Friday, August 06, 2004

One person's probably still junk to another person as well.

Scroll down to read yesterday's analysis on the Jamal Crawford deal, from the monies perspective. But what the Bulls got back were not just expiring contracts, they're human beings damnit! Maybe not so much in the case of Cezary Trebanski, who I've actually never seen, and may not be real. In fact, all you need to know about Trebanski is that I read somewhere (can't find the link) that he makes Dalibor Bagaric look like a prospect. So lets just assume he'll never put on the uniform. Either developing a mild case of 'Knee Tendonitis', or a severe case of 'Plane back to Europe.'

Now on to the rest, how will these new pieces fit, if only for 1 more year?

  • Frank(ie) Williams: For those who have read me for a while, you will know how much of a Frankie guy I am. Watching his college career at the University of Illinois in person makes me unavoidably biased, but I really think Williams will be a good backup guard for this team. For a detailed analysis, go to Kevin Pelton's guest-post on Knickerblogger. What you'll find is that Williams has made himself a into a good defender, although he still can't shoot very well. On the Bulls, all they need him to do is spell Hinrich at the point, run the plays, play some D, and listen to me yelling "ILL-INI" from the stands. And he's better than either Chris Duhon or Jannero Pargo, who were battling for that role in the summer league. It appears that battle has ended, with both being the loser. 
  • Othella Harrington: He's pretty much your older brother's Marcus Fizer. An undersized PF in the Fizer or Corliss Williamson mold who can score ya a few points and foul you on defense. As John Hollinger wrote in his last Prospectus, he's the kind of player who counted on his athleticism in the paint to make up for his lack of height. Now that he is on the wrong side of 30, that athleticism is leaving him, and that's how you get your name referred to in the paper only as  'expiring contract'.
  • Dikembe Mutumbo: Its been a long time since he was laying on his back clutching the ball celebrating his Nuggets' series upset of the top ranked Seattle (super)Sonics. And I think he was only about 36 then. Mutumbo can't really do much anymore, but Shaddax over at These Days thinks he will still help out the team:

    An incidental benefit for the Bulls is that the two players they got back who will play a role for them, Mutombo and Harrington, are both hard workers with reasonably physical styles who believe themselves (especially in Mutombo's case) to be starting caliber players. That's exactly the sort of person Curry and Chandler should be surrounded with at this point to help them develop; if anything will stimulate the competitive drive in Curry and help Chandler toughen up, a Mount Mut elbow or six to the grill in practice will. It also will put a bit more heft into threats of benching.

    Well, that's great, but the Bulls already have Antonio Davis to fill that role. In fact these same intangible reasons were cited as a benefit to the Jalen Rose trade, in regards to Davis and Jerome Williams. And from what I've read, Davis is doing a fine enough work in that role (although vastly overpaid), and Harrington can take over Williams' spot. So in my book that leaves Mutumbo out of the picture, and hopefully traded for a shooter, as the Trib is reporting.

So here's the updated (prospective) 15-man roster:

PG: Hinrich/Williams/Pargo(IR)/Duhon(IR)
SG: Gordon
SF: Nocioni/Deng/E-Rob/Linton Johnson/Chris Jefferies(IR)/Pippen
PF: Chandler/Harrington
C:  Curry/Davis/Trebanski

I am just guessing who will be on the IR, but as you know its only 12 active players at a time. Now the glaring problem is the small backcourt, which gives credibility to the Mutumbo for Eric Piatkowski rumor I linked above. If its not him, look for the Bulls to go after a free agent like Calbert (don't call me Dick) Cheney or Wesley(please call me Chuck) Person. While so far the team has tried pushing the idea of having Williams playing the 2, I would be shocked to see the Bulls open camp with their only off-guard being 6'3".

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Done Bun.

Finally, Jamal Crawford is a former Bull, being officially traded along with Jerome Williams to the Knicks after signing a 7-year $56m contract.  Coming back to the Bulls are centers Dikembe Mutumbo and Cezary Trebanski, Forward Othella Harrington, and point guard Frank Williams.

Kudos to John Paxson on a fine set of negotiations. While Knicks GM Isaiah Thomas approached this acquisition as the divine right of a New York GM, Pax held firm, reiterating in every meeting between the two for the past 6 weeks that he was only going to trade away a young talent like Crawford in exchange for salary cap relief. He knew going in that the Knicks couldn't offer the equivalence of talent(and potential) that Crawford posseses, but they had expiring contracts that he could use to dump the real cap-killers on the team, Williams and Eddie Robinson. Many combinations of these Bulls and several other Knicks (Moochie Norris, Shandon Anderson) have been on and off the table these past few weeks, but Paxson eventually achieved his objective.

So what kind of savings are we talking about here? Williams' contract alone had 3 years and around 18m remaining, and the contract Crawford is obviously more of a commitment than the Bulls would be willing to make to him. I can't imagine many Bulls fans being happy if they had given Jamal 6 guaranteed years after not exactly earning it while given the opportunity to after the Jalen Rose trade. As I said when that deal happened, dealing Rose basically handed the perimeter scoring and clutch-time possessions to Crawford. While Crawford performed well at times, he was still inefficient from the field, lazy on defense, and consistently in Coach Skiles' doghouse. Not the kind of performance that should be rewarded in an extension. And I expect the same type of ultimatums given to Eddy and Tyson this year.

Every player received in the deal is a free agent at the end of the year, meaning the Bulls could reportedly be up to $10m under the cap next summer. These numbers are never completely accurate, but there will be room that wasn't possible before this trade. I know there are teams like the Hawks (and the Bulls a few summers ago) who have had cap space only to see it go unwanted, but it is still a very nice thing to have. Just look at fiscally responsible teams like the Spurs, Pistons, and Nuggets, and see what cap space can do once you have some pieces in place.

Per usual in professional sports, trades cannot be judged on talent alone. While saving some money, on talent the Bulls did not receive enough to compensate for losing Crawford. In the coming days I'll go over the actual bodies coming over in this trade, and try and determine who exactly will be useful on the court. I'll try to apply the term 'useful' liberally.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Our long national nightmare is (maybe) over.

Well I was about to write about the agonizing process that has been the Jamal Crawford trade talks, since reportedly a deal had been agreed to. But then I begin reading other sources and there are STILL discrepancies as to which players will be involved. So I'll wait till it actually happens. Over the past week I had warmed up to the idea of keeping Jamal in the fold, based on the fact that this team was terrible on offense last year, and, with all his faults,  Jamal can score. But with this latest wave of reports from both Chicago and the Big Apple, it can be assumed that Crawford will be a former Bull soon enough. Until then, check out Knickerblogger's post on what Jamal Crawford's options are.

Now on to Eddy Curry. Now I posted yesterday (scroll down) about how Eddy's offseason commitment to conditioning has been reportedly a load of garbage so far. But like I said then, I am not gonna panic just yet. And I read a quote by someone today who gave me a reason to keep that mindset: Old lunchbox himself:

"All I ask people to do is judge me not by what they hear and read, but judge me by what I do for the rest of the summer. Judge me by what shape I'm in when I report to camp. And then judge me by how I perform on the floor.''

That was Eddy Curry, btw. (I love the title on that article. Its the kind of headline that would make Scott proud. ) I know its easy to harp on the guy, and it is still very alarming that he hasn't shown the commitment or motivation you think would be evident after such a disastrous season. And its possible that this kind of attitude is simply proof that he will never 'get it' and become a star. BUT, I am gonna do what he says. I'm not going to freak out that he's still a fat tub of goo.

But on opening night when he's gasping for air after getting his baby hook blocked by Nenad season hopes (and probably my TV) will be thrown out the window.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Slow News, or My Laziness: You Decide.

Honest, there REALLY isn't much going on. But here's some things I've had on the back-burner, so enjoy:

  • Eddy Curry is 35 pounds overweight: Read that sentence again, because I cannot properly stress how important he is to this season. And after 2 summers of saying he's gonna work...ok I'm not gonna go into my weekly pleas to Eddy again. I'll just be cautiously pessimistic. Cautiously meaning I'm not gonna panic and give him away to the Grizzlies. Yeah I'm looking at you Chad Ford (sub reqd).
  • Found this tidbit on HoopsAnalyst, listing (in the spirit of Derek Fischer) some ludicrous contracts given out to championship role players. Check out these familiar names:

   -In 1994-95, the Sixers sign Scott Williams from Bulls. Williams spends the next six years a decent, but injured bench player.
   -In 1998-99, the Warriors Jason Caffey who was recently acquired from the Bulls. Caffey is decent for two years before being dealt to Milwaukee where he came off the     bench.

   -In 1998-99, the Suns give Bulls center Luc Longley a five-year deal. Longley only is able to play three of those years before shutting it down in 2001 with chronic ankle injuries. He topped out at 8.7 ppg and 5.7 rpg during that span.

   -In 1998-99, yet another Bull, Steve Kerr, earned a six-year contract based on the reflected glory of Michael Jordan. Kerr spend six years in San Antonio (with a one-year pit stop in Portland). Kerr was useful when called upon with the Spurs but his minutes (and production) were basically half of what they were in Chicago

I think even Jud Buechler got a contract riding M-Jeff's back. Oh and I think the Randy Brown deal was what I like to call a "Rick Pitino Joint".

  • Found this a few days ago in Insider, talking about the injury risk that NBA players are incurring by playing in international competition. I would prefer that you dipped into the Bulls Blog archives and read my thoughts on the matter here.

Hopefully something will happen in the next couple of days: either Crawford finally getting traded or Eddy Curry discovering the Ab Roller.