Archive Page 2

01
Oct
08

Ben Gordon yet to practice

OK, this this situation is just short of the definition of “no new news”

Ben Gordon has yet to practice through the first day and a half of training camp.  He says he’s decided whether he’ll sign the qualifying offer or the 5 or 6-year deal being offered him.  Rumors on the internet say it’s the qualifying offer.  Any hard evidence has yet to emerge.

I’m excited the Bulls are starting to play.  I’m disappointed there’s no resolution to the Ben Gordon situation.  All in all, no real news of note yet from this preseason other than a lack of developments.

03
Sep
08

Poor (for now) Ben

Interesting post by Kelley Dwyer about Ben Gordon’s situation. I agree with most of it, especially the hypothetical situation where Gordon could go to Europe for one year, make more than he would here, and then come back as a free agent to a Bulls team that has cleared out space for him via a Hinrich or Hughes trade. Found, as usual, via TrueHoop. I really have to start visiting Ball Don’t Lie more on my own.

Again, via TrueHoop, here is a nice breakdown of Luol Deng’s first performance for the British team this year. He finished with 30 but fouled out in the closing moments of regulation in a game that went to overtime.

What to do about Ben?

The situation between the Bulls and Ben Gordon has really gotten sad and the worst part is that there’s no good solution.

If I ran the Bulls I’d offer him a contract averaging $10.1 million a season which would allow him to save face by not losing annual money over last year’s offer. This deal however would still allow the franchise to “win” the negotiations as it would neglect to make Gordon the teams highest paid player as his agent has demanded he become. This deal would of course require the Bulls to go over the luxury tax threshold, but only temporarily. It would be vital for them to figure out some salary-dumping move later in the season in order to get back under.

The Bulls would not make such an offer because they don’t want to risk ever having to pay the luxury tax. It’s probably good business not to back themselves into a corner the way this proposition would. However, it’s not going to be enough for the fans. The team is going to make money either way, it’s just a question of how much. The Bulls are and have for years been one of the leagues most profitable teams.

Another reason they won’t go for an offer like this is, as far as I can tell, they really don’t believe they need Ben Gordon very much and are using the luxury tax thing as an excuse for why they can’t offer him more money. This line of thinking is, in my opinion, dead wrong. In that he’s a better shooter, Gordon is a better complement to Derrick Rose than Hinrich, both today and in the future. I’m not bashing Hinrich here.  I’d just love to see Gordon getting open threes after the lighting-quick Rose hits him on the arc while getting doubled penetrating the lane. Rose should turn out to have the ability to guard the opponent’s bigger guard while Gordon can continue to take the smaller guy. However, Hinrich is not a consistent enough scorer to make up for the lack of production that would result from losing Gordon. The Bulls would have a mighty weak offense next season unless Tyrus takes a big step or Larry Hughes magically remembers how to play team ball and shoot again. The Tyrus possibility is better than the Hughes, but not a sure thing by any means.

I sort of like the scenario described at the top of this page where Gordon would leave for a year, get the money he desires, and come back to money and a bigger role here. It’s not that the Bulls don’t want him on the team at all this coming season, but neither the team nor Gordon are in a position to make much happen on the trade market. Assuming they did sign him, there’s not enough playing time for all the guards. This Russia scenario would give the Bulls wiggle room to provide him with the money and tic he wants while letting young Derrick acclimate to the league in a rebuilding year of sorts. Only one problem. No way in hell Ben would come back to the Bulls after they let/forced him to go play in Europe.

Unfortunately, as of now there just is no good answer, either real or hypothetical. It’s just sad.

07
Aug
08

Bulls to start ’08-’09 season against Skiles’ Bucks

No new interesting news.

A lot of outlets are forcing a story over the fact that the recently released 2008-2009 NBA schedule features a Bulls vs. Bucks opening for the Bulls.  This is potentially interesting because the Bucks are now coached by Scott Skiles.  Bah.  Seeing Rose and Vinny Del Negro start their Bulls careers will be much more interesting than Skiles back in the United Center.

Think about Scott Skiles and his time with the Bulls.  The man gave a less interesting interview than Lovie Smith and his, “We’ll all see the answer to that on game day” quotes.  While Skiles was often pleasantly candid, he was almost never emotional or exciting to hear from.  My guess is he likely would secretly relish a win on October 24th, but we won’t see or hear much of anything to let us know.

At least we have Olympic basketball coming up to take our minds off the nothingness of Bulls news right now.  (yes I stole the link to the schedule from TrueHoop)

01
Aug
08

Reinsdorf as owner of the Bulls

I just found (via blogabull) this outstanding post by Kelly Dwyer about Jerry Reinsdorf as the Bulls owner. Every Bulls fan needs to read it because if you don’t know this about Reinsdorf, you need to. It will shape how you view the Bulls organization.

I love the Bulls and the White Sox. Reinsdorf owns both. He is a fantastic baseball owner and a terrible basketball owner. I don’t have a source for this, but I’ve read multiple times that he said he’d trade all of his Bulls championships for one Sox World Series. This mentality is played out in how he spends on each of his teams.

Important points from Dwyer’s article/post:

Since Michael Jordan left the team in 1999, the
Bulls have been the league's most profitable franchise by far. The team
doesn't rake in money comparable to the Lakers or Knicks, but they don't spend
the same amount of money either. The team is swimming in profits.

This is hugely important. I believe that the more profits a team makes, the more it should spend. Not that it shouldn’t remain profitable, but there should be commitment to winning and spending is a part of that. Owners in any league that take advantage of their fans’ lack of knowledge or utter loyalty by not spending as much on their team as can be afforded don’t deserve to be owners and should be forced out of their leagues. I can’t imagine how frustrating it would be to be a Memphis Grizzlies fan.

You watch. The team has about seven and a half million
dollars to spend this summer before it hits the luxury tax, and though Ben
Gordon is worth about eight million a year, the team will find a way to worm
its way out of sending money to the team's leading scorer and hardest worker.

The Bulls don’t owe Gordon a contract because he’s their hardest worker. If he doesn’t fit, he doesn’t fit. I love Gordon but am not positive keeping him is the best move. That said, this situation will go down as Dwyer describes. It’s important to note that when it does, the Bulls will tell us they wish they could have got something done when really everything is going according to their plan.

The rookie salary scale was the best thing to ever happen to
the Bulls, because they can hold potential and promise in your face while
keeping eight figure contracts at arm's length, and by the time you've talked
yourself into believing that the lottery-derived hotshot from four years ago
has too many holes to retain, the Bulls have taken advantage, moved on, and
picked up another shiny piece (Derrick Rose!) for you to get distracted with.

Nothing else to say here. This is just the case.

And he has his guys. Gordon, Tyrus Thomas, Joakim NoahAndres Nocioni ... those are his guys. Scrappers. Plucky sorts. Reinsdorf is just
fine with a second round exit with a team that makes him money and reminds him
of the 1970 New York Knicks.
probably ... he doesn't mind it when his basketball braintrust drafts these
sorts, but he doesn't want to be the one handing eight-figure a year contracts
to them. Hinrich, Deng, Chandler,

It’s true. He wants the Bulls to make the playoffs (and win a championship for that matter) because then they are more profitable. The point is that he can build a playoff team without spending too much while it would take breaking the bank (or being extremely lucky over the course of several years) to win a championship. Given that he’s not going to break the bank and has to pay some players to give off the appearance of a team that’s trying to win, he only pays the guys he really likes. KC Johnson wrote today the Deng’s commitment to community and charity work was vital in his negotiations. While that commitment makes Deng a cool and great person, what does it have to do with whether or not he deserves the largest contract in team history?

Neither Dwyer nor I are saying the Deng signing was bad, just that it’s the same old smokescreen tactics from Reinsdorf. For that matter, Dwyer also admits that he could be and hopes to be wrong:

6). And if the Bulls
re-sign Gordon to a sizeable deal? If they pay the luxury tax?
I will dance to this song, repeatedly. I
will warm myself thinking about the possibility of the Bulls showcasing an
offense that is above average in offensive efficiency, at least by the year
2011.
And I will come on here and offer a mea culpa. But only if
they pay the luxury tax.

Seriously though, go read his entire post. Great, enlightening and I believe true stuff.

Go Sox! While I’ll continue to be frustrated by Reinsdorf’s handling of the Bulls, here’s to hoping that the Sox can hold on and make the playoffs. Their roster, by the way, features seven players who make over $10 million per year and an eighth making $9.5 million.

30
Jul
08

Deng signs, what to do about Gordon . . .

I told you I’d rant again!

Luol Deng signed a new contract with the Bulls that is reportedly worth $71 million over 6 years and could be worth $80 million with incentives. See below for all of the reportedlies.

I was talking to people yesterday about how I thought Deng and Gordon would either get something done soon or give up after seeing the contracts that Emeka Okafor, Andris Biedrins and Monta Ellis just signed. They were all too high in my opinion, but definitely gave Gordon and Deng a leg to stand on in their negotiations.

I said yesterday:

Gordon and Deng may be whiney, but as long as other teams are committing to dumb contracts like this, they at least have an argument for $10 million a year.

Okafor – 13.7 ppg and 10.7 rpg in 33 mpg – 6 years at $12 million
Biedrins – 10.5 ppg and 9.8 rpg in 27.5 mpg – 6 years at $10.5 million
Ellis – 20.2 ppg and 3.9 apg in 31.9 mgp – 6 years at $11 million

Today:

Deng – 17.0 ppg and 6.3 rpg in 33.8 mpg – 6 years at $11.83 million and up to $13.33 with incentives

Gordon – 18.6 ppg and 3.1 apg in 31.8 mgp . . . ? The Bulls reportedly have only have $8 million left if they want to stay under the luxury tax

Keeping Deng for the long-term was vital to the team the Bulls are trying to build. He’s young, somewhat versatile, has the potential to keep getting better and is the perfect size and shape for his position. As Derrick Rose grows into the player he can and is supposed to become, he will need teammates that can grow along with him. This will be a long process and the Bulls need to think of it as semi-rebuilding as opposed to a tweaking of the team they already had. Keeping Deng was essential to this goal.

I believe that Ben Gordon could be a great fit with Rose because he’s a great outside shooter and that skill will be very helpful to someone who can distribute and get to the basket the way Rose can. However, Gordon isn’t quite as essential to (what I think should be) the Bulls plans because he is two years older than Deng and unfortunately simply too small to guard his own position. Rose will probably be able to guard a lot of 2s in the coming years, but you don’t want to have to ask him to do that.

It’s important to note that I’m only comparing Deng and Gordon’s necessity to the team relative to each other, not either of their value compared to all other players.

I would love for the Bulls to trade Larry Hughes for anybody with a contract that is 25% + $100,000 a year lower than his (the most allowed by the CBA for teams over the salary cap), but searching through salaries on hoopshype.com I was unable to find any ideal candidates. You’d need somebody relatively unwanted because Hughes is unwanted and maybe with more years left on his contract than the 2 Hughes has remaining. Troy Murphy would fit the bill as he makes about the exact right amount and is signed for one more year than Hughes, but I don’t see Larry Bird picking up a player like Hughes after all the trouble the Pacers have had with players’ characters. Maybe you could throw somebody else in, but then we’re just getting too hypothetical.

The point is, if you could make a trade like one for Murphy, you’d free up about $2.7 million more in the first year of the trade that could be offered to Ben Gordon while still staying under the luxury tax. Plus, you’d free up playing time by reducing the number of guards on the roster. Ben could then be offered a contract averaging $10.7 million, though that would be a bit too high. What I would do is offer him something averaging just above what they offered last year. This strategy is how they got Deng. Last year they offered Deng an $11.5 million average and this year it’s $11.83. That’s not a significant increase, but it allows the player to save face by improving his stock instead of hurting it.

Anyway, I don’t see it happening. I predict Gordon is traded for less than he’s worth. No sign-and-trade is likely, in my opinion, because other teams won’t want to pay him over $10 million a year either. Therefore, he gets traded to a team who is willing to have him for only one year because they didn’t have to give up much to get him. That “not much” is what the Bulls will likely end up with. I don’t see them going into the season with 5 guards who are all worthy of significant tic. That won’t happen. Gordon is the most likely to go because he’s only guaranteed for one more year vs. Thabo’s less expensive two or Hinrich’s decreasingly expensive 4. And nobody wants Hughes.

Reports on Deng’s deal as of Wednesday morning:

28
Jul
08

Warriors continue to overpay

I hate to make this seem like a Warriors blog, but there continues to be no noteworthy news about the Bulls.

The Golden State Warriors have offered a (ridiculous in my opinion) six-year contract worth $63 million center Andris Bierdrins. That’s an average of $10.5 per year for a player who averaged 10.5 ppg, 9.8 rgp and 1.2 bpg. Those are solid numbers, but not 10.5 million per numbers. He’s still very young at 22 so we can assume the Warriors expect him to keep getting better, but still.

Golden State didn’t have a choice with Monta. After losing Baron Davis they needed a face of the franchise and scoring sells tickets even if it doesn’t always help the team. However, they didn’t have to do the same thing for Biedrins. A team that gets lucky could get a player capable of averaging 10 and 10 for the mid-level exception on a good year. $10.5 million? There’s a few restricted free agents who are giving their teams a little nudge, most notably Emeka Okafor. Anybody know what his numbers were last season? 13.8 ppg, 10.7 rpg and 1.7 bpg. Charlotte has been offering him only a $10 million average.

Does this all mean the Bulls will have to pay Tyrus and Noah $10 million + too? I guess if they can average 10 and 10 that will be a good conversation to have, not a bad one.

25
Jul
08

Still no new developments . . .

News out of the Chicago Bulls camp remains unsettlingly slow. No contract developments for Deng or Gordon. No trade or sign-and-trade rumors involving the Bulls. More seemingly overconfident silence from John Paxson and company.

I think that drafting a 19-year-old wiz kid does mean the Bulls should build around their youngest players (Deng, Thomas, Noah) however, it doesn’t mean they can let Gordon or Deng for that matter leave for nothing in a year. It’s time to get something done, especially with Deng’s recent threats about cutting off negotiations when the Olympics start. If you have to trade them, you have to trade them. Just get something done.
Monta Ellis just signed a deal that will pay him an average of $11.17 million over the next six years. Is it just me, or is Ellis just like Ben Gordon without three point range? I understand that re-signing him was vital for the Warriors after they lost Baron Davis, but $11 million +? I think they’ll be regretting that move in a couple of years. He’s an undersized, one-dimensional scorer. The Bulls offered Gordon $10 million a year last summer and I thought that was fair. I think they should offer a similar deal now or else trade him. That would still be overpaying, but at least he can score inside and out. Who is Monta Ellis and his 23% 3-pt shot helping when someone gets double teamed?

Ian Thomsen is making some very early NBA predictions and he has the Bulls finishing 12th in the East, ahead of only Miami, Charlotte and New Jersey. That’s behind the Knicks, Pacers and Bucks amongst others. Maybe one of those three will finish ahead of the Bulls, but not all of them. As of now I’m predicting a borderline playoff finish this season, but certainly not 12th place.

Does anybody else think Miami and New Jersey might be better than the Pacers and Knicks? There’s a chance Ricahard Jefferson and Scott Skiles transform the Bucks, but who exactly is helping Indiana and New York get in the playoff conversation this coming season? TJ Ford is a quality point guard but he has nobody to pass to except Danny Granger. I like Chris Duhon a lot, but the Knicks still have every problem they had last season except Isiah Thomas.

Derrick Rose apparently signed a shoe contract with Adidas. I like it. I like Nike too, but they have plenty of high-profile endorsers. Now I’ll be able to add a pair of Rose’s next to my T-Mac’s.




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