Thursday, July 14, 2005

Happy 2-year Blogiversary!

Well, close enough, it was(around) this time two years ago when I moved on from my 6-month old all-purpose blog to one completely focused on the Chicago Bulls. Most of my posts were in that direction anyway, and lets face it it's easier to find a specific audience all in tune with one hobby: Bulls Basketball.

 When this blog started in the summer of 2003 the upcoming season was almost as heavily anticipated as this coming one, as the stretch run (in meaningless games) of the previous season begged for optimism in what had become a chronic loser. Since then nearly the entire roster (save Curry and Chandler) had been overturned, GMs and coaches had gone, and there has been one awful season followed by a fantastically surprising one. Let's just say the mood and tone of this place has run the full spectrum from giddy optimism to depressing cynicism.

Thanks first of all to the blogfather for inspiring me (like many others) to give blogging a try. To my friends and family who were the only ones coming to the site in the early days. To Tim and Scott who were the few great bloggers available to look toward in the infancy of the NBA blogosphere. To Mike, Yoni, Kurt, and Jeff (and others who I am probably forgetting) who came soon afterwards and quickly zoomed past me, if only to raise the bar for my own blogging through their own success and help. To other bloggers (and even some pros) who have contacted me with thanks and encouragement, it truly means a lot. Now to look out there and see all the blogs out there and the great talent that drives them, it made something like creating the Carnival of the NBA seem as much necessary as it was fun.

And to the readers, naturally. Staring at an increasing hit counter in no way compares to the feedback I have gotten  through comments and email that over the past 2 years. Especially the frequent commenters who keep the discussion moving every post. Its you guys who make this blog more than me just ranting to an anonymous audience, turning it into a place where Bulls (and NBA) fans can come and have a fun and intelligent discourse. I hope you feel the same way in that regard.

So I know I've been promising changes since the end of the season, and rest assured they are coming, if slowly. Hopefully you'll find them to be for the better, cause I see no problem with blogging up a few more years as fun as the last 2.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Summer league star

Draft Express is at the Vegas Summer league, raving about Bulls invitee Eddie Badsen, the man who is looking to be a cost-effective solution at the 2-guard spot:

Eddie probably fell to the second round because he's just not a workout warrior, he doesn't have the size, length, or explosiveness that make scouts drool. But, Basden can play basketball, something that gets lost far too often in the equation of talent evaluation. Eddie completely ate [Fransisco] Garcia's lunch in this game, not a major accomplishment given Garcia's struggles, and considering how highly regarded Garcia was it should make you wonder how a player like him can be overlooked.

There's a glowing review of Badsen's entire game that can get a Bulls fan excited. Even though it's just a summer league game, it's looking like he may be a real find.

When told that his performance was one of the best we'd seen and should surely earn him a spot on the roster, an always humble Basden looked up and said "God willing". With play like he showed tonight and throughout the games so far it won't take an act of God to make it happen.

Asked after the game if Basden had earned a spot on the big club's roster with his performance, coach Skiles replied with a rye "we'll see". Knowing the way Skiles approached the game in his day and judging by the grin of satisfaction on his face while Eddie sealed the deal at the line, along with the way he pulled him to the side of the court opposite of the bench midway through the game during free throws, don't be surprised if another deal is sealed soon…maybe 2 years or so with half of the money guaranteed money up front…

Sunday, July 10, 2005

GMs gone wild

Building off my last post, looks like Bobby Simmons was too rich for John Paxson's blood as well, signing a 5-year, $47m deal with Milwaukee.

Simmons getting 5 years is less of a risk than Raja Bell, or Brian Scalabrine, but still it's alarming that the trend this offseason has been long-term contracts to what seems like every free agent out there. I'm guessing this storm will be waited out, and as the summer goes along the price will deflate.

Meanwhile the Bulls have to worry about their own:

Paxson believes Duhon holds the key to whatever free agent moves might follow for the Bulls. If they sign him, as expected, the team is unlikely to make a big splash in the unrestricted free-agent market because Duhon's salary will eat into the roughly $5 million NBA midlevel exception used for veterans.

 I sincerely hope that Pax waits this one out as well, as I don't see many teams looking at Duhon as any kind of point guard solution. Furthermore, Duhon himself has to see the Bulls as a best-case scenario for him, since he has guaranteed playing time due to the nature of his coach. If they reign in the demands of Duhon's agents, maybe they'll still have enough to sign him and fill up their needs: the M2GwcDaS and a scoring 4 (hmm...need another acronym).

But instead of tying up the exemption on Duhon, maybe Pax and Skiles can trust Gordon to fill in at point when Hinrich is on the bench, and re-sign Pargo(or a vet at the minimum) as the emergency point. I can't see a scenario where at the end of a 3 year contract Chris Duhon is part of the regular rotation, so why tie up an exemption this summer that can be used to shore up a weakness?

It seems that I'm just itching to get Duhon off the team, but what is more important is that the exemption isn't wasted. Since the Bulls don't control Duhon's 'Bird Rights' (since he is only 1 year in the league) unfortunately for the team that means the exemption must be used to sign him. And with GMs spending the way they have, and the need for both a defensive 2 and a scoring 4 this summer...I'd rather Pax made a contract mistake filling a need than resigning Duhon.

But if Curry leaves (and I won't get into it because if I paid attention to every time Curry started drama....) then get out your sign-and-trade hats, cause the whole plan will change.