LeBron James to Chicago, is it even worth contemplating?

LeBron James to Chicago, is it even worth contemplating?

The NBA finals didn't go down like most of us expected. I'm not sure if we all expected Miami to win (I did), but I don't think anyone predicted that the Spurs would set an NBA record for point differential in an NBA finals while absolutely pantsing Miami.

The result threw into question one of the things we all felt was a given. LeBron James would be in Miami for the 2014-15 season. I had a hard time envisioning LeBron leaving Miami. Where would he go? How would he realistically get into a better situation than the one he has?

It didn't seem all that possible, but now? Well his situation doesn't look all that promising. Dwyane Wade may have had something acute going on, but if not, he just looks done. He couldn't defend nor could he attack. He couldn't take Boris Diaw off the dribble in one on one situations.

If you hadn't noticed, Diaw, as great s he played, is kind of an overweight big man. That's not a good sign.

Chris Bosh looks like a shell of the player he was four years ago when he arrived as Spoelstra's turned him into a stretch four.

The Heat could maybe convince everyone and Melo to take massive pay cuts, but even if they add Melo, I'm not sure a one dimensional scorer is really going to push them over the top. It will simply create a greater overall talent but also an even greater misalignment of individuals.

How LeBron sees this situation is what will matter, but if I'm LeBron, I'd at least give serious thought to whether or not I wanted to stick around in Miami.

Should the Bulls make a play for LeBron?

There's some serious LeBron hate in Chicago, but let's not kid ourselves, we'll all turn that one around real quick if he were to sign with Chicago. Dennis fricken Rodman became one of the most popular figures here, and I can hardly imagine a player more hated prior to him coming here.

If Pippen and Rodman can make up and be friends to win three titles then Noah and LeBron will have no problems, particularly since they play the game the same way.

So short story, I don't think there are any inherent personality risks or flaws that would prevent this from working.

We'll probably all know how good the odds look at landing James prior to making a decision. The odds will likely be zero. It probably won't even be a question, however, if there's a chance, then you pursue it as hard as you can.

You make an effort. Even if LeBron doesn't like Chicago weather and the odds seem low. You go for it, because if you're successful then it's the only move you can make in which NBA championships are likely rather than possible.

It's the longest of long shots. Is any superstar going to trust the Bulls situation? Is LeBron going to bet on Joakim Noah + Derrick Rose instead of Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade? Rose's knee sure as hell doesn't seem safer than Wade's at this point does it?

This is where Rose has really hurt the team by not playing the past two post seasons (and not just LeBron, but any star thinking of coming here).

Joe Cowley tweeted that the Bulls were going to pull out all stops to make a major upgrade to the team this year. The Bulls will need to overcome plenty to lure any star here, but it looks like they're going to take their shots.

One of those shots should be at LeBron however unlikely success might seem.

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  • Doug,

    Love reading your stuff but let's be realistic here, there is no way the NBA/ESPN are going to let Lebron leave Miami. I just don't trust Pat Riley, he has something up his sleeves.

  • In reply to juice44:

    I'm not into all the cap numbers and all of the stuff that many of people on here seem to be, but don't you think Riley gets credit for something he did not do? James, Wade and Bosh conspired several years ago to play together. If they would have gone to Toronto (I know, just stay with me), would the Raptor's GM be the genius? He did have to get the other pieces, but you'd think those pieces would be knocking on Miami's door at that point. There is probably a lot I'm missing, but those three had to have come up with the idea and agreed to at least some of the contract stuff before taking the idea to Riley (taking a bit less, for example).
    Similarly, maybe James and Melo (and maybe Love if they all agree beforehand to take less $) have been talking and have a scenario to present a GM. If that happens, that GM will look like a genius for getting James and Melo together. If James were to pick Chicago, would that all of the sudden make GarPax geniuses?

  • In reply to Hoop Dreamz:

    You make some excellent points but these are the rules of sports fans as I have observed them: When good things happen to other teams, it's because they have superior management. When good things happen to our teams, it's because we're lucky.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    However, when we think about it, Miami should only have won one title out of all that. Indiana and Boston both took them to the 7th game in the earlier playoff rounds, and then the Spurs took them to game 7 last year and should have beat them in 6. Miami is fortunate to have won 2 titles in the 4 years, and everyone knows it.

    Now Miami is declining because of Wade and their bench. Bosh is inconsistent. The Big Three are all scheduled to make $42 million over the next two years. They will have to take huge pay cuts to even try to fix their situation.

  • In reply to Hoop Dreamz:

    Nice story, except Riley did plan it out years in advance. The question is Why didn't the Bulls front office make any plans in advance? They thought there were more big free agents available (LeBron, Amare, Wade, Bosh. Joe Johnson, Boozer) than teams with cap space. So they sat back and let it all play out. I think they will do the same here: trade up 2 for 1 on draft night, and sell the second round pick to maximize space. Then sit back until July 1st like everyone has been told to do. When the cards fall everyone elses's way, they offer Boozer a new deal for 4 years and 50 million. .

  • In reply to sfpaper:

    Nice story, do you have sources? Not just angry rants of "everyone knows," please provide actual links that Riley had it planned in advance and links that the Bulls didn't actually meet with Wade or LeBron but "sat back and let it all play out" as you wrote.

  • In reply to sfpaper:

    Why didn't the Bulls FO make any plans in advance? Umm, I'm pretty sure they did. I mean, they cleared the space to sign two players to max contracts while still retaining every single good to great player on their roster. The ability to make the room to sign all three, assuming they took the same cuts they took in Miami, wasn't there. It was non-existent, IMPOSSIBLE due to plain math and CBA by-laws.

  • In reply to Hoop Dreamz:

    Riley created the scenario to make it possible by aligning all the contracts. The big three may have talked about it, but they didn't know for sure it could work out. It took a special amount of cap planning to make it happen.

    That said, yes, he doesn't get all the credit in the world for it.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    It wasn't only that. At the time, back in 2010, Wade played with the Bulls, getting them to delay other moves because they hoped to get Wade and Bosh. The FO fell for that strategy. Many of us felt that Riley had probably coached Wade to do that.

    In itself, that was not so bad, because there was little Chicago could have done to avoid it. Obviously, Atlanta hugely overpaid for Joe Johnson, when the Bulls were going to pay him $60 million for 4 years, and the Bulls were wise not to sign Stoudemeier, so those two were out of the picture. Since the Big Three had their secret agreement, the Bulls were left out.

    Here is where the FO got crazy and appeared to panic.
    1) They dumped Hinrich, a key asset, paying to move him rather than getting something for him. Riley must have been LMAO. After all, the Bulls were the biggest competition for Miami.
    2) Worse, the FO then made a colossal mistake with Boozer, which they and everyone knew within a year.
    3) Then they overpaid Noah and made him un-tradeable.
    4) Both of those moves meant they later missed out on Carmelo, who could have provided enough, along with a SG like Mayo, to take down Miami.
    5) Later they signed Hamilton instead of Mayo.

    To their credit, the FO did trade up for Mirotic and they got some excellent FAs for the bench - only the Gs, however, never the bigs. Which is a key reason why they should have grabbed Parmalee or Dieng instead of Snell.

    What now?
    1) No BIG mistakes, no heavy overpays, not on salary, not on trades!
    2) Evaluate talent! Mirotic, according to some GMs, would be top 3 in the draft this year. Do NOT trade this guy!
    3) I think they will get Melo or Love.
    4) However, if they do not, maybe they get Harris or Stauskas in the draft, which gives them the SG they need. Then Boozer goes, Mirotic comes over, and they still have $8-10 million for a decent FA.
    5) If they don't get the SG in the draft, they could consider Afflalo with his $7.5 million salary from Atlanta.

    There is a lot of potential to hugely upgrade this team, but there is also the potential to mess up by overpaying someone and missing on the other guys they will need to contend. We will see in the next month or two.

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    In reply to rustyw:

    Good ideas but I think Joe Johnson is on NJ and Aaron Afllalo is on Orlando

    A perfect offseason would be grabbing Melo and Afflalo . Two solid scores and both coached up could become above avg defenders

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Correct on both players. Johnson was on Atlanta back in 2010 when he re-signed for $120 million for 5 years. Later he was traded to NJ.

    However, I made a mistake on Afflalo, who is with Orlando. They would like to move him because they are crowded at SG. And, of course, Chicago is not!

    Melo, Afflalo, and Mirotic make the Bulls strong contenders for the title. That team, if the Bulls keep Rose, Noah, Taj, and Butler, should take Miami.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    The Bulls traded Hinrich before free agency to create the illusion that they had cap space for 2 max players. They had no other choice at the time thus they had to bribe someone with cap space with a #1 pick to take on Hinrich's overvalued contract.

    They overpaid Hinrich, they overpaid Deng, and they almost tried to overpay Gordon. The player that they didn't overpay was Noah, he got paid no more than most and less than any number of other centers who haven't been DPOY and 1st team all NBA. He is probably the Bulls most valuable trade asset right now and has been since Rose got hurt.

    That would be Plumlee or Dieng

    However, I agree with you that the best likely outcome of this offseason would be adding Mirotic and Afflalo(or Livingston).

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Noah extended in late October just before the season started, thus not testing free agency. Noah was asking for $14-15 million per, and settled for $12 million per. This proved to be a VALUE signing for Bulls as both Tyson Chandler and Nene became free agents just a few months later and we all know they got the $14+ million Noah was asking for.

    Another team would have given Noah the same $14 million if he chose to test free agency. So Noah is on a good contract! He is definitely tradeable if Bulls were so inclined though I don't think they are.

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    In reply to rustyw:

    Excellent post. So good to see people on here who have the reason the FO must use during these high anxiety moments when jacked up fans and columns show up. No way you can gut the team just to bring over Melo. Or Love. What do you prefer? A team such as the one that dismantled Miami built from the ground up, or a team like Miami that manipulates the system to create the big 3 (egos)? I'd prefer the team we have, the coach we have, the players we have. They KNOW WHO THEY ARE. Miami's a joke. Pat Riley, a farce. I know people will jump all over the concept, but better to be 2nd fiddle and do it the right way and fail then to copy the "system" that Miami used to win. IF we had healthy Rose and Mirotic and some FA room to sign a 2 guard we would be on track toward a championship.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Yea, Riley was breaking that team down from the minute that the Bulls swept them in the playoffs and begging Wade to be patient. He got lucky that he found a way to make it work, but he planned for it.

  • In reply to juice44:

    NBA/ESPN would love it if LeBron left Miami for Chicago, New York, or LA. I agree that Riley will do whatever he can to keep LeBron and Riley has shown he can do quite a bit.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    FYI, this a.m. Chris Broussard on Sportscenter said that his informants told him that the Bulls are the frontrunner for Melo's services next year. Although good news I am not holding my breath. Melo strikes me as the most fickle potential FA out there.

    Be that as it may, if the Bulls could get Melo w/o losing Taj, I would think they would have the best starting five in the East.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Broussard also had Lebron going to the Bulls in 2010.

  • First, I think Lebron is in a no-win situation, and if he didn't out himself in it through greed, grandiosity and disregard for the rest of the NBA and fans, I would feel bad for him.

    If he stays in Miami, he and Wade/Bosh would have to take a lot less money to bring in a real team around them. I don't see them doing that, and Lebrkn is already criminally underpaid, and Wade the opposite.

    If he goes to another team like the Clippers or Rockets, he will look like a coward who can only win in a perfect situation and runs for the hills when things get difficult.

    If he goes back to Cleveland, it's like he's going back home with his tail between his legs.

    I don't think he'd come to Chicago regardless. It's not a good team fit (he'd rather have multiple scorers to kick to when he penetrates). I don't think he'd want to go somewhere with a ball dominant point guard since that's kind of his role.

  • In reply to chwtom:

    Regarding LeBron not fitting in Chicago, I think one of the factors in their finals loss is the lack of a "real" PG that can penetrate. Though he can play PG, LeBron is more lethal as a wing or in the post so I think he and Rose / Noah could flourish.

    That being said I think GarPax does try to pursue him, but I don't see him signing here.

  • Maybe Houston and Chicago will go head to head for Melo and LeBron. Winner gets LeBron, loser gets Melo. If Miami would do a sign and trade for Boozer and picks, the Bulls could put an unbelievable defensive team on the floor. Rose, Butler, Lebron, Taj and Noah would be just ridiculous to watch on defense, and offensively very strong. LeBron in Houston would be scary. I still would love to see Lebron return to Cleveland and Chicago either get Love or Melo and have the chicago kid (rose) battle the cleveland kid for the next 5 years for titles.

  • In reply to piggy7:

    Pat Riley didn't want boozer in 2009, which is why we ended up with him in 2010, unless his body has been possesed by David Kahn he certainly isn't giving us Lebron and taking boozer in 2014.

  • Derrick Rose could you even trade him right now with the dismay over his no play and recurrent knee injuries on his gargantuan salary? Of course I'm not saying trade Rose, that's not the point. The point is many NBA voices have said teams are too concerned over his return/future to pursue him even if they could.

    IMO there's no way in hell LeBron or any other F.A. is coming here until Rose proves he can play at a reasonably high level except maybe Love because he has an out next summer if things look bad. Some reports have suggested the Bulls are actually aggressively pursuing a major player(s) even if it means parting with core components of this team(Taj, Noah). Personally, I'll believe it when I see it. It's too bad they couldn't have been this aggressive when Rose was HEALTHY because they needed legit scoring partners then then not geez Rip Hamiton and Keith Bogans/Brewer abomination.

    Aside from the LeBron Part II fantasy, would it be worth trading significant core pieces to attain Kevin Love in the gamble that Rose returns and Love resigns? IMO if Love through his agent etc. says he'd like to stay if Rose returns effectively then I'd say it's worth the risk. What really have you got to lose when you can get an in their prime 20's plus scorer and big time rebounding big, you do it.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    If the Knicks would take back Rose and #19 pick for Melo in a S&T I would do it and not even blink and I don't care what kind of backlash comes my way, that is the truth. You would then make LeBron's decision that much tougher, come and play with your boy Melo and a deep team with a great cap situation. If James doesnt want to come, amnesty Boozer (or use him as a S&T) to sign Kyle Lowry.

    Lowry, Butler, Melo, Taj and Noah with the #16 pick, Mirotic, Dunleavy and Snell is one heck of a squad.

  • In reply to nolebron:

    I would do that, too - in a heartbeat. Of course, it won't happen. The FO can't even float the idea because it would leak out and damage the team politics.

    However, then they should be able to get both Love and Afflalo, who would be on a better contract than Lowry. Multiple rings with that squad!

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    "It's too bad they couldn't have been this aggressive when Rose was HEALTHY..."

    I completely agree with your statement here. Too bad they chose to offer a contract to Rip instead of Jamal Crawford. Even after his "RETURN" I thought it was puzzling that the team makeup still made the assumption he'd be the main and sole offensive focal point.

    We'll just have to see what happens, but I think GarPax's job may be on the line if there's no splash. People also forget that the Rose/Noah/Thibs Era probably only has a 2-3 year window before their contracts start expiring so it's truly a critical offseason.

  • The answer is no. It is not worth contemplating. LeBron would only leave to go to a team where he felt he could clearly compete for a championship immediately and there are 1 or 2 other superstars who could clearly take the offensive pressure off Lebron and a number of high quality shooters who can hit open 3s when Lebron is double-teamed or breaks down a defense.

    Okay, do the Bulls clearly have those three things. 1 or 2 other superstars who could clearly take the offensive pressure off him. Rose is a complete question mark and is as uncertain as Wade right now about what he can do to take pressure off Lebron with those knees. There are no other superstars that could take pressure off Lebron offensively unless they can get Carmelo or Love. But it seems unlikely due to the cap and other teammates needed that the Bulls could get Carmelo or Love and add Lebron.

    The Bulls have simply no knock-down three point shooters. Dunleavy is sporadic and so is Augustyn if they resign him. Can you name one single consistent knock down three-point shooter on the Bulls? They have had them in the past, Korver, Bellinelli, but not now. If I'm the Bulls I try to go out and sign free-agent Paddy Mills who is a sniper. He would be a bigger impact than Augustyn, as much as I liked Augustyn. Ask Ray Allen to come over and add Carmelo who wants to be known better as a defender and he will be under Thibs.

    But forget about Lebron. He has better options staying with Miami or going to Cleveland (home) to play with the #1 pick and Kyrie Irving. Or to the Rockets with Harden and Howard. To the Clippers with Paul and Doc Rivers and Jordan (probably have to trade Griffin). Those are all better options for Lebron.

    Let's focus on Melo or Love and getting some knockdown shooters.

  • Not even worth discussing until somebody actually opts out.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Pretty much.

    I actually wrote on the same topic today, IMHO the Bulls attitude should be "fool us once, shame on you... but you ain't fooling us again".

    I'd text LeBron's agent and tell him we'd dump Taj and Dunleavy and amnesty Boozer and give LeBron whatever cap space we'd have after paying Mirotic $5 million if LeBron wants to sign here.

    LeBron would get about $15 million to play with:

    PG- Rose, Hinrich (vet minimum)
    SG- Butler, Snell
    SF- LeBron, vet min
    PF- Mirotic, Room MLE
    C- Noah, Smith

    Plus the #16 and #19 pick.

    The offer is good for 24 hours and then we're moving on.

  • I would much rather see the Bulls get Melo and Love and beat LeBron in the playoffs! If LeBron comes to Chicago, he might wind up with as many rings as MJ.

  • I hate Lebron and would be pissed if Chicago signs him. I don't mind going for Melo or Love, but LeBron and Wade are just total jerk offs. Lebron gets all the calls and complains when he gets a single call. He's constantly complaining and flopping. It's one thing to flop like Rodman and Divac used to do with banging in the post, but to act like you were hit and nobody even touched you is ridiculous.

    I want to beat LeBron and that's why I watch the NBA right now.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Yes, and that's more than just flopping. It's downright cheating! We've seen LeBron, Wade and Bosh all fake getting hit at different times. Should result in a suspension when league office reviews it, imo.

    But did you notice Wade wasn't getting any calls after he was fined for flopping. There were a number of no-calls for Wade afterwards and it was a small measure of justice. I think the refs were completely offended and pissed off at being defrauded by Wade.

  • One word: no.

    More than one word: sorry to burst your stereotype but I'd still hate LeBron even if he signed here. He's a Grade-A douche bag. LeBron played the Bulls for a fool in 2010 and you're gonna set yourself up like a whore again? I was a big LeBron fan before and was really hoping he was coming to the Bulls in 2010 but then we learned he never seriously thought about anywhere else but Miami. Since then, it's "screw you, LeBron."

    Doug is willing to roll out the red carpet (again) to woo LeBron who will of course never seriously consider coming to the Bulls and make you look like a fool again. To paraphrase the wise old saying, those who don't learn from history will repeat it.

  • In reply to Moody:

    Other than the decision to make the decision being a really bad decision, LeBron seems like a decent human being. On the other hand Michael Jordan punched team mates in practice, Scottie had the nickname "No Tippin'", and does Dennis Rodman even need explaining? Bulls fans loved them though because they played for the Bulls (and winning titles helps too).

    If LeBron comes Bulls fans will take all of a fraction of a second to go from hate to love.

  • I'd get more enjoyment out of the Bulls building a team to beat Lebron, rather than signing him. I guess I'm just an old school fan, because the way I see it, Lebron blew his chance in Chicago when he made his first decision.

    Lebron saying he wanted to win multiple championships and then turning down a chance to team with Rose, Noah, Deng and another max free agent, has turned me off to Lebron (as an athlete) probably forever.

    Someone said Miami was fortunate to win two titles, I say they were fortunate to win one. The way to beat Miami is to properly utilize the salary cap. Get strong where Miami is weak and hire a head coach capable of tactically handling a team with a strong bench.

  • Wade's health over Rose?? Doug, you're kidding right? Hell, the Heat might have played these games to a closer final score if Wade sat the bench the entire series.

  • Gotta take a shot at Lebron, however unlikely. But you have to make Melo feel like you want him first and foremost, basically don't call Lebron (if he opts out) until you've called Melo(when he opts out).

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    Doug, I have a question for you and my apologies if you've touched on this before. My favorite option for the Bulls is the one you discussed in your "Kevin Love vs Carmelo Anthony" article which is an S&T sending Boozer, our two first rounders, and basically any other asset that will get the deal done other than Rose, Noah or Taj to the Knicks in exchange for Melo.

    My question is, assuming Melo opts out on Monday, wouldn't this deal have to happen after the draft? As a result, wouldn't the Bulls need to make sure they picked two guys that the Knicks want?

    Assuming that is the case, I feel like that adds extra risk.

  • In reply to TommyO:

    I think that is where advance planning comes in. They need to have a handshake in place and then can select the picks the Knicks want - like they did Aldrige (shudder) for Portland. Otherwise they need to take the proverbial BPA's and hope the prospective trade partners - Knicks or Minny or... agree.

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