Posts Tagged ‘rashard lewis


Kobe Bryant, Ben Gordon & Luol Deng – Trades and Contracts

So the internet is buzzing with Kobe trade speculation again after ESPN’s Chris Sheridan reported the Bulls and the Lakers are talking.  While I think it’s Chris’ job to write this type of article and am not blaming him for doing so, everyone else needs to calm down.  I’d say the odds of this trade happening anytime soon are 100:1 and the odds of it going down before the season starts are 10000:1.

Hopefully the Bulls and the Lakers are talking.  Fans of every team in the league should hope their GM is talking to the Lakers.  That doesn’t mean anything is actually going to happen.  I can guarantee you that the Bulls are not giving up Deng, Gordon, Thomas and Noah.

I’ve gone in to more depth before about what the Bulls should or shouldn’t give up for Kobe and you can see that here.  If you know more details about who can and can’t be traded because of contracts please post them as comments.  I know Nocioni can’t be traded for a while since his contract is new.  I don’t think that would be true about Gordon or Deng if they get extensions because those wouldn’t kick in until next year (right?). 

Until some actual news or new developments happen regarding a Kobe trade let’s all focus on contracts for Gordon and Deng.  I think this situation provides an interesting dilemma for Pax.  Very few players from the class of ’04 have signed extensions despite being able to for the first time in their careers.  I think GM’s are unwilling to risk overpaying after seeing guys like Varejao and Pavlovic unable to do much with their restricted free agency.  For all the drama that accompanied Mo Williams’ restricted free agency, he’s still on the Bucks, right?  The strategy is to let the market set the price for players instead of paying them based on speculation of what they’ll produce. 

I think this strategy is unwise for the Bulls when it comes to Deng and Gordon for two reasons:

1 – They’ll be much more expensive next season than they are today.  Sure, they could get hurt this year and then may have to take less, but barring an injury they’ll both likely put up better numbers than they did last season and thus demand larger contracts.  This scenario is particularly likely for Deng.  Gordon probably will produce more this season, but his inability to guard bigger SGs may be exposed even more and hurt his perceived value.  Either way, if you’re not trading for Kobe, locking these guys up is an absolute must do for the franchise.

B – We’re not talking about Varejao and Pavlovic here.  I think it’s clear that the Lakers would have been willing to go over the cap this past offseason to sign a restricted free agent like Deng to a huge contract if it would have kept Kobe happy (or at least quiet).  Next year who knows which teams will be in the same situation.  If the Lakers can somehow make it through the season with Bryant still on the roster they could pick off a Bull with a big contract then.  Gilbert Arenas is keeping his options open and the Wizards may need to replace him if he leaves or need to add a player to placate him if he demands a stronger team.  The point is, these guys are desirable talents that other teams will want.  Pax needs to be thinking about the summer Rashard Lewis had much more than the summer Sasha Pavlovich had.  

K.C. Johnson wrote today:

Paxson's negotiating philosophy follows the belief
that an extension two seasons before it's mandatory
has to involve some give-and-take. The money is
guaranteed. A player's health and production isn't.

His philosophy is probably appropriate in most situations.  However, the agents representing Gordon and Deng should see the Bulls are somewhat backed into a corner.  The bottom line is the Bulls need Luol Deng and Ben Gordon.  We know they’re not going to sign a high-impact free agent from another roster in the summer of 2008.  Paxson has shown that he’s unwilling to trade these players for another star.  Given that he won’t add a star player via trade or free agency, what choice does he have?

I say he should just pony up and pay the men.  Give them a bit more than he wants to and the line he gave Hinrich about taking one for the team so they can have the flexibility to continue to get better with minor tweaking.  Shape the contracts so they increase over the years as Ben Wallace’s decreases and other free agents come off the books.  All that means is in a few season instead of having solid veterans on the bench like Adrian Griffin and Viktor Khryapa  they’ll have undrafted rookies on minimum contracts.  They’re not going to play anyway, so isn’t that stomachable?  Isn’t locking up Ben and Luol worth practicing with a Thomas Gardner instead of a Grif?

Winning in the NBA costs a lot of money, but it also makes a lot of money, especially in a market like Chicago.  You’re either going to have to pay potential future all-stars like Gordon and Deng or you’re going to have to pay current all-stars like Kobe.  The Bulls need to pick one and move forward.   


Team to beat in the East? It’s just hype.

Again, once the Garnett trade happens the Celtics will be a successful regular season team and probably win one or two playoff series.  They HAVE NOT, however, become “the team to beat” or favorites in the East.  Yes, the trade is exciting.  Superstars don’t change teams everyday.  But people need to calm down and look at this situation realistically.  Everywhere I look I’m reading that if LeBron could take the Cavs to the finals last season with no supporting cast then this Celtics team will go undefeated in Eastern Conference competition.  There are so many flaws with that logic I don’t know where to start.  LeBron last season was a more dominant player than any of the three players who will be on the Celtics were last season or will be this season.  Also, LeBron didn’t have much of a supporting cast but he had a hell of a lot more than the Celtics will have beyond Pierce/Allen/Garnett.  LeBron had Zydrunas Ilgauskas while the Celtics will have Kendrick Perkins.  LeBron had Donyell Marshal, Anderson Varejao, Daniel Gibson and Damon Jones coming off the bench.  Now these guys aren’t going to win any sixth man of the year awards but the Celtics will have . . .oh yeah, they won’t have a bench left after this trade.  Under contract the Celtics will have Brian Scalabrine, Tony Allen (coming off of knee surgery), Leon Powe and Brandon Wallace.  Cleveland’s supporting cast sounds pretty good now, huh?

Now that the deal is done Brian Scalabrine
is poised for greatness in his new role as
the Celtics 6th man

The other problem with the logic if LeBron could do it with that Cavs team then the Celtics will reign supreme is that people are forgetting that the Cavs path to the finals was only so easy because of luck.  First they faced the Wizards without Arenas who was at least as valuable to his team as LeBron was to the Cavs.  Then they faced a Nets team that didn’t really care.  Once Vince Carter beat his old team in Toronto he accomplished all he cared to.  Why put off the summer any longer.   Finally they faced one good team in the Pistons.  However, the aging and arrogant/apathetic Detroit team was worn down from from an energetic Bulls team and believed they were so good they didn’t have to try in order to win the series.  Overall the Cavs only had to play one out of the 5 best teams in the East on their way to the finals.  That will not be the case for the Celtics in the ’08 playoffs.  The team to beat in the East will probably still be the Pistons but it’s a Conference that’s very much up in the air.  I don’t believe the Pistons will win the East nor do I believe the Celtics will. 

There are too many talented young teams in the East for old teams like those two to make it to the Finals.  Even a team like the Magic, if it somehow reached the the conf. finals, could take that Celtics team. Howard would negate KG, Lewis would match Pierce and Redick or some other one dimensional shooter would match Allen.  Ray Allen is a great player, but with the talents that Garnett and Pierce bring Allen is not going to have more of a role than a spot up shooter.  With each team’s big 3 doing the same things the thirty-somethings would simply tire out before the twenty-somethings.  Not to mention the Magic would have a good coach in VanGundy while Boston is putting up with Doc. 

The new look Celtics are very exciting but lets see them in action before crowning them Eastern Conference Champions.   


Lewis, Milicic and the Bulls free agent options

Rashard is happy to be leaving with Ray Allen out
of the mix. Allen said he didn’t think Lewis would
want to be “a big brother to all those young guys.”

So Rashard Lewis is heading to Orlando, which likely means Darko is out. If the Magic are smart they’ll convince Seattle to sign and trade those two plus a little something extra for the Sonics. Seattle needs a center and Darko is still only 22. He’d fit their youth movement and still has a lot of the notorious “upside” left. Lewis should make the Magic an interesting team. They still need a point guard because we believe Jameer Nelson would be best coming off the bench. But Lewis is a slasher who also has a very nice outside shot. Pairing him with superstar in the making Dwight Howard should make the Magic much better this season and could be something in two or three years when Howard really blossoms.

Darko shouldn’t have wasted his time fixing the bobble
heads’ hair. He went back to brown soon enough. Will
he now be finding a new home?

All eyes should be on Jameer coming off the bench. Now that the Magic have upgraded at SF they should also do so at PG.

Matching this guy up with a versatile perimiter
player with a sweet shot should pay good

So if Milicic is out with the Magic does that make him a candidate for the Bulls? We’re thinking no. He could provide some help in exactly the area the Bulls need it. However, Paxson just drafted Noah even though he wasn’t an ideal fit for the Bulls most glaring need because he was a Paxson/Skiles type player. He’s a hard worker, nobody ever questions his drive, he won a lot in college. Milicic is exactly the opposite type of player. He didn’t go to college and has a wrap as an indifferent worker who doesn’t always care. He’s the type of player that Paxson and Skiles would pick up in a trade and sit until they worked a contract buy out or could trade for a second round pick (see Tim Thomas and J.R. Smith). We’re not saying we approve of this attitude, just that it’s clearly how Pax/Skiles would react if Darko’s name came up in a conversation.

Noah sure was happy to get drafted. And he sure is
happy to hold his first Bulls jersey. He even asked
Paxson if he could keep it. Now we just have to see
if the Bulls keep him.

If the Bulls could pick up Milicic for their mid-level exception plus their bi-annual veterans exception they should. He may not be exactly what they’re looking for, but they’re bringing in Chris Mihm for talks! Chris Mihm, the guy who didn’t play at all last year and has never shown anything exciting or enviable. The Chris Mihm who made Bulls fans grateful that he was traded for Jamal Crawford back on draft day in 2000. The other person the Bulls are now after is Joe Smith. We’ll take him over Mihm, but word is the Sixers aren’t going to let him go.

The Bulls thankfully traded the above guy for
the bellow guy back in 2000. Now they’re
Thinking about bringing Mihm back for some
reason. Can we have Crawford again instead?

Former #1 pick Joe Smith could help the Bulls as long as he doesn’t cost
them any penalty first round draft picks like he did the Wolves some
years back.

Other Bulls news of the day is that Paxson is vowing to keep Nocioni a Bull. That’s great and all. Nobody would like to lose a player like Noce. However, we do believe Chapu will be re-signed. We don’t believe he wouldn’t be traded right after that. If it happens we’ll miss him.

Noce is nicknamed Chapu, apparently
after a hyperactive Mexican cartoon
character. The below may or may not
be a representation of said character.

NBullsA is going on vacation. More might be up by the end of the day but after that check back on Monday for updates.

September 2020
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