Posts Tagged ‘Memphis Grizzlies

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.

04
Feb
08

Another call for Paxson’s demise (with a little Reinsdorf bashing thrown in)

Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley says,

We had conversations with Chicago which were non-satisfactory.
They didn't want to take on the luxury-tax situation and Los
Angeles was. In his league, if you're in a big-market area you
can afford to do those hings. We negotiated as hard as we could
for quality players and Chicago) refused to give up anybody in
their core group. What they offered us were guys who play on the
second and third team, so we turned them down.

Heisley’s completely right.  In Chicago the Bulls could still make plenty of money even if they had to pay the luxury tax for one season (this one).  Based on other sources, what Heisley was referring to was the Bulls re-signing PJ Brown to a prorated portion of a one-year contract in order to make the slaries match up for a Gasol trade.   If the Bulls did that they would go over the luxury tax limit for this season and thus have to pay some penalties as well as miss out on their share of penalties other teams (like the Knicks) will be paying that are divided amongst all under the limit teams.

You know what, too freaking bad.  Look, as a Bulls and Sox fan I’ve come to learn that Reinsdorf is ridiculously cheap for owning teams in a market like Chicago.  If you’re not Michael Jordan (or apparently Ben Wallace) he’s not giving you reasonable money.   Nevertheless, this is a new level of cheapness.  We’re talking about a one year hit in order to be a contender for the next five or so seasons.  After this year Brown’s contract would be gone and I’ve already described and losing Duhon and Ben Gordon’s contracts after this season would free up nearly $8 million.  Hinrich and Ben Wallace each make $1 million less next season than they do this season.  Where’s the problem?!?

Once more, I have to explain what should have happened.  Heisley clearly shows in his above comments he was willing to work with the Bulls.  My thing is, they didn’t even have to go into the luxury zone with a PJ Brown contract to get him.  This failure is completely Paxson and/or Reinsdorf’s fault.

Heisley says they wanted somebody out of the Bulls core group.  How about Ben Gordon? He’s a young player from the Bulls’ core who would be an ideal 6th man for Memphis or who Memphis could let go at the end of the season for cap relief.  Gordon is a restricted free agent at the end of the season which means the Bulls have to extend him to a long-term deal or he can sign their qualifying offer, which would extend his contract one more season at 125% of what he’s making this season.  However, the Grizzlies could also choose not to tender him a qualifying offer which would mean he’d become an unrestricted free agent and come off of their books.  There goes $4.9 million.

The Bulls would also include Chris Duhon.  He’s a borderline core group/second team player.  Memphis probably wouldn’t be interested in him as they already have two young point guards, but his contract also comes off the books at the end of the year.  There goes an additions $3.25 in cap relief.

Now we’re up to $8.15 million in cap relief for the Grizzlies, plus the option to keep an attractive young player in Gordon if they do want to pay him.  Kwame Brown is making $9.05 million this season.  Therefore, the Bulls could have offered Memphis pretty much the same cap relief the Lakers offered with the added benefit of an attractive young player (as opposed to one of the bigger busts of all time) as part of the relief.

Next, the Bulls offer the Grizzlies their choice of Tyrus Thomas or Joakim Noah.  Tyrus Thomas makes $3.5 million this season and Noah makes $2.14 million.  Both make more than Crittenton’s $1.29 million, but the Grizzlies are log jammed at point guard and in need of somebody to replace Gasol’s minutes in the front court.  Thomas and Noah offer that replacement and are they type of young, high upside players the Grizzlies are looking for.  Crittenton doesn’t offer that replacement and, based on his draft position, has less potential as well.  Finally, if Memphis is looking to dump salary and nothing else, Thomas or Noah would command a better draft pick from another team than Crittenton would in a player-for-pick trade.

One of the main reasons the Grizzlies made this trade is they have high hopes for Marc Gasol.  If that’s the case, I have to believe Thomas or Noah’s higher potential over Crittenton would have to balance this aspect of the trade out.  Even if Heisley and GM Chris Wallace really like Marc Gasol, the added advantages of my offer over the Lakers offer would have to be too much to pass up.

The Lakers also threw in their first round picks in ’08 and ’10.  I believe the ’08 is top three protected and the ’10 is top ‘6.  They may be the other way around, but it doesn’t matter.  I would have thrown in those picks from the Bulls unprotected.  If Chicago has Gasol the picks would be mid-round at best/worst.  Again, my offer would trump the Lakers.  Not only would my picks be unprotected, but in my opinion it’s safe to assume that the Bulls with Gasol would have a worse record in those seasons than the Lakers with Gasol will.  Therefore the Grizzlies would come out with better picks by taking my offer.

All of these factors combined would seem like far, far too much for Heisley and Wallace to pass up, but that doesn’t matter.  The point is the Bulls DID have the pieces to beat the Lakers offer and just refused to make the move.   This fear, this inactivity, this reluctance to let go of any player he drafted should seal Paxson’s fate.  Yes, Reinsdorf is a cheap owner, but I figured out a way for the Bulls to have made this trade without even going into the luxury tax.  Paxson MUST be fired, it’s the only logical next step if this team is ever going to get better.

02
Feb
08

Angry rant about John Paxson/Bulls management

Ever since I found out about the Gasol trade this afternoon I’ve become more and more pissed off. John Paxson pulled the franchise out of futility and made them fun and respectable again. However, not a single move he’s made since the 2004 draft has worked out with the possible exception of re-signing Nocioni this past summer. As much credit as he deserves for turning the worst team in the league into a team that won 138 games over the three previous seasons, his more recent ineptitude has become completely unacceptable.

I’ll give Paxson a pass on signing Ben Wallace because nobody could have guessed how quickly Wallace would give up after receiving his final big payday. Ben was coming off of his 4th Defensive Player of the Year Award in 5 seasons and was known for his effort. If the Bulls needed anything at that point it was a veteran.

Trading Tyson Chandler was acceptable too because it became clear that while Tyson was skilled and athletically gifted, Skiles wasn’t going to accept him or let him be. It’s unlikely Chanlder would have turned into the quality player he is today if he stayed with the Bulls. HOWEVER, wasting what he got in return for Chandler by dumping J.R. Smith and letting P.J. Brown’s contract expire was as unacceptable as missing on Garnett, Gasol and Randolph.

The Eddy Curry trade was a disaster and although I’ve been guaranteed by multiple Bulls reporters that it isn’t true, I’m still convinced Paxson used Curry’s refusal to take a DNA test as a way to get rid of one of the last Jerry Kraus headband-wearing players without having to take blame from the fans. Eddy had a heart condition and Paxson claimed he wasn’t going to give him a guaranteed contract until he had a DNA test. The thing is that multiple doctors cleared Curry to play and everyone knew the players’ association would never have allowed him to set a precadent by being the first player to take a DNA test for his team. Paxson only required it because he knew it would never happen.

At the time of the Curry trade it looked like the Bulls might have done well. Two first round picks from the woeful Knicks sounded, and was, pretty good. The problem was Paxson blew one of them and came up with a weak draft year on the second. I like Tyrus Thomas coming out of LSU that year, but I like Brandon Roy a lot more and LaMarcus Aldridge a bit more. I know it sounds like 20/20 hindsight, but I thought at the time that the talent level seemed similar for all three players and the two Paxson didn’t pick fit the Bulls needs and character type much more than Thomas. They needed a low post scorer and an athletic, big 2 guard. Aldridge was only slightly higher on my list than Thomas because he wasn’t a clear low post player, but then Thomas was a 3. Roy was my first pick because he was the guard we clearly needed and, fitting Paxson’s somewhat irrational obsession, was a key player on a team that went deep in the tournament. But Paxson picked the wrong guy.

Joakim Noah looks like a keeper and there wasn’t a better player available, but he’s still going to be nothing more than an effort player with good defense and rebounding. I’m high on Noah, but he and Thomas don’t replace that hard to find low post game Paxson gave up with Curry.

Then finally a chance arises to pluck a star low post player for next to nothing and where’s Pax? The Bulls had more young talent than the Lakers and the between Duhon’s deal ending this year and Ben Gordon becoming a restricted free agent, they had the cap flexibility to offer as well. The Bulls are young enough that they have no need for an ’08 or and ’10 first round pick. Yet nothing happens? And now there’s nobody else available except maybe Jermain O’Neal who’ll make almost $10 million a year more than Gasol and is perpetually injured.

Enough is enough. It was time for new blood on the coaching side of things and this proves it’s time for new blood at the top.

01
Feb
08

Gasol for Kwame = Unacceptable from Paxson

Unacceptable.  I’m not in love with Pau Gasol, but Paxson let the Lakers pick him up for Kwame Brown and Jarvis Crittenton.   I know that Memphis was looking for cap relief and the Bulls didn’t really have that to offer, but Paxson had to be able to beat that deal.

How about Ben Gordon, Chris Duhon and Joakim Noah plus draft picks.  Tell me the Grizzlies don’t take that over Kwame, Crittenton and picks.  It still offers Memphis cap space, just one year later, if they don’t want to keep Gordon or Duhon.  If they tell Grodon they’re not re-signing him he could even leave this offseason and they’d get the space they’re looking for now.

Gasol wasn’t the ideal option for the Bulls, but he was better than anything else that’s going to be available and, the worst part, is he was easily attainable.  Now what?  Is something better going to come along this summer?  In 2010?  I know it won’t be, but this should have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for John Paxson.  Too many necessary trades never happened because he didn’t want to let go of players he drafted.  Reinsdorf needs to say goodbye to Pax today and get somebody else in here to run the show.  I had faith in Paxson for a long time, but letting this trade go through without even throwing his hat in is simply unacceptable.

When Paxson fired Skiles he knew he’d become the focal point of the team.  Now it’s Paxson’s turn to be held accountable.  Enough is enough.

15
Aug
07

The Clippers, Hawks and Grizzlies are relevant!

 

Ever since KG was traded to Boston the word relevant has been popping up everywhere in reference to professional sports teams.  The Celtics are suddenly relevant again, thank god they’re finally relevant again!  Every night when I went to bed before I fell asleep I would dream of the day when they would be relevant.  Not win a title, not make the playoffs, but become relevant.  My dreams have finally come true! 

Today I read an article about how quickly the White Sox went from world series champions to irrelevant.  It’s spreading!  At the ’08 NBA draft the talking heads aren’t going to be mentioning this player’s upside, that guy’s length, and whoever’s motor.  They’ll be telling us that with the #1 pick in the draft the Minnesota Timberwolves should select Derrick Rose, because no matter how exciting O.J. Mayo may seem, there’s no prospect out there more relevant than Rose right now.

 I’ve looked up several definitions for the word and they all hinge on “the matter at hand” or “the subject at issue”. 

e.g. from dictionary.com:
Having a bearing on or connection with the matter at hand.

So when they say the Celtics are relevant again, what is the issue at hand?  Sure, there are all sorts of issues in discussion of which the Celtics would be relevant.  However, the adjective isn’t appropriate without a given subject at hand.  You can’t tell me the Celtics are relevant again because they have Kevin Garnett.  They were relevant a couple of months ago when we were talking about the NBA draft even though they didn’t have Garnett.  They’re not relevant today when we’re talking about who will win the Western Conf. or (in my opinion) who will win the NBA championship.

In a recent article Jeff Passan calls Ozzie Guillen and the White Sox irrelevant.  This isn’t a basketball issue but it’s a good example for my argument.

Irrelevance can come with the ferocity and swiftness of a bee poised to
sting, and the results can be equally painful.

Doesn’t the fact that Passan is writing about Guillen and the White Sox make them relevant, at least right now and to him?  If they were irrelevant before, isn’t he making them relevant again by writing about them for Yahoo Sports?  It’s not that I disagree with his larger argument.  2 years ago Ozzie Guillen couldn’t do wrong despite his out of control, controversial personality because the Sox were in 1st place.  Now he’s not so popular.  But that doesn’t make him irrelevant when the subject at issue is Major League Baseball. 

07
Aug
07

Slow times as ChiBulls High

There is less than nothing going on in the world of Bulls news and gossip.  They signed their first and second round picks.  Big surprise.  I guess JamesOn Curry was a bit of a question mark in terms of making the team, but after his summer league performance nobody should be surprised he got the obligatory second-rounder’s unguaranteed contract.  Noah was a given and Aaron Gray was too because of his center size.  You always need a white guy over 7 feet who’s guaranteed to never play more than 5 minutes in a game.  Go back through all of the Bulls teams and you will find this guy.  The always entertaining Paul Shirley even filled this role at one point.

Newly Green

The Celtics started to round out their “championship caliber” team with Eddie House and Scot Pollard.  Not sure those guys will be enough, but you can’t really blame the Celtics.  They’ve made their move and now have to take what they can get for additional help.

 Marty Burns is saying that when the Grizzlies acquired JC Navarro any chance of trading Gasol ended.  I’ve been saying that Gasol to the Bulls chances have been over done for some time so this news doesn’t really affect Chicago.  The Darko signing was the end of Gasol’s chance of getting out of Memphis.  It showed the Griz are interested in building a team for the next 5 years as opposed to the next 10.  Pau will still be plenty good in 5 years. 

 Today’s ESPN TrueHoop quoted the Portland Tribune’s Dwight Jaynes.  He almost perfectly sums up the problem I have with NBA officiating and why I asked, “What credibility?

The league, you see, is asking for uniformity in referee calls — and the
refs think that’s taking away their personality and ability to use their
own fine judgment.
While I sympathize with men attempting to perform one of the world’s
toughest jobs, I find it extremely difficult to agree with them.
A lot of the veteran referees spent many years in the league as
basketball’s version of the Lone Ranger. They roamed the country meting
out their own forms of justice, largely as they pleased. There was
little evaluation, and many of them thought of themselves as larger than
the law.
And now that someone is trying to tell them how to do their job, they’re
very uncomfortable.
But I’m afraid they’re going to have to get used to it or move on.
Standardization of calls and uniformity is exactly what is needed. If
nothing else, it’s a way of trying to eliminate bias — which, as I’ve
written before, is the league’s biggest threat to fair officiating.
Oakland Raiders’ Managing Partner Al Davis, a bit of a rogue himself,
was asked about the NBA’s referee scandal during a news conference
recently and his answer was “I don’t worry about gambling, I worry about
bias.”
A referee trying to manipulate a point spread late in a game to cover a
bet he’s made somewhere? I don’t think there’s any reason to worry about
it. I don’t think it’s going to happen very often.
But officials making certain calls because of a grudge against a player
or a team, yes — I’ve seen it.
Officials so apparently in awe of a certain player they’re reluctant to
call a foul or violation on him? Seen it many times.
Referees with obvious feuds going on against certain players or teams?
Darned right. You’ve seen it, too, if you’ve watched the league for any
time at all.
I don’t think the league, until recently, realized how much this
affected its fan base. This sort of game-to-game bias, as much as any
other thing, has turned millions of fans away from the league. I hear it
constantly from disenchanted NBA fans.
And that’s too bad. NBA referees are tons better than college referees.
But over the years, the league let them enforce the rules in a haphazard
manner — often based on such precepts as rookie or veteran player,
superstar or scrub, great team or cellar dweller — and it has obscured
how well most of them can call a game.
Their personalities sometimes cloud their judgment. And that leaves the
league no choice but to eliminate their personalities.

As a diehard NBA fan I can say that the one and only thing that ever comes close to making me consider giving up my league is the officiating.  I’ve talked to hardcore sports fans who don’t watch the NBA at all because they feel the officials have far too much influence on the outcome of the game.   It is the league’s biggest problem and something has to be done about it.

That said, I’m not sure I agree that the league has finally come to its senses and is now completely trustworthy.  In fact, I believe that some of the bias in how refs call games is a result of the league’s instructing them that they want games and series to remain entertaining as long as possible.  I doubt that the refs are in awe of great players.  The problem more often seems to be that they get into a battle of egos with dominant players and don’t give them calls.  When they are “in awe” of a superstar, I believe, it’s more because the league wants to sell their superstars to the casual basketball fan and it makes sure that the officials know that.  The more times Wade falls down but gets back up again for an and 1 the more time fans will see his handsome face up close at the line and the more points he’ll have in the box score.  If sometimes he goes up, comes down, is never touched and still ends up at the free throw line?  Well, the fans still see more of him, his season scoring average goes up, he appears in some I Love This Game NBA commercials and the referee who made the phantom call gets a on a Finals crew.  It may not be explicitly ordered by David Stern, but I believe the league is behind almost as much bad officiating as the personalities are.  They are both to blame and both need to change. 

 Who wants a random Joakim Noah picture for the day?

Look at the little guy.  It’s a good thing he upgraded from that Knicks jersey.




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