Noah triple doubles the Bulls past the Timberwolves

Noah triple doubles the Bulls past the Timberwolves

The Chicago Bulls won the toughest remaining game on the schedule, a road contest against the talented Minnesota Timberwolves. However, with the Timberwolves missing Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin, a bit of their bite was missing.

The Toronto Raptors held serve with a home win over the Philadelphia 76ers, so the Bulls and Raptors are still tied up at 46-32 with four games each to play. To come out of tonight still tied is a victory for Chicago though given that the Timberwolves were the biggest hurdle left on their schedule and the home game against Philly was likely the easiest game left on the Raptors schedule.

Hot three point shooting kept the Bulls alive in a lackluster first half where the Bulls were dominated on the glass and went through a couple deep cold spills. Despite a poorly played half, the Bulls managed to hang around, and the Timberwolves only took a five point lead into the half.

Joakim Noah came alive in the second half.

Noah hadn't had a near triple double for four straight games and decided to end that streak by recording one tonight. His passing was truly brilliant as he hit cutters for open layups all night long. Sometimes you get assists by just touching the ball, but tonight, Noah did a great job of making precise passes through traffic for easy buckets for his teammates.

The Bulls started off in a huge rebounding hole against the Timberwolves, but Noah's second half effort on the glass helped to stop the bleeding and gave the Bulls a big second half advantage on the glass which helped allow them to pull away. He was aggressive with his offense as well getting some key buckets for Chicago.

D.J. Augustin and Kirk Hinrich were both hot from the field combining for 37 points on just 23 shots to drive the offense. They did plenty of their damage in the high efficiency zones, knocking down six threes and hitting numerous other shots at the basket. When the Bulls get this type of offense out of their PGs, they become very difficult to stop.

Bulls sign the canary

Mike James will sign with the Bulls today providing another body at PG. To some, this signals the end of the Derrick Rose come back hope that some fans are still holding on.

To me, it signals that the Bulls don't feel comfortable through Jimmer Fredette out there at PG. Personally, I'd take my chances with Jimmer over James, but I can't imagine why the Bulls need a fourth PG if Chicago felt the same way.

Tom Thibodeau relentless holds on to players even if the rest of us think they stink. My guess is whether or not Jimmer would play better than James that Thibodeau lobbied to bring James back because he feels more comfortable.

The Bulls may also have felt they owed James a favor.

Lou Amundsen also returns to Chicago

Amundsen did very little in his first stretch with Chicago, but the market for unsigned big men who are playoff eligible isn't all that deep.

The Bulls likely signed Amundsen for similar reasons to James, he knows the system (at least somewhat) and has some familiarity with his teammates. The Bulls could definitely use an extra big man just for the fouls in some situations, but odds are that Amundsen never plays a meaningful minute.

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  • Has Klove turned into Miroric with a X3 salary? Just shooting the deep ball while every other big went down low and abused the Booze? I'll take Gordon Haywood for my pipe dream!

  • In reply to retrodman:

    I thought Love had a down night for two reasons: 1) he was gassed from playing SA the night before, and 2) Noah and Taj were in his face much of the night. Noah got a lot of praise for his triple-double but surprisingly was not given a lot of credit for defending Love. If Boozer were on Love he would have been abused by Kevin all night.

    I live about 10 minutes from the Target Center and see a ton of TWolves games. Love is a double-double machine. Great shooter, rebounder, passer. IMO he would be a perfect fit for the Bulls. With Rose and Noah, they would be the best big three in the NBA. Mirotic is OK but he does not have the same skills, toughness and desire that Love has. The guy is a beast, notwithstanding his below average performance last night.

  • Definitely was not a good game for Kevin Love, that said, I don't know what there really is to like about Gordon Haywood. He reminds me of a young Mike Dunleavy Jr. A nice piece, but definitely not a difference making one.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I like Hayward a lot and I think he would be a good fit in the Bulls system. Does a bit of everything and does it well. He is smart and a leader. But he will no doubt be in the $10-14M range and the Bulls won't be able to afford him.

    Considering the money the Bulls will have to spend on a small forward after amnestying Boozer (not a foregone conclusion, however) there are a couple of players who I believe will be affordable and I think will be FAs. They are Shawn Marion and Trevor Ariza. Both are versatile, play defense, and can hit an open three. Marion is long in the tooth but he can still play. Let's be clear, these guys are not ideal but I drive a Camry instead of a BMW for a reason.

    As for the draft the guys who are on my radar are Hood, Young, and McDaniels. McDermott will be gone.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I'd take Hayward if we could afford him. My theory is that the Bulls need either a combo guard or point forward who can play with Rose if he's healthy, or pick up some of the slack if he's permanently limited. Without going into too many stats, Hayward and Lance Stephenson are the two guys who fit my criteria for that role, and Stephenson is an idiot.

  • Doug, you gotta watch more GH. Perfect for for the Bulls. System player, hustle, spot up
    Shooter but able to play make as well. And we deal with Utah enough to make me dream they'd take some sweet package. Kid would put us right there. Love doesn't play D, and I doubt he's got Bulls heart. Plus expensive and shown a bit of promo-donna. Rose, Jimmy, haywood, Taj and Noah is best 5 in NBA.

  • In reply to retrodman:

    Can't say I've watched him much, but his statistics are very poor this year for a scorer. Low TS% on pedestrian volume.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    True, but the Jazz are awful this year. He was much better just a year ago on a better team, so I think he'd thrive with the Bulls.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I have to agree with you Love even at the max is a far better player than Hayward at Luol Deng money. In fact is Hayward even as good as Deng? I like the Dunleavy analogy, maybe he is slightly better than that.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Which, as stated above makes him perfect for the Bulls.

  • Today seems like the perfect time to comment on what total buffoons Stacey and Neil are. It is one thing to be homers, which they are(by far not the worst in the league) but sometimes you even wonder if they know anything about the game or the Bulls.

    Case in point, at about the 7 minute mark of the 3rd bozo picked up his fourth foul. King almost had a heart attack saying that Thibs had to get him out of the game that second to protect him. When Taj didn't come in for him at the next break, he went nuts again. Bozo then picked up his 5th foul with about 3 minutes remaining. King went nuts again, got to get him out immediately, can't have him foul out. Then Taj came in for Noah as he always does and King was beside himself. Then with less than 6 seconds to go in the quarter and the wolves shooting free throws Funk chimed in saying that Thibs had to get bozo out of the game so that he didn't foul out, which of course Thibs didn't since bozo only had 6 seconds of playing time left for the night.

    Are either of these guys paying attention at all. The Hole plays the entire first and third quarters and thats it, been that way for a couple of months now. If he fouls out in the third quarter, so what, Thibs isn't saving him for crunch time, he has less of a chance of playing in the fourth quarter than Jimmer does.

    King can be funny at times, and I generally enjoy his schtick, but I like some level or accuracy and awareness of reality from my announcers.
    How hard would it have been for either guy to have stated the obvious, pieceofshitzer is such a pieceofshit that Thibs couldn't care less if he fouls out or not. Now that would have been epic reporting.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I agree with you (I was actually hoping he would foul out so I could laugh at him getting six fouls in 24 minutes), but I can see why it would be a concern. If Boozer fouled out and then Gibson got in foul trouble ( I don't know how many fouls he had) they would be screwed. Maybe Dunleavy would have to play the 4?

  • As much as I enjoyed Noah's triple double, and DJ's scoring, my biggest takeaway from this game is the Bulls continuing problems rebounding the ball.

    It is a problem at both ends, but you can live with/still win without great offensive rebounding, but you cannot do so with defensive rebounding problems. To me the Bulls are just not putting the physical or mental effort into rebounding right now. It is up to Thibs to figure out why. Basically they are all rebounding like they've been watching instructional videos from the Ben Gordon school of rebounding. I.E. when the shot goes up you immediately turn around and stare at the rim while planting your feet firmly in concrete while hoping that the ball hits you in the face.

    I guess that it is not an NBA thing, but nobody on the Bulls is even thinking about blocking out anybody. Blocking out is at least 50% of rebounding from a team perspective. Even if you don't get the rebound yourself you allow your teammate to get it by preventing the opponent from waltzing in to get easy uncontested rebounds. Rebounding is about effort, wanting it more than the other guy, moving your feet, using your whole body to attach the rebound not passively waiting for the ball to come to you or reaching for it while standing still.

    We are winning games, but I think that we are lulling ourselves into a false sense of security, all is not well, and that will become painfully obvious on day one of the playoffs against the Nets, who just completed a 4 game season sweep of Miami. I doubt that has happened in the big 3 era.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I also feel the team is not playing particularly well relative to how successful they've been either.

    That said, the rebounding in the second half was very good, the first half was just atrocious.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Our rebounding has been sub-par over the last 6 games without a doubt- but hopefully it's just a case of the team winning so easily that we haven't needed the boards too bad.

    We've won 6 in a row, by 5, 14, 13, 12, 18, and 15 points. We've scored 101 pts/game (7.5 over our season average) and only allowed 88.2 (3.4 less than our average).

    Our OffRtg has been 114.0, which would be #1 in the league (and is 11.7/100 possessions higher than our season average).

    Our DefRtg has been 99.5, which is better than our #2 overall season average of 100.3/100 possessions.

    So while I agree with you that the rebounding is a concern, hopefully it's just a case of the team winning so easily that they are slacking a little on the boards.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    The offense hasn't been as brutally painfull to watch as it can be at times, but I am surprised by that 114 number, that is damn near elite level, even if it is only for a short stretch of games.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    You should be surprised, because that 114 is probably wrong, as I found out last night.

    I did the simple math from the box scores at Basketball-Reference.com, added our points over the last 6 games (606), divided by the pace (531.7), which gives you offensive rating.

    But according to Stats.NBA.com, their Off Rtg over the last 6 games is 108.7- still a big improvement for this team, but obviously nowhere near 114.

    So I looked, and BR.com has our pace at (531.7/6) 88.62 over the last 6 games, while NBA.com has it at 92.42, a fairly significant difference. Shouldn't the formula for pace be the same at every site??

    Of course, it goes both ways, BR has our DefRtg at 99.5 over the last 6 games, NBA.com has it at 95.9

    For the season:
    NBA.com- OffRtg 99.5 DefRtg 97.6
    B-R.com - OffRtg 102.3 DefRtg 100.3

    This really pisses me off, because I use B-R's stats service on Bullsville.net, and now I'm certainly reconsidering that decision.

  • maybe James is back so he can be in a player/coach role? Don't really see any other reason for it. I'd be shocked if he played a second before the final two minutes of any game. I'm disappointed that Jimmer hasn't worked out. I was hoping he could play a few minutes a game and just shoot. Oh well.

  • This Tribune article hints at what I've suspected for a long time. Bulls may not amnesty Boozer just to unload him as many on this blog desire. Instead, Bulls may attempt to use Boozer as salary match in a trade package for a high salary player. In other words, Bulls will pursue the Trade route instead of the pure Free Agency route this off-season.

    Likely, Bulls will offer the MLE to Mirotic and leave it up to him - this year or next, his choice. But to amnesty Boozer just to create cap space for Mirotic is an inefficient use of assets as Bulls already control Mirotic, there is no asset gain by this route. Bulls would lose the MLE if they amnesty Boozer.

    Also, Bulls appear unwilling to gut the roster to create max cap space for a big FA signing. In addition to amnestying Boozer, the max cap space route would likely require dumping Taj Gibson and Mike Dunleavy and possibly more. Because as cap-expert Larry Coon pointed out a couple months ago, amnestying Boozer and releasing Eric Murphy would give Bulls only $8.6 million of salary cap space.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/basketball/bulls/ct-veteran-signees-bulls-spt-0411-20140411,0,3884650.story

  • In reply to Edward:

    Is it really even news that the Bulls would rather trade Boozer than amnesty him? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the reason everyone wants to see him get amnestied is because they can't trade him?

    The Bulls FO is just covering all their bases, which is what all the great front-offices do. The amnesty period is during the July moratorium, just like the free agency period.

    It WAS a great idea to add 3 non-guaranteed contracts to use in a sign and trade (or a regular trade where a team is looking to dump salary, obviously. But I don't think KC's article tells us anything we didn't already know.

    Feel free to correct me if I'm missing something, of course.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I think what you are missing, of course, is that a truly "great FO" would not have signed Bozo in the first place for $75M.

    Yes, one can make the argument that Boozer was the last big name FA standing that year but a "great FO" could have made the strategic decision to pass on a player with a history of injuries and was always a bad defender. Does that make the Bulls FO bad? I don't think so. They made a decision that many other NBA teams would have made in the same situation that year. However, would Pat Riley have signed Boozer if Bosh turned down the Heat?

    My point is that if I were on a committee to name a "great FO" in the past 10 years I wouldn't select a team whose two big-ticket FAs in that time period were named Wallace and Boozer.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    If you scrutinized all FOs as you do the Bulls, there would be almost no "great FOs" from the last 10 years. That stated, you simply can't include any team that hasn't won a title.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I suppose you are right in that I have been a Bulls fan from the very beginning (before that a Packers/Zephers fan) and I scrutinize them closely because of my attachment to them. I don't have the same commitment nor time for other teams. Having said that, because I live in MN I follow the TWolves and can accurately state that the David Kahn era was a disaster.

    IMO there are some really good FOs, some that have won titles and others that have not. Clearly San Antonio and Miami are elite, as much as I hate Riley. But I think you also have to put Larry Bird, Morey and and the OKC guy in the top tier.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Heat and Spurs -- absolutely. A cynic could argue the Heat FO has done nothing and it was all the players (the way many cynics discredit the Bulls FO of the '80s-90s) but that's nonsense.

    I see nothing remarkable about Indiana or OKC. They've assembled some talent but haven't won anything, and neither has shown they can manage or build a team over a time.

    Hard not to include the Rockets right now. Morey has pulled off some impressive stuff.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    It's comical, isn't it? Indy and OKC have had exactly as much success as the Bulls in the last 10 years- each has gone to ONE Conference Final, and that's it.

    And fans conveniently forget the moves they wanted the FO to make that, as it turns out, would have been unmitigated disasters.

    The Boozer signing may not have been a rousing success (how's that for an understatement), but when Rose was healthy, the Bulls went to the ECF the first Boozer year and had the best record in the league the 2nd Boozer year. And were picked by many experts to win a title that 2nd year until Rose tore his ACL.

    But this is America, everyone is entitled to their opinions.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Yes, Boozer was likely impossible to trade with years left on his contract. But as an expiring contract (for salary matching) combined with other assets like draft picks and young prospects (Snell?), a trade becomes possible. Either this off-season or at the February 2015 trade deadline.

    This is an entirely different approach than what many (if not the majority) on this blog have been advocating - which is amnesty Boozer just to dump him and use the resulting cap space to sign Mirotic. Or amnesty Boozer and trade Taj (and others) to create max cap space for Carmelo.

    This alternative is keep Boozer and keep the MLE. And attempt to use Boozer's contract to salary match in a trade combined with assets, while using the MLE to sign Mirotic.

    While we fans on this blog have been speculating one way or the other, what KC's article provides is insight into which way the Bulls FO is leaning - which is to not amnesty Boozer. I think this is what you are missing.

  • In reply to Edward:

    There is no question they would rather trade Boozer than amnesty him. The question is, if there is no trade to be made this offseason, do the Bulls go into next season with Boozer on the roster? I just don't see how they can. Even with an eye towards trading him in February, I don't see how they can.

    Sign Boozer and you're not an elite FO. Don't sign Boozer and you're cheap. The one thing you can be guaranteed is that unless there is a championship, there will be a lot of complaining.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I'm 100% positive that the FO has said all along that they'd rather not amnesty Boozer. They have said it many, many, many times.

    If you haven't believed them all the times they said it, that's on you.

    And for the record, they can amnesty Boozer and NOT lose the MLE.

    If they amnesty him, their cap holds will keep their payroll at $59,978,776, which even if the cap goes up to the highest projection of $62.9 million, they'd be less than $3 million under the salary cap, meaning they keep the MLE.

    Don't believe me? Would you believe Larry Coon?
    =======================================
    Hey Larry,
    If the Bulls amnesty Carlos Boozer, renounce all their FA’s, and acquire Carmelo in a sign-and-trade for Taj Gibson that puts them right at the salary cap, could they then use the mid-level exception to help fill out their roster?
    Larry Coon
    They’d have to be careful about it, but in theory, yeah — as long as their team salary stays near the cap (including cap holds for unrenounced free agents), they don’t lose their exceptions. So — and here’s the tricky part — they’d have to be below the cap far enough to be able to make an imbalanced trade, but not so far below the cap that they lose their full mid-level. Gibson alone wouldn’t cut it — he will make $8 million, and Melo will be closer to the $22.5 million mark. It’d have to be a bigger trade, where more salary is thrown-in by the Bulls

    Read more at http://www.basketballinsiders.com/chat/nba-chat-with-larry-coon-3714/#DOvZlYYsxf6UEV0o.99
    =========================================

    So for the record, the Bulls CAN amnesty Boozer and NOT lose the MLE.

    You really should read my latest blog, it explains it for you in detail. I don't link to my blog here out of respect for Doug, but you can go to the Tribune's Sports page online and find it there, the headline is "The hidden motives behind the Bulls signings of Brewer, James and Amundson".

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    are you sure that they will retain the MLE, or are we talking about the room exception. Typically the MLE is available to teams over the cap but under the tax line. I suppose that there might be some arcane provisions that relate to the timing of going under the cap which might allow a boozer amnesty and retaining the MLE, but I am not sure what they are.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I'm just going by what Larry Coon says:
    =======================================
    they’d have to be below the cap far enough to be able to make an imbalanced trade, but not so far below the cap that they lose their full mid-level.
    =======================================

    I'm 99.9% sure that if you are less than the Full MLE under the cap, you don't lose the MLE. I'll see if I can find the exact wording- but Coon's "not so far below the cap that they lose their full mid-level" tells me with 100% certainty that you can be below the cap but not lose the full MLE.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    http://www.cbafaq.com/salarycap.htm#Q14

    14. Exactly what is included when computing total team salaries?

    A cap hold for the combined amount of any Mid-Level, Bi-Annual, Disabled Player (see question number 25) and trade exceptions (see question number 84) available to the team (see question number 26), if the team is under the salary cap.
    ======================================

    So if the Bulls did get a few million under the cap after renouncing Boozer, they'd still have a cap hold for the MLE (and the BAE), which would put them back over the cap.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Mr. Ellis, you are the Master! The master of meaningless mental masturbation. Your little rant reminds me of early this season when I posted a link to a different article, this one on Charlotte’s new coach Steve Clifford being a Thibs disciple and close friend who was creating a culture shift and had Charlotte playing defense and competing every night. I wrote I thought Charlotte/Clifford were real, had a good shot at the playoffs, and Bulls would get the Charlotte pick this year. You responded with your usual barrage of meaningless statistics to support your contention that Charlotte would fold again just like in years past and end the season near the bottom of the East. How’s that working for you now?

    I guess KC Johnson, along with the rest of the human race, forgot to consult with you when he wrote his sources say Bulls have no interest in trading Taj Gibson. Anyone watch tonight’s 4th quarter against Detroit? There is as much chance Bulls trade Taj as your blog develops a readership.

    Your convoluted scenario with the MLE also has as much chance of happening as your blog developing a readership – ZERO%. And just like with Charlotte/Steve Clifford, the coming months will show the truth. I’m content to wait. You can get back to doing what you do best, m.m.m.

  • In reply to Edward:

    The Bulls still have way more financial flexibility if they amnestitize the Hole than they do if they don't. If they don't they have only the MLE to offer Mirotic or anybody else, and maybe the bi-annual exception(maybe not due to the hard cap threshold). Which means bye-bye DJ unless Mirotic doesn't come over and we use the MLE or part of it on DJ. At this point it doesn't look like the BAE will be enough to keep DJ. Also, if Mirotic won't/can't accept the MLE this summer(buyout) is it worth losing a year of having him and a year of his development.

    Has anybody figured out if we even have access to the full MLE or would using it put us back in the tax and the hard cap situation again.

    However, if they amnestitize the Hole, the can add at least 3 players, maybe 4. Mirotic into cap space at the full MLE level(plus his buyout) leaving enough remaining cap space for a second free agent at MLE level or slightly above, or 2 more free agents at the MMLE level or slightly above, plus the room exception. So under this scenario, you get Mirotic and DJ at a minimum plus one or 2 more guys who are $3million or above level players(Dunleavy or better).

    I certainly understand the thinking behind the keeping him as trade ballast route, but in addition to giving up several players for next season, in order to use his salary as cap ballast you have to trade most if not all of your remaining assets in the trade. So are you willing to give up on another year for the snowballs chance in hell of getting a Love or Melo, or should we move on from the failed 2010 plan a year early and build the best possible team right now.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Good analysis. To expand a bit, it may take Mirotic a year or two to fully adjust to the NBA. If he is delayed a year because the Bulls keep Boozer at $16+ million for the next season, only for trade purposes, and then the FO can't find a trade partner for him, they have lost a year of development of a guy who could (Might, not certain) help win a championship! IMO, that just does not seem real smart!

    What is the cost to amnesty Boozer? $16.7 million? But that is reduced by what a different team signs him for. If he signs elsewhere for $5.7 million, then the Bulls "only" lost $11 million. However, if Mirotic plus Augustine and another guy for $3 million takes the Bulls two rounds deeper into the playoffs, they just made that $11 million back!

    BigWay, you nailed this, "in addition to giving up several players for next season, in order to use his [Boozer's] salary as cap ballast you have to trade most if not all of your remaining assets in the trade."

    All in all, amnesty seems the only smart play, but the FO can sleep on this until July. Maybe a trade will yet happen.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Hi BigWay, amnestying Boozer doesn’t provide nearly that much cap space – only $8.5 million approximately, and that was before signing Brewer, James and Amundsen with team options for next season (cap holds). After these 3 signings, maybe $5 million cap space is created by amnestying Boozer. Not saying Bulls will exercise these options, but what it does show is Bulls are preparing to be very active in the trade market, not preparing to amnesty Boozer and create cap space.

    The risky potential for failure comes from speculatively gambling by clearing cap space in the hopes of signing a free agent(s). No such speculative risk occurs from conducting trade negotiations around the league. After Bulls free agent failures, I think they believe trades hold more promise.

    The Deng trade was certainly masterful. The Bulls are looking to conduct more trades, imo. Many free agent signings end up being S&T’s anyway and I think this is the direction Bulls are leaning.

    I also don’t think Bulls/Thibs want Snell plus four rookies (two 1sts, one 2nd, Mirotic) on next year’s roster. They may trade some of these assets (not Mirotic) for a veteran or two.

    Additionally, as I wrote earlier, I don’t believe it benefits Bulls to pay Boozer $16 million to not play, just to sign a player they already control, Mirotic. Mirotic can never sign with another NBA team, Bulls have the MLE for Mirotic, nothing more need be done. Mirotic and his agent will have no success lobbying Bulls to give Boozer $16 million to not play just so Mirotic can get a few extra coins above the MLE. Won’t happen, imo. This is Reinsdorf they’re dealing with.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I agree with a good part of what you have said, however, it seems to me that they are setting themselves up for a trade that happens after the finals end and before July 10th before the amnesty period expires. At that point if a trade can't be worked out, they will dump all these extra contract assets that they just acquired and will have likely amnestitize boozer too. By that time they will likely know what Mirotic wants to do, which will determine what to do with boozer.

    Also, if the cap goes up to the projected $62-63 million dollar range that virtually everybody is quoting then the Bulls will have about $12-13 million to work with, which is enough for 2 full MLE plus level guys(Mirotic and someone else) or Mirotic and 2 mini MLE plus level guys .

    In some ways we are saying the same thing, except you think that the Bulls will keep boozer as trade bait going into the season, and I think that he is only trade bait until July 10th, the last day that he can be amnestied, and the day before free agents can actually sign contracts.

    The only way that I could see them keeping boozer is if Mirotic says that he isn't coming over this year under any circumstances, even then we might want to use $12 million to find something more useful that the Hole which even a deaf, dumb and blind man could do.

    Whomever ends up being right, this should be a very fun summer for Bulls fans and either way it will give us a lot to discuss and argue about. I can't wait.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I agree that trading Deng was the right thing to do at the time. It would appear that the second Rose knee injury helped drive that decision in that clearly it was assumed by the FO that the Bulls would not be a serious contender this year. Deng had to go as he would not re-sign for a reasonable price and the Bulls would lose him with no compensation.

    However, I really took issue with the column the other day (I think it was By Joe Cowley) about how the Bulls were such a better team since the Deng trade. The strong inference I got from reading this was that this was a case of addition by subtraction. That somehow Deng, perhaps like Rudy Gay, was the cause of the Bulls subpar performance up to that time.

    IMO, the resurgence of the Bulls this year resulted from 1) the totally unexpected offensive production from DJ Augustin after his pick-up by the Bulls, 2) the recovery in health by Butler and Hinrich-improving their performance, and 3) Noah and Taj reaching their peaks as two-way players. Dunleavy has filled in admirably but, In retrospect, Deng's superior two-way abilities would have made the Bulls a more formidable opponent. Yes, the Bulls were a better team after Deng was traded. But to imply that this was a result of the Deng trade is misleading in my opinion. Other factors, unrelated to the trade, were the more compelling reasons for the Bulls resurgence.

  • So lets say that Mirotic plays hardball and says that he wants the full MLE plus his buyout fully paid by the Bulls. Then you have a choice play hardball back(keep boozer and wait another year for Mirotic, and maybe lose him to a new contract in Europe), or amnesty boozer to be able to bring Mirotic over now. Does that require even a second to figure out.

    If you are serious about winning, how does anyone not pick Mirotic now over another year of boozer. The only way is if money is the absolute and only deciding factor. We all know that giving away $17 million dollars to anyone, never mind a human piece of feces like boozer will nearly kill Reinsdorf, however, if you look at it rationally he is giving away that money no matter what, just like he has been for the past 4 seasons. Not having to watch boozer play should actually have some positive value even to Reinsdorf. Plus if the Bulls are a better team for it, he stands to make some extra money in the process. Besides the Deng trade has already paid for the boozer amnesty all by itself.

    At this point I'd be willing to bet that boozer will be traded or amnestied before July 11th.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    BigWay, I certainly hope you are right in your last 2 posts. I also believe the FO will offer Boozer in trades up until the amnesty deadline, then amnesty him if necessary.

    As I wrote before, the Bulls will not eat all of Boozer's salary in that case, because some other team should offer him around $6 million or so for the year, which pulls the loss down to $11 million.

    However, if the amnesty allows the Bulls to pay a few million more to get Mirotic over, plus keep Augustine, that could easily get the Bulls to the ECF, which is also worth some bucks -- what, maybe $6 million for the home games plus tv rights plus sales of jerseys, etc.

    Then the following summer, 2016, Love and others will be FAs. If the Bulls made it or almost made it to the NBA Finals, that should make the team an extremely attractive landing spot for FAs. It would not be like 2010.

    BTW, a similar reasoning applies to Carmelo. If he comes to the Bulls in an S&T or outright signing for $16 million per, and Mirotic comes over (or waits a year and the Bulls keep Taj and Augustine), the Bulls have a real shot at the title this coming season.

    Why might he come for $16 million per? Because he could earn more than the difference from endorsements as THE BIG DOG on an NBA champion! And that could happen several times, which would cement his legacy. He would have it all. That is not likely to happen in NY.

    As you wrote, it should be an interesting summer!

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Hi BigWay, I think Bulls primary goal this off-season is a significant addition of veteran talent to the roster through use of their draft picks and the contracts of Boozer and the 3 Amigos (and possibly Snell). IMO, they are not primarily focused upon amnestying Boozer nor signing Mirotic as he's already a Bulls asset. Those two issues will be addressed secondarily and be dictated by whatever else transpires, whatever deal(s) they execute.

    Bulls will be very active and through in their pursuit this off-season. After the Deng trade and the way they've managed the luxury tax, I feel fairly confident they will have success this off-season. And I like that they are prepared for trades as free agency has not been kind to Bulls.

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