Carmelo Athony waiting on LeBron James, forcing a sign and trade, or just undecided?

Carmelo Athony waiting on LeBron James, forcing a sign and trade, or just undecided?

Remember back in 2010 when no one thought LeBron would really go to Miami until it happened? Then we all thought, wow we should have seen that one coming? Well maybe this season is exactly the same.

Not a whole lot has happened in free agency. The minor signings have piled up for way too much money, but none of the major dominoes have fallen. Carmelo Anthony was expected to make a decision this past weekend. When it didn't happen, everyone assumed it would happen yesterday.

The fact that it hasn't happened yet implies that his decision isn't going to be to land with the Knicks. If it was, there'd be no reason to wait. This could mean several things, but with rumors out there that Chris Bosh is seriously considering a Rockets deal if he doesn't like the way things fall with Miami, it might simply mean he's waiting to see if Miami becomes an option.

You see, if Melo has to give up a ton of money (or force a S&T) then why not do it to play alongside LeBron and Wade? The thing is, if the Heat were to jettison a star, they'd really need to jettison Wade not Bosh given the state of his knees. I don't see how Melo really helps them more than Bosh next year, but there is a rumor spreading that if Bosh leaves for Houston Melo steps in to form the new big three in Miami.

The theory makes little sense to me, but there's so much smoke around this theory that it makes me wonder if there's some truth to it. It also jives with Melo's decision taking longer than expected. The thing is for this to workout, you'd expect James would have to tell Bosh he wants him to go somewhere else to make room for Melo unless he just toys with his own decision until Chris gets frustrated enough to go make his own decision without him.

How could he do that? By using Cleveland and implying he's out the door of course. Maybe a bit too tin foil hat, but it makes you wonder.

The other reasons Melo is waiting around are much more fun to entertain

If it stands to reason that a delay in Melo's decision means it's less likely that he's choosing New York, then the Bulls are still obviously in play. Mark Deeks has noted that the Bulls can S&T for Melo and get his starting salary up to 20 million dollars by moving Dunleavy, Snell, Smith, Hinrich (S&T), Nazr (S&T) + non guaranteed dudes for Carmelo without them having to give up Butler, Gibson, or take back Boozer.

Of course picks would need to be thrown in, but this scenario also leaves open the MLE for Mirotic. Personally, I think this scenario is a bit unlikely. Instead, I think the Knicks would look to include Boozer along with enough other salary so that the Bulls could take back J.R. Smith as the Knicks would love to get his salary off the books.

If Melo chooses Chicago, then there's some question over whether the Knicks would consent to a S&T. My view is they would. I don't think Anthony is such a megastar that you fight to keep him at all costs. His max deal for NY was a big question mark in terms of value anyway, and I think the Knicks fans would turn on him too much if he announces he wants to go to the Bulls (or anywhere else). At that point, you get the most value you can, even if it's just unloading J.R. Smith and getting a couple 1st rounders.

In this scenario, the Bulls would need to remain under the apron to make a sign and trade work, but effectively if you move Boozer + Non guaranteeds + Dunleavy + (Snell or Randolph) the Bulls can make this roster fit under the Apron:

Player Salary
Carmelo $20,000,000
Derrick Rose $18,862,876
Joakim Noah $12,450,000
Taj Gibson $8,000,000
J.R. Smith $5,982,375
Mirotic $5,305,000
Jimmy Butler $2,008,748
Doug McDermott (unsigned 1st) $1,898,300
Anthony Randolph $1,825,359
Greg Smith $948,163
Kirk Hinrich $915,243
Vet Min #2 $915,243
Cameron Bairstow $507,336
Richard Hamilton (stretched) $333,333
Total $79,951,976

You could swap out Randolph and swap in Tony Snell and save a little more money if NY is indifferent or if Tony Snell isn't providing you enough value in the trade that it makes sense. You don't necessarily need to move Dunleavy to the Knicks in this situation either. He could be moved elsewhere, and there are likely a great number of teams that would love to take on his deal for cap room and possibly give up a 2nd rounder for him.

Mirotic may also cost less than the full MLE which is what I put his number at, and of course it's possible the Bulls could swing a S&T without taking back JR Smith as well, but taking back Smith makes the deal far more palatable to NY in terms of taking back salary this year as it provides them even more flexibility next season and balances out the total money for them considerably more (ie, less assets going NYs way).

I've included Kirk at the minimum salary, but other players could come in his place at the minimum. It's clear we'd need a point guard at the minimum though and would likely look to fill in a point guard for both minimum salaried contracts.

With the Apron set at 81 million most likely (possibly could move slightly when official numbers are released). The Bulls would probably have room to offer D.J. Augustin the Bi-Annual exception of around two million dollars in place of the final vet minimum salary, but given the current FA market, it's hard to see D.J. not finding a better offer elsewhere.

Now here's a roster that could contend for a championship, and if Melo chooses Chicago and NY goes along with a sign and trade as I expect they would, this roster could be pretty close to the reality. If I'm NY, I'm not in love with what I get back in a S&T, but say the Bulls offer up the Kings pick, their 2015 pick, Tony Snell, and take back J.R. Smith? I'm probably good with that.

For Melo's best chance to win, he needs to start by picking Chicago, and he needs to finish by convincing NY to do a S&T to get him there. Lengthening his decision making process sure would help that happen too. Melo's hold out on his decision could mean almost anything. I predict only about a 20% chance that the Bulls land Carmelo, but there are certainly some creative ways it can happen that give the Bulls a tremendous team if it does.

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  • Quick note on McDermott, his actual signing amount will likely be the full 125% not the 100% of the rookie salary scale which would impact slightly how much room the Bulls have under the Apron, but they could still do the above.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I think LeBron announces he is returning to Cleveland by the end of today. Then Bosh will take the max offer from Houston. Then Melo will wait a day to get back in the spotlight and make his announcement that he is staying in New York.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    120% is the max not 125%

  • I wouldn't even peg Carmelo's chances of coming to Chicago at 20% anymore. I'd love to be happily surprised. Happy to eat my words. Melo staying in NY seems the most likely to me, I can't wrap my head around this Lakers thing. Spurn Madison Square Garden to join an equally terrible roster in LA? You can have a great career in NY a la Patrick Ewing without winning a ring, but the same can't be said for LA. Neither roster (NY and LA) is ready to win, so why leave the big stage, more forgiving fans of NY for less guaranteed money? It's all bull as usual.

    I don't understand the LeBron/Melo thing. They play the same position. Neither wants to defend power forwards. Why would this be the best use of their abilities? Talk about roster duplication, two top 10 guys on the same team playing the same position.

    Even if Melo and Love are out, the Bulls still need guys that can handle the ball and create their own shot. A banged up, 34-year-old Pau Gasol shouldn't be on their radar.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    I agree with you on the Melo/LeBron thing completely. It doesn't make sense to me and kind of smells of reporters just throwing the two biggest names into one article to get hits.

    That said, there's so much smoke about it that it wouldn't surprise me.

    I also agree the Lakers move doesn't make a lot of sense to me which is why I think the Bulls are still somewhat in play. Why wait if you're just going back to NY?

    If L.A. doesn't really make sense, and he's leaving NY then the Bulls suddenly become the favorite. That said, I still think the odds are low. 20% isn't really all that high a chance given there are only about five teams realistically in the market.

    Miami on a massive discount
    Houston
    Chicago
    L.A.
    New York

    Kind of gives the Bulls even odds, but I think the Miami thing is probably a reach and has lower odds, Houston seems to have been ruled out by the general media, L.A. doesn't really make much sense no matter how you slice it even though the media is saying he mgiht go there now.

    I think 20% seems about right for Chicago still.

  • I smell a rat here!! Really hoping that Melo doesn't end up in Miami. Thinking either taking time to sort out sign and trade to bulls or hanging out until Bosh gets the flick and he joins LBJ!! Have a bad feeling that these 2 end up together. If that's the case - I'd like to see either Love traded for or micro tic plus Ariza come on board. Feel like this is the best the bulls can get plus maybe add augustin but probably too dear a price.

  • In reply to rtwarn23:

    I don't think Melo + James would be that scary. I think the Heat would be better with Bosh.

  • If Melo does not do this, it's for personal living reasons - he and his family enjoy NYC and he also has a home in LA and that would be good for La La.

    The money should not be an issue in a S&T - it's close enough to be considered even after endorsements. NY will probably do a S&T, as you say, if we give them at least two picks + take back Smith + unload players that will be on expiring contracts.

    Chicago could be dominant - like 70 wins type of dominant if all parts fit and are healthy. The East will slightly better, but many nights should be lopsided wins with our bench playing most of the 4th quarters.

  • In reply to Granby:

    I appreciate your optimism, but 70 wins? A lot of pieces would need to fall into place for that to happen. Under the current CBA, I seriously doubt any team will ever have enough depth to pull that off.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    If you take the roster I threw out there and had Rose at 100% healthy and dominant, and had the Bulls generally stay healthy all season 70 wins wouldn't be crazy talk.

    Not because the team is 70 win good historically, but because the East is so bad that you'd effectively only have something like 6-7 tough games in conference all year.

    Still, I'd bet the Bulls couldn't stay healthy, and even if they did it'd probably be a mid 60s win total, but I woudln't be blown away if that team could win 70, it'd be in the realm of possibility if everything fell perfectly.

    That said, the Heat could have won 70 multiple times if everything fell perfectly and it never did.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Had Thibs been coaching Miami, they probably would have won 80 regular season games... but no championships.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Yes, seriously. The Heat could not play hard enough night in and night out. The '96 team made 70 and then 72 wins a goal probably at some point in the season when it became apparent that it could be achieved.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    C'mon, you don't think that Rose, Noah and Melo is the second coming of Jordan, Pippen and Rodman. Nevermind that Rose coming off 2 years of serious knee injuries is a lot different than a wounded(ego) Jordan coming off of 2 years of playing baseball.

  • I personally would like to take back JR smith if we do a sign and trade with NY for Melo. JR smith and Melo are exactly what our roster missing. All the sudden we will always have 2 to 4 players that can take people 1 on 1 assuming rose will be healthy. I don't think our mgmt like him though as we traded him to Denver for nothing last time.

    I am also intrigued with Jameer Nelson. I wouldn't mind us signing him for cheap. I really hope he doesn't go to the Heat

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    In reply to handushk:

    JR and Thibs would be a hoot, but I like the Jameer Nelson idea.

  • In reply to handushk:

    I agree I would be happy for NY to dump JR on us. I have long thought his skillset would be a perfect fit on our roster.

  • In reply to Chad:

    I think you're missing out on just how bad JR Smith was the last year.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Agree, I would continue to hate JR Smith the human being and basketball player, but I would gladly take him back to get Melo for boozer and 2 #1 picks.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    He's a moron and that will always be an issue for teams, but he wasn't so much bad last year as bad the first half of last year when he was coming off knee surgery. He was a decent player after the all-star break.

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    In reply to handushk:

    I'm with you handushk. I think there are a lot of teams with a strict "No JR Smith policy" and the Bulls especially would be on that list given their emphasis on culture. However, I think that because they have such a strong culture thanks to Noah and Thibs, they could make it work.

    That roster as Doug put up is super deep but I have to imagine that if the Knicks are to engage in an S&T for Boozer, they'll need to get back a hard asset such as Mirotic, McDermott, or possibly Butler along with those picks. Any of which I would part with if push came to shove.

  • In reply to handushk:

    Jameer Nelson for the BAE would be a nice pickup, better than DJ?

    Most likely he gets more money than that. Not sure that the Heat can even sign him for anything more than the vets min now that they have used the MLE of McRoberts and the BAE on Granger.

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    Good Piece...I think the longer Melo remains undecided, the more he's thinking about the Bulls. I'm don't think the Knicks are going to do a sign and trade w/ the Bulls. I hope they do, and if they do do one, it will cost the Bulls either Mirotic, Butler, and future draft picks, but I doubt it.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    There is no way Melo is signing into our cap space - even at 4 years for 17 mil. And to free up 17 mil, the Bulls would have to trade away Dunleavy, Butler, Snell, Randolph and probably Mirotic.

    To get that done, you probably lose a 1st round pick and maybe even a 2nd. Mirotic has some value, but we lose leverage if teams know we must dump him since he's terminated his European contract.

    So, Bulls absolutely need a S&T. Everybody wins in Doug's example:

    Melo can win now and he only has 2-3 years of his prime career left where he can be the center-piece of a championship team.

    Bulls get exactly what is needed for this team. A finisher and a scorer. He also rebounds and can play some D when it matters.

    NY can get 2 1st round picks, including the Suns pick. Plus, possibly a 3rd or a couple 2nd. And, get rid of JR Smith and be in prime position to rebuild next summer. Plus, do they really want Melo at near max given that they are a couple players away from being championship caliber? (This team didn't make the playoffs... even with Love, they are a top team in the East, but still not a top 5 NBA team. Carmello is at his absolute peak right now and they still did not make the playoffs.)

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    If Melo tells the Knicks he's leaving, I don't see any way the Knicks don't do a S&T. They can get nothing or they can S&T to get something they want.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    Best case scenario for Chicago at this moment: S&T for Melo: Send Gibson $8M + non-gauranteed deals (Amundson, James, Brewer = $4M) + Anthony Randolph ($1.8M) + Mike Dunleavy Jr ($3M) + limited picks if Gibson is included. Chicago would have Rose, Butler, Snell, Melo, McDermott, Noah, and Smith...and Boozer. Boozer would need to be amnestied likely. This creates cap space again. Chicago is rumored to be in talks with Gasol for a starting role and could sign him outright. Mirotic would be brought over as the backup PF. CHI would also still have the room exception to sign DJ Augustin or take a look at Jameer Nelson possibly. Rose/Augustin, Butler/Snell, Melo/McDermott, Gasol/Mirotic, Noah/Smith is a good team. This is the best option if Gibson is lost which is most likely if S&T is involved to pay Melo. I have a hard time seeing NY taking Boozer, and also find it unlikley that Chicago gets Melo outright for $17M. If Gibson goes, then CHI can't do better than Gasol which is a great mentor for Mirotic (Spanish connection) and similar playing style, and would be looking for a 2-3 year deal on a contender allowing CHI to eventually get Mirotic to start down the road.

  • In reply to tomeboy28:

    You don't give up Gibson and take back Smith. You take back Smith only because NY took boozer. They(NY) are trading more money out this season(when they have no cap space) for more cap space next summer(dumping the second year of Smiths deal), when they will have massive(historic) cap space, especially if they trade Melo.

  • fb_avatar

    My gut tells me da Bulls still have a shot at Carmelo. But but but ... Cowley says Lance has priced himself at $10m per, http://tinyurl.com/nfpfnxd. Which one makes more sense, Carmelo or Lance? I'd love to land Carmelo, but wouldn't be crushed if we ended up with Lance.

  • In reply to Steve Merritt:

    Lance may be a nice play. As I said yesterday, he's nuts, but he does EVERYTHING - shooting, scoring, rebounding, defense, passing, ball handling. I hope the Bulls consider him when Melo goes back to NY.

    Thibs needs to curb his ear-blowing actions and petty gamesmanship. But, I think you put some incentives in his contract with behavioral things like technical fouls to keep him clean on the court. Of the court... I don't know the full story here.

  • In reply to Granby:

    It is absolutely clear to me that after Melo, Lance would be the best fit for the Bulls. His set of skills would mesh almost perfectly with the other starters. Plus, he would be relatively affordable, meaning I think he would command less than the next tier of FAs- Hayward, Parsons, Deng.

    The major reason this probably won't happen is, IMO, the mindset of Paxson. I think he sees Stephenson as somewhat of a loose cannon who would alter the image of his product, regardless of his talent. You may recall he shipped off JR Smith immediately for a middling second round pick after trading Chandler for him. I thought that was somewhat odd in that Pax wouldn't even give a considerable talent like Smith a chance to demonstrate his worth. In short, I see Pax as an overly rigid, authoritarian type who goes nuts if someone goes off the reservation (just ask Vinny after he played Noah a few more minutes during a game than he was instructed).

    Every thoughtful poster here understands that the Bulls need someone on the perimeter that can create and take the pressure off of Rose. Gasol is ok on a reasonable deal but Lance would help the Bulls much more. But it won't happen.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    The only reason that Lance is a better(best) fit than those other second options is because he is a legitimate 2 guard, allowing Butler to play small forward, while all the other guys are SF's, requiring Butler to remain at SG. My gut feeling remains that whoever ends up with him will overpay and end up regretting doing so fairly quickly.

  • In reply to Steve Merritt:

    You have to be able to fit Lance and Mirotic into the cap room to go after Lance IMO. Not sure how feasible that is, but I think it could be done.

    I'd also probably be willing to chase Lance on a four year deal and hope he can keep his crazy in check in Chicago if Melo doesn't work out.

  • The process is delayed because the Knicks and Bulls are working out the details of the S&T....wishful thinking in full force here!

  • Melo has no interest in Chicago. Never has, never will. His agents leaked the story that he was looking for a house in Chicago in late June. That should've told you all you need to know. They were using Chicago as leverage for a max deal from New York. All along he has wanted to be wined and dined on this big tour of cities. But LeBron crossed him up and announced that he is opting out one week early – the day after Melo made his announcement. And suddenly Melo is second string and much less important again. So he is simply waiting for LeBron to announce his decision. Then he expects he will get all the attention.

  • In reply to sfpaper:

    He definitely may have been leveraging the Bulls interest and he could be doing the same with LA. That's my biggest fear.

    There probably is some level of interest in the Bulls given that he'll win about 20-30 games max next season in NY and he just turned 30. In NY, it all rides on free agency next summer and nothing is guaranteed. The Knicks cannot attain Love and he'll probably be traded by then. What's he going to do, wait for Durant in 2016? Who is out there providing hope for the Knicks in 2-3 years?

  • In reply to sfpaper:

    I admit this scenario sounds plausible to me. I'd much rather have this then Melo to Miami, not necessarily that they would win championships, but all the media hype and coverage(again) for Riley/Miami, no f-cing thank you. We'll see. Though maybe not for a few more painfully dragging days. Once again thanks LeBron you King of a person you. Certainly by signing day July 10(or hopefully sooner) we'll know.

  • In reply to sfpaper:

    These FA grand tours are one of the most disgusting developments in pro sports IMO. It allows overgrown infantile human beings to get incredible national (world?) attention to see how many millions of dollars they can extort from teams while their egos get incessantly stroked. Melo even admitted beforehand that he craved this kind of attention as his motivation.

    The NBA loves this sort of thing as it amounts to a free multi-million dollar marketing campaign for their product. The Sports media (ESPN) eats this up as it provides free, unlimited programming content for its millions of international viewers.

    Marx said religion was the opiate of the masses. What would he say today? I am as weak-minded sports addict as anybody out there. All I am asking is are there any limits to what our current sports culture will set as acceptable behavior in this era of free agent egomania?

  • In reply to sfpaper:

    Seems unlikely to me that he'd need to leverage anyone to get a max offer. He'd have one no matter what.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    That was not so certain back in June. Phil had stated that Melo should sign for less than max money.

  • Eerie silence, thy name is collusion. Call it that or player freedom of choice, but what this silence tells me is that Melo is waiting on Miami. Will LeBron and Riley subtly give Bosh the cold shoulder so he drops off to Houston. Then Melo comes into the fold as the second truly dominant scorer. Wade plays the bitch, and takes significantly less money. Works out perfect.

    Look, I hope I'm wrong, but this has been my sneaking suspicion for some time now. Stephen A. Smith, who had James going to Miami the last time we were in this mess/intrigue, now says if Bosh leaves look for Melo to Miami. It's deja vu all over again.

    Just my opinion, but people thinking LeBron is going to Cleveland is a smokescreen. What psychologically makes the Miami situation seem fresh and enticing is the Cleveland smokescreen aka The Decision II. Riley knows how to punk/sway the media and thus the public not to mention players. Miami agreeing to signing and then immediately announcing Granger and McRoberts is something they normally don't do. Why? To complete the retool perception/agreement with Melo and LeBron. Admittedly with questionable replacements though some could be conned into these guys being legit(Granger's past of prolific scoring, McRoberts high assists i.e Spurs model).

    IMO there's a real possibility Melo is going to Miami unless Bosh f-cks it up. The media and people who think Melo has Chicago as an option: with the last place offense in the league, and Derrick Rose coming off of two major knees surgeries, a conservative viewed front office, and unproven playoff coach in Thibs who Noah saying repeatedly he "hates"? I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see Melo to Chicago as in Doug's measly 20% it happens I concur. I hope I'm wrong, I really do.

  • I'll tell you one thing, whether Bosh stays or not, I'd feel a lot better about things if guys like Gasol and Ariza would sign somewhere - other then Miami. Of course, like everybody else they are being held up by LeBron and Melo's "Decisions".

    Obviously that somewhere for Pau may be tied to Carmelo Anthony(Phil/Knicks connection). If there's no money/chance of Gasol and/or Ariza going to the Heat then I'll be happy when that's confirmed by them singing elsewhere. Admittedly Ariza wanting $9-10 Mil would have to be a sign and trade, and you'd hope Randy Whitman and the Wizards would not be pussbags enough to alienate their whole team by doing such a regressive and supplicating move. Gasol, I doubt he'd go for such a below market value(Miami), but in the wake of Melo "euphoria" should such event occur...?

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Yeah, everyone saying Pau to the Heat or Knicks, is wrong, Pau made $19MM last year and they are only going to have the MMLE to offer and if the Bulls miss out on everybody, Bulls offer can start north of the MMLE, 2 years/$12MM. Bulls still a contender with Pau and he makes way more bank than he could with MIA/NYK. Even a S&T won't work because with Carmelo, there is no way that NYK finishes below the apron (a requirement for S&T's) without some more complicated deals where the Lakers take on a ton of salary or rope a 3rd team in (even more complicated).

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Miami used up all their exceptions. They have no money left to offer someone unless they play "under the cap" which means everyone has to take big pay cuts and the extra players directly come from existing big name money.

    Unlikely they land any more FAs. I think they will now operate over the cap and just resign min guys and guys who were there last year with bird rights.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Gasol, Ariza and every/any other significant free agents are officially out of the Miami equation with the announced signings of McRoberts(MLE) and Granger(BAE). Which would seem to indicate that the big 3 are resigning and Miami is staying over the cap.

    Not sure if Miami has to/can cancel those deals to sign Melo if Bosh leaves. Would they/could they even do that and ever get anyone to play for them again.

  • Everyone wants to ride on LBJ coat tail.......

    remember when the NBA had players who wanted to play against each other , rather then join forces and dominate the others.......what fun is that?....

    Make the Jordan Era even more special.

  • Bosh and Wade have the same agent. This guy has been leaking all sorts of stuff to the Miami media, which all seems to be reliable. From this we have learned about the handshake agreements for the big three and the actual dollar amounts. And that LeBron threw a curve ball to everyone by announcing early (while out of the country. His narcissism has no limits). And that LeBron spoke to Bosh over the weekend and said something that sent Bosh' agent to meet with Houston. Remember, Bosh is also out of the country and had no plans to meet with any teams. Could be that LeBron said he is considering Cleveland. Could be that he is just frustrated that Riley made promises that his cap can not keep. But now the agent is waiting on LeBron. Bosh will still return to Miami if James comes back. Bosh will only leave for Houston after LeBron has announced he is leaving.

  • In terms of entertainment, I want to see Kobe, LeBron and Melo all on the same team, trying to share the ball.

  • What if LeBron is seriously considering leaving Miami and Carmelo would take his place in a new big 3? LeBron seemed seriously upset with his team at the end of the finals and was sending serious messages in his postgame presser. Melo would fill the SF role quite nicely down there with Wade and CB. If the Bulls would either get Lance or Pierce I would be just as happy. I hope for Melo's sake he lands on a good team like the Bulls where he can change his rep and play for a title. Lots of guys (Garnett, Gasol, Pierce) get reps as losers when they can't singlehandedly win playoff series, then they get on a good team and win titles. Melo needs to ditch NY and go to Chi or Miami.

  • Escaping briefly from the NBA held hostage(by LeBron and probably Riley) Day 7: Ironic that both the perps, Riley and James, are the recipients of punking the greatest champ of them all, Michael Jordan. Though admittedly not a hard feat in the exec world of the NBA.

    Rewind to June 26th, draft day. LeBron says you want me to stay in Miami, OK, for starters, get me NCAA champion and driving force, PG Shabazz Napier. Ass kissing appeasement, Take One!

    Enter enabling sap holder of pick 24, MJ, a fool easily parted with his money/value, swaps picks for model citizen P.J. Hairston and assorted garbage picks. Too f-ing funny. Now P.J. is in a fistfight with a teenager over an on court basketball dispute. Wonderful. Charlotte fans rejoice your savior has arrived! Meanwhile Napier looks all the part of a polished, savvy quality ready to play NBA PG. The piece being at perhaps the most critical position they need. Michael Jordan, may your banner yet wave!(you magnificent bastard)!

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    In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Your being sarcastic right ?

    I know it's early but Napier has looked like dog doo doo so far, a turnover machine.

    A lot of things can change w time and familiarity

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Hey Jim, no, that wasn't sarcasm. When a player gets thrown out of college and is known for off court issues, then shortly after said draft where you(M.J.) swapped picks for an NCAA champ to get him, and he then proceeds to get into a violent altercation with punches thrown, that's generally not considered a good development. Now that's sarcasm.

    You know your under scrutiny in your impending future profession with lots of money at stake, and you proceed to get into a fist fight with a teenager over a pick up game? I don't know about you Jim, but that's generally not a good sign of things to come.

    So many players have shitty first games in Summer League. Not to mention the whole situation can be deceptive. If you didn't believe in Napier before Summer League then a couple of games there aren't going to make that much difference.

    That said, Game 2, if you watched the game, he looked terrific. His passing was fantastic as was his feel for the game. IMO He will be able to step right in and help in Miami as a four year player who was the driving force for an NCAA championship. I'm not saying he's necessarily going to be an excellent fit at starter, but certainly a valuable rotation player at a critical position for Miami. Unlike Hairston who has unprofessional nightmare written all over him.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Yes, it's amazing how some NBA teams will bend over for the Heat. I can see a Western Conference team doing this but you would think MJ would be more of a competitor as an executive.

    Have to believe your reference at the end of your post is from the movie "Patton" where George C. Scott says "Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book."

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    The phrase "you magnificent bastard" whether stolen from the Patton line, has been used in a funny piece(s) including recently I forget where. Sounds like something that would have been co-opted on Seinfeld. If you Google it it comes up immediately as it's been in play/somewhat in vogue. I can't remember where, but I thought it was f-ing funny and recently have been overusing it I'm sure.

  • I'm at the point where I just want something to happen! I wish some team or some player would just make a move. If the Bulls told Melo, "Enough, we're signing Lance. Have fun losing in LA or NY." I'd be happy with that. Bosh is waiting for LeBron. LeBron is waiting for Riley. Gasol is waiting for Melo. Melo is waiting for Bosh. Make it stop!!!!

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    Melo has been sold on Chicago since day one. Now its all about the sign and trade. That's why the meeting in Chicago was so long. They were coming up with a strategy to make the s&t happen. Why did the Lakers "emerge" as a "favorite"? Jeanie Buss. Very cleaver Leon. Was that your idea or Thibs? And now they wait for the best time to strike a deal with Phil. Melo and James!? Stop it. Lebron is still pissed Melo was anointed with the Jordan brand instead of him. And NOBODY is more fearful of Melo going to Chicago than James. He wont be able to beat the Bulls regardless of where he goes. And when the Bulls win the championship all the big endorsment money is going Melo's way. BIG money! A Melo championship would make him the most sought after guy for endorsements since Jordan. He would be the total package unlike Lebron who to many is unlikable due to his attitude and arogance. A winning Melo will make more money than what NYC can offer, period.

  • Doug, I agree that Melo not announcing his decision yet would seem to indicate that he is willing to leave NY and might prefer it.

    However, if his decision was to go to the Bulls first and foremost then he could have already announced that. Almost certainly, he is waiting on Lebron, meaning that Miami is likely his #1 target(or 1A with Lebron himself #1), and despite it not making the most basketball sense I still contend that LA is his first non Miami choice.

    Finally, as I've said all along, I have no doubt that in the miraculous event that Melo picks the Bulls as his first choice, Phil will do a sign and trade, and that the Sacto pick and the 2015 Bulls first(Cleveland swap) will be the primary costs, everything else will just be salary cap gymnastics.

  • Waiting and waiting and waiting. Seriously, is there anyone here who in private wouldn't say that LeBron whose sideline dancing/mocking Noah and the Bulls, throwing the towel down purposely from waiting kid/towel boy on Youtube, the Decision, to piss all over loyal fans who made you rich beyond your wildest dreams, wink at the camera while you sell phony flopping fouls and now another manipulative self-serving waiting game LeBron self anointed "King" James isn't somewhat of an asshole? And yet we're all putting our lives on hold for this jag?

    And Wade?? A cheap shot, nut kicking as in play dirty(on and off the court) flopping, chipmunk cheeked, a-hole in his own right. And yet we're all waiting on them with baited breath. Fuck, give me a break. ESPN with blathering "round the clock coverage"? Would u, Riley, James, the greed leech agents, and click happy/ratings whore media all just buzz off. Until some actual news occurs, I'm done

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    If I had a life I would put it on hold. Probably the greatest media story since Watergate would be if some investigative reporter learned that Lebron and Melo actually made their decisions sometime in June and were just fucking with millions of people just because they can.

    Not only would they be rollicking in their mansions right now (as we tap out these sorry posts) but they would somehow see this as a way of "giving back" to ESPN and the NBA for making them the megastars they have come to be.

    Where have you gone Max Zaslovsky, a nation turns it's lonely eyes to you.

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    In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Well said. Never forgot how Wade cheap-shotted (?)
    Asik in the play-offs a few years ago. Asik needed stitches to his chin. Other than that, Asik didn't notice little insect trying to hurt him. Wade is a douche.
    LeBron, ah, what more can be said?

  • The first domino has fallen!

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/breaking-lebron-james-leaning-toward-joining-alqae,36417/

  • The most likely explaination is the simplest, not some convoluted game of musical chairs. Melo said he wanted to be a free agent. He's now soaking in the free agent experience, of being chased and his name in the headlines. That's why he hasn't announced what he's doing yet. He's enjoying this too much to want it to stop.

  • Some thoughts on Mirotic

    From Fran Fraschilla, NBA draft guru

    "I think he would have been the guy like we said with Jabari Parker, he's the most ready to play in an NBA game right now," Fraschilla said on ESPN 1000's "Waddle and Silvy Show" on Monday. "And we might have even made the statement Andrew Wiggins may have the most upside, but I honestly think he would have been in the top [few picks]. Let's assume a healthy [Joel] Embiid, you're definitely talking about [Mirotic being] a top-four pick."

    "He's got to get a little bit stronger; they're getting an above-average NBA starter at 24 who's not an All-Star quality [player] just yet. You're getting a very good, above-average NBA starter. Given his age it was worth the wait [for him to come over] and I think he'll have a nice impact on this Bulls team, particularly with all the pieces that will return."

    "Playing at the level he has for the last four years, he's hitting .330 in Triple-A," Fraschilla said. "And now you're bringing him up to the big leagues. If you're the Chicago Bulls, for example, you're hoping he's going to be a .290 hitter right off the bat."

    When asked for an NBA comparison, Fraschilla compared Mirotic to a young Hedo Turkoglu, a player who can space the floor for Derrick Rose and knock down jumpers. But he also noted that fans should not expect too much too quickly. "I think the Bulls are getting a really solid player here," Fraschilla said. "But they're not getting Dirk Nowitzki, certainly not at this stage of his career."

    I certainly think that we can live with that to start with. Remember, Dirk wasn't all that his first season or 2 either.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I like Fran a lot and he does a decent job for ESPN. However, my first reaction is that no way would he have been top four in the draft, and my second reaction is that the Turkoglu comparison was ludicrous. The rest of the review of Mirotic was pretty accurate IMO.

    The NBA draft is a futures market. Eighteen and nineteen year old super athletes like Exum, Gordon, and Vonleh will always be picked ahead of 24 year old European three point shooters. Especially after some of the Euroflops in recent years (e.g. Tsikishvili sp?). Saric was drafted 12th (I believe) and then traded. I think that would be the more likely spot for someone like Mirotic in this draft although Saric is younger and has a much more versatile game.

    Hedo is a three. Mirotic is a four. Hedo's value has always been as a point forward. A guy who can create for others, pass, and shoot. Mirotic's skills in this respect are not nearly as developed except for shooting which is his strong suit. Mirotic also runs the floor very well. In the three years I have been making myself blind watching Mirotic on YouTube and NBA TV, not once has a comparison to Turkoglu ever come to my mind.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Vonleh went 9th. Saric needs to stay in Europe for two more years. There are no way Mirotic would be behind those guys given that he can play now and he's a 90-50-40 stretch 4, which everyone wants.

    He went 22 in the 2011 draft only b/c he could not come to the NBA right away. Back then, he was a lottery pick that fell b/c he may not come to the NBA for 3-4 years.

    Here's the thing about age and the draft: It's one thing to be 24 and be not that good. But, to be able to step right in and contribute better than anyone else in the draft in year one is key. All these 18 and 19 and 20 year olds have 1-2 years of college experience. Mirotic has played against professionals since he was there age. The Euro league is more talented than the NCAA.

    Bottom line: If Mirotic would not have been picked 4th this year, he would have been picked in the top 6 or 7 FOR SURE. He has just as much upside as anyone outside of Wiggins and Embiid and maybe Parker and Exum, too.

  • In reply to Granby:

    In reality Saric went 10th, Philly has acknowledged that he was the guy that they wanted. Orlando sitting 12 at desperately wanted Payton and they were worried that he would go at 11, either to Denver or someone who traded into the spot. So they made a deal(getting their own future first back) and Philly took Payton, hoping/knowing that Saric wasn't going 11th.

    In another piece on Mirotic several NBA scouts were quoted as saying that he might have been the #1 pick in his draft if he had come to the NBA immediately.

    Clearly if Mirotic had been in this draft he would have gone anywhere between 4-10, meaning we have 2 of the top 11 picks joining us this season, with both of them being "4 year seniors".

    Mirotic might not be an allsater, but I can't imagine him not being a better player this year than boozer was for any or all of his Chicago career.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    I didn't necessarily care for the Hedu comparison either(maybe Detleff Schrempf), and I totally agree with you from the clips that I have seen, Mirotic runs the floor extremely well for a bigman. He appears to love getting out on the break, might be a reason for his less than stellar rebounding numbers.

    That might be the biggest part of his game that no one seems to be aware of.

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    I think Bosh LBJ and Wade are trying to mess with Melos head so he doesnt sign with Chicago making the east too competitive for them.
    Think about it logically, if melo feels the heat are an option it will only take his focus off chicago, they will wait for Melo to resign with NY and they will resign with the heat.

  • In reply to Sam Strog:

    Sounds like a giant rationalization to convince yourself that Melo (or any of the free agents) wants to play in Chicago.

    LeBron has to be in Brazil this weekend and China right after (both for Nike), so I expect he will be the first to declare. He meets with Riley today in Vegas.

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