Tag:Chicago Bulls
Posted on: September 22, 2010 10:51 am
Edited on: September 22, 2010 10:52 am

Your daily Carmelo Anthony update

Posted by Royce Young

Are you getting tired of reading about Carmelo Anthony? I sure hope not, because I'm not tired of writing about him... yet. But every day there's a little news here, and a little news there. Over the past 24 hours or so, a few more rumors and reports have made their way out. Here's the latest:
  • According to the Denver Post, Houston is active in discussing a trade for Anthony, and are dangling shooting guard Kevin Martin. Adding in Martin makes Houston a contender because of the Rockets' assets, plus a trade exception they have that could allow them to give up a young asset over someone like Shane Battier.
  • However, Sam Amick of FanHouse reported that Houston's discussions have not included Martin to this point. Again, the Rockets have assets and a couple young players. But they'll have to throw in a good player, especially with New Jersey reportedly offering up a package that includes everything Denver might want. So if Houston wants to play, Martin will likely have to be involved.
  • Chad Ford and Marc Stein of ESPN reported that the Knicks head the list for Anthony still. But we already knew that. But the new news is that the Bulls are firmly planted as 1A on his list. Anthony's representation has reportedly ramped up pressure on the Nuggets to get a deal completed prior to training camp.
  • The Nuggets however are holding out hope that if they can get Anthony into camp, maybe he'll change his tune. That hope is pretty much a pipe dream at this point, but you can't blame them for clinging to their star. Reports say they aren't in any kind of rush and are willing to take time to get every offer they can.
  • By all indication, Anthony's preferred list is 1) New York; 1A) Chicago 2) New Jersey; 3) Houston. While that's Anthony's list, the rankings for who might actually land him are probably 1) New Jersey; 2) Chicago; 3) Houston and 4) New York.
That's pretty much it for now. Until someone files another report saying Carmelo still wants out, New York is tops on his list or that someone made someone an offer, we sit and wait. Just like Carmelo.
Posted on: September 22, 2010 12:32 am
Edited on: September 22, 2010 12:33 am

Scalabrine leaves Boston, signs with the Bulls

Posted by Royce Young

Some thought the day might not ever come. But after five seasons as a pseudo fan favorite in Boston, Brian Scalabrine is set to finally ship out.

Multiple outlets are reporting that Scalabrine is following one of his old assistant coaches and signing with the Bulls. The deal is a non-guaranteed camp invite, but reports indicate that Tom Thibodeau pushed hard for Scalabrine and with that kind of support, the veteran forward might have a shot at the roster.

The Bulls need training camp players as they currently only have 12 players under contract. So while Scalabrine's deal is non-guaranteed, he has a pretty solid chance of being on the team. In fact, one report said a source said Scalabrine is a "good bet" to make the final Bulls roster. So while the contract isn't guaranteed, by the looks of it, Scalabrine should be playing for Chicago this season. Well, not "playing" I guess. More like sitting.

Why the interest in such a minor signing like Scalabrine? Honestly, I have no idea. But there's something about the awkward redhead that people find interesting. He's a character in the league, despite being very insignificant on the actual court. He is known for being one of the league leaders in high fives and is always one of the quickest and most energetic guys off the bench for hand slaps during a TV timeout. So there's that for Chicago.

Known as a hard worker and quality practice squad player, Scalabrine, 32, has averaged 3.3 points a game during his nine seasons.
Posted on: September 20, 2010 10:04 am
Edited on: September 20, 2010 10:08 am

Report: Nuggets listening to offers for Melo

Posted by Royce Young

With the Carmelo Anthony situation, any news is new news, even if it's somewhat old news. If that makes sense.

Ken Berger reported last week that Melo still wanted out, no deal appeared to be coming and even clued us in as to what teams might be players in this rapidly-turning-into-ridiculous situation.

While trade offers have likely been part of internal discussions about Melo weeks ago, now Sam Amick of FanHouse reports the Nuggets are fielding actual offers for Anthony. "Send it in," Amick reports league executives are saying. ESPN's Marc Stein and Ric Bucher also report Denver has softened on its trade stance and is willing to hear offers.

What are the Nuggets looking for? Young assets and talent, Amick says.

Denver is after top-tier young players, future first-round picks, young assets and options to save on salary cap savings. You know what deal fits into that realm? The one Ken Berger mentioned being discussed last week involving Andre Iguodala and Derrick Favors.

Other teams that fit the criteria Amick listed and have been linked to the Carmelo Sweepstakes? The Clippers, the Nets, the Bulls and the Timberwolves (hey, they have the assets). The Knicks have some of it, but are lacking in draft picks. The Rockets have the assets but not the top tier young player. The Magic are in the same boat.

The Nuggets see the writing on the wall. Chauncey Billups is older and in a contract year. Kenyon Martin the same. J.R. Smith is reportedly being shopped. The Denver Nuggets as we know them will be gone soon, and it's looking like it will start by blowing up the top. So Denver's taking the approach to accept the situation and instead of trying to remain at the top with an equal parts trade, the Nuggets are willing to take back picks, assets and young talent. In other words, they're prepared to rebuild.

This means progress for a trade. And with training coming in, oh, a week, it looks like Masai Ujiri is trying to get serious about trading his star. So if you've got a deal, give the Nuggets a call. Serious offers only, please.
Posted on: September 13, 2010 12:06 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2010 12:08 pm

Pop Quiz: Who's ready to break out?

Posted by Royce Young

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

What player makes a Durant-like leap into a new stratosphere?

Everyone wants to crown the next great NBA player. But going from solid star player on your team, to recognized NBA wide superstar is a different story.

Kevin Durant won the Rookie of the Year award, then followed that season up with a quality second season. Most folks thought he'd be the next big thing, they just weren't sure when. But his third season was a leap of another kind.

Durant became the NBA's youngest scoring champion at 21 years old, took his previous 23-win team to 50, got his group to the playoffs, pushed the eventual champions as hard as anyone and also finished second in the MVP voting. Durant in 2009-10 appeared on national TV only four times (not including the playoffs). Going into this season, he's rapidly becoming one of the faces of the league as he's slated to be on the big stage 26 times.

And after this summer's performance in Turkey, well, some are even elevating Durant to the top of the heap. But that's a whole other story.

We're asking what player could be next. Not the next Durant, but the next player to go from borderline star to the next level. Maybe he's already an All-Star. But is he a superstar? Who could be the next guy mentioned along with the top players in the league? Five candidates:

Tyreke Evans, Kings
- Last season's Rookie of the Year definitely had his moments. He averaged 20.1 ppg (odd, that's exactly what Durant averaged when he won Rookie of the Year...), shot 46 percent from the floor and dished out nearly six assists a game. Evans blew people away with his ability to get to the rim and with a reportedly improved jumper, he might be unguardable .

Now his hangup is that he doesn't officially have a position. Most can't figure out if he's a point guard, a shooting guard or something that we don't even know about. No bother though, because Evans is going to get points wherever he plays.

Now can he get to the next level? He absolutely has the ability to. But what really began to take Durant up was how his elevated play improved his team. That will be crucial for Evans. If the Kings are in the basement again this year, it doesn't really matter what Evans is doing. But if he plays well and the Kings win, he could certainly be an All-Star.

Derrick Rose, Bulls - The world is waiting. Waiting on Derrick Rose to become what we know he can be. He's the kind of player that reveals glimpses, flashes, small tastes of just how ridiculously good he can be.

But he hasn't been able to put it together for a consistent period of time.

Now however, Rose has the best supporting cast he's had yet. He no longer has to be point guard, creator and scorer all wrapped into one. He can relax and pass off to Carlos Boozer. He can penetrate and kick to Kyle Korver . Or his still can take games over all by himself.

Greatness awaits Derrick Rose. It's just a matter of when he breaks out. And I'm guessing this year.

Russell Westbrook, Thunder
- Before you dismiss, consider Westbrook's stats: 16.1 ppg , 8.0 apg and 4.9 rpg . Only one other player in the league averaged at least 16-8-5. His name? LeBron James.

Westbrook had a case to make the All-Star team last season with Chris Paul out and Deron Williams pulling out at the last minute. Jason Kidd got the hometown bid, but Westbrook was right there. His game has steadily improved since he came into the league two seasons ago without a position. He has a jumpshot that's improved, he handles the game like a legit point man and he's probably the fastest end-to-end player in the league.

No matter what, Westbrook will be overshadowed by Durant, but with Durant's high profile, his teammates' rise as well. Durant's not the only guy getting all those appearances on national TV. Westbrook impressed people that hadn't seen him much in Turkey with his athletic ability and his lack of fear. The more people see him, the more blown away they'll be.

Rudy Gay, Grizzlies - Sometimes big money can make a guy complacent. Sometimes though, it can motivate him to prove people wrong.

A lot of fans, media and heck, even Rudy Gay himself, were shocked with his massive contract extension. And Gay has had to hear how he wasn't worthy of the big payday. Either he can be satisfied and just cash his checks and put up 19 and 8, or he can use it as a little extra to push him and his Memphis squad to a different level.

The Grizzlies weren't far off last season. Behind Gay's improved play, Memphis made a small playoff push for a time. The talent is there for Rudy. Actually, he's got more than enough talent. His issue is that on some nights, he disappears. He goes from dropping 25 on Tuesday to 10 on Wednesday. When he starts to put it all together, he has the makings of a star. It's easy to forget that he's just 24.

Danny Granger, Pacers - Over the past two seasons, Granger has averaged 25.8 ppg and 24.1 ppg . He shot over 44 percent from the field and over 36 percent from 3. He also averaged over five rebounds just as an extra.

Yet in the world of small forward talk, Granger gets left out. He's one of the top scorers in the league, yet most forget about him. That to me, is the definition of a breakout player waiting to happen.

Much like these other guys, Granger has been playing for a team that's not winning. Tough to be a recognized star when your team stinks. The Pacers might not be good this year, but they certainly should be better. And if Granger is the man leading that charge, maybe he starts to get a bit more recognition. The points are there. He scores at basically the same clip Carmelo Anthony has during his career. Now it's just about people seeing it.
Posted on: September 10, 2010 9:11 am

Shootaround 9.10.10: An extension for Noah?

Posted by Royce Young
  • Before we get too carried away with Joakim Noah for Carmelo Anthony talk, Marc Stein of ESPN says that the Bulls are actually working on something else Noah related: an extension. Which adds a potentially interesting twist to the trade rumors. Right now, Noah's salary is nowhere close to being enough to get a deal done with Denver for Anthony. Luol Deng would have to be included in the trade, but Denver is lukewarm on Deng. So if the Bulls extend Noah to say, $10 million a year, that would make a swap much easier. Just a thought.
  • Kevin Durant wrote "1972" on his sneakers yesterday for the game against Russia. Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie: "Not only does it remind me of how proud I am to be an American, but it should remind followers from all nations in this tournament that being part of a team can be a pretty special thing. Whether you're a member of Team USA at one point, CCCP, the Russian team, or a squad that didn't even exist in the 1988 Olympics (which took place the month Kevin Durant was born), it hardly matters. You're a teammate for life, and I appreciated Durant's little message to his teammates."
  • Ailene Voison of the Sac Bee on the reprehensible situation with Omri Casspi: "Kings forward Omri Casspi said Thursday he was 'hurt' after learning that a mural featuring his likeness was defaced with a swastika. The incident at 16th and R streets in midtown Sacramento is being investigated as a possible hate crime by local authorities. 'It's been all over the news over here,' said Casspi by phone at his family home in Yavne, Israel. 'Everybody's talking about it. It's hurtful to think that this is 2010, and there are still people like that out there. I almost don't know what to say. It's probably just some idiot who wants some publicity. But I know the people in Sacramento, and they have been wonderful to me. I know they must feel bad about this. Same thing with the Kings. I'll just let the police handle this and focus on having a great season.' Casspi, the first Israeli to play in the NBA, returns to Sacramento on Monday to begin preparing for his second training camp."
  • What does the old show "The White Shadow" and Turkey's 12 Giant Men have in common? Pete Thamel of the NY Times: "Turkey’s rapid rise as a basketball power can be traced, in part, to 'The White Shadow,' whose 54 episodes appeared on black-and-white TV here from 1980 to 1982. 'It made people aware of basketball in Turkey,' said Alper Yilmaz, a former national team player who works in the front office of Efes Pilsen, a club in Istanbul that has won 13 Turkish League titles since its founding in 1976. 'There was already basketball in Turkey,' Yilmaz added, 'but after that show, everyone started playing.'"
  • Chris Sheridan of ESPN on what gets lost in translation in international basketball: "The inclination for a player in foul trouble is to hold back, even just a little. Not so for Andre Iguodala , who played with so much energy and passion right when the Americans needed it that one of the Russian players actually thought he was swearing at him -- in Russian. "He say in Russian a bad word. I don't know how he know this. I won't even translate it. It's bad," said Russian forward Andrey Vorontsevich, who got yelled at by Iguodala after being a little too physical with Lamar Odom . "All I said was, 'watch it, watch it,'" Iguodala said, bewildered. "I don't speak any Russian."Apparently (according to bilingual Russian journalist Vladimir Gomelsky of NTV+, the Russian all-sports cable network), if you say, "watch it, watch it" fast enough, it can be misconstrued as the Russian euphemism for a female canine."
Posted on: September 9, 2010 5:15 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2010 6:38 pm

Pop Quiz: How does Jefferson fit with the Jazz?

Posted by Matt Moore

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

How does Al Jefferson fit with the Jazz?

When Carlos Boozer departed for Chicago, the Jazz were facing a severe identity-search. Deron Williams may be the best point guard in the league (simmer down Chris Paul fans, I said "may"), but he can't do it alone. And even with Paul Millsap, the Jazz needed a legitimate post scorer. What they got, was a premier low-post scorer in the league in Al Jefferson.

Jefferson, who couldn't find a place in Minnesota (don't even get us started), is 25 years old, averaged 17.1 points and 9.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks last season. This in a season where he was coming back from significant knee surgery. Jefferson's offensive repertoire is extremely versatile, able to spot up, power-in, and comes with a drop-step hook that's a premium in today's NBA. He doesn't come without his question marks, though. Injury, defensive capability, and focus have all been listed as weaknesses on Jefferson. But that was in Boston and Minnesota. How does he fit with the Jazz?

Using Synergy Sports which provides us with in-depth stats of how players performed in certain sets, we can compare what Boozer did last season with the Jazz with what Jefferson did, and how the two overlap. For starters, Jefferson spent more time in isolation, just slightly. Boozer only spent 5.7% to Jefferson's 8% in ISO. Neither were very productive, scoring only .69 (Jefferson) and .67 (Boozer) respectively. Not surprising for post players, though. In the post, we see some surprising numbers. Boozer only played 21.5% of his overall scoring plays in the post (355 out of 1649). This is compared to Jefferson's 56.8% (772 out of 1358 total). Jefferson was also much more efficient, scoring .92 points per possession in the post to Boozers' not too shabby .79.

To take these numbers into context, it means that it's unlikely Jefferson will be taking over Boozer's role, so to speak. Boozer was strong, but not incredibly so in the post, Jefferson is very strong, and efficient. Another interesting aspect to consider, though, is that Boozer had a higher rate of shooting fouls drawn in the post. Boozer drew a shooting foul in the post 9% of the time to Jefferson's 7.4%. This helped even up the scoring percentage (percentage of possessions resulting in points) between Jefferson and Boozer (46.6% to 44.2%). Jefferson will need to draw more fouls in the post to duplicate Boozer's success there.

But if Jefferson is the stronger post player, it's in the pick and roll that we see where Jefferson will really have to adapt. Jefferson's likely to get a fair number of possessions in the post where he's comfortable. But in the pick and roll last season, Jefferson only wound up in a scoring situation off the P'n'R 6.4% of the time. This is compared to Boozer, who ran the pick and roll with Deron Williams to death, using it 13.5% of the time he was on the floor. Boozer was also hyper-efficient in this set, scoring 1.27 points per possession in the pick and roll, good for 11th best in the league. Jefferson on the other hand, shackled by either Kurt Rambis' triangle system, a lack of a solid point guard, or his own limitations, only ran the play 87 times total, and only had 1.02 points per possession, though that still ranked extremely well. With Deron Williams, Jefferson will need to duplicate or improve upon Boozer's performance if the Jazz want to not only meet their performance of the last few seasons, but exceed it. The area Jefferson will need to improve most upon in the P&R is turnovers.

Jefferson turned the ball over 12.6% of the time in that set, compared to just 5% for Boozer. That's a lot of opportunities that Jefferson left on the floor. Part of that will improve considerably with Deron Williams as his point guard. But Jefferson will have to know where he's at in the play and how to finish, and that may take time to learn in a new system, especially given how little he ran it last season. He'll also want to improve on drawing fouls, where Boozer was better at 10.4% to 8% for Jefferson in percentage of shooting fouls drawn. Some of that comes with better teammates creating opportunities down low, and some of it comes with being more aggressively moving towards the rim in that set.

Another surprising differential was what Boozer did off the cut. Boozer often received the benefit of the Jazz' cut plays, using cuts 364 times for scores for 22% of the time. Jefferson only ran off-cut 6.8% of the time. Both were very efficient in this set though, with Boozer scoring 1.29 points per possession to Jefferson's 1.26. This looks like an area that could really benefit Jefferson, if his body and knees are able to execute it properly.

Outside of what Utah did, Jefferson is able to bring some things he's a beast at. Specifically, scoring off of offensive rebounds. Jefferson and Boozer were nearly identical in their offensive rebounding performance. Jefferson had an offensive rebound rate  (percentage of all available offensive rebounds snagged) of 8.0%, and Boozer finished just slightly ahead at 8.2%. But in terms of scoring off of those rebounds, Jefferson is, quite simply, elite. Boozer is no slouch, scoring 1.16 points per possession off captured caroms. But Jefferson scored a stunning 1.41 points per possession of his 111 attempts. Once again, we see that Boozer was better at drawing fouls, though, getting to the stripe 11.3% of the time underneath versus only 5.4% for Jefferson. (In case you were wondering, neither were great at getting and-ones here, with Boozer only nailing the shot and drawing the foul three times, to Jefferson's 4). Jefferson managed to score 70.3% of the time when he grabbed an offensive rebound. That's stunning stuff. The Jazz have had troubles with being tough down low. Jefferson looks like he'll improve that area offensively immediately.

Of course, offense is only half the battle, and most cliche artists will tell you it's the lesser half. Defensively is where Boozer really looks like the better player. Boozer, being slighter, took on more isolation players, and held them to only a .7 points per possession mark. Jefferson, on the other hand, spent only 54 plays on defense in ISO situations, ending up with a .98 PPP mark. In the post, where we saw Jefferson was strongest offensively, Boozer was still the better player. Boozer used his length and savvy to harass opponents into a .88 PPP mark. Not elite, but not shabby. Jefferson wasn't far behind however. Jefferson allowed a .92 PPP mark, and only gave up a shooting foul 8.5% of the time, to Boozer's 14.8%. This helped even the gap, and the two finished remarkably close to one another in scoring percentage allowed in the post, with Jefferson slightly ahead (45.8% for Al to 45.9% for Boozer).

What does this mean? It means that in a better defensive system, Jefferson could not only not be the weak link, but could also be an improvement. In a bizarre development, both players defended the pick and roll man only 8% of the time. The results, however, indicate that Jefferson has a ways to go. Jefferson allowed a .95 PPP with a 46.2% scoring percentage. This is in contrast to Boozer, who allowed only .79 PPP and a 37.7% scoring percentage. Boozer did foul more in this situation, which is indicative of Sloan's system which is more likely to foul than allow easy layups or dunks.

All of this gives us a picture of what the Jazz will look like on the floor. If Jefferson is able to maintain his efficiency and burly nature down low on the offensive end while improving in the pick and roll, the Jazz offense will have a pair of beasts for Deron Williams to work with, and it may take a considerable amount of pressure off Mehmet Okur so he can do what he does best, shoot from the outside. The Jazz offense might wind up with better numbers than it had with Boozer. Defensively will be the issue, and head coach Jerry Sloan will need to work with Jefferson on where he needs to be and applying pressure. In an offensively loaded Western Conference, the Jazz have to be able to slug it out or they'll wind up in the same position many teams have found themselves. Able to bring their guns to the fight but without any protection from their opponents' weapons.

Next to Deron Williams, this could be one of the biggest surprises of the season. We've said for years that Jefferson just needs a chance to show what he can do. He's got that opportunity, now. The question will be if he can step up like Boozer has, and if he can bring the toughness Utah desperately needs.

Oh, yeah, and he needs to stay healthy. That too.

Posted on: September 9, 2010 1:56 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2010 2:22 pm

Joakim Noah involved in Carmelo trade talks?

Posted by Royce Young

Fresh off the report that the Bulls are on the top of Carmelo Anthony's list, a story from ESPN Chicago is out including a player the Bulls are discussing trading to get the Denver star.

Brace yourself Bulls fans, because you might be a little torn. But according to the report, in order to get Anthony, Joakim Noah could possibly be included as part of that package. The Nuggets are also reportedly hesitant to take back Luol Deng as part of the deal because of his long-term contract.

For the Bulls, it comes down to how bad do you want Carmelo? If it's that bad, then you deal Noah, no question. You aren't going to get Anthony for peanuts and this is precisely the kind of trade package that would be enticing enough for the Nuggets to pull the trigger on. But at the same time, what Bulls fan wasn't pumped at the twin tower combo of Noah and Carlos Boozer? I don't care about the Bulls one bit and that duo had me excited. Plus, without Noah, Boozer's defensive deficiencies become highlighted, especially if Anthony is playing small forward in that lineup.

Noah has emerged as one of the East's best big men, averaging a double-double last season while also finishing in the top 10 in rebounding. He's a high energy player that blocked 1.6 shots a game last season.

Now the Bulls are just discussing including Noah internally. No offer has been made (that we know of). If Denver is hesitant to take back Deng, Chicago will be forced to up the ante. A deal sending James Johnson and Taj Gibson isn't going to get it done. But adding Noah into some kind of package is something that Masai Ujiri will have to stop and think about.

The issue is though, working out the numbers. The Nuggets would pretty much be forced to take back Deng in order to line up the salary exchange. A deal sending Noah, Johnson and Gibson isn't near enough salary to match Anthony's $17 million. But adding Deng plus Noah plus Johnson or Noah works.

Noah only has one year left on his current contract, so who knows if the Nuggets want a player they aren't guaranteed to keep. So in order to alleviate some of Denver's concerns about Deng's contract, Noah might be added as the trump card. At least, that's what the Bulls are discussing amongst themselves right now.
Posted on: September 9, 2010 12:15 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2010 12:16 pm

Report: Carmelo prefers Bulls and Knicks

Posted by Royce Young

A few weeks ago, Ken Berger clued the basketball world in to the fact that Carmelo Anthony wants to play in New York. We've heard a bunch of teams mentioned, but Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports that there's a top two on Anthony's wishlist: the aforementioned Knicks and the Chicago Bulls.

Those are just Anthony's preferences, and in the end, it really just comes down to where Denver sends him. So really, he could be traded to the Toronto Raptors if that's who the Nuggets negotiate a deal with. But the Bulls certainly have attractive trade pieces.

There's Luol Deng who could replace Anthony at small forward, plus young players like Taj Gibson, James Johnson and Omer Asik. We mentioned a few weeks ago that the Bulls reportedly have already offered a package that included Deng and Gibson, but obviously nothing has come of that yet.

Spears mentioned in his story that the Knicks would prefer Anthony wait until next summer to make his move. Anthony could opt out and with Eddy Curry's contract coming off the books, the Knicks could sign Carmelo outright.

Anthony has not yet met with new general manager Masai Ujiri about staying with Denver, but once that meeting is done, a decision shouldn't take long as to what to do with Carmelo. If Denver isn't going to be able to keep Carmelo, it would likely prefer to move him before training camp, or at least the beginning of the season.

And while Anthony is supposedly making his preferences clear, in the end it doesn't mean much to the Nuggets. They are in a position where they can negotiate with who they want and try and get what they want. But if they start waiting, those options and that leverage starts to deteriorate .
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com