It's that time of year again, and all though I haven't written a blog in two years, I felt inspired to talk to an empty room again. To share my thoughts via a blog and save the random stranger with a Bulls hat from my ranting about this team. So hopefully this purges my system and possibly on the slim chance, it provides an entertaining read to some young fan. Since my last edition to this blog a lot has changed. The team has fired its coach and hired a new, and they didn't make the playoffs this season all though some had them pegged to win it. The ups and downs of the Chicago Bulls has to be the greatest roller-coaster ride ever. Micheal Jordan has spoiled us fans, and every year we hope to return to the glory days. However, just like the song says they often pass you by. As for the Bulls somethings stay the same and seem to never change. Derrick Rose is still not the player he once was and all though having his best season in recent history, he still looks to never return to his old form. Most certainly not worth the league's 9th highest salary.
Which is why the team seems to be scouting any point guard with a chance at making an impact in the league. From Ulis to Yogi the Bulls front office wants to cover all bases in hopes of hitting a home run with the 14th pick. So true to form I have followed their lead and sorted through the seemingly endless scouting videos. Bumping my head along to the accompaniment of music put there to make the players seem even more talented. I have no real qualms with it, but prefer 80's and 90's music. However old fashion I sound it was just better. I've analyzed the upsides, downsides and the verticals of as many players as I can stomach. After all this I have the sneaking feeling they will probably draft a center.
All though just maybe, this year is the year the team parts from their conservative ways and really takes a chance. Maybe this year they finally press the button and blow it all up to start again. The odds on that are slim, and the talent in this draft is diluted to the point that to the common fan there is no true prize to be had, no real franchise builder talent to hitch your wagon. So scouting and research should serve them well. The ping pong balls will get it all started on Tuesday, and this year they may play an even more important roll in what the Bulls do. Not as important as in 2008 but with Philadelphia having a chance to have two picks in the top 5 and the Lakers having an equal chance of being snuffed out of a pick, the Bulls could find moves to make. The problem is for who ? Who is worth that big of a move and the package of players and picks to make such a jump.
Their is reason however to be optimistic the Bulls make some sort of move, with Boston, Denver and Philadelphia having multiple picks in the first round there should be some unforeseen movement. The 76ers intrigue me the most with a need for veteran players and a new management willing to move some of their young front court talent in hopes of bringing in veteran pieces to stabilize all that youth. Would they be willing to part with Embiid or Okafor ? Do the Bulls have enough assets to get Philly's pick and or a young big man prospect like that ? It seems unless Jimmy Butler is part of the deal, no.
With Butler representing the team lottery night on a national television broadcast, and chumming it up with Bulls brass at the draft combine he seems safe from the trading block. This is the Bulls front office however, the team that has fired a coach on Christmas Eve and pulled players off buses and coach's ties while they were still wearing them. It's business, so I guess anything is possible. Al though, Butler could fetch an even bigger haul then a Philly big and the number 4 pick. Just maybe all this embarrassing of Butler by management is a savvy way for the front office to up the ante of prospective buyers.
Rumors had it Boston offered a top 4 pick and one of their later firsts (#16,#23) for Butler and the Bulls said no. Also, Orlando was rumored to offer Victor Oladipo and their first rounder (#11) for Butler and again got a no. So Butler seems to be in their future plans, yet the fact of them including just a 5% trade kicker in his deal makes me feel something could be up. When it's standard through all contracts like his to be set at 15%. A trade kicker means other teams (prospective buyers) will have to return to the trading team the Player's salary value plus the percentage in equal salaries or cap space. With every team in the league having an additional 20 million in Butler's case makes him easier to trade. His salary next season is set to be 17.5m, so plus 5% is somewhere around 18.4m and 15% would put it at around 21m. So any team in the league will have the chips to trade for him thanks to some small print on his deal, and big money from the new TV deal for the league. So this draft should be intriguing if not interesting for sure.
As far as the players I like from this crop of draftees. I'll add a list of ones I'd throw a dart at if I was the Bulls.
1. Buddy Hield
2. Demetrius Jackson
3. Kris Dunn
4. Tyler Ulis
5. Yogi Ferrell
Not the top prospects in the draft. Just the guys I'd take a chance on being someone you could hitch a wagon to and start to build a team.
This summer I foresee Lebron finally being the athlete to bring a champion to Cleveland, and a much more sobering thought is I believe it maybe just the beginning of Cleveland's run at rings. So for the Bulls there is no tweak or minor adjustment that will get them to the promise land as long as James is still in Cleveland. They have time to wait and assets to grow or go get. I say let coach Fred have the guys he needs to show us finally what "Hoiball" is all about, and by the time this team is build and running the system like a well oiled machine the eastern conference could be theirs to take.
In the end the Bulls will most probably stay conservative and draft the best player available which maybe a center.