Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Was Ira Winderman in a coma this spring? Because I have no idea how any NBA beat writer who was conscious in late April could write, "[T]here still is no one clearly better [than Miami] in the East."

Ira: Was a four-game sweep by an average margin of victory of 11 points per game a scant three months ago not enough evidence that the Bulls are clearly better than the Heat? Would the Bulls have to win by 15 per game to provide such evidence? 20? While starting me at point guard? What will convince you?

Why is everybody but Hollinger sleeping on the Bulls?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Is Three Enough?

A lot of folks are saying that this trade makes the Celtics one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. I'll admit, I'm intrigued, but mostly because how the Celtics end up doing this year might very well suggest whether the Bulls need to part with some of their integral parts in order to contend.

Matt, it seems to me, has always been of the mind that the Bulls need to contend now, before the window on Big Ben closes. I've always felt that view was a little too impatient, that we have stockpiled some of the best young talent in the league, and we just need to allow them the time to mature. None of them (with the possible exception of Lu) might end up being brand name, capital-S "Stars," but even without that big-time wattage, our starting backcourt remains one of the nicest in the league (if a bit undersized), and young, talented guys like Thabo, and Noce (despite his overly generous contract), and Ty, and (possibly) Noah give us a deep bench (to say nothing of Lu or Big Ben). That, it seemed to me, would carry the day in 07-08 and 08-09, as the Heat and Pistons aged themselves out of contention, and the Cavs remained LeBron's Merry Band of One. (Milwaukee and Toronto are threatening, but not menacingly so.) Now, though, Boston has went and upped the ante, bringing in two high-caliber (if aging) All-Stars to go with Pierce (their aging, high caliber All-Star). Will that be enough to threaten the Bulls?

Honestly, I don't think so, but maybe I'm simply underestimating the importance of All-Stars. Obviously your team needs good players, but does it NEED stars in the playoffs? I thought the Pistons' recent teams proved otherwise, and it seemed to me like Pax was essentially copying that team's blueprint: Good starting players, playing great defense, and a deep bench, but no out-and-out All-Stars. (Chauncey and Rip and Sheed are nice, but, league-wide, they're a notch below the very top-tier of players talentwise.)

If the Celtics (assuming they even meet) can knock off the Bulls this year in the playoffs, I guess I'll have to re-consider this, but I just don't see that happening. Deng and Hinrich, it seems to me, would be likely to give Pierce and Allen fits on the defensive end (and do more than hold their own offensively), and though Rondo might be able to blow by Gordon, he's not really the type of physical point guard who typically gives Ben problems. That leaves us with KG but a) we can throw a ton of bodies at him (including The Body himself) and b) he's never proven to be the type of player who simply takes over games at crunch time.

And that's seriously IT for the Celtics. Look at their roster (keeping in mind that Green, Jefferson, Gomes, Bassy, and Ratliff are gone). Their starting center is Kendrick Perkins. They have two sub-average backup PFs in Leon Powe and Brian Scalabrine. Their backup guard (singular) is Tony Allen. And that's it. Oops, I forgot Brandon Wallace, but actually he's instructive. Because unless they're willing to take on a massive amount of luxury tax, they're going to fill out the rest of that roster with Brandon Wallaces---undrafted free agents and 2nd round picks who got cut from other teams. (UPDATE: It occurs to me that the happiest man about this deal might be... Jannero Pargo! It could save him a trip to Greece.)

It seems to me that this trade makes the Celts a little more souped-up version of the New Jersey Nets, maybe good for 50 wins and a first-round win, but I can't see them going much farther, and certainly not competing with the Bulls. But maybe I'm wrong, and All-Stars really are the key. In which case, next post-season, I'll be howling that we need to get us some of those. But for now, I'm still feeling really good about this team.

I've Been Trying...

...my hardest to fit this picture in a Noah post, but nothing has worked out. So, I'm just throwing this beauty up from the Trib. It's pretty priceless.

KG To The Celts...Again?

That's the word on the street. The deal would be Rondo, Al Jefferson, Ratliff's contract and probably some future picks, just to make sure that the Celtics, after a brief one-to-two year hiatus, won't be relevant again for the next decade.

Imagine being a T'Wolves fan, and knowing that you're getting this garbage for KG, instead of Luol Deng, Tyson Chandler and Ty Thomas. I think you could kill Kevin McHale, brandish those two deals in court and get off with justifable homicide, at least if the jury was made up of NBA-knowlegable fans.

On the other hand, the Wolves could be positioning themselves to make a really hard and committed run at the 25 percent chance of winning the O.J. Mayo Sweepstakes next year. I guess if you're McHale, and you've already run this franchise into the ground, why not act like Bush (or an autoerotic asphixiation fetishist), and keep choking yourself, more and more and more, in the thin hope that maybe, just maybe, right before the death throes arrive, you'll rub one out that will be the biggest, baddest yank of them all.

Or maybe McHale's become a man beyond reason, who just wants to watch the whole thing burn?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Surprise, Surprise

I saw this headline and thought, "Well, Wade WOULD think that."

(Semi-related question: Is a crap post like this better than no post at all? I mean, what's a Bulls blogger to do when there is just nothing going on right now?)

Monday, July 23, 2007


Matt's been blogging the Bulls for four years now. Go shower him with love and appreciation in the Comments.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Starbury comes to town

I'm don't like his game, but damn if I don't respect him for doing this tour to promote his
Starbury shoes.

He'll be in Chicago Ridge and Mount Prospect tomorrow (Sunday) you can see the schedule below.


TYI At The Movies

I saw Rescue Dawn last night, and it's easily the best film ever produced by a former Bull, All-Star power forward.

Actually, smart-ass, back-handed praise aside, it's very, very good. I had an excellent reason for admiring Elton Brand already, but the fact that he's using his cash to help a truly awesome director like Werner Herzog make movies warms the cockles of my heart. Go see it and then read on, because I'm about to ruin the ending. (And if anybody knows how to HTML code "under the fold," please let me know in the Comments, because that knowledge would have been very handy for this post.)

Some folks have taken issue with what they consider the "unambiguously" triumphal, "knee-jerk militarism" of its ending, but to my mind, such a reading demostrates knee-jerk stupidity. (Indeed, even the normally very astute Matt Zoller Seitz made this mistake in an otherwise excellent review.) For what actually triumphs in the end is not the military, which is "unambiguously" shown to be crudely instrumental in its attempts to exploit Dengler's heroic persistence for its own abstract, inspirational ends. Dengler, however, is equally heroic when he steadfastly denies this impulse, positing in its place a strictly materialist view of humanity that eschews flag-rallying notions like "God" and "Country." (This doesn't deny inspiration per se, it simply asserts that "Spirit is a Bone.") Indeed, it is Dengler's knowledge and love of the material world as it is that allows him to survive in the first place. At a time when your local Omniplex is drowning in utter shite, Rescue Dawn provides a much-needed breath of fresh air. Thank You, Elton!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Your Chicago Bulls

From the Trib –

… the 2007-08 Bulls team is set. Noah, Aaron Gray and JamesOn Curry will sign their rookie contracts later this week.

That means the roster breaks down as Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Chris Duhon, Thabo Sefolosha, Adrian Griffin and Curry at guard; Luol Deng, Thomas, Noah, Smith, Khryapa and Nocioni at forward; and Wallace and Gray at center.

"My intention right now is to stay with 14 roster spots filled and maybe go into the season that way," Paxson said.

So I guess that means Marty A. and Barrett are cut loose. Pax also said Noah was almost ready to go and that Gray and Curry would see time in the D-League.

Salaries for ’07-‘08

B. Wallace 15.5
Kirk 11
Noce –8-ish
Joe Smith 5
Gordon 4.9
Ty 3.5
Deng 3.3
Duhon 3.25
Krappy 1.9
Sefo 1.8
Noah 1.8
Griff 1.6
Gray 500K-ish
Curry 500K-ish

62.5 million.

Don’t really see how they keep Gordon and Deng and not go into luxury tax land next year?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Keep the jersey, but don't call me Shirley

Want a hoops-related summer reading suggestion? After getting sidetracked a few times for work-related reads (grab Daniel Brook's new takedown of the Right and the indispensable Freire too), I got through Paul Shirley's (yeah, that Paul Shirley) new book "Can I Keep My Jersey?" The big man kept a journal for the first three years of his professional hoops career and later adapted it, edited it, and turned it into a 300+ page book that doesn't disappoint.

You may have caught his blog a year or two ago (Simmons trumpeted it) and if you're familiar with that, it's more of the same: incredibly pessimistic, self-deprecating about his love life and basketball skills almost to the point of nausea (given he was probably one of the 500 best players in the world), and strangely arrogant about his intellect. Shirley hilariously details his travels over seas, his battles for contracts, and the madness that is the NBA. He plays the victim card a little too much but his cultural criticism and hatred of religion is well-thought out and he delivers a surprising amount of good one-liners and stories along the way. Among them is a not too friendly critique of our '03-'04 Bulls, as you'll remember he was a member briefly. Let's just say he was not too pleased when one Kendall Gill asked him to carry the former Illini's luggage.

One funny excerpt to leave you with, from his time playing in the middle of Siberia . . .

"As the halting conversation progressed between the two women and Shammond [Williams] and me (we happened to be nearest to them), my internal whore-o-meter went from 65 percent sure they were hookers to 90 percent in a matter of minutes. The Russian girls should have realized that we were going to be poor marks when they saw that we were drinking tea; had they fully understood most of the things we were saying, they definitely would have realized that we were not actually interested in their wares. We were more interested in making each other laugh. At one point, when the conversation had died down again, Shammond blurted out, 'Do you have sex for money?' The ringleader of the group acted embarrassed, and then whispered in my ear, 'Maybe two girls at the same time?' which I relayed to Shammond. He asked, 'How much?' They replied that it would cost $600. Having pushed the envelope as far as it needed to go, we turned away from them and went back to talking among ourselves. When we got up to leave for the night, the girls followed us as we made a final circuit of the building to see what we had been missing while we had been talking to hookers. The English-speaker made a last-ditch effort with me, saying (this is a direct quote), 'Maybe now we could go back to your hotel, relax, little sex, what you call -- menage a trois?' I gave her a smile and said no, and they finally left, which actually surprised me. Aren't whores supposed to negotiate?"

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

If Luol's Down...

...I'm down. Give $10 (or more) to Nothing But Nets.

Interesting, important discussions about Western paternalism and charity aside, this seems like a pretty benevolent cause to me. It doesn't mean we should stop fighting against the ruling class' stomach-turning predations on the continent of Africa (or absolve Nothing But Nets' chairman, Ted Turner, of the crime of being the nation's largest private land owner), but, until those tasks are fully accomplished, there are worse things to do with your time and money than preventing refugees from contracting malaria. (Such as, uh, reading this blog.)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Nocioni Gets Married, His Boogie On...

... brings sexy back.

The man throws a mean wedding. (Indeed, my hangover is only now beginning to fully subside.) All of us at TYI wish he and his lovely wife Kate all of the happiness and success that they can reasonably lay claim to within the limits of propriety and solidarity with humankind.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Fear the Turtle

Smith signs a two-year deal, according to the Sun-Times. Moore jumped out of our price range, getting twice as much as he would have in NJ, so that was out. HSCS thinks Tyrus' playing time will likely suffer as a result, but we will have to wait and see how Skiles juggles things. Smith threw up some decent numbers in limited minutes last year and is better down on the block than Peej, it seems. Thoughts?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Darko to the Grizz

Ric Bucher reports Memphis has agreed to pay Sam Bowie $21 million over 3 years. I wonder how this $7 million price-tag affects the contracts of, say, Joe Smith or our former 7th pick? I hope Orlando's decision reflects Darko's youth and "potential," something Mihm and Smith lack.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thank You, The Onion

H/T to friend and reader Jason on this old Onion info graph about how our namesake is going about turning around the Knickerbockers.

My personal favorite, even if the name is misspelled: Shows tough love to Eddie Curry by ridiculing him for not going to college.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Late Night Cap Math**

Salary Cap figures announced: $55.6 mil for the cap, $5.4 for the MLE and $67.9 mil for the luxury tax. Assuming around $10 mil this year for Noce's front-loaded deal, the Bulls stand now at around $56 million, but that's only for 10 players, and it doesn't include Noah's deal (which, I'm guessing will be around $2.2 million) or any of the 2nd rounders, who I think, combined, will take up another $1.5 mil. So with those 13 players, they're about $4 mil over the cap, leaving somewhere around $7-8 mil. to play with (along with the MLE) before we get into luxury tax territory.

Here's a question: What do y'all think about pursuing Darko with that $7-8 mil? I can't imagine he'll be offered much more than that from anyone else. Is he worth it? I have my doubts, but I'm also kinda intrigued by him too. I guess the main obstacle would be length of contract: I wouldn't want to sign him for more than a 2-year deal, and I imagine some dumbass GM will probably offer him 4-5 years.

(**meaning, take these calculations with a pretty amply-sized granule of salt. Keep in mind, I'm the math genius who thought 32 + 16 equalled 50.)

UPDATE: In the Comments, Matt (more a Capologist than I) explains why signing Darko (or anyone else) outside of the MLE is a no go.

New Kids On The Blog

Matt points out there's a new sheriff in the town of Bullsblogoburgh: Only the Bulls. (For a second, I thought we were getting scooped by one of our own, but the name's Mr. Berg, not Moberg.) In any event, he's committed enough to not only watch the webcasts of the Summer League games (which is more than I can say for myself and, I'm going to assume, all of the other TYIers), but also write funny, insightful posts about said summer league games. Go show him some love.

Also, the blogger formerly known as Paxson Jackson, but now firmly entrenched as Hot Shit College Student (or HSCS, for the abbreviationally inclined) has revived the blog formerly known as Taurine Dream, but which now goes by The Grabowski Free Zone. (At least, I think that's what it goes by.) Confused? Well, call down the necessary angel, dear friend! As my main man Mr. Wilde once said, "Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative."

Sunday, July 08, 2007


We won't know how much it will be until Wednesday, when the cap is released, but we do know the Bullies have their eyes on Smith, M. Moore and Mihm.

Mihm's injury problems make him the least desirable in my view, although we might be able to sign him for just one year. Moore was pretty money down the stretch (or maybe his torching of us in game 82 is just emblazoned on my brain) and it appears NJ won't match anything over 4 mil. Smith could fill the Peej veteran role for cheaper if/when Peej retires, and is more athletic. He also had decent numbers (9 and 7 or so) in limited action last year.

Anyone else I'm missing? Thoughts?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Uh, No, Henry

A couple weeks back, I gave Henry Abbot a shoutout for his considered take on the situation in Darfur. But this new post that calls some agent hack's advice on dealing with China "pretty savvy" is wrong, wrong wrong.

I've been looking for an excuse to link to this absolutely incredible book review by Rick Perlstein. (It's ridiculously long, but also ridiculously good; easily the best thing I've read in any magazine this year.) It needs to be brandished like a club anytime you hear some jackoff say, "China's made tremendous strides in human rights since Tiananmen Square." (Or, in Henry's case, endorsing some jackoff saying, "China's made tremendous strides in human rights since Tiananmen Square.") Enter Rick:

My tourist retirees visited Tiananmen Square. Good American innocents abroad, they asked their guide about the event that made it familiar to them. "He wouldn't answer questions. He didn't want to talk about it." Few American visitors come back better informed than before they arrived about the hundreds (thousands? we will never know) massacred in the democracy demonstrations of 1989; or the tens of thousands of political prisoners in Chinese jails at any given time (some for the "crime," officially stricken from the books, of "counterrevolution"); or the dozens of criminals killed every day by the state (by one count there were 12,000 executions in China in 2005); or the hundreds of antigovernment protests in rural China. Or, say, about the retired military doctor Jiang Yanyong, who in 2003 became a national hero and international symbol of China's strides toward democracy for publicizing the SARS epidemic and who, a year later, was thrown in jail for criticizing the Tiananmen massacre.

We can have long debates that go into the early morning about what's the best way for Amerians to deal with the fact that China is a corrupt, authoritarian state with an abyssmal human rights record. (Hell, I would even entertain a debate about the purity of the original Tiananmen Square protests. I recently read that they were initially sparked by student outrage over what they viewed as the preferrential treatement of African students by the Chinese university system, i.e., that it was initially racism, and not some thirst for democracy, that was the catalyzing agent.) But in the midst of these debates, let's not countenance any nonsense from some corporate self-interested hack that China has made "tremendous strides in human rights since Tiananmen Square."

UPDATE: I've re-read Henry's post, and perhaps my take on Henry (not the corporate hack) is a touch unfair. What he's actually praising is the guy's willingness to allow players to do what they think is right. Respecting players' autonomy to do and say whatever the hell they want politically speaking doesn't seem to me like much of a concession for these corporate hacks to make, since doing otherwise would be violating the First Amendment. So, yes, while I too am glad these guys are willing not to violate the law and demand that their signed athletes toe some corporate party line (kinda like what they make people do in China), it doesn't seem anything particularly praiseworthy to me. And it's certainly not endearing enough that we should let dude's obfuscations on the current situation in China pass without comment.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Adios, Muchachos?

As our Nocioni prepares to leave for D.C., it appears the other Nocioni might be breaking for Memphis. If the Grizz are actually willing to pay him around 8 to 9 mil a year, then count me more bereft about the former departing. Noce is a nice player, but Ben Gordon and Luol Deng are considerably nicer.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Boy Am I Glad...

...that the Bulls didn't draft Spencer Hawes.

Even in a Platonic basketball realm removed from ugly political realities (like, uh, global fucking warming!!!), I'd still be glad they avoided this potential bust.