Bulls Bolster Lineup With Two Key Additions

In the past few days, the Bulls have reinvigorated their roster. Last year, they miraculously managed to win 48 games without Derrick Rose. It might have been Tom Thibodeau’s best coaching job. The Eastern Conference was historically weak, but the Bulls were a team without a single player with a typical scoring mentality. Yet, they would grind out wins with defense and toughness, the staples of Thibodeau’s teams. After being eliminated in the playoffs by the Wizards, it was obvious that the Bulls had drastically overachieved in the regular season, and needed a major influx of talent, or at least a healthy Derrick Rose if they were to be taken seriously in the playoffs.

Gasol will probably spend most of his time at the high post, directing the Bulls offense.

Gasol will probably spend most of his time at the high post, directing the Bulls offense.

But in the offseason, the Bulls have made several moves to bolster their offensive fire power. Drafting Doug McDermott was the first significant move. He is a scorer first and will create space in their half-court sets, with his ability to hit 3’s and put the ball on the floor and hit mid-range jumpers. More recently though, the Bulls made two moves that should help even more.

First, the Bulls agreed to terms with Pau Gasol, who’d been deciding between the Bulls and Spurs. Gasol is the type of player that can fit into any team. His passing skills are unsurpassed by any big man in the league, and he is a great guy in the locker room. Unless he’s on Kobe’s team and Kobe is jacking up too many shots! But in all seriousness, he is a great fit on the Bulls. With Noah and Gasol, the Bulls will have arguably the best passing tandem of big men in the league. Playing Gasol at the high post will let Noah operate more under the basket. Gasol is not a shoot-first player, but he is a facilitator, and teams in need of scoring can always use facilitators to get guys open shots. That’s what Gasol will do. Continue reading

Let the LeBron Speculation Begin

As you’ve heard by now, LeBron opted out of his final year with the Miami Heat. So every team desperate and deluded enough is clearing cap space with the hope that they’ll be able to convince LeBron to join their team. The thing is, there are only really five teams with legitimate chances to get LeBron. Zach Lowe mentioned the Hawks and Suns as other unlikely candidates, but all he is saying is that they have the requisite cap space to get LeBron. He’d never go to either of those teams, even if they’re not that bad. Who really has a chance at getting LeBron?

1) Miami Heat
They’re still the most likely scenario for LeBron. He knows their management, respects Pat Riley’s judgement, and still made the Finals last season with its weak roster. LeBron opting out is merely a ploy to motivate the Heat and get Micky Arison to spend more money. It’s a move to push Wade and Bosh to restructure their deals and take much less money. This is the least exciting move LeBron could make. The Heat would need to show LeBron they’re going to completely alter the bench and add some real contributors and fresh legs. Let’s all hope he leaves Miami so that the bandwagons fans in Miami can disappear again. They don’t deserve a good team. Continue reading

The makeover the Bulls need

The Bulls somehow managed to win 48 games this year, despite losing Derrick Rose again to injury. Joakim Noah finished fourth in the MVP voting, becoming a triple-double machine in the second half of the season. But the Bulls’ scoring woes were glaring when they faced the Wizards in the first round of the playoffs. It was clear to anyone who watched that the Bulls lacked a scoring punch. They were counting on Taj Gibson, Mike Dunleavy Jr., and D.J. Augustin to consistently contribute offensively. It was an overachievement for the Bulls to win 48 games with their depleted roster. No one knows if Derrick Rose will ever be close to the player he was, and the Bulls are finally looking to upgrade its roster to give him more scoring help. While this may be typical NBA summertime speculation, there have been a few rumors that, if true, could see Chicago transformed into a legitimate contender in the East. Granted, it does not take much to qualify as a ‘contender’ in the NBA’s inferior conference. Regardless, the Bulls look poised to rejuvenate its roster this offseason. Here are a possibilities for Chicago this summer: Continue reading

Top 75 NBA Trade Value (Part 1)

Now that we’ve concluded the NBA season, we have a decision to make. We can either torture ourselves with the daily draft proceedings, or we can postpone the draft talk and hypothetically analyze fake trade scenarios to alleviate our pain and distract ourselves from the summer sports lull. Who has the most trade value in the NBA? Soon-to-be 30 year old LeBron, on the heels of four straight Finals appearances, and enormous wear and tear? Or 25 year old KD, coming off his first MVP season? Or 21 year old Anthony Davis, fresh off his first All-Star appearance and poised to be his generation’s Duncan? In other words, it’s not as simple as who’s the best player in the league. Age matters. Younger players are more valuable than guys on the verge of retirement. LaMarcus Aldridge is more valuable, being only 28 years old, than Dirk is at 36. You get the point. Salary also matters. You’d rather have Kawhi Leonard, due just over $3 million next season than Carmelo, who’s about to get a max contract. We’ll count down the top 50 players, with the #1 player being the player in the league with the most trade value. In other words, if Team A offered the #5 player on the list to Team B for the #2 player, Team B would say no. Without further ado, let’s begin the count down.

This year brings some players that show the limitations of the rating trade value. Kobe Bryant didn’t make the the cut this year. Who would trade for a 35 year old coming off a torn achillies? But obviously, the Lakers would NEVER trade him. Rather than ranking him way too high to keep some consistency, it makes more sense to cut him from the list altogether. Similarly, Dwyane Wade failed to make the top 75 this year. That might sound crazy, but given that he only played 54 games this year, is going to be 33 next year, and looked horrendous in the Finals, it makes perfect sense. Who would trade for him, especially if he opts in and is making over $20 million next year. Again, the Heat would NEVER trade him. Chances are he finishes his career with the Heat. The last premier name to miss this year’s cut is Derrick Rose, but that should be no surprise. He hasn’t been healthy for two years and has $60 million left over the next three years. Unless he magically turns into his former MVP self (not happening), he has little value. Here are some of the tougher omissions: Continue reading

LeBron’s Legacy

Following LeBron’s passive performance in Game 3 against the Spurs, critics everywhere took the opportunity to take a swipe at LeBron and how his legacy was at stake once again. If LeBron didn’t put up a triple-double with at least 30 points, then his legacy was tainted forever. If LeBron didn’t drop over 40 in a win, he wasn’t an all-time great. If LeBron… Okay, you get the point. We’ve heard this nonsense before and frankly, it’s getting old. Maybe it’s a sign of just how good LeBron is that his standard is so ridiculously high. LeBron-haters will exist for eternity, ever since The Decision and his disappearing act in the 2011 Finals against the Mavs. We get it. You don’t want LeBron to be mentioned in the same breath as Bird, Magic, Russell, and Oscar Robertson. ox281254146348480466And HEAVEN FORBID you put him in the same breath as Michael Jordan. We get it. I too was once a LeBron-hater, eager to call Kevin Durant or Derrick Rose the best player in the league. Eventually, after LeBron reached another gear, and showed how much better he is than Durant, I conceded and began to embrace LeBron. To all the haters though: just remember that LeBron is already one of the 10 greatest players to ever play the game, and he’s only 28 years old.

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What does the Future hold for the Thunder and Bulls?

After the short-handed Thunder and Bulls both lost their respective series in five games, it’s unclear where they’re headed. Even with the return of Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook, the Bulls and Thunder will need to make moves if they plan on being real title contenders next season. While getting healthy will be the main way the Bulls and Thunder improve next season, they still need to make moves, even with their minimal cap room and late draft picks.

Durant had no help as soon as Westbrook went down.
Durant had no help as soon as Westbrook went down.

Thunder
Coming off of a disappointing second round exit, the Thunder may believe a healthy Russell Westbrook will bring them back to the Finals, but seeing the series against the Grizzlies, it’s clear that the Thunder have some more work to do. With Westbrook, the Thunder will surely be the favorite to come out of the West, but it’s now clear that the Thunder are a very average team without him. Serge Ibaka, the guy Sam Presti decided to pay instead of James Harden, has proven to be a 13 and 8 guy who looks like he’s already hit his ceiling. Ibaka is only 23, but his failure to step up in Westbrook’s absence is just another reminder that the Thunder absolutely made the wrong choice picking him over James Harden.

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Who would you build an NBA Franchise around? (Part 2)

If you missed it, Click here for Part 1.

Group 7a: Dinosaurs That Somehow Aren’t Extinct 

35. Kevin Garnett
34. Paul Pierce
33. Kobe Bryant
32. Tim Duncan
Despite KG’s injuries this year, he’s still one of the most reliable defensive anchors in all of Basketball. With KG, anything short of beating the Heat seems possible for the Celtics in the playoffs. Without KG? We’re talking about a five or six game series in favor of the Knicks. As far as Pierce is concerned, I’ll let Bill Simmons do the talking. Want to know how good Kobe was this year? Before getting hurt, even being owed $30 million as a 36 year old next year, it would have been hard to put outside the top 20. Kobe was on everyone’s MVP ballot until the day he got injured. And Duncan is one of the most remarkable players in NBA history. This guy just doesn’t wear down. He’s 36 years old and has a PER over 24. He’s putting up 18-10-3 in just 30 minutes per game. Would anyone really be shocked if three of these four guys were using deer antler spray?

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