have had plenty of time to be conditioned to "the Chicago Way(Sean Connery, Untouchables) which is the second city, lame ass way.

    OK, lets address the "Derrick may not be the same player" excuse. Derrick Rose has lost confidence in his jumper. That is the question about his future IMO, not his injury which 90% of the time with today's procedural success he will be very close to the same player. Though he won't be doing all these insane around the basket contortions any more which he should have not been doing so much anyway with proper guidance of a legit head coach, confidence in his jumper, and better offensive talent around him.

    It is fair to say Derrick with his injury history might not be a 10-12 years of greatness player. But if that is your enabling logic as to why after over a decade of post Jordan dues and huge, huge profits Bulls fans should not now be rewarded then that frankly is just a slap in the face to the same Bulls fans who have waited for that next star to come along. There's no way a team comitted to winning with Derrick and this solid core would not pay the tax NOW to seek that offensive infusion of talent this team desperately needs.

    That said, you could debate how to go about that goal. A unique opportunity existed IMO. Post MegaTax and with some momentum of huge ratiings with Derrick Rose in a Chicago size market, small market teams were willing to 'go along' so to speak. A bold move would have been to trade a very good but limited player in Luol Deng as a veteran presence for a young draft loaded team. Doug himself has acknowledged that a deal for a top 5-7 pick was out there for the taking. Teams in that range kept saying that they wanted the Bulls to take back salary. This clearly could hvae been accomplished by amnestying Carlos Boozer. The Bulls simply chose not to.

    If you watch the NBATV crew of NBA "insiders" the unanimous consensus was that Damian Lillard was thee sure fire offensive talent of this draft. And you heard the same opinion echoed across NBA blogs like Hoopsworld etc. Even with the inferior litmus test of the summer league you can see already some true offensive talent emerging in the same Damian Lillard, who was simply amazing against New Orleans. I mean, the moves he was making with contact and in traffic and the threes and long range shots he made to win that game were a very unusual for such a raw environment.

    Deng and taking on two years of $9-10 Mil in salary could have had that player. A Miami, a L.A. would spend the $5-7 Mil a year on Boozer's amnesty to get this dynamic talent. Plus Deng's salary woudd mitigate the impact of that bad contract money.

    Or at miimum you use Ronnie, C.J's and, Korver's options to pick up some early second round picks where NBA voices everywhere noted in a deep draft talent would fall. Talk about low risk high reward. Doron Lamb, Darius Johnson-Odom etc. the latter an NBA ready player by all ccounts.

    Look, we all know Jerry Reinsdorf is a cheap, greedy bastard who would trade all Bulls fans enjoyment of championships and years of scintillating talent for just one White Sox championship. Simply put, he just doesn't give a shit about Bulls fans relative to his beloved White Sox.

    I like the Doug analogy which went something like: to Reinsdorf, Bulls fans are like the co-worker you like well enough, but the White Sox are family you help any way you can including financially.

    I think that sums it up right there. Mega profits for over a decade post Jordan, and yet Bulls fans remain a luke warm priority for Jerry reinsdorf even with the talent and profit making presence of Derrick Rose. And nothing Doug says now or the rest of the summer is going to change any of this.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    And as far as Lillard goes, yes I know he doesn't "fill a need"(vomiting profusely at said conservative, small minded, loser misnomer), however a star talent ALWAYS fills a need. If you can't play Derrick at thw two long term, then you cash in by trading Lillard for that potent not geriatric but in his prime SG/Wing Derrick and the Bulls desperately need.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Reinsdorf could give 2 shits about us hardcore fans.

    Because he knows casual will fans will continue to show up in droves and sell out every game.

    If the Bulls fans really want to show their disapproval, they should voice their displeasure to David Stern and Michael Jordan.

    Why them two? Because basketball-crazed Chicago needs a 2nd professional basketball team here. The ONLY candidate I can see being successful is the team run by MJ...who, let's be honest, fans became Bulls fans because of.

    Why Stern? Because MJ can't move his team here without Stern's support. And since he and Reinsdorf go back decades, Stern doesn't want to cross him. But with him retiring soon, maybe Stern does it.

    This is the ONLY way Reinsdorf starts to care about us fans. There needs to be competition...otherwise, Reinsdorf will continue to run his team like the Pittsburgh Pirates, monopolizing all the profits.

  • They've clearly regressed from a team that was not title-worthy even when healthy, and aren't bad enough to go the Spurs-when-Robinson-was-injured route to land a secondary star via the draft to play alongside Rose.

    In all likelihood, they're a 6-8 seed next season, get another first round bounce, and have nothing to show for it on draft night. That will be 4 years in a row of lower-end draft picks, no titles, and no real talent brought in to surround Rose.

    Maybe Hell is too strong, but they surely aren't better than Purgatory at this point.

  • I'll tell you one other thing I wish would happen is that Dwight Howard would quit being such a bag, and go to L.A. I know Kobe's getting old, but with Howard I honestly wonder if Phil jackson would come back for one last cane toting hurrah. I know in reality Jackson's time has passed as Kobe's is as well, but still I would love to see at least some other team emerge besides young OKC to contest Miami i.e take them out. And though I do not like Kobe at all, seeing Decepticons Riley and Wade and Transfromer Artemus Prime(robothead) Lebron losing would be worth it.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    We're in the same boat. Just about every playoff team from this past season adjusted their team. Whether it was their core, youth,future or stars teams who are looking to compete now and later did something to improve their situation. Whether it was sheding bad cap or going into the luxury to afford talent. The Bulls front office watched 3 conference foes pass right by them in terms of potential and did nothing to improve. This team as constructed is very limited, has a middling ceiling and a coach that matches that. In today's NBA you either make moves to rebuild or make moves to compete but none of the top teams are ever standing still like the Bulls have chosen to do.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Dwight going to BKLN, LAC, or even DAL would be able to contest the Heat...but we all agree, ANYBODY to beat the Heat.

  • I have a question about the rules for extending the contract of 2nd round picks in contrast to extending 1st round picks.

    With Noah and Rose (and very soon Taj, imo) Bulls extended their contracts before their final season began. This ensured they would never become RFAs. Bulls tried to do the same with Gordon and Deng, but those players refused to extend and played out their last contract year to become RFAs. That didn’t work out very well as Bulls lost Gordon for nothing and overpaid Deng. Obviously, its better for Bulls to extend early and not let their draft picks become RFAs, if at all possible imo.

    <b.Since Asik was a 2nd round pick on a 2-year contract, could Bulls have extended Asik after his first season? In other words, immediately after the lockout ended, could Bulls have offered Asik a multi-year extension and gotten him resigned and not let Asik go to RFA?

    I ask because I heard nothing in the media about Bulls offering Asik a contract extension before last season began. Did Bulls simply gamble that Asik wouldn’t get a lucrative offersheet, perhaps hoping he wouldn’t even get an MLE ($5mil) type offer, and lose that gamble?

  • In reply to Edward:

    I've been wondering about this as well. Can anyone answer this?

  • In reply to Edward:

    Yes, they could have. They could have offered Asik a 5yr deal for $25mil ($5mil per...max they could pay).

    We don't know for sure if they did, but if we didn't hear anything rumor about it, I'm going to say they never offered it.

    I'm basing this off of everybody talking about how the Knicks never offered Lin an offer and they let him test FA, and well, he eventually got a deal NYK didn't want to match.

    Maybe the Bulls thought nobody was going to pay a 7'0 defensive stud $8mil per, but the Bulls were just dumb. If they do the same thing with Taj thinking 'nobody will pay him $8-9mil per'...I would not be surprised.

    For the record, I think the Bulls need to offer Taj a $8-9mil deal this upcoming season and NOT let him his FA. Taj WILL get more than that if he hits FA, especially if he gets more than the 20min he got last year.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    with the Bulls looking like they are on the verge of losing Asik, they probably will botch the Gibson contract extension situation. The Bulls should amnesty Boozer next summer to make room for Gibson but they will never do it, they will only amnesty him the last year(in the summer of 2014). I guess that they even consider using the amnesty is a miracle. I have no faith they can extend Taj Gibson so I'm at least hoping they trade him at the deadline for a potential high draft pick and keep Malcolm Thomas on board to give us a little bit of the shotblocking and rebounding we lose with Taj gone. The key again is not to get Asiked when many teams are coveting our bigs(Taj, Noah and Asik) No one wants Boozer unless they send you trash back.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Well if this is true Bulls are at fault for allowing Asik to go to RFA without offering him and extension after his first season.. Hell, they spent three 2nd round picks on the guy and then let him become an RFA - DUMB!

    Bulls should get Taj signed to an extension before the season begins - and if Taj won't sign - TRADE HIM IMMEDIATELY. Don't go to RFA. This is what Bulls should have done with Asik, either extend him or trade him. But don't let them go to RFA.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I'm not completely sure, but I believe that since Asik wouldn't even have early bird rights at that point, they would have had to use their MLE to extend him, which they had used on Rip Hamilton, so extending Asik was only possible if he was willing to accept a minimum contract.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    It is an interesting question. I wonder if anyone else can offer some insight on this issue - the difference between extending a 2nd round pick compared to extending a 1st round pick.

  • Yeah Doug you are actually making me side with RoadWarrior... You are being extremely generous in saying the Bulls are treading water IMO.

    Bench has been gutted. (You can say Watson is offset by Kirk but looks like Korver, Asik, Brewer and JL3 are gone with no offsets in sight). Bulls won most of their games last season with depth. They won't have that. Say what you will about JL3 being a chucker but the guy single handedly won us atleast 4-5 games including against the heat. How many vet min guys can say that? Not to mention we have added zero offensive talent to a team desperately in need of it! In fact we subtracted quite abit of our offensive talent in Korver, CJ and JL3 all whom are great 3 point shooters (near or above 40%). Major offensive talent drain I don't see how it could be called treading water...

    GarPax have completely failed to address a glaring need (scorer) and did it by rushing to sign their boy Klank. They could have added Jerryd Bayless or Aaron Brooks for the same price either of whom would likely have easily doubled the scoring output of Kirk. Instead they rush to add a unathletic defender to a team stacked with defenders. That is a major Fail.

  • In reply to Chad:

    I think you can take that JL3 comment and throw it out the door. He definitely did not single handedly win the Bulls 4 - 5 games last year, and there is no way he continues playing at a high level (if you consider what he did last year as a high level). He is a destitute man's Ben Gordon at best (and I hated Ben Gordon).

  • In reply to Cheese:

    If you hated Ben Gordon and you think JL3 is a poor man's Ben Gordon, that's on you.

    With the Bulls Ben Gordon was not only put up an efficient 20pts per game, but was a 6th man of the year.

    If you're arguing JL3 didn't single handedly win us games because this is a team sport where no 1 person does that, then you're just arguing semantics and technicalities.

    JL3 absolutely won us a few games because not only was he not afraid to take shots, but he made those shots.

    Obviously he's not going to be a starting PG, but the Bulls don't even want him back as a 3rd Emergency PG like he was last year?

    Well that probably has more to do with them not wanting to pay him his Vet-Min of $1mil when they can pay a rookie the Vet-Min of $500k.

  • I'm serious I really like Malcolm Thomas I know it's just SL but I think this dude is a bench player in the league. He'd be great for the Bulls bench.

  • How about Phil Jackson replacing that cock sucker, Thibs? I suspect big Jerry has that in mind. One man I know who would welcome that is Noah after his experiences with that oaf the last two seasons.

    I'm not surprised by the deadlock in the contract situation between management and that glorified assistant. If he's so pompus and overbearing now, imagine what he would be like with a new contract where management is locked in.
    He abused Noah and tried to destroy his confidence during his (Thibs') two years here. In fact he almost ended Noah's career a few months ago.
    I'm sure Kareem will tell Noah to ignore the fool.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    The reason why Thibs is upset with his contract offer is because the he feels the Bulls are low-balling him (whatever the offer is).

    With their track record of paying (or not paying) coaches, do you really think Thibs is in the wrong here?

    And if they're not going to pay Thibs, do you really think they're going to pay Phil Jax $10+mil?

    I don't think so.

  • 1) Edward asked some good questions about an Asik extension and 2nd round picks, their contracts and extensions. Anyone know the answers?

    2) Souleater 7 and Doug, as talent evaluators, have totally different opinions on Brewer versus Butler. We will see this season who is correct.

    3) However, either way, the Bulls did need to find out, which could not happen with Thibs keeping Butler on the bench. I recall a number of posters during the last season complaining about this, and I too thought it was a mistake. Even with a 20-pt lead, he kept Butler on the bench! Lunacy.

    Here's the point: keeping a prospect out of games is not in the long-term interests of the team! You need to find out in they are going to be an asset. If not, you cut them and replace them; but if so, you have to develop them.
    Thibs already implied he would not be playing Teague this year. He has a weakness in this area, and he cannot be analyzing what is best for the team.
    As has been noted many times before, Thibs also overworks players. To some extent, strong muscles protect joints, so tired muscles can lead to more injuries. Sic!
    This is a discovery year for Thibs. We know he is a defensive genius, but he has been unwise on key areas noted above. If he can adjust, he should be an HOF coach. If not, for the Bulls to reach their peak, he will need replacing. Just like some of the bench mob - great at times, lousy at other times. So, they got replaced.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Most top coaches dislike playing rookies. Phil Jackson didn't like rookies and rarely played them. Thibs got Jimmy Butler almost 9 mpg average in a shortened season with basically no training camp and almost no practice time between games. That is solid considering Deng never comes out of the game and you have Korver, Brewer and occasionally RIP ahead of him. Also its not like Jimmy Butler was lighting it up when he did play...

  • In reply to Chad:

    Like Chad said, to be fair to Thibs, no coaches plays rookies or young guys...except for Popps.

    But to be fair to common sense...in a shortened season, with a busted wrist, and having arguably the best bench in the league...Deng didn't need to play 40+min.

  • Theres a rumor that the Bulls are the front runner to sign Darko Milic...REALLY??? I guess that means he's Signing elsewhere cause the Bulls are dumb founded this off season. I've never witnessed a team that needed so much do absolutely nothing but let players leave for nothing.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Darko(???) and Kirk. Well, I guess that's one way to make sure you get a couple of the players from the 2003 draft class signed as FAs.

    U-G-H!!

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Sounds bad, but there stats are not all that different. Asik is the better player without a doubt, but for reserve minutes Darko might be the smarter option. I love Asik's defense, but that is a tough contract. Hope that if they don't resign Asik, that they get Darko signed first. I don't know what he did in today;s game, but I hope they sign Simms as a third center. He looks slow but he looks like a good rebounder and had a nice face up shot against the Celtics.

  • The newest rumor is, ORL is thinking about doing a 3-way with LAL and CLE where LAL gets Dwight, CLE gets Bynum, and ORL gets Varejao and Draft Picks?

    WTF?

    Varejao+Picks is just as dumb Lopez+Picks. But if they are that dumb or desperate, the Bulls need to get in on this 3-way, or deal with ORL straight up.

    If Noah+Deng+Picks can get us Dwight OR Bynum, Bulls need to get in on this. But of course, they won't.

    Hey, but at least they'll let Asik walk and sign Darko.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    i just can't believe that rumor to be true.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Orlando has apparently decided that they want nothing but a ton of draft picks. They don't want a bunch of average players that will get them nowhere. They are going for the all or nothing, blow it up, start from scratch, the accelerated OKC model.

    They have no interest in Deng and Noah and probably never did.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    If this were true, Dwight would already be in HOU.

    Evidently, that isn't true.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    But what kind of picks are they going to get from Cleveland? Unless they are from other trades, Cleveland will not be that bad of a team if you have Irving, Waiters, Thompson, and Bynam. That is at least a playoff team. Orlando will pass on all the other offers so they can get Varejoe and a bunch of mid round picks???
    If Bulls offered Mirotic and the Charlette pick, I'd take that over the Cleveland deal.

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    Wow.Looks like someone from Bulls management has pulled Doug's ear.

  • Everytime I see someone trying to ship their whole team in exchange for that AIRHEAD who can't make free throws to save his life, I want to vomit!
    As is on display to the world, he's not in control of his own mind. Anyone who sees that childish grin by that nearly 7-foot tall man mountain would know they are dealing with a head case.
    That's Dwight Howard, my friend!

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    I don't like howard either, but I fear we are vastly out numbered on this issue.

  • The thing that chaps me,is not getting anything in return for Asik,Brewer,Watson and Korver. That really sucks but that was the card that Gar would face not dealing any of these guys last year. Jimmy Butler should play a nice role on this team this year. Last year with no summer league or training camp or even practice time throughout the year he never had a chance. The thing I see about this team this year that could really make this team a possible mediocre ball club is injuries. You could say this about any team but the Bulls have had the bug more than most lately and this team is not as deep as before.

  • I am utterly sick of Reinsdork and his cheapass crap. The Cows are dead to me.

  • Not only are they looking at Darko, but now they apperantly signed Radmonovich. I know he hit a bunch of threes against them in that one game, but seriously. I think I threw up in my mouth just now.

  • Bulls are run like a business and looking for the cheapest way out, much like businesses off-shore to India for cheap labor, the Bulls are off-shoring their open roster spots to guys who's names end in "ic" and come from Europe for the same reason...

  • I've got a few points to make about this, something no one seems to be acknowledging and I've been going back and forth with Jonathan Hood via twitter about this:

    We all know the Bulls can't sign players because of the cap situation and the luxury tax. So what do the Bulls do? They shed Korver, JLIII, CJ and Brewer. What they don't do is get rid of Boozer. Korver, JLIII, CJ (aside from the bungle in the playoffs) have all come up big in games and had helped the Bulls get to where they were and that was the best record in the league 2 years in a row, this season who knows what could have happened if Rose didn't get hurt. I think the Bulls would have been better off keeping 1 or 2 of these guys and dumping Boozer's contract with the amnesty provision.

    Both Boozer and Noah are getting paid way too much for that they do, sure Boozer puts up 15-18 its a night but he disappears in the big games. He disappears in crunch time. Who was in the games during the final minutes when the game was on the line? It wasn't Boozer and it wasn't Noah. These guys while they are productive aren't clutch and can't be counted on in the big moments. Boozer did have the one nice play at the end of one game to win it for the Bulls but he was wide open for a layup and got a beautiful pass. Had he missed that, he would have been run out of town.

    Anways, my point is I think the Bulls needed to shed some players and some salary but I think they need to shed the salaries of the guys who are getting paid too much for what they are producing. CJ had helped win games when Rose was out, JLIII stepped up and took it to LeBron and helped the Bulls beat the Heat when Rose was out. Korver has hit big shots. Brewer has played great defense... All while Boozer and Noah look on from the bench and collect their big fat pay-checks.

    And no, no one wants to trade for Boozer and his bloated salary, what does that tell you? Bulls should have amnestied him and got his salary off the books, even if they still had to pay him, it wouldn't have been much needed cap relief. Who would they then replace him with? Taj...

    Taj Gibson should be the Bulls starting forward. I think every analyst would agree with me on this. Taj is in the game during the final seconds, Taj is making big blocks, Taj is making big shots, Taj's 15' jumper is just as good as Boozer. Taj is a better finisher at the rim. Taj is a better rebounder. Taj is a better all around defender. Taj, Taj, Taj... Should be starting... Then go get a back-up PF cheap. Resign Korver or CJ or JLIII or Brewer, keep at least 2 of those guys who helped contribute.

    Then you have Noah, Noah isn't getting it done, as hard as he plays and as hard as he tries, he's just not getting it done. He hasn't been the same since two season's ago when he was the league's leading rebounder then got hurt. Now he has an ankle injury that has been going on for months, there is something more to that ankle then they are divulging. Come the beginning of the season you're looking at a Bulls team that will have a banged up Deng, banged up Noah and No Rose... Who's going to carry the load? Boozer? Bah! All the more reason not to subject payroll to Boozer's bloated contract. Let Taj get the start and let Taj developer into a beast. Using the same logic you are using right here for not bring Brewer back and letting Butler play. It's the same difference.

    Gar Forman said the Bulls were going to make basketball decisions not financial decisions. Well we all know he lied and we know there was no way that was going to happen. But not only did they make financial decisions, they made bad financial decisions, they would have been better off diversifying some of their payroll and promoting Taj...

    Why didn't they amnesty Boozer? Financial decision, not basketball decision, they didn't want to have to pay for cap relief and pay him to go away. Bad financial decision.

    Everyone on the radio, twitter, media, whatever is saying the Bulls have a 2 year plan yet they say they are not rebuilding... Whatever that means. If you are not looking to compete tomorrow and you are looking to the future, you are in a building phase one way or another.

    Now, let's take a look at this, Bulls could lose money paying Boozer to go away, Bulls could lose money going into the Luxury Tax, Bulls could lose money because season ticket holders opt out and attendance drops and merchandise sales drop because the Bulls are horrifically bad next year and no one wants to pay to go see them lose with no Rose on the court. Bull management is too overconfident right now. They have the season ticket waiting list built back up and now they think the money machine is on cruise control. It wasn't only 2 seasons ago, the season the Bulls went to the ECF, that there was no waiting list for season tickets and you could buy multi-game packs pretty cheap and you could buy tickets on Craig's List for less than face value... So the Bulls are going to lose money one way or another. They could have done it by trying to field a competitive team and put a good product on the court and try to go after it despite the odds or they could do it by alienating their fan base, gutting the team of the players that helped make this a great team and providing us with a 2 year plan and try to avoid using the term "rebuilding".

    Bulls chose to alienate their fan base.

    Have GarPax really done that well? Can you give them credit for getting Rose? That was luck. They did well with Taj and I believe Butler but they have done a horrible job with managing the payroll and getting big name free-agents to come in here. I think GarPax look like they have been more successful than they really are because of Derrick. The same way Krause looked like a genius because of Michael.

    My final thought is that the city of Chicago and the sports fans here deserve better. The fan base in this city deserves to have owners who don't rely on their teams for income. Cuban, Arison, Buss, these guys are mega wealthy and don't rely on their sports teams for income. McCaskey's and the investors in the group that own the Bulls do. They can't afford to take a loss, they can't afford to not make money on their teams. Meanwhile all these wealthy owners who don't get their income from their franchise are willing to pay the money that it takes to win and succeed. The Bulls are one of the most profitable sports teams in the country. They need to balance profitability with winning. They aren't "All-in", they aren't 100% committed. They are only in it as long as it's fiscally feasible. The same goes for the Bears.

    These teams are being run as a business that needs to show a profit. We know Reinsdorf is willing to pay the $$, he does it for the Sox. So why not for the Bulls? He's not the only owner, all the investors get a say and these investors need to see a return on their investment and who pays the price? The fans, Literally the FANS, because we buy the tickets, the concessions and merchandise. Sox fans stopped doing this and the team turned around... Bulls fans and Bears fans need to make these business feel the pinch. The good thing about running these teams as business is that it relinquishes power to the consumer, provided the consumer knows this, which most don't grasp this concept.

    Bulls are going to lose money one way or another, they should have chose to do it by putting the best product on the court that they could have instead of putting the cheapest product on the court and alienating the fan base.

  • People like Jonathan Hood and Doug here want to argue that we still have our starters, well that's great, too bad it wasn't the starters that got the Bulls through the tough spots when the game was on the line. The Bulls had the #1 or #2 producing bench in the league for the last 2 seasons. There were many games when the bench out performed the starters. This wasn't a Bulls team that had 5 starters who were far superior than their bench, this was a Bulls team who had 5 starters, some of which were only "starters" because of their salary. There wasn't a huge drop off in talent between the starters and the bench, in fact some of these bench guys could go on to be starters other places. The Bulls realistically had 8 - 9 starters. So gutting the bench of this team isn't like gutting the bench of Charlotte or Golden State or New Orleans or Miami or Indy or Milwaukee. I may go back and do this myself because no one seems to want to figure it out but I'm willing to bet the bench was accountable for contributing 40% of all statistics, assists, rebounds, blocks, scoring, steals, 3pointers, free throws, etc.. I'm also willing to bet the bench had a higher shooting percentage both from 3pt range, short jumpers and at the rim.

  • I personally think the Bulls are going to position themselves to get Jabari Parker in 2014. This also seems to coincide with the plan that they won't be competitive again until 2014.

  • Uh, has someone forgot D.R.'s KNEE???? Several people have said the smart move is to hold him out for the next season.

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    You lost me when you said Ronnie Brewer is a real solid mid-range shooter. Really? Brewer a solid mid-range shooter? LOL. Brewer was one of my favorite Bulls players during his time here and he is a beast on defense, but let's be real now..this dude was missing dunks and you say that he's a solid mid-range shooter? lol.

    Then you're trying to say that Jimmy Butler might not be all that great or might not improve that much when he barely got any playing time last year? While I do agree with some of what you're saying, you literally just made me laugh when you said that nonsense about Brewer being a solid mid-range shooter.

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