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Tag:Luol Deng
Posted on: December 26, 2011 12:29 am
Edited on: December 26, 2011 12:31 am
 

Theory and Proof: Lakers are who we thought

By Matt Moore

Theory: The Bulls did not play well and still won, and that says more about the Lakers than the Bulls. 

Proof: It's not so much that the Lakers played badly, because they didn't. It's that they played above how we thought they would Sunday, until the last five minutes, and then suddenly regressed to the mean at warp speed.  The Lakers had played well, above their talent level with an injured Kobe Bryant and a suspended Andrew Bynum, honestly, and looked primed to steal the game from out from under the Bulls. The Bulls were not making it hard on them. Derrick Rose was not great or even really emphatic until the last five minutes Luol Deng was more like the pre-2011 Luol Deng (good but inconsistent) than the 2011 Luol Deng (consistently great on both sides)... until the last five minutes. The Bulls shot poorly from the field, and were leaving wide-open perimeter shots left and right. 

And yet they won.

The easy way out is to say that Andrew Bynum will make everything better, that more time together will heal all wounds, but the bigger concern is that it wasn't the supporting cast of little-known non-stars that blew this game. It was Kobe Bryant his 8 turnovers, most notably the crucial final turnover that lead to Derrick Rose's go-ahead score. >Bryant shot 11-23 from the field. And there wasn't enough surrounding talent with Lamar Odom getting ejected in Dallas and Bynum at hometo cover. His shot selection wasn't really a problem until his final two attempts, where he forced things, especially his final shot, a baseline running fadea, away trying to get over three Bulls. That's not Bryant anymore. 

The formula for the Lakers has to be Mike Brown's defense  gets them in range, then the star power finishes the job. But if the star power isn't able to convert, the Lakers are in trouble. The kind of trouble we thought they might bed the going into the season. Bynum's out three more games, and the Lakers play two lottery squads in a row. But if things went this right and they still lost Sunday, isn't there a chance things could start even worse for the Lakers?
Posted on: December 25, 2011 8:24 pm
Edited on: December 25, 2011 10:22 pm
 

Video: Derrick Rose game winner over Lakers

By Matt Moore

For 40 minutes, the Lakers were the better team. Then everything fell apart for L.A. against the Bulls. They missed free throws, took bad shots, and turned the ball over constantly. With the Bulls having closed within one, the Lakers had the ball with under 20 seconds left. Maintain possession, force the foul, hit free throws, and get out with an ugly but impressive win over the East's best team last season. 

But as we've seen all through the month of December, things simply aren't diagrammed that way for the Lakers right now. Instead, this happened.


 

The Lakers have not won a game since defeating the Hornets in the first round of last year's playoffs. Kobe Bryant hit some big shots but also turned the ball over 8 times against the Bulls. On a day where the Lakers scrapped and did a fantastic job shutting down Rose and the Bulls' offense, they simply fell apart, and the finger has to point to Kobe Bryant. 

Meanwhile... Derrick Rose made the play when he need to, just like he did all of the regular season last year. It wasn't the best start for the Bulls, but it's a win, and that's good enough. Also, you can almost see Rose's eyes go wide when he realizes he has Derek Fisher one-on-one.
Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:53 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 2:59 pm
 

Why doesn't Dwight Howard want to be a Bull?



By Matt Moore


Back on Dec. 10th, the Chicago Tribune reported that Dwight Howard was not considering the Bulls. Chicago has not been on the list of teams Ken Berger has reported since February under consideration by Howard and his management. And Tuesday, ESPN reported that Howard's list has been narrowed to four teams, the New Jersey Nets, the Dallas Mavericks, the L.A. Lakers, and the Orlando Magic

So the question now is "Why won't Howard consider the Bulls?"

For starters, it would make a huge amount of sense for both parties in terms of basketball. For the Magic, they'd be able to get back a decent return on Howard, something that not many other teams will offer. Joakim Noah as a centerpiece, with Omer Asik, Ronnie Brewer, potentially Luol Deng, and a salary dump of Hedo Turkoglu along with picks could probably be had. That's a fine haul for the Magic. But maybe Howard simply doesn't care about what his team gets back and in fact wants to make sure they don't give up too much so that he can have a good group behind him wherever he lands. 

The bigger upside is for Howard. He would no longer have to be the sole source of offense and would have the pressure to be "the man" split between he and Rose. Howard wants help? How about the MVP point guard who can create offense for himself as well as anyone in the league? He'd be set with a young player just starting his rise to greatness and already established. Rose isn't an alpha dog and wouldn't have problems with Howard, Rose has good enough vision even as a score-first guard to create oop after oop for Howard on the pick and roll. Throw in Carlos Boozer as now a much-better-fitting third option (unless they unloaded Boozer which they may have to for salary purposes), and some combination of the Chicago shooters and you have all the help Howard's been asking for. 

Furthermore, how about the best defensive player in the league playing under the best defensive coach in the league? Tom Thibodeau could get the absolute most out of Howard's considerable abilities (not that Stan Van Gundy hasn't already done a stellar job and in fact in large part helped make Howard into the defensive presence he is), and would let him dictate what he wants on offense instead of forcing perimeter shots like SVG. 

The only conclusion is that it's some combination of weather and style that Howard balks at in regards to Chicago. Howard is rumored to prefer warm-weather destinations, coming from the south and having played there for his career. Chicago isn't exactly balmy. Then again, not like Brooklyn is all palm trees and sun tan lotion. The bigger question may be from a marketing perspective. New York or L.A. provide him with media opportunities galore, and for a guy who loves the camera as much as Howard does, that might be the kicker. 

One entity sad about this development? Adidas, who have both Howard and Rose under their label. The two teaming up under the colors of Nike's icon Michael Jordan's former team? Priceless. The money would be there for Howard in Chicago, but maybe not the level of fame he wants.
Posted on: December 12, 2011 11:14 am
Edited on: December 20, 2011 9:56 pm
 

Bulls set to extend Rose five years for $94M

<img style="float: right; margin: 10px;" src="http://sports.cbsimg.net/images/visual/whatshot/derrick-rose-2.jpg" height="353" width="250" />By Matt Moore</a> <br /><br />This will come as no surprise, but the Bulls plan to keep Derrick Rose. Shocker! From the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>: <br />

<blockquote>Rose will win on the bottom line soon. General manager Gar Forman said the formality of Rose's five-year, $94 million extension is being finalized with Rose's agents, Arn Tellem and B.J. Armstrong.<br /><br /> "Derrick is the centerpiece of what we're putting together here," Forman said. "We want Derrick to be a Dull for a long, long time. It's very important that we put the right pieces around Derrick."</blockquote>

via Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose won't beg stars to join Bulls, but he loves everything about team - chicagotribune.com</a>.<br /><br />You could have said, "a five-year, $11ty Billion extension" and it would still be a steal. Rose's extension will have one huge consequence though. For months, people have lauded the Bulls as the way to win without spending in the luxury cap. But the extension for rose to pay him upwards of $16 milion per year is going to change all that. Along with Carlos Boozer's blood-sucking fiend of a deal and probably re-signings of Luol Deng as well as Joakim Noah's extension, and any other upgrades the Bulls try for, the Bulls will have to pay to win. That's how the league works. The CBA didn't change that, it just made it more expensive. <br /><br />Bulls ownersip has always been thrifty for reasons beyond belief considering their success, but it'll be time to break out the poket book to keep a title-contending core around Rose and pay him market value. Rose will end up being the first recipient of the "Rose Rule" negotiated in the lockout</a> to allow teams to provide players coming off rookie deals with exceptional value higher raises than their counerparts on the earthly plane.  <br /><br />(Via <a href="http://www.iamagm.com/news/2011/12/12/mvp.derrick.rose.set.sign.five.year.94.million.extension?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter" target="_blank">IAmAGM.com</a>)<br />

Posted on: August 12, 2011 1:00 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 5:55 pm
 

The EOB Elite 100, 50-41: Hawks, beards and Bulls

Posted by Royce Young



This is the sixth segment of the CBSSports.com Eye on Basketball Elite 100, counting down the top-100 players in the NBA. 

Check out the earlier installments: 100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51

Once you break the top 50, you start getting good players. Former All-Stars, solid veterans and some up-and-comers. But the top 40, that's when you start breaking into some legit talent. The all-time 3-point king. A superbeard. An overpaid "star." A blossoming star point guard and a scoring savant. There are frustrating talents, disappointing stars, aging vets and a couple young studs that could jump 20 spots by next year.

As such, we march on towards No. 1 with 50-41.

50. Tyreke Evans, SG, age 21, Sacramento Kings
2011 stats: 17.8 ppg, 5.6 apg, 4.8 rpg, 40.9 FG%, 14.46 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 69, 49, 45

After winning Rookie of the Year in 2009-10, big things were expected from Tyreke Evans. Sure, he didn't quite have a position and the Kings weren't exactly committing either way in that regard, but he was a super-talented player that could score, pass and create.

One problem for him though in 2010-11: his foot. Evans suffered through plantar fasciitis for most of the season which caused him to miss a bundle of games -- 25, in fact -- while hampering him in the 57 he did play. He was never entirely totally himself. He'd have nights where he looked like the guy that tore teams up as he walked to the Rookie of the Year, but then you could just see how the injury nagged him. A good 2010-11 and Evans is probably in our top 40, maybe even top 30. Next season will be a big chance to bounce back for him. He's likely locked into a position as Jimmer Fredette will take over point guard duties and if he gets healthy, he'll settle right back in to a scorer/creator role for the Kings. And maybe a top 40 spot.

49. Ray Allen, SG, age 36, Boston Celtics

2011 stats: 16.5 ppg, 2.7 apg, 3.4 rpg, 49.1 FG%, 44.4 3P%, 16.42 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 49, 41, 63

It feels a little funny to have the NBA's all-time 3-point shooter sitting on the back end of the top 50. But that's what tends to happen when you get to the twilight of your career.

Funny thing about Ray Allen though: He might've had one of his best seasons last year at the age of 36. He shot a career-high 44 percent from 3, averaged an extremely efficient 16.5 points a game and did his usual thing of nailing big shots and backbreaking 3s. His game changed when he went to Boston. He wasn't the gunning shooting guard going for 25 a night anymore. But that was by design. He fits into a role and a system and he's reaped the rewards of that. He doesn't have a ton of time left, but if last season was any indication, he's going to put some serious distance between himself and No. 2 on the all-time 3s list before he's done.

48. Luis Scola, PF, age 31, Houston Rockets
2011 stats: 18.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.5 apg, 50.4 FG%, 18.43 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 44, 51, 57

Did you know Luis Scola has finished in the top 12 in scoring for power forward each of the last two seasons? I realize that's kind of a specific measure, but here's my point: Scola is really a pretty solid power forward.

He's easy to forget because he doesn't do a lot of anything that's flashy. He scores with tremendous touch and footwork. Nothing is really above the rim and nothing is really that eye-catching. It's a simple game, but it's ridiculously difficult to defend. He is a routine threat to go for 20 and when that soft little midrange jumper is happening, he's a serious problem.

47. Luol Deng, SF, age 26, Chicago Bulls
2011 stats: 17.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.8 apg, 46.0 FG%, 34.5 3P%, 15.58 PER
Composite rankings (random order):
42, 64, 44

The second best player on a team that just finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference should be higher than 48th, right? Seems so, but really, this is exactly where Deng fits. He scores just enough, is a premier defender, rebounds well and just kind of fills his spot.

But the Bulls needed more from him to advance past Miami in the Eastern Finals last year. Derrick Rose was often forced into being The Option for Chicago and it was always expected of Deng to do a bit more than just wait for an open look. On some nights, he would. Others, it was a quiet 14 points on 10 shots. It's probably not fair to expect more from him because that's not who he is. Instead, he's a quality role player that can give you points on a given night, but isn't that second option. Or at least he shouldn't be.

46. James Harden, SG, age 21, Oklahoma City Thunder
2011 stats: 12.2 ppg, 2.1 apg, 3.1 rpg, 1.1 spg, 43.6 FG%, 34.9 3P%, 16.42 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 45, 63, 41

If only these were beard power rankings. Because Harden would be the cream of the crop.

But 47th isn't a bad spot for him. He just wrapped up his second season and to some, he's was a disappointment for about three-fourths of his two years, mainly because he was selected third overall. But you've got to realize what Harden walked into. He was an All-American scorer from Arizona State that stepped on to a team that went on to win 50 games in his first season. He has come off the bench virtually every game for these two seasons. He has had to figure out where he stands alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

And as he showcased after Jeff Green was dealt to Boston and in the postseason, he's definitely Oklahoma City's third member of a potentially evolving new Big 3. The idea of him is that he's a Manu Ginobili type player and really, that's pretty accurate. He passes, handles and can score. He fits into a role instead of trying to force his way into every offensive conversation. He's a wonderful compliment to Westbrook in the backcourt and with Durant on the wing. Next season he should start from day one, which could mean Harden rockets up this board 10 or 15 spots. He's trending upward and catching attention and it finally has a lot more to do with his game than the outstanding beard.

45. Josh Smith, PF, age 25, Atlanta Hawks
2011 stats: 16.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.6 bpg, 1.3 spg, 47.7 FG%, 19.31 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 32, 37, 69


Talk about an infuriating talent. Josh Smith is 6-11. He runs the floor like a guard. He leaps like he's LeBron. He has long arms, a great build and by all appearances, should be one of the most uniquely gifted players in the league.

And yet as we saw last playoffs, he loves to hover outside and launch jumpers. The audible noise from Philips Arena every time he did said it all. It was one giant collective sigh as Smith pulled the ball up to fire from 20.

Thing is, he got it under control to some degree during the 2009-10 season. He went from shooting over a 3 a game to just 0.1. The official tally was 87 attempts to seven. That's a real effort to get shot selection under control. But then last season, he took 154 3s. So much for that.

In terms of straight numbers, he had a good 2010-11, because he really did. But it's about operating efficiently and in a way that helps your team win. I'm not sure Smith did that consistently last year. He's a top 20 talent that plays like a top 60 guy. Hence the 46th overall ranking I suppose.

Here's something that might blow your mind though: Smith is still just 25.

44. Joe Johnson, SG, age 30, Atlanta Hawks
2011 stats: 18.2 ppg, 4.7 apg, 4.0 rpg, 44.3 FG%, 29.7 3P%, 16.46 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 43, 39, 54

Not too many guys making $120 million a year -- more than Dwyane Wade or LeBron James got last summer -- should find themselves on the fringes of the top 50. And I can't decide whose fault that really is. It isn't Joe Johnson's fault the Hawks overpaid drastically for him. What was he supposed to say? No thanks, I'm not worth that much?

But it's also not the Hawks fault that Johnson has never really realized his talent. Johnson seems to play his way or the highway. When he wants to isolate in the post, he's doing it. When he wants to launch a questionable 3, he's doing it. When he wants to stand harmlessly on the wing and fade into oblivion for an entire second half, he's doing it. It's a reason Johnson has always frustrated fans which led him to being booed by Hawk fans during the 2010 playoffs. Some worried if that would scare him away from Atlanta as he was to be a free agent that summer.

Nope. Because the Hawks offered him $120 million. Not too hard to endure a few boos when you're making that kind of paper.

43. Stephen Curry, G, age 23, Golden State Warriors
2011 stats: 18.6 ppg, 5.8 apg, 3.9 rpg, 48.0 FG%, 44.2 3P%, 19.46 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 38, 46, 46


I want to see Curry play a season without Monta Ellis in the backcourt next to him. I really want to see what Curry's completely capable of as a featured player. Because right now in Golden State, it's hard to figure where he fits or what his job is. I think he's the team's point guard, but I'm not really sure. Some nights he plays like he is, other nights he's the go-to scorer. Maybe that's by design or maybe it's a flaw within the roster structure.

Regardless, Curry has one of the most seamless strokes in basketball. It's just so very, very pure. When he lets a jumper fly, he's one of those guys you're convinced it's dropping through. It feels like he doesn't miss. He's undersized, sure, but that's never held him back in terms of ripping up defenses.

He's pretty overwhelmed defensively, which is one big reason he's not higher up. But in terms of offense, he's a borderline savant. He was born to score and that's exactly what he does.

42. David West, PF, age 30, New Orleans Hornets
2011 stats: 18.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.3 apg, 50.8 FG%, 20.51 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 37, 42, 51

I don't know if West's seemingly low ranking even has as much to do with last season's injury as you might be guessing. Yes, he suffered a devastating knee injury that could affect his career going forward. But that probably only dropped him 7-10 spots or so. West's a very good player, no doubt. But really when you start getting into the top 40 players, it's hard to really justify West being in front of a lot of those guys. Is he better than Lamar Odom? Better than Marc Gasol? Better than Rudy Gay?

I've always kind of had to wonder too if West simply rode the good fortune of having Chris Paul get him the ball too. How much better did Paul make West? All those 18-footers West has drilled -- how many came as a result of Paul drawing the defense and making it happen for him? Not to take anything away from West because he's a top power forward for sure, but I get the feeling people will say, "Forty-three!?! That's WAY too low!" Maybe it's the injury stuff or maybe it's just that West isn't a truly elite player.

41. John Wall, PG, age 20, Washington Wizards
2011 stats: 16.4 ppg, 8.3 apg, 4.6 rpg, 40.9 FG%, 15.85 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 50, 45, 34

I don't get the sense Wall will be staying anywhere near the 40s for long. His rookie season would've grabbed a lot more attention if it weren't for that mammoth dunking over cars out in Los Angeles. Looking at his year -- 16.4 points and 8.3 assists per game -- that's pretty darn good for a rookie point guard. Especially considering he was dealing with a mostly dysfunctional roster and teammates that may or may not have been told they were playing in the NBA.

Wall's place is temporary so really, it's more of a question of where he's going to eventually end up rather than where he sits currently. Is he going to be on the level of Rose and Westbrook? I absolutely think so. And if that's the case, in another year or two Wall will likely have carved out a spot at the table in the top 15. Point guards are making big jumps in their third seasons nowadays. And that's still another to go for Wall. Somehow he found himself overlooked a bit last year but as he progresses and trends more toward the top 20 and maybe top 10, he'll have plenty of attention.
Posted on: June 9, 2011 5:14 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2011 8:27 pm
 

The NBA Trade Movie of the Week: "Get Monta"

Posted by Matt Moore

Coming this summer from the NBA Board of Governors' CBA Negotiation Meeting Productions: a new film by director Larry Riley. Starring Mark Jackson, Andre Iguodala, Jerry West, and Monta Ellis as Monta Ellis, the biggest blockbuster of the summer, "Get Monta." 

From KB:
The Warriors and representatives for Monta Ellis are working cooperatively to see if a trade to a contending team can be arranged, a deal that would likely happen around the NBA draft later this month, a person with knowledge of the discussions told CBSSports.com. “It’s pretty hot,” the person familiar with the talks said.

UPDATE: The Trail Blazers, Lakers, and Hawks, are among the teams that made exploratory calls after word leaked that the Warriors and 76ers were discussing an Ellis-for-Andre Iguodala swap, league sources said Thursday. Ellis-for-Iguodala is a “50-50” proposition at the moment, a person with knowledge of those talks said. A third person with knowledge of the Warriors strategy described trading Ellis as a secondary priority to the draft.

Ellis would be interested in a trade to the Bulls, who have previously expressed interest in him. But a person with direct knowledge of Chicagos offseason discussions refuted the notion that the Bulls have had recent contact with Golden State about the electrifying guard.
via Source: Monta trade talks pretty hot - CBSSports.com.

Let's look at some of these options. Logic Score refers to how much the trade makes sense, on a scale of 1 to 5. 

Trail Blazers

Logic Score:  3

The Blazers need backcourt help and Brandon Roy is walking through that door, but he's probably limping. The Blazers have the young talent available to make a deal but sent some picks to Charlotte that could limit them. For the deal to make sense, it would likely have to center around standout small forward Nicolas Batum, along with Wesley Matthews. It makes a lot of sense for the Blazers, provided Nate McMillan thinks he can get through to Ellis on defense. It would be interesting to see Ellis play in a halfcourt offense for once. 

Los Angeles Lakers

Logic Score: 2

Yeah, because Kobe Bryant's definitely going to want to give the ball up to Monta Ellis. Yeah, because Ellis is definitely Mike Brown's kind of defensive standout guy. Yeah, because Ellis can definitely run point guard in a system that relies on low turnovers. Yeah, because the Lakers are definitely willing to give up on their center of the future, Andrew Bynum, for Ellis with no reasonable addition in return. Yeah, because otherwise the Warriors are really looking for Matt Barnes, Luke Walton, and Derek Fisher. I don't care how much Mark Jackson likes veteran guys, this deal makes absolutely zero sense.

Chicago Bulls 

Logic Score: 4

The Bulls have Luol Deng's contract they can send, along with some good big man defensive talent to cash in on. Ellis would take possessions away from Rose, sure, but he could also be deadly as the drive and kick option and an incredible complement in transition. Ellis would take pressure off Carlos Boozer, and the Bulls can send Charlotte's 2012 pick as part of their package. This makes a lot of sense on a lot of levels. Ellis' defense? Listen, if Tom Thibodeau can make the best defense in the league with Carlos Boozer at power forward, he can do the same with Ellis at the two-guard.

Philadelphia 76ers

Logic Score: 3

This is likely to happen, and it makes a ton of sense for the Warriors. They get a defensive presence in Iguodala, likely some other personnel to fill more defensive roles and a true building block to go along with Curry. But the Sixers get Ellis, while having to mitigate further what Evan Turner can give them and force him to play big at the 3 or bury Jrue Holiday with Ellis running point. The only way this could be a slam dunk for the Sixers is if they manage to dump some other salary as well, but they'd have to get quality players like Dorell Wright or Ekpe Udoh in return. With the Warriors' pick seemingly set on a big man, that might be a decent option.
Posted on: June 1, 2011 12:06 pm
 

Bulls, Grizzlies rumored to want Monta Ellis

Posted by Matt Moore

Monta Ellis has entered into that rather uncomfortable zone where he's not traded, but everyone expects him to be. He's not gone, but it's kind of assumeed he will be. He's still with Golden State, only not really. He's been rumored to have been on the trade block for close to a year now, with Stephen Curry considered the guard of the future.

Now the Contra Costa Times reports that the Warriors are considering trading Ellis again, and more aggressively following the makeover planned by new owners with Joe Lacob leading the charge. The addition of Jerry West to the ownership and front office group only strengthens that idea, with Ellis being considered the bait to kickstart the reshaping of the Warriors in a more defensive-minded structure. The Contra Costa Times' Tim Kawakami lays out both sides of the argument for trading or not trading Ellis, and brings up the Bulls and Grizzlies as those in consideration for a trade:

 
Then there is the matter of getting the right deal for Ellis, who is due $11 million in each of the next three seasons.

After checking with a few NBA sources, two teams kept coming up — both with the combination of potential interest and the right roster pieces to intrigue West and the Warriors.

They were:

Chicago, which might have been a big-time perimeter scorer away from pushing Miami to the brink in the Eastern Conference finals. Would the Bulls think about Luol Deng for Ellis? Could the Warriors sweeten that offer?

And Memphis, West’s old team, which has Rudy Gay at a huge salary and which offered O.J. Mayo for Ellis in the recent past.

That doesn’t mean it will be easy for the Warriors to trade Ellis — emotionally or practically. It will take some guts. But again, that’s precisely why West was brought to the Warriors in the first place.
via Trade Monta Ellis? Jerry West just might be the guy to do it | Talking Points.

The Grizzlies from all indications have no intention of trading Rudy Gay, despite the team's success without him in the playoffs. Multiple reports have surfaced linking the Grizzlies to trade talks for Gay, but almost all come from media on the other side of the trade, not from Memphis. The Grizzlies would love to have Ellis, as Kawakami mentions the near Mayo-Ellis swap, but Mayo's value is no longer high enough to support such a trade, if it ever was to begin with. As a result, Memphis is an unlikely target.

The Bulls are an interesting fit. Coach Tom Thibodeau has taken players with questionable defensive ability (Keith Bogans, Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver) and made them a part of the best defensive unit in basketball. Could he manage to cover Ellis' defensive liabilities in the same manner while adding a pure scorer to work off-ball with Rose and give the MVP a break from hoisting the offense on his shoulders. This would make a lot of sense from a lot of angles, but giving up Deng is giving up the emotional backbone of the Bulls and a key locker room guy, not to mention their best wing defender. The Bulls would be in a jam were they to make the move.

Still, the odds seem to be increasing that Ellis will not be in the Bay when the NBA kicks back up again.... whenever it kicks back up again.  
Posted on: June 1, 2011 11:48 am
Edited on: June 1, 2011 11:49 am
 

Report: Bulls to pursue Dwight Howard

Posted by Matt Moore



You want to know the real problem with the market inequality in the NBA? It's not the profit-margin differential. (Yes, it is.) It's not the lack of competitive equality. (Yes, it's that, too.) It's not the inability of small markets to sign or keep stars. (Yes, it so much is.) The real problem is that both fans, media, and sometimes team authorities start to believe when they're good that they can just go out and get anyone. Have a good team but need a point guard? "SIGN CP3!" even though he's under contract, the fans cry. Need a wing defender? "We can just go get Gerald Wallace, right?" is often the discussion. And in the case of Dwight Howard, no matter what he says, every big market and their fanbase will think they can go get him. Including, apparently, the Chicago Bulls.

Mike Wilbon of ESPN said last Friday on air that "credible people" in Chicago indicated to him that the Bulls intend to make a play for Dwight Howard. This was prior to Howard's outburst saying he loved Orlando and wants to be there and all the other things everyone says on their way out of town as is the new model A.D. (After Decision), and before rumors of a contract extension being worked on came out. 

Here's a question. Why would the Bulls think they need to upgrade so badly that they would go after a player who would demand the player cost in trade of Dwight Howard? Didn't they win 60 games this year? Didn't they get the top seed in the East? Weren't they right there in the four games they lost to Miami in the Conference Finals? And wasn't all of that success predicated on a "greater than the sum of its parts" approach to the roster, using timely and well-considered contributions from multiple players as opposed to raw star power? 

To acquire Howard, the Bulls would have to give up some combination of Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, and Carlos Boozer, plus some young talent and some picks. It's not an impossible situation, those are good players. The Magic would never come near Boozer's contract unless it was laden with a ton of other assets, but those other guys are worth the price, as long as, again, a lot of other nice things are thrown in. It would mean sacrificing the things that made the Bulls so good this year. Their depth down low (even with Asik coming back). Boozer's post offense. And most importantly, Deng's slashing, cutting, perimeter shooting and defense, which was downright phenomenal this season. 

And how would Howard work in Chicago? In case you haven't noticed, Derrick Rose likes to shoot quite a bit. Those are touches Dwight Howard's not getting, and he feels he needs the ball to be productive. Rose isn't a great alley-oop passer or high lobber out of the pick and roll. Yes, Howard makes it exceptionally easier by being a freak of nature, but there's still a zillion reasons why this wouldn't be a perfect fit. 

And what about what the Magic would demand they take back? Orlando's not doing this deal without sending back either Gilbert Arenas or Hedo Turkoglu's contracts. Those are sinkholes on the Bulls' roster, far more than Boozer, even with them being shorter. Do the Bulls really want to wind up paying the luxury tax just to get the Defensive Player of the Year and an MVP candidate with incredible size, speed, agility and finishing ability? 

Okay, yes, probably. But it's still an obstacle. 

Then again, anything the Magic would get from the Bulls would be better than what they'll pull in from a potential Lakers deal. But this just seems like it's wishful thinking in Chicago, especially with Chicago (just barely) not being the media market L.A. or New York is. But hey, it's been a year since The Decision, Amar'e is in New York, Melo's in New York, and no matter what Howard says, the question won't be closed till he signs that extension in the minds of front office officials or the reporters they talk to in those big cities. 

Get ready, kids. The Dwight Out (GET IT?!) is still coming soon. 

(HT: IamaGM.com)
 
 
 
 
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