Wednesday, July 06, 2005

So much for undervalued

It was theorized here that since the offseason was heavy in shooting guards, the M2GwcDaS could be found in a free agent to perhaps slipped through the cracks. And Raja Bell seemed like a great fit, even during last season as he played for the Jazz.

But I guess I underestimated his market, since he is reportedly joining the Phoenix Suns for an unspecified, mid-level deal.

This looks like a little too much money for a role player, and its possible that the Bulls were a possible destination for Bell and simply wouldn't offer that much money. Or that Bell simply wanted to go to a championship contender. What's important to Bulls fans is how this effects the free agent market.

Commenter 'Realistic Guy' offers a list of free agents who can fill the role that Bell could've:

Gerald Wallace, DerMarr Johnson, Bobby Simmons, Devin Brown, and Antonio Daniels

This really falls into two groups, with Simmons (who's a restricted FA) and Daniels a class above the rest. I'm guessing that with Bell signing for what he did, the aforementioned two would only be attained by the Bulls through a sign-and-trade. Other 2-guards (and that includes those missing from the list) may sign for cheap, but I think what Bell's contract may do is cause John Paxson to take a step back and evaluate just how big a need this is for his team.

As a general rule signing role players to long-term contracts isn't the best idea, and if Pax decides the price is too steep the M2GwcDaS can be someone taken off the free agent scrap heap or even off the Summer League team(read: Eddie Badsen). While not the ideal solution, a player of this caliber can be attained without giving up a core piece. I do find this still to be a big need for the Bulls offseason in order to take defensive pressure off of Hinrich and Gordon, but I also do not want too much cap room taken up by someone who is replaceable (now if only they follow the same philosophy with Duhon).

While he was designated as an early favorite here, Raja Bell was really only a plan B. But while that may mean better players (like Daniels, Simmons, or Michael Finley) could have less interest leaguewide, Bell's contract all but guarantees that they will come at a hefty price.