Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Free Agency Starts at 12:00 a.m. TONIGHT!

By Sean Mackey

The 2009 free agency frenzy begins tonight at 12 a.m. Granted, a year from today will be FAR more interesting than tonight will be, Bulls fans beg to differ.

Joe Dumars of the Detroit Pistons will be delievering his pitch to our beloved star Ben Gordon probably as soon as the clock strikes 12. He's gonna tell him about his 2 championships with a backcourt of two small guards and how he wants BG to do the same.

We all know that secretly Dumars wants his revenge for us stealing his 3 time defensive player of the year Ben Wallace from him 3 years ago. Ben Wallace was the glue that held that team together and after he left, the Pistons were unable to advance out of the Eastern Conference Finals. Of course, Ben Wallace played one decent season for the Bulls before becoming a distraction and being shipped off to Cleveland for crap. Ben Gordon is in the prime of his career and him signing with a division rival would be a disaster for Chicago.

There's also talks about BG going to his hometown New York Knicks along with the OKC Thunder. The Pistons however remain the biggest threat with the money they can throw at him. There have been rumors that Ben Gordon has an under the table agreement with Dumars already in place and by the end of the week, the Bulls high scorer for the past 4 seasons will be gone.

No one really knows what Ben Gordon is going to do but Bulls fans have to be a little scared. I'm sure he's gotta be a little angry that the Bulls obviously value Deng as the better player (which he clearly isn't). BG found the $50 million offer insulting after Deng was given $80 million. While he's publicly said he loves Chicago, the fans, the organization and wants to retire here, his intentions will probably not be clear until later this weekend, if not before that.

Losing Ben Gordon would be 10 steps backwards for young team trying to advance out of the first round of the Eastern Conference. We need BG.

Friday, June 26, 2009

James Johnson? Taj Gibson? Really?

By Sean Mackey

Well, it's over. We can all blink now.

The 2009 NBA Draft came and went Thursday evening with the Bulls settling on Wake Forest Forward James Johnson with the 16th pick and USC Forward Taj Gibson at the 26th.

Like most Bulls fans, I'm a little confused. Is this what we wanted? To me, it feels like the whole 2007 NBA draft all over again. Why the team passed on DeJuan Blair TWICE is mystery. We've heard his knees are bad blah, blah, but really? The man has been projected as a top 16 pick since March. I'm sure Greg Popovich is laughing his ass off someplace because he was the only one with the balls to actually draft him and he'll do well there in their system. You know....the one where the Spurs are the most fundamentally sound team in the NBA? Well now they have a fantastic rebounder. Since he's now playing for my 2nd least favorite team, I hope he ends up like Clarence Weatherspoon.

I'll have to admit, I was a little heartbroken when the Indiana Pacers selected Tyler Hansbrough with the 13th pick. According to Chad Ford, the Bulls were also heartbroken. I would have been totally cool if they moved up to get him but now it's over and Larry Bird has the only starting lineup in the NBA with 3 white dudes. Where does he think he is? Indiana?

The only thing I am glad about is that whole BJ Mullens guarantee was all BS. I'm sooo glad we didn't invest time in another project like him. Plus, having another strikingly ugly dude tread up and down the United Center is something I just can't bare.

I'm honestly hoping we trade Johnson and Gibson and get a decent post up player because these guys aren't going to do anything for us. Nothing.

Hopefully, when December rolls around and Johnson is averaging a double-double, I'll be eating my words, but I doubt it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

NBA Draft 2009.....TONIGHT!

By Sean Mackey

The time has finally arrived, the one day of the NBA offseason that actually excites people. The 2009 NBA Draft is expected to be unpredictable and filled with cost cutting trades. What the Bulls will do is still completely unknown. There have been rumors of Chicago taking Gerald Henderson, DeJuan Blair and James Johnson. None of these scenarios really seem that appealing since I'm hopping on the Tyler Hansbrough bandwagon. Blair, Henderson, Mullens & Johnson were all called back for a 2nd workout, Hansbrough wasn't on the list of callbacks so I'm assuming any shot of him coming to Chicago is slim to none at this point..

There's also a bunch of trade rumors floating around. Since Shaq was traded to Cleveland last night and it appears the Suns may be cleaning house, and Amare may be on the block. If the Bulls have any shot of landing him, give Kerr what he wants. Give him a combo of Tyrus, Deng, Salmons, Miller....whatever (just not Noah, I'm a fan). The Kirk Hinrich to Portland rumors started back up the other day with a "source" saying that Kirk has been telling his friends he thinks he'll be in a Portland uniform soon. The rumor was then shot down.....but how do even shoot down a rumor like that? I don't believe any of the speculation but you've got to wonder who started it and why.

Regardless, after tonight, the Bulls roster will probably look at least a little bit different. I just hope that Gar and Pax don't make any boneheaded moves that steer the franchise in the wrong direction.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Chad Ford's Mock Draft 6.0

By Sean Mackey

We're 3 days away from the 2009 NBA Draft! The suspense is killing me! Bulls fans and analysts alike are stumped on what Gar and Pax are planning on doing. There's been talk of the Bulls moving up to steal the 11th pick in the draft from New Jersey but nothing is for certain. Over the last few weeks we've seen DeJuan Blair and Tyler Hansbrough's draft stock rise and fall. The one man I (semi)trust when it comes to mock drafts is ESPN's Chad Ford. This guy has a great feel on what's usually going on behind the scenes so here's what he had to say today with his new Mock Draft 6.0 ESPN Insider column:

Analysis: The Bulls have been working the phones this week trying to move up in
the draft.

They've talked to the Nets, Bobcats and Pacers about swapping
the 16th and 26th picks to move up a few spots.

Who are they after? I've
heard everything from Johnson to Blair to Hansbrough to Williams to Mullens
here. To be honest, I can't get a terrific handle on which way they are leaning.
In this scenario, Williams and Blair are gone, which leaves Johnson, Mullens and

Hansbrough is the most NBA ready. Mullens has the most
upside. Johnson is somewhere in between. I'm not sure exactly how Johnson fits
in Chicago with Luol Deng on one side and Tyrus Thomas on the other, but there's
no question about his upside.

James Johnson? Really?

Give me Hansbrough.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rumor: Pistons Offering BG $11 Million Annually

By Sean Mackey

According to a Real GM wiretap, Ben Gordon's agent, Raymond Brothers is telling people that his client has a $11 million annual guarantee from the Detroit Pistons.

Considering that the Pistons are also rumored to be shopping Rip Hamilton, there's probably a lot of truth to this. The Bulls offered $9 and $10 mill to BG last season and this is obviously going to be his best offer on the table this offseason. However, I'm not convinced that a team devised of Rodney Stuckey, Tashawn Prince (who will probably be dealt), BG and possibly Carlos Boozer is a team that's going anywhere. I'm very curious as to what Joe Dumars' other plans are.

With all this being said, the Bulls probably aren't going to offer Gordon the same number. Reinsdorf is a well known cheapskate and well, there aren't a whole lot of takers for Kirk Hinrich with Minnesota out of the picture now.

Ben Gordon is detrimental to this Bulls team succeeding, losing him would be a huge step backwards. John Salmons is great and all, but he's 30 years old this year and has had one breakout season. There's no guarantee that he's going to come back and make the kind of impact BG has. Luol Deng is also a big question mark. He played decently in the games he actually played and showed improvement in his rebounding but is he gonna live up to that $80 mill contact....you know the one we PROBABLY should have offered Gordon? Most likely not but I'm willing to give him one more chance.

The Phoenix Suns were reported to be interested in Deng but according to sources close to the Bulls, he's still for some reason untouchable. Deng/Thomas/Other Player for Shaq? I'd do it in a heartbeat. Sam Smith with Bulls.com has argued that Shaq doesn't play any defense and that Chicago wouldn't be interested but isn't that what we have Noah for? It would just be for one season, then we could use all the money we saved to throw at Bosh, Wade or....Lebron (yeah, I said it) next summer.

The other big rumor of the week was a twitter post by Ohio State draftee BJ Mullens that stated that he had a guarantee from MJ town. His agent also shut down a workout with New Jersey and stated they had a promise from a top 16 team in the draft.

Since Tyler Hansbrough (the guy who I want) and DeJuan Blair will probably be off the board by the time #16 rolls around, this is probably the Bulls best option. He's a guy who's athletic and quick on the throw downs but has problems defending and has low level post skills. In other words, a total project. However, his size and quickness might work well in VDN's fast paced offense. Frankly, to me he looks like a high flying version of A-Gray. If the Bulls draft Mullens, it also probably means that T-Time is over in Chicago.

In other NBA news, Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves leaked via twitter that Kevin McHale is out as coach. Bill Laimbeer randomly resigned as the defending WNBA champion Detroit Shock's coach two days ago. Coincidence? I think not.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The 2009 NBA Draft Is Only 3 Weeks Away, Plus Other Meaningless Rumors

By Sean Mackey

The NBA Draft is three weeks from today. Who the Chicago Bulls will be picking at #16 and #26 is still completely up in the air. Every mock draft that I've been keeping track of including NBAdraft.net's and Chad Ford's has had the Bulls picking different guys almost every week. The only real no brainer in this draft is that Blake Griffin is going to be a Clipper, anything can happen after that. Unlike last year's rather uneventful draft, I suspect that this one is going to be very heavy on trades. Teams are trying to cut corners every way possible to make room for the 2010 free agent sweepstakes and are willing to do anything just to be able to make a pitch to Wade or LeBron.

Nobody with the exception of possibly DeJuan Blair is going to make a decent enough impact for the Bulls at the PF spot. Mock drafts over the last few weeks have had the Bulls picking Ty Lawson, Earl Clark, Tyler Hansbrough, James Johnson, Tyler Smith and the dreadful BJ Mullins.

It's been made pretty clear over the last few weeks that Kirk Hinrich will be traded no matter what. It's a sad truth but his contract is just way too ridiculous for the Bulls if they want a shot at re-signing Ben Gordon. Maybe Chicago will revisit the Hinrich to Wolves trade by possibly getting the #6 pick out of it, that way we could get Blair and make a decent offer to BG.

I personally wouldn't mind seeing the Bulls pick up Tyler Hansbrough with the 16th pick. He did very well at the NBA Draft combine in Chicago last weekend. He's a guy (although goofy like Noah) who's going to give you everything he has out on the floor and will be hellbent with forever improving his game. A Noah/Hansbrough combo would give us possibly the most hated front court in the NBA. They could also compare infamous offseason pictures too! Noah's bar pics with topless women vs. Hansbrough's insane jumping from a balcony into a pool at a frat party pic. Putting all this aside, Psycho T also fits the classic John Paxson mold of picking a proven college winner. The guy can rebound and steal balls but he's not much of a post up guy. If Noah can put on say 30lbs of muscle this summer, the Bulls should leave the posting up to him.

I sincerely doubt that Chicago is giving a whole lot of consideration for BJ Mullins. Yeah, he's worked out with the team and stuff but picking a project center up this late in the game would just be ridiculous. I have a strong feeling that the 26th pick will be traded somewhere with another deal for Kirk Hinrich or possibly Tyrus Thomas. If they are gonna keep it and actually draft someone, they'll probably have to chose from Tyler Smith, Derrick Brown or DeJuan Summers....yuck.

Onto to the rumors that have absolutely no legs (yet).....

On Wednesday, July 1st at 12:00 a.m., you can bet that representitives from the Detroit Pistons and the OKC Thunder will be on the phone trying to get through to Ben Gordon to offer a pitch for the 5 year guard to jump ship. Both teams are not so privately expressing that they want BG so this is something to worry about. Chicago doesn't want to lose this guy for nothing but they're gonna have to pay him a lot to stay. Reinsdorf either needs to sign off on a trade for Hinrich to clear up room or go over the cap and into the luxury tax....it's just for one season and they're gonna be paying teams that don't matter anyway so why not?

The Chris Bosh rumors were just starting to heat up but are temporarily being put to rest by Toronto saying they plan to build around Bosh again. To me, this means nothing and that Bosh does want out of Toronto. He's recently expressed that he'd "love to play with Wade" down in Miami. Plus, I'm sure that he'd like to get out of the cold weather and be near South Beach, who wouldn't? They could trade Beasley, Haslem and James Jones straight up and get him. A Wade, O'Neal & Bosh starting lineup would be pretty hard to cover.
Now with Cavs being unceremoniously elimated by the Magic this last week (congrads to Orlando by the way), it's hard to say what LeBron is going to do next. Does he bail for Brooklyn and join up with Devon Harris and Brook Lopez in 2010? Who knows. The only thing that's for certain is that he won't be signing an extension this summer, Dwayne Wade on the other hand might.

Hopefully by this time next week we'll have possibly a better idea of what Chicago's game plan might be, until then, we'll just have to wait and speculate.