Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bulls come from behind and of course, more trade rumors

By Alex Derickson

On a night that honored Bulls legend, Johnny Red Kerr, the Bulls came through with a fantastic come from behind victory against their somewhat-rivals, the Detroit Pistons. 
Down by 15 in the fourth the Bulls rallied by bringing one aspect of the game they haven't really showcased. Being aggressive, getting the ball inside and then getting to the
 line. It opened up opportunities to get easy shots and chip away at the lead, which was nice to see.
Another huge lift this game, and through the road trip as well, has
 been the phenomenal play of Tyrus Thomas. He got is sixth double-double since the end of January (tenth on the year) which he now shares the lead with all-star Dwight Howard. Something finally clicked in his head and he's attacking the basket, rebounding with the best of them and letting his athleticism do the rest.
Lately, it seems like Vinny's coaching "style" has seemed to catch on and the Bulls have been pushing the ball up the floor and running it as much as possible to try and wear teams down. They are averaging over 100 points a game for the first time since before the Skiles era and their defense hasn't been shabby either. They are scoring off of turnovers and forcing teams to give it up by playing scr
appy defense similar back to that 49 win season they had when this exact team (plus Derrick Rose, minus PJ Brown and Duhon) took the court in 2006-2007. Everything s
eems to be clicking for them and the young front court of Tyrus and Noah (12 points, 16 rebounds against Detroit) have really come together thanks in large part to the absence of the black holes that are Drew "i- can-make-and-will-take-that-jump-shot" Gooden and Larry "I'm-tall-like-Thabo" Hughes. It's opened up a lot of playing time for them to get the experience they need to progress in this league...

Which is a shame that it's all happening the past few weeks because as we all know, it's trade season. 
With the trade deadline being a mere eight days away (seven for those who in live in the opposite hemisphere) talks have heated up and with all-star caliber players on the block this year, it seems like it might be a busy week ahead for certain NBA Gm's who's names start with the letter "J" and end with "ohn Paxson."
With Amare  Stoudemire and any and all Suns not names Steve Nash being shopped by Phoenix, and rumors of Chris Bosh wanting out of Canada, and the Clippers apparently "determined" to move Chris Kaman, this year seems to hold more opportunities to solve the Bulls problem of low post scoring and interior defense.  
As Sean said earlier, the Bulls have offered Steve Kerr and the Phoenix Suns, Gooden, Thabo, Tyrus Thomas, and their first round draft pick for Amare. 
This gives Phoenix an expiring contract in Gooden, a developing power forward with absolutely incredible athelticism to replace Amare, a potential lottery to mid first round draft pick, and most importantly, it gives Phoenix the first NBA basketball player to ever come from Switzerland. 
As much as I would hate to see Tyrus go with his play as of late, I think this deal should be done. Amare is a proven all-star with an inside game and a pretty consistent mid-range jump shot. He's also incredibly athletic and would fit the current playing style. I'm just not sure if his lack of a defensive effort is because he doesn't care, or if it's because he was surrounded with Shawn Marion and then Shaq who are both very very good defenders in their own right. 
Steve Kerr, however, also wants Joakim Noah along with Tyrus, the Swiss Miss, and all the previously mentioned above. Unless he gets desperate, I don't see Paxson giving up his both of his young big men. I think the plan would be for Amare to run the offensive side of the ball and let Joakim be responsible for the defensive end, which could turn out to work very well. The only way I would see this going down is if Pax gets a young big in return, someone like Robin Lopez like Sean said earlier.
There have been other rumors of course regarding the Bulls outside of the Amare saga, which nothing will probably develop until after All-Star weekend so Phoenix can get their last look at him. Rumors of Larry Hughes going back to his old stomping ground of the abysmal Washington Wizards are started to come up again. The rumored deal is Hughes going to DC for Etan Thomas and Mike James of SuperNanny fame. I'm cool with this just because it gets rid of Hughes and if the Amare trade were to go down with Noah being a piece, it gives
them a serviceable forward in Thomas.
What i would like to see would be both of the above trades (possibly sparing Noah, or not, i'll learn to cope) and then the Bulls trying to make a push for Chris Kaman. The Clippers are stacked with front court players who either are perpetually injured (Camby) or summoned by Gozer the Gazarian to destroy New York City (Randolph). I think Kaman's run in a Clipper uniform is over and Captain Caveman could find a new home in Chicago. The only way I could see this working is if the Bulls can dump Hinrich and Noche and pick up a an expiring deal along the lines of Steve Novak or something along the way. 
All of this is just rumors and wishful thinking but after a year like last year where the only trade was Wallace for players we would try and trade a year later, I'd really like something good to happen here. Some/any combination of the above would be great. I just want some assurance that Pax legitimately wants to rebuild around Rose and Deng (preferably as a third scoring option) and get the fans excited again. This team has been great the past few weeks and have been very fun to watch, but it's not a team that's going to bring you a title, or really even a division championship. It's a sixth to eighth seed playoff team destined for an early exit at the hands of Cleveland, Boston, or Orlando.

I turn 21 on Thursday the 19th (the trade deadline). I'm hoping that I'll be able to have one drink for John Paxson for executing a trade that solves the Bulls problems, and not because he let another good offer slip away.