Tuesday, November 02, 2004

A momentous night

Happy Election Day Basketball New Year! (before you jump down my throat Puffy, don't worry I voted) Some not so different perspectives on the coming Bulls season. Both say they're bad, but while Jay Mariotti sees no hope (and of course mentions the breakup of the dynasty...get over it!), My Man Sam(TM) at least recognizes the fact that after the top 3 everyone else in the East is bad too.

Not to get into a full-blown preview (probably on Thursday), but the general, and correct, sentiment everywhere is that it's all on Curry and Chandler. I've been saying that for years, but this year is the one where it'll come with some consequence. Look, I've said before that I am not against trading either of them. I just do not like rampant rumors of Paxson doing it now because he's 'had it' with them and predicts them being dealt for marginal talents. (and I guess that Golden State rumor died quick). Unless it is for a difference maker, I don't want to hear it. Let these guys play. I know this is the 4th season, but Chandler is healthy, Curry is thinner, they've had a whole training camp with Scott Skiles and away from Jamal Crawford and Jalen Rose. I'm not guaranteeing that this year will be any different for the twin teens, but I'm saying it *can* be. And if its not, Paxson has made it clear that he is not going to pay on potential and has no problems with letting them go. And by then, neither will I.

Both Curry and Chandler were up for contract extensions but the deadline has come and gone with no money for either. Paxson is going with the 'wait and see' approach, looking for change both in their performance and the league's salary structure over the coming year. Everyone has had a real hearty laugh over Curry's agent's apparent demand for a max contract, but for me it was nothing to worry about. I would want my agent to ask for the max as well, and see if he can get it. I sincerely doubt that Curry's people really expected to get that money. Tyson Chandler has taken the complete opposite approach, openly admitting that his health should make management understandably hesitant to offer guaranteed dollars. If I were Paxson though, and thought the risk of injury was low enough, I would've tried to offer Chandler a cap-sensible long term deal. If the risk panned out and Chandler even progressed at a normal rate (he is only 22, remember?), the team would have a great bargain for a low-post player.

As far as both players are concerned, it is a win-win situation between them and the Bulls. If they play poorly, Pax won't pay them and will decide how to best maximize their value (even if is just for cap space, ala Crawford). If they play well, the Bulls will do very well, Pax will be happy, they will get their money, and *I* will be happy. So that is why I won't be joining My Man Sam(TM) in the 'Trade Eddy scenario of the week', and will take the approach of past seasons: cross my fingers and hope the Baby Bulls finally 'get it'. No matter what happens, this will be the last season I'll have to endure it.

Note: check out Bill Simmons' retrospective on Scottie Pippen. I remember reading some of Simmons' past columns saying he couldn't wait to write about Pippen, and it looks like he made the most out of it. And if you missed it, here were my thoughts.

Another Note: I have noticed that my sweet banner on top is gone. And like an idiot, I forgot (again) to save it. So...wait till I feel up for photoshoppin'.