Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Three Guard Lineup

Rooting for this Bulls team is like being a coke addict: The highs are really high, but the lows are really, really low.

After last night's loss, I'm so down in the dumps I find myself agreeing with Sam Smith, particularly this:

Skiles referred to his players as having the "thousand-yard stare" of a tired team. But it could be a team tired of finishing most games with three guards and no one taller than 6 feet 10 inches.

Anyway, I was planning a bigger post on this, but Matt beat me to the punch. If for some reason you haven't already, read him. It's really very, very good. The only thing I'd add is that this lineup is particularly maddening in that it's used pretty much exclusively for the crunch time of fourth quarters. As Big Sweet said to me yesterday while we were watching the game, "If Skiles actually thinks this is our best lineup, why doesn't he use it at any other time?"

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Home Stretch

After today's loss, the Bulls record now stands at 32-26. They have 24 games left and will have to go 16-8 to reach the goal (and my pre-season prediction) of 50 wins. (Alright, I said 50-55.) Take a gander at the rest of their schedule. I just went over it and did a quick prediction (Should win/Should lose) on each game. I was fairly conservative in doling out the "should wins." (For instance, I gave them losses on the road to Orlando and Miami, as well as at home to Denver.) Nevertheless, the record I ended up with was...16-8.

Race to the finish ...

Here’s my take on how the East will end up.

1. Pistons

Damn Webber was doggin’ it in Philly.

2. Toronto

Andrea can play and T.J. is a nice fit in Coangelo’s system. Toronto is gonna be sick next year; they have tons of cap space, if they sign an elite 2 or 3 watch out.

3. Bulls

I want Ty to get more minutes.

4. Cavs

Eric Snow has made zero, 3’s this year.

5. Wiz


6. Pacers

Bengo07 is going to post a very funny photo of Dunleavy Jr. as part of our playoff preview.

7. Heat

I hope Wade can come back, it’s not fair if the champs get killed in the first round without him.


It really pains me to put them in the playoffs, but Orlando has sucked the last two months and
NJ just has too many injuries. Regarding some people saying maybe the Bulls didn’t get the best part of the Curry trade, you’re wrong. Curry was done in Chicago, they had to trade him.

Anyone else want to put up their predictions?

He Wrote It So I Don't Have To

Yglesias pretty much writes exactly what I was planning to about Simmons' bitching about Pax not pulling the trigger on a Gasol deal. He makes all the right points:

Simmons is asking Chicago to make a big sacrifice of its future -- the very good and very young Deng, a young project in Thomas, a high draft pick, and they'd need to throw in PJ Brown's expiring contract -- in order to improve rather marginally this season. What's more, they'd be eliminating their shot at landing Kevin Garnett if the Timberwolves decide they want to blow things up in the offseason.

We here at TYI have already firmly established that, when it comes to the Bulls, Simmons knows dick, but still, pretty smart, for a Weirdo fan.

Friday, February 23, 2007

I Give Shit...

...And I Taketh Away: Griff played very well tonight. Hell, everybody played great: Deng, Sefo, Kirk, Big Ben. And T2 had basically the best block I've ever seen. And only 5 TOs tonight?! It was one of our best games of the season.

These last two were the ones we really needed. If we lose on Sunday, we lose on Sunday. No shame in going down to Detroit on the road. Although if Big Ben keeps playing with this type of energy (and there's no way he won't be on Sunday)...well, we'll see.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


...on tonight's huge win:

1) Can't say enough about Ben Wallace. If he can consistently give this type of effort in a playoff series, the Bulls will be tough to beat. It would be nice if the Bulls played more nationally televised games, get this type of monster game from Big Ben more often.

2) From Skiles the other day:

"Griff has had kind of an unfair year," Skiles said. "We committed some minutes to the rookies to see where they were. Lou is having a career year. Noce is playing well. It has been hard to get him minutes. But he has a lot of experience, so we're going to keep playing him."

Griff's line tonight? Seven minutes, zero points, two turnovers, two rock hands. Please, Griff's wily, cagey veteran leadership notwithstanding, please reconsider. This is my plea for sanity.

UPDATE: 3) Even with Dwyane's injury, the debate is over when it comes to whether you'd want him or Bron Bron to build a franchise around. LBJ disappeared in the fourth quarter, going 2 of 8. (And I'm almost positive both those were in the last two minutes, when the game was pretty much already sealed.) Interestingly enough, that's also exactly what he shot from the FT line. I'll give props to Luol for the defensive job he did on him, but that was probably the quietest 29 points I've ever seen. Yeah, James' talent is through the roof, but that being the case, why isn't he better?

4) Apparently the Cavs players think they should be a Suns East type of team, and they're pissed at their coach for not letting them run wild. I don't know how good a coach Mike Brown is, but seeing as the Cavs are our rival, I'm very disappointed he's smart enough to know that Daniel Gibson is not Steve Nash; Donyell Marshall is not Boris Diaw; and Ilgauskas is not Amare Stoudemire. This team thinks they can play like the Suns?! Man I wish I could've been friends with them back in my college days...That shit they're smoking sounds like some serious krill.

Staying put

No deals at the deadline (for anyone, really), so we're in the same place we were last July: a decent team with young talent, an overpriced rebounder, no reliable offensive post player and a very limited margin of error. I'm glad to see Deng stay, though.

Two big games today and tomorrow. Two wins would be nice.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Down goes D-Wade

Well, the East just got a little more wide open. If it was just dislocated, then he should be ready to go by April 1 at the latest (I know from personal experience). But if it's worse -- which it very well could be -- he could be out a lot longer. Here's a fun question: do you think Riley will call out Battier for being a dirty player?

Come Home, Kevin

So Yglesias is once again beating the drum for a Kevin Garnett-to-Chicago trade before the deadline. I have to say, I'm in agreement. I've always admired Garnett's loyalty to the Timberwolves, but never quite gotten just why it's so steadfast. You'd think eventually he'd want to play for a title, right? From the Bulls perspective, if they can do it, I just don't think you can pass up a player like Kevin Garnett. I mean, he's from Chicago for chrissake, and he would instantly make us contenders in the East. This is not Pau Gasol we're talking about. Of course, the big question is: how much can we give up? I think you have to protect either Deng or Gordon, but you'd have to give up one in the trade, and then to round things out, you may have to part ways with Ty Thomas, which would hurt, but is tolerable. In terms of whether to keep Deng or Gordon, as strange as it is to say, I think you keep Gordon and try to deal Deng for two reasons. One, Gordon will be an insane threat behind the arc with double-teams on Garnett, two, when Nocioni is healthy he's almost as productive a play as Deng, though obviously lacks his defensive quickness and buttery mid-range jumpshot. Those are my two cents. I suppose the larger point is that I've increasingly come around to the "we need to make a deal school," which it seems the team as come to believe as well.

Oh, also. Nice 3rd quarter defense last night.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Low esteem

I might get some folks that disagree with me entirely, but while reading through a few stories tonight, I saw some quotes that irked me about the current state of the roster.

Here's P.J.

“Coming down the stretch, you’ve got to have someone that can get you a bucket, a quality shot, or a quality shot for somebody else. At times we’ve been able to get that, but more often than not we haven’t been able to get that—manufacturing points at the free throw line, or getting that crucial bucket at that crucial part of the game. This team needs that. Whether Paxson can figure that out, make that happen, and bring that in here, we’ll have to see.”

And here's BG.
"Just the way this team is set up, the load is on the guards," Gordon said. "We rely so much on our draw-and-kick game. It's tough sometimes when we can't go down [to the post] consistently. We have guys who can score, who can pick-and-pop. But we don't have anybody who can go down there five, six times in a row and get something.

Now these are perfectly reasonable statements, ones that we have been making for months. But unlike these two, we have no control over the game. It's one thing if Dye tells reporters that he thinks the Sox bullpen needs tweaking -- he physically doesn't have the skills to pitch (although I wouldn't put it past him because he's so money). And I think it's totally appropriate for players to talk about trades given that it is such a prominent part of the sport. But these guys could personally alleviate some of the problems the claim exist. What is stopping Gordon from attacking the rim and getting to the line more than the six times he's averaging now? What's stopping P.J. from establishing himself as a viable scorer down low, even if he only gets 20 minutes a game? It's one thing to assess your team critically but it's another to realize a weakness and then make a concerned effort to improve in that area before you talk like you're the GM.

Margin for Error

Nocioni just emailed me his "stat of the week": The Bulls are 1-5 without his namesake. (Possibly 1-6 if they don't hold on to their tenuous 5-point halftime lead against the Hawks, but it's not like 2-5 would actually change things much.)

I think that statistic really sums up what makes the Bulls by turns an exciting, maddening, exhilerating and depressing team to root for. ( Poor Matt, for instance, just seems depleted, like he really wants to get off this roller coaster.) Quite simply, this team doesn't have a lot of margin for error. They really need all their pieces a) in place and b) firing on all cylinders in order to be consistently good. When those two conditions are met, they've proven they can play with anybody. To me, the long-term question(s) is whether one can demand that those two conditions be met every night--and whether, as their younger players mature, they will be--or whether we need to add more pieces (or at least different ones) to allow for more margin for error.

This, it seems to me, is what we talk about when we talk about trading for Gasol.

UPDATE: Nocioni, since he doesn't seem to post here much any more (ahem), emailed this response to my thoughts: "Exactly. But you can't ask for a team to be firing on all cylinders on all nights. That's what stars are for, people you can go to. I really think Wallace was a mistake and I think we don't have the talent to go very deep into the playoffs. "

Monday, February 19, 2007

Democracy in Action

So I'm wondering what the rest of my fellow TYIers think: Is it cool if those of us so inclined start blogging here about the Cubs and/or Sox, or should we strictly define ourselves as a Bulls blog? (Or should we only allow the former when the latter's season is officially ended?) All two of our readers---should they care to make the effort---are also encouraged to chime in the Comments. (If it helps with your decision-making, two of us are Cubs fans, one of us is a Sox fan, and CoachSkiles seems pretty much agnostic, if not actively hostile, about baseball in general.) Like Nixon, I'll construe any silence as a sign that the majority approves my proposal. (And any loud and unruly protests against the idea as grounds to start wiretapping and expand this blog's already existing covert counterintelligence program.)

Also, I meant to call attention to this week-old post by Henry Abbott, suggesting that perhaps this blog of ours should change its name. Taurine Dream made the scene in the Comments, correctly pointing out that, all related merits aside, the Knicks did us a solid simply by taking a player who the Bulls had no wish to put on the court. Eddy Curry's turning into a nice player--and, bitterly ironically, a very good post player--but there's only one team that might be all-too-literally haunted by this trade. Let's hope that doesn't happen.

On a final, somewhat tangentially related note: I missed most of the All Star festivities, but one of the things I did catch was the Rookie Game, and watching how well the Sophomores played made me realize that the sky is still pretty much the limit for Ty Thomas. Most players seem to get significantly better in their 2nd year, and then improve even more between their 2nd and 3rd. (See Gordon, Ben; Deng, Luol.) Keeping in mind that T2 is only 20, I'd say Judgment Day remains a ways in the distance.

(That's the cheesiest allusion I've ever made. Forgive me.)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Scottie Pippen likes Zippin

Apparently, he also likes playoff runs. It'll be fun to see him back in action this weekend with BG and some girl I don't know and probably should. Can a 41-year old Pip make an impact down the stretch?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Gasol-less trade option

Well, it's the break and we now find ourselves in fourth place in the Central. Remember all of the joy and optimism emanating from the Bulls blogosphere after that win over Dallas (who have now won 30 of 32)? Gone. Nowhere to be seen. I'm bumming. So that's why this Southtown article interested me.

If the Bulls are unable to pull off a blockbuster deal for a star big man such as Pau Gasol, then they may want to inquire about Washington Wizards forward-center Etan Thomas if they haven't already.

General manager John Paxson is known to like Thomas, who may be dealt after an altercation with teammate Brendan Hayward at practice recently.

Now, I've always been a Thomas fan, and not just because of his political leanings (although, that probably plays a factor). Thomas plays with passion, can defend, and is underrated in the post in my opinion. He's not the go-to scorer that we might need, but then again, neither is Duhon, so improving our interior scoring could give us a little more consistency down the stretch run.

Why Washington management values Haywood over Etan is confusing, as Yglesias continually points out. I know, I know, Haywood is seven feet tall. BUT, he's only averging one more point and one more rebound per game in five more minutes, plus the folks in DC love Thomas. Neither of their contracts are good, but they are similar in cash and identical in years. Am I just desperate for a change or would this be worth a look?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

He's On Fire!

Tough loss, and to be honest, I don't really want to discuss it much, particularly the fourth quarter, of which I will only say that now I know what it would be like to get cancer, go through months and months of excruciating chemotherapy, finally get the good news from your doctor that you've beaten it, and then, when you step outside, you look up and notice a clear blue sky and your soul opens up and you just feel nothing but utter gratitude that you'll be able to just simply enjoy and appreciate the color blue, but then WHAM a bus comes along and slams into you, and in your last fleeting moments of consciousness, bleeding and splayed over the asphalt, you see that, lo and behold, who's driving the bus but George W. Bush, with that stupid, self-satisfied monkey smirk on his face, and he's wearing a referee jersey and moronically intoning: "I'm the decider! I'm the decider!"

But like I said, I don't want to talk about that. What concerns me more was the third quarter, when the Bulls got themselves back in the game through the clutch shooting of Ben Gordon and Luol Deng. Both of those guys were, at that point, on fire, leading the Bulls from a 8 or 10 point deficit to, I think, a 3 point lead. Toronto calls timeout and hits a three (one of their 11!) and then the Bulls go on offense, and thus starts a string of five or six trips down the floor when Ben Wallace or Malik Allen take all of our shots. I'm not even saying they were bad shots--normally, when Malik's got an open jumper at the top of the key, I'm all for him taking them--but Gordon and Deng were lights out at that point. How can you not keep going to those guys when they're REALLY feelling it?

People keep saying we don't have a go-to guy, and who knows? maybe they're right, but shouldn't we at least keep going to Ben and Luol in order to find out?

Monday, February 12, 2007


A home game! These next two nights are must-wins against inferior squads. After a 3-4 trip, I think all of us are still confused as to what to make of this bunch. Hopefully, a few convincing wins after the Nash-less W will ease the headaches.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Lazy Sunday Links

I've meaning to link to this guy for over a week now. For starters, he backs Brother Rex and makes some pretty persuasive arguments in doing so. And this post reminded me why I don't care if Ty Thomas doesn't speak to the press. And even when I'd say dwil overstates his argument--- like, at times, in this overall fantastic post---he's an interesting read. Show him some love.

Also, I wanted to give some love to the latest Silver Bird post at Free Darko. It would be hilarious to see a similar graph for the Bulls' road losses this year and see just how precisely right 1958ChiTown is.

Anyone know if Nash is playing tonight? I sure hope not.

Heh Heh

Friday, February 09, 2007

Same Sh*t Different Night (Redux)

Wow. Bengo's post from the other night proved quite prophetic. The moment when Ty Thomas got a steal then rolled his ankle on what should have been an easy dunk, thus leading to the ultimate Untimely Three really confirmed the pattern. It's really, really frustrating and I still can't quite figure it out. Part of it is that if Gordon's having an off night, and boy was he ever having one last night, we just can't find anyone to create shots (like Bibby did against us in the final three minutes). This is, quite simply, a must for play-off success. In the play-offs the defense gets really good, the whistles get swallowed and somebody has to find a way to create and hit improbable shots. Motion offense isn't going to do the trick. Maybe having a good low-post scorer would, or maybe Gordon will become Gilbert Arenas in the near future. But even if it's a lame cliche, the fact remains that without a reliable "go-to" guy, it's going to be hard to make it out of the first round.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Yostupide Sam

Just when I stopped seeing red over the Tyrus incident, I woke up and read this Sam Smith column.

Listen, I can put up with the stupid trade ideas, the "ironic" self-regard over said stupid trade ideas, and the pathetic excuse for prose that feebly attempts to pass off a non-sequitur as a coherent segue (For example, see this trainwreck from his previous column:

If the chance is there to get a 7-foot All-Star and 20-point scorer who turns 27 next season, why not take a shot?

And, really, this injury probably was long overdue for the Bulls. (Emphasis mine)

And, really? How does a professional beat writer get away with writing "And, really"? If their editors are this somnanbulant, the Trib deserves to fold.)

But today, Sam really outdid himself, offending morality, prose, logic, good taste and intelligence all in one column, and tied the sorry wreck up in a smug little bow of self-satisfaction. How do thee embarass yourself, Sam? Let us count the ways.

1) "The Bulls rookie, likely spending time these days in the Latrell Sprewell school of public relations..."--Equating a kid who spoke his mind with a player who physically assaulted his coach. Ad hominem of the rankest order.

2) "You could just see NBA Commissioner David Stern with his head in his hands, another of his kids saying the darnedest things"--Paternalistic and a poor metaphor, to boot. Players are not Stern's "kids" and the insinuation is that he is some put-upon father. Give me a break.

3) "After all, here was a player appearing to confirm just what many believe, that the NBA is composed of a wandering band of ungrateful thugs who are selfish, spoiled brats just in it for the riches they can gain."--More ad hominem. There was nothing "thuggish" about Ty's remarks in any way, shape, or form. The insinuation, if not racist, certainly flirts with it.

4) "Not jerks like, yes, Thomas."--Ad hominem, yet again. At this point, now six paragraphs in, Smith has not even attempted to make an argument about what is actually wrong with what Thomas said.

5) "It's one of those unwritten rules, like ignoring Gary Hart's philandering in the 1984 presidential race. Reporters knew about it, but that was his private life. If he wants to live like that, fine, even when he is running for the nation's highest office. It's especially so in sports. Publish or perish! Nonsense. Those kinds of stories are mostly unheard of. Everyone deserves their privacy and if it doesn't interfere with your job or you don't make a spectacle of yourself, well, it's just good party talk. But once Hart challenged everyone to prove it, well, sorry, your cover is blown. Make a public fool of yourself, then the Bull has no clothes. Same with Thomas. He has been one of the most difficult rookies to come along in the NBA in years—angry, defiant, condescending, arrogant and having little time or interest for anyone below his self-perceived stately place in life."---This is just a weird, kind of creepy, utter and complete non-sequitur. What Gary Hart's 20-year old sex scandal is doing here, I have no idea. If Sam was actually going to provide us with concrete incidents of Thomas being "angry, defiant, condescending, [and] arrogant," then perhaps, PERHAPS, I could see a tenuous connection. But no, there are no examples. It's just more ad hominem.

6) "Thomas, who has occasional flashes of candor, generally stares down with disdain, mumbles some cliché and walks away. His response about the dunk contest to Tribune beat reporter K.C. Johnson was typical. He can't be bothered with mere mortals. Not that this is new. As far back as the NBA draft, league officials said Thomas was abrupt and uninterested when some tried to make conversation with him. There always seemed to be some bizarre sense of entitlement with him, that anything asked of him is a burden, that the media and team and league officials are some nuisance."--Now, four paragraphs from the end, is where we get our first concrete explanation of why Ty Thomas is supposedly such a "jerk." He's quiet, reserved, doesn't like to engage in small talk and generally considers the media a nuisance.

Gosh, Sam. After reading a column this insightful, why on earth would he ever have such a thought?

The truth is, I don't know if Ty Thomas is a "jerk." He might be. Hey, some people are. But based on the gruel thin evidence and bevy of vicious ad hominem attacks in this column, ignoring someone like Sam Smith doesn't seem "arrogant." It seems very, very smart.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

What the Hell?

I'm sorry, but this makes me wish I wasn't a Bulls fan. Fining a 19-year-old kid for not showing enthusiasm about a ridiculous, utterly meaningless contest? The Players' Association better fight this tooth-and-nail, because last I checked, the First Amendment still applies to NBA players. Who would even want to play for a team that attempts this ludicrous, wanna-be-plantation-owner bullshit? Fuck Pax and fuck the Bulls for even trying this garbage. I hope they get killed in the media.

UPDATE: And another thing: Pax actually has the cojones to say that Tyrus' remarks are "a poor reflection on the Bulls organization." If you're worried about "reflections," why don't you look in the mirror, you finger-wagging, moralizing, totalitarian prick? Again, a hundred times: Fuck you.

Monday, February 05, 2007

"Same Sh*t, Different Night"

I'm not quite as gutted as this guy--a five point loss to a Utah team that's knocked off the Spurs and Suns in the past week doesn't strike me as beyond the pale--but I've gotta admit he's got a point about our road play:

The story is always the same.

Bulls play well in the first, only to see their lead evaporate in the last two minutes of the quarter. Bulls lead after one by two points.

In the second quarter, The Lull inevitably occurs. During The Lull, the Bulls (a) can't hit a shot; (b) turn the ball over; and (c) lose their defensive focus. The Lull results in a 10-20 point half time lead for the opponent.

The third quarter is typically captioned "Battling Back." The Bulls start out slow in the second half, allowing the opponent to stretch the lead to 15-20. Then, with about six minutes left, they make their run. The game is back within reach as the Bulls end the third quarter down by 6-9.

The fourth quarter is a two part drama. Part I: The Tease. With a brief spurt of defense and concomitant offense, the Bulls cut the lead even further. Then they stall, typically when down by four. Not five. Not three. Four. The Bulls have one or two opportunities to reduce the lead to two, but fail to do so, missing jumpers. Part II: The Fizzle. The Bulls' offense becomes stagnant, shots won't fall, and the Bulls give up their hallmark Untimely Three. The Untimely Three almost always results when some overeager guard sags into the lane to help down low, leaving his man (who invariably is the best three point shooter on the opponent) wide open for the kick out. (Alterante Untimely Three: Opponent gets a offensive rebound, gets fouled, and makes the shot anyway.) After the Untimely Three, the Bulls jack up ill advised and rushed shots, then resort to fouling. Final: Bulls lose by 8-14.

Same sh*t, different night.

"The Lull" and "The Untimely Three" strike me as particularly inspired. Nevertheless, they're 2-2 on this trip with a still decent chance of going 4-3, which is really all I was hoping for. And though Matt over at Blog-A-Bull just HATES him, Du played another pretty solid game all in all. I'm not completely sold on the three guard lineup---I don't think any of our three guards are big enough to make it work, and Deng has a lot of trouble guarding power forwards---but I wouldn't mind seeing Skiles go to it when the Bulls aren't trailing during crunchtime. I'm intrigued by it.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Remember Me?

I'm back, macking on the court:

And off:

But seriously, Du's had a nice trip so far. Let's hope he keeps it up.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Central Division Friday

Great win for the Bulls tonight. I caught most of the second half after getting back from the Pistons-Bucks game in Auburn Hills. A few ramblings.

**Andrew Bogut is the real deal. He's strong with both hands, has great vision and can step out and hit the 15-footer. He's also way bigger/stronger than I thought he was.

**Webber made NO impact, mainly because Bogut twerked him for the entire first half. He literally played about three minutes in the second half. There were a considerable amount of #84 jerseys in the stands, though.

**The Bucks miss Redd like crazy. Boykins played a huge amount, which spells trouble because he's such a defensive liability. Every time the Pistons needed a big basket, they isolated Chauncey on the block and he abused Earl.

**The Pistons were wholly unimpressive. No energy on the floor or in the crowd. The Bulls can take them. I'm convinced.

As for the Bulls, it was nice to see them close out a game on the road. PJ was great in the fourth and they didn't make the major mistakes that have killed them in earlier contests. Let's hope it carries over to tomorrow night.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Ask And You Shall Receive

I give him props and as if on cue Kevin Pelton writes an interesting column on whether Hollinger has been overrating the Bulls in his Power Rankings. His conclusion? Maybe a little, but they're still the class of the East.

Check it out.

(H/T to Taurine Dream)

The Quiet American

No All-Star selection for my namesake, but, really, what can you do? The selections in the East weren't horrible, and the guards make for particularly stiff competition. Leaving aside everything else, if only for the no-look, behind-the-back backbreaker he had against us, J Kidd was a no brainer. You could moan about Vince--the 2nd player from a sub .500 team--but he was nearly voted in by the fans, so that could've been a sop to them. I don't think Rip scores as efficiently as Ben, but he's an older veteran who, at this point, probably has a better all-around game. With his injury earlier this year, Chauncey was probably the weakest selection, but again, he's a player who's been around the block. And, individually speaking, Redd (even with his injury) and Joe Johnson probably have as much of a right as Ben to bitch about being passed over.

It would be nice if this snub motivated Ben to greater heights, but a) I don't think it will motivate him and b) even if it does, it will be impossible to tell. Unlike the one-time self-ballot-stuffer, Ben doesn't seem to have a pathological need to have his excellence externally recognized, nor is he one to take umbrage at the smallest perceivable slights. Outwardly, he's cool, in the most literal, old-school sense, almost eerily secure in the knowledge that he is a bad ass, destined for greatness. (About his subpar game against the Clips, he simply shrugged and had this to say: "You're going to have nights like that. You just have to fight through.")

A lot of players say stuff like that, but you can tell that Ben really means it. Does he care if he starts or comes off the bench? Not really. He's going to get his nightly 20-plus either way. Is he going to be traded? Who cares? He can score points for any team in the NBA. Didn't get selected to the All-Star Game this year? So what? He'll be there next year. It's this exceptionally rare combination of detachment and supreme confidence that makes him deadly in the clutch and thus absolutely essential to this team. If he's included in any trade, for Gasol or even for Garnett, the Bulls will deeply regret it.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

With my mind on NBA money

CNNSI has a nice page up with complete team salaries at the bottom of their NBA page.
I tried to link to it but, no luck.

I recommend talking a glance through the team salaries; Riles really sold the Heat's future to get that ring.

I'm trying to figure out what the market rate for Deng and Gordon wll be and it's more than a bit tricky. The new CBA has been in effect for just one free-agent signing period, so there's not really a big enough set of new contracts to predict what the market should yield. Owners were awfully stingy last year: Bonzi, DeShawn Stevenson and to a lesser degree Chris Wilcox all recieved much less than what they wanted.

One question, the cap for the 06-07 is $53.135 million, but the "luxury tax" is $65.42 million. Why does anyone
talk about the $53 million figure, its a soft cap so the only number that matters is $65.42. Right?

And the Bulls better be a hell of a lot closer to the "luxury tax" in 07-08;
they're the most profitable team in the league