Weekend madness and the latest on Derrick Rose.

The Chicago Bulls split the weekend games beating the Jazz off of Marco Belinelli's heroics and falling to the Lakers behind the struggles of Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer to score.

Is it odd that going into a typical game I frequently have higher expectations of Belinelli and Robinson than Boozer and Deng when it comes to scoring? I'm more disappointed when the two guys making a combined three million can't outscore the two guys making a combined 27? It shows the state of this team in its offense that even if that thought is somewhat irrational [Beli + Nate don't typically outscore Boozer + Deng even when all four are starting], it's not entirely crazy.

Against the Lakers only Robinson was able to score with anything close to resembling efficiency (19 on 19 shots). Belinelli scored 11 on 15 shots, Boozer 12 on 16 and Deng 11 on 16. That's not going to get it done for the four guys carrying the offense load right now. Joakim gave the Bulls 18 on 12 shots, but it's simply not enough when your scorers all become chuckers for the night.

Granted, I doubt I was alone in feeling the Bulls had little hope against a hot Lakers team with half the roster injured. It's a small miracle when they win any game with Hinrich, Hamilton, Gibson, and Rose out while Noah plays through 40 minutes a night of pain with plantar fasciitis.

Marco Belinelli provided that miracle on Friday night against the Jazz drilling his third game winner of the season by knocking down a three point shot with around five seconds to go to put the Bulls up one. The best part of the play is that Belinelli is initially in front of the three point line, but jumps backwards as the pass is coming so that he lands behind the three point line when taking the shot.

I'm going to call that move the anti-Deng in some light jest about the guy who takes more shots with his feet within 6 inches of the three point line than any player in the NBA [okay, I admit, he's been much better in the Thibodeau era, but it takes a long time for me to get over the fact he spent years launching shots that were six inches away from being threes at low efficiency to try and get two points].

The Bulls are simply drifting through the season at this point. There's no way they're going to miss the playoffs. Toronto (9th) has 39 losses already and clearly is in no danger of winning out to make things close. The race now is to stay out of the 8th spot and a first round matchup against the Heat.

The Bulls will likely struggle in the first round if Rose doesn't come back regardless of whom they play, but they'd have a shot against anyone they go up against outside of Miami even sans Rose. With Derrick back they become the favorite in the first round regardless of which seed they end up with [at least assuming Rose can play the game reasonably well even if not at his peak].

So what's going on with D Rose?

Peter Vescey stirred the pot by claiming that Derrick Rose missed practice with a "likely unexcused" absence as retaliation for the Bulls leak about his medical status focused on pressuring Derrick to play again. I haven't heard the story repeated, confirmed, or denied though, and Peter Vescey is known to make up crap to stir the pot. [edit BullsBlogger just noted that the Bulls said it was an excused absence for a dental appointment, though seems odd that you'd have a dental appointment in the middle of a road trip no? So it's not out of the realm of possibility that this is some Bulls spin that said see note about Vescey making stuff up]. Then on Sunday Derrick continues his recent trend of only talking to the national guys and discusses how his hamstrings are on fire after practice every game and that's keeping him out.

The Bulls issued an official statement as well discussing how they have no rift between themselves and Rose's camp. In the end, this reminds me of the tension built up by house guests who've stayed a bit too long. Everyone is on edge and feeling pressure and kind of want the saga to just end. As soon as it does we'll forget all these petty things even happened, but no one wants to sit in this situation.

At some point, there has to be a drop dead date for Derrick to return. No one has mentioned it, but I don't think the Bulls would bring him back just for the playoffs. Nor do I think they'd bring him back with three games left and the playoffs. I think 10 games back prior to the playoffs seems like a reasonable stretch for him to play through and see what he has. It also conveniently happens that there are 10 games in April. Humans love to round things, so my guess is that if Rose can't go by March 31st against the Pistons that we're not going to see him.

If so, we're three weeks away from seeing Derrick play or knowing that he won't. We'll have to hope that his hamstrings [and every other part of his body] cooperate.

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  • Seems to me Rose is talking to the national media for his own personal reasons. Probably because the chicago media and fans seems to panic 90% of the time and are very sensitive about when Rose returns. This entire situation if people just dont leave this story alone is going to end on a very bad note imo. And JVG blasting the Bulls FO for not spending for the right players for this team on national television was very entertaining. Like I've said before in the past, I'm not a fan of JVG but i agreed with him on this and a lot of fans and media alike need to stop being butt kissers of the Bulls management. A lot of people say what could the team had done to sign or bring free agents to the Bulls? Make trades, its not that difficult to bring in other players or guys from the draft with tbe assets that the Bulls had last year. There has to be a blueprint in order to build a championship team and right now the Bulls dont have one in place.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I like JVG he calls it how he sees it un like most the PC commentators. Loved hearing him bash the FO especially after Steve Kerr recently did one of their games and spewed his love for how great John Paxson is and what an incredible job he is doing.

    That caused me physical pain.

  • Deng is shooting 42.2% and 30.3% from three this season. He hasn't shot 50% or over since February 22nd (and only twice did he do that in February). The man is breaking down. There's almost no way the team should resign him with a clear conscience in two off-seasons.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    He's been closer to 35% since the first of the year.

    If he miraculously becomes a 3 time fake all star next season, you can book it that the Bulls will massively overpay him(again) for another four years.

    Maybe the eastern conference GM's have pulled a scam on us by telling their coaches to vote Deng to the all star game to handicap our long term cap situation.

  • What is this? An episode of 'Smash'? What a chorus of sissies. What's next, a bad hair day?

  • So while watching the game on tv Friday night I noticed Neil & Stacy making a big deal about the promotion at the home game on March 21 v. Trailblazers. They were hyping it up as the "Derrick Rose" Growth Chart giveaway night. They were adding extra emphasis on the "Derrick Rose" part. On the Bulls website it just says growth chart for the giveaway that night. Anyone else notice this? Seems like a hint, but we will see.

  • Former POR Asst. GM and now ESPN's personal salary capologist Tom Penn is on record stating the Lakers will be on hook for $85mil in tax penalties, and that doesn't include the $100mil in payroll.

    He said he doesn't believe the Lakers will continue to keep that payroll because despite their new TV deal, they'll lose money. Losing money isn't a big deal until you start considering the sole source of income for the Buss's are the Lakers, and compound that with an estate tax (something like 50%) the children will have to pay to retain their father's team.

    Anyway, what did this have to do with us? Penn said if the Lakers can't trade Pau for draft picks and significantly less salary back (my guess is a below salary cap team), they'd be willing to amnesty Pau outright.

    ESPN LA beat reporter Ramona Shelburne tweeted the Bulls could be a good trade partner suggesting 1) Deng+Picks+Possibly Butler (minus Butler and it should be a no brainer), 2) Boozer+picks (although she thinks that's less likely).

    No matter what happens, the Bulls should start planning for 2013 as opposed to 2014, when half the league is setting themselves up for the 2014 FA chase, just like they did in 2010 and we ended up overpaying for the remaining lesser talented FAs.

    If the Bulls won't Amnesty Boozer, then package a pick with him and pawn his entire salary off to a below salary cap rebuilding team who wants to accumulate picks (like CLE has been doing). Then trade Deng for a SG like Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans, or some other capable shot-creator or playmaker.

    Then use any remaining cap to fill Deng's spot. Tony Allen, Corey brewer, Ronnie Brewer, etc. And you know we all love Taj, but if we can flip him for a lesser talents defensive big like Darrell Arthur or Jordan Hill (3-way), it will save us even more money.

    I hate that all the moves i suggested are done so with financial ramifications in mind, but that's what happens when your team is run like a small market franchise...you have sacrifice assets to save money. And for the record, the only untouchable on this team is Rose, but Unless we can get Dwight (only if he wants to here) or Marc Gasol (I don't see them moving him), Noah is untouchable as well.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    I don't think anyone would give you a legit starting SG for Deng.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Maybe the bucks would give up ellis and one of their big men for deng. they most likely will re-sign reddick.

  • In reply to rob32:

    I like Monta, but not for this team. He doesn't play any defense for my liking.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Although it doesn't sound quite right to me, salary cap guru Larry Coon stated that the Lakers could reduce their luxury tax payment in half(from $85 million to $42.5 million) just by amnestitizing Ron Artest. Artest only makes $7.7 million so that number seems high, but if the Lakers pay the repeaters tax next year the Artest money would be in the 4-5 multiplier, so $30-35 million seems possible. Including his salary could get the total savings to around $42.5 million.

    With an amnesty of Artest, the Lakers would be in need of a starting small forward, which is where Luol Deng comes in. The problem is that the Bulls are already tax payers for next season so they cannot take back more than 125% of Deng's salary($14.3 million after July 1rst) or $17.875 million, $16.62 million before July 1rst. Gasol makes $19.3 million, so the Bulls would have to send out another salary around $1.2-2 million. The Bulls don't have that salary on next years roster, Teague and Butler are a bit below the threshold. Maybe they could do Brick where he counts as $5 million but the Lakers cut him and only pay him $1 million.

    In any event, I don't see any reason for the Bulls to include additional assets to the Lakers when they are the ones looking to dump salary and Gasol is an expiring salary. Gasol for Deng and Brick straight up, I have to think give it serious thought, even though it is only a one year rental for the Bulls, and Thibs would lose his security blanket. We should be able to get a better long term asset for a 2 time all star.

    As for Bozo, as I've been saying for over a year now, I still think we should talk to the Wiz about Emeka Okafor. They need a starting power forward who can score, both of which Bozo is reputed to be. The deal works straight up, the Bulls save a couple bucks next season and Okafor expires, saving the Head cheapskate the $16.8 million in Bozo's final season. Personally, I'd take Okafor over Bozo anyday, anyway.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    A lot of the league are scared of the luxury tax penalties, and if we (CHI) and LAL are planning to dump salary, I don't see WAS trying to add on salary (Okafor is $14.5mil for 1 more year, Boozer is an average of $15.5mil for 2 more years)....although I would like Boozer for Okafor.

    Heck, WAS turned down Harden for Beal because they knew Harden was going to be owed a max deal and they didn't want to pay him...although WAS would be in the playoff race right now even with Wall and Nene missing half the season.

    Anyway, you're right with Deng+Rip for Pau SHOULD be a fair deal, and if LAL amnesties Metta...the amount of money saved, while making their team more balanced and better makes sense.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Deng's on an expiring contract just like Gasol is, not sure how much more you expect to be able to get for him. Anyone who takes on either of them is getting a 1 year rental with no guarantees after that.

    Deng would be a much better fit for the Lakers at the 4, he'd do well in the Marion role of a D'Antoni system. I think they'd be all over a Gasol for Deng swap once they tie Howard up to an extension (the only reason Gasol is still around is a hedge against Howard bolting). I'd suggest they should be throwing in a pick even, but they don't have any until after the heat death of the universe because of the trades they've made.

    I like Okafor, and if he'd sign a reasonable deal in 2014 then maybe he's someone the Bulls should consider along side a wing signing with the space Deng opens up, as a Noah/Gibson/Okafor rotation fits what the Bulls do. But I don't really see how the Bulls get him before then, the Wiz aren't taking on an extra year in Boozer.

  • Sadly, I am with you on the Belli/Nate vs Deng/Bozo sentiments.

    It is likely a product of perception relating to salary, but feels real non the less.

    I also agree with you on Rose, he needs at least 10-11 games, which means the home game against Detroit on the 31st of March, or the road game against the Wiz on April 2nd.

    From the little that we have seen of him, he does not look physically ready to return, will that change over the next 3 weeks, for Bulls fans that is the question.

  • Watching Sports Talk Live, I fogot about Thibs and JVG being buddies and JVG sounding off on Bulls management about not spending to being the right players to build around Rose. Maybe nothing to it but interesting and something to think about. I can just hear Thibs talking to JVG and telling him...those cheap bastards don't want to spend necessary money to bring in the right players for this team.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    That is an interesting perspective. A defensive guru has got to lament the loss of Asik.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    And don't forget this was all done while they were trying to lowball Thibs on his new deal.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Yeah forgot about that too.

  • Bulls can't even convince Lou Amundson to stay. How can they lure any significant free agents?
    http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/lou-amundson-to-sign-new-orleans-hornets-

    I would have traded Deng last off-season. I fear Bulls lost their opportunity to get some value back for Deng as Deng now has only 1 season remaining on his contract. Will Bulls pull the trigger this June?

  • Just a note off topic....I was at dinner downtown Charlotte tonight, and started talking basketball with the people next to us. After this guy learned I was a Bulls fan, he started tearing into the team and Rose. At that point I felt obliged to rip the Celtics apart, including telling him that the Celtics were finished yet but didn't know it yet. I later learned that he was an assistant coach for the Celtics, Jay Larranaga. Pretty funny. He didn't anything to say about their record drastically improving w/o Rondo.

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