Friday, January 30, 2004


Looks like all that talk a few days ago about showing the Nuggets who's boss showed....well that the Nuggets were boss. The Bulls were rarely down by less than double digits the entire game. Eddy Curry had an interesting game, scoring 21 points, but only 2 rebounds. 2! Earl Boykins had 2, and he's 3 feet tall. But Eddy once again made some great moves inside, taking advantage of the smaller Nuggets defenders. But on the other side of the coin, Nene was able to bull-rush (no pun intended) Eddy and dunk over him on one occasion. Just the same old enigmatic Eddy.

But enough about the team on the floor, lets talk trade rumors! I already reported the talks between the Bulls and Clippers. But Chad Ford suggests a new wrinkle: (and no, Elton Brand isn't coming back)

The Bulls and Clippers began discussions about a week ago on a way to get big man Melvin Ely to Chicago. At the time, talk of a possible Marcus Fizer-for-Ely swap seemed to be about as far as either team was willing to go. The Clippers are trying to clear more cap room to make a run at Kobe Bryant, and getting Ely's contract ($1.7 million next year) off the books helped.

Since then, however, talk of a larger Bulls-Clippers swap has taken hold. Bulls GM John Paxson likes Clippers' combo guard Marko Jaric and has tried to get him worked into the deal. The Clippers are balking unless the Bulls throw in their combo guard, Jamal Crawford. That may be too much for Paxson to swallow. Paxson likes Jaric's tough defense and ability to play three positions on the floor, but Crawford is a high price to pay for Jaric. Clippers president Elgin Baylor likes Crawford's ability to run the point and scoring ability in the backcourt.

Can the two sides make a deal? If the Clippers were willing to substitute local product Quentin Richardson for Jaric, the Bulls would give up Crawford in a heartbeat. However, it's very unlikely that the Clippers would do that, even with the possibility of landing Kobe Bryant to replace Richardson this summer. More realistically, Ely, Jaric and Keyon Dooling for Fizer and Crawford works salary-wise and would address the needs of both clubs.

Its a fun to think that NBA GMs can be just like fantasy sports owners sometimes. "Ok, we have Ely for Fizer, throw in Jaric.....ok if Jaric's in you give us if we're giving Crawford we need Richardson". If I were Paxson, I'd probably follow the same logic.

An interesting comparison is the one between Crawford and Richarson. They are both shooting guards (at least in the Bulls' eyes), and both were drafted the same year, so consequently will be restricted FAs this summer. Lets look at this years' stats:

Crawford 44 34.7 0.394 16.9 87 265 98 116 0.328 0.845 0.979
Richardson 39 35.3 0.397 17.6 78 208 93 125 0.375 0.744 0.974

Now those are very similar numbers. But while the numbers are the same, one glaring difference is Crawford's love of the 3-pointer this year. He's on pace to set a Bulls record for attempts, and that is also exposing his reluctance to go to the basket, which has been the ire of Bulls fans all year. Richardson only has a few more attempts, but has played in fewer games. If you look at it in terms of playing time, Richardson averages about .7 more FTA per 48 minutes. Which I'm not sure is even significant. So from the looks of the stats, its hard to differentiate the two, but here is a stat that I like in Q's favor:

Crawford: 6-5 190lb
Richardson: 6-5 238lb
Richardson has that big 2-guard body, which I really like. Its easy to look at Jamal and understand why he doesn't like taking a beating when going to the basket, he's a big point guard, but a very thin 2.  Since point guard is the only position the Bulls have set, I would try to make a deal getting Q for Crawford as the principal players.

Naturally its easy to like other teams players better than your own, because all I see of the Clippers are highlights, and all I see of the Bulls is well....everything. So I'm way more familiar with Crawford's weaknesses than Richardson's. Perhaps some Clipper fans out there could help me out with telling things a stat line misses. While I've read that the Clippers want to re-sign Richardson (although I'm one of the few who actually believe they can get Kobe), they really need a point guard and many GMs think Jamal still has that capability. And for the Bulls, well I would just like to see Q as a true shooting guard playing alongside Kirk Hinrich for years to come.