Friday, July 11, 2003

Well these Pippen rumors are definately gaining steam.
The prospect of returning to the franchise with which he won six championships has intrigued Scottie Pippen to the point that he recently had a brief phone conversation with Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. Pippen and Reinsdorf have had minor differences over the years, and their discussion is the strongest indication to date of the depth of Pippen's interest. The talk also proves Reinsdorf fully endorses general manager John Paxson's plan to sign his former teammate with the midlevel salary-cap exception of approximately $4.6 million.
I think the 'minor differences' between Reinsdorf and Pippen have always been overblown by the Jordan disciples out there. Keep in mind that the Bulls did give Pippen a pretty generous contract when they made the sign and trade deal with Houston. Has Pippen really matured and is he capable of leading this team? The problem that Paxson will face is the possibility of waiting too long on Pippen and losing out on other free agents, but I really like this quote from Pax:
"I'm not going to panic on anything," Paxson said. "No matter what we do, a lot of our growth is going to come from within with our young players."
That's very important, this Newble and Pippen stuff is just background pieces for the young core of this team. No sense tying up a ton of money on spare parts.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

More Ira Newble news, which pretty much is all that is going on right now:
"In Chicago to visit with Bulls officials, free agent Ira Newble told reporters Wednesday he would like to stay with the Hawks, where he spent the past two seasons. But the uncertainty surrounding ownership and the front office has forced him to explore other options. 'There's real chaos down there right now,' Newble said. 'It's confusing.' How confusing? When Newble walked into the Bulls' practice facility, guess who he bumped into in the hallway? Hawks coach Terry Stotts, in town to discuss an assistant coaching job with the Bulls. "
You might wonder why he would want to stay with the Hawks, but he does get plenty of playing time down there.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Ira Newble was on The Score this morning, talking about his possible signing with the Bulls. He basically said he had a good meeting, and liked what the Bulls were doing, but that his decision will come down to which deal has the most money and longest duration. Normally that would seem selfish, but this is a guy who has played in the CBA and on several 1-year contracts. He claims he's defensive-first, and knows his role on a team. So i'm sold :)
The big news in the local papers today remains the Bulls interest in Pippen. There's stuff floating around how Paxson wants to bring him back into to the fold so badly. I'm not exactly sure why. I don't see the pressing need to bring back links to the dynasty years. Isn't it enough that the coach and GM are 'links'? Not that I don't think Pippen could be a good fit, but his tendency to whine and undermine authority may be exacerbated if the Bulls find themselves losing early this year. Plus, he is coming off knee surgery. This quote interested me:
"Paxson didn't rule out the possibility of trying to add Newble even if Pippen agrees to join the Bulls. In addition to the midlevel exception, the Bulls expect to have a $1.85 million injury exception because Jay Williams will miss the coming season. 'Scottie can play three positions,' Paxson said. 'Ira can play the two or three. It makes things obviously crowded. But that wouldn't be out of the question, no.'"
That may be a good way to guard against a likely Pippen injury. His minutes could be used by Newble and E-Rob. I still like the idea of signing Newble and Veshon Leonard instead of using the whole exemption on someone who can only play 50 games a year. My first option, while a longshot, would be Corey Magette.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

On they've posted the Summer League roster. You'll need acrobat to view it though. There arent any fun non-roster invitees like I expected, except former Laker Sumali Samake, who I believe was suspended earlier this season for steroid use. The actual players who have a shot at making the team:
Rookies: Kirk Hinrich, Mario Austin and Tommy Smith "Vets": Bagaric, Mason, Hassell, Baxter
I suppose Austin and Baxter will compete for a roster spot, and I assume Austin will have to severly outplay Lonny to get that spot. Smith is a definite longshot, while Hinrich, Bags and Mason are locks for the team. The wildcard is Hassell, who's job appears to be in jeopardy because of possible free agent signings (as i described in the post earlier)
Your big free agent signing: Ira Newble:
"Paxson is serious about Newble, a 6-7, 220-pound small forward with defensive skills and a team-first attitude. Newble, 28, played four seasons in the CBA before catching on in Atlanta last season, averaging 7.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 26.5 minutes." Newble likely wouldn't command the entire mid-level exception, enabling the Bulls to pursue another player, such as Kendall Gill or Voshon Lenard. The Bulls also have a $1.8 million injury exception for Jay Williams.
Ira Newble isn't that bad actually. My roomate John actually has developed a hatred of Newble because of his success against the Bulls. I think he's the only man in America who has any opinion on Ira Newble. What's interesting though is the next paragraph that mentions the signing of another off-guard, which would displace Trenton Hassell. Trent's a nice player cause he'll actually try and guard somebody, but It would be nice to have someone in that rotation slot who could perhaps hit an open 3.