Because of injuries — first Carlos Boozer in the preseason now Joakim Noah — it’s hard to know exactly how good the Bulls are with this roster.
But when Bulls fans and people around the league start speculating about trades to improve the club, it often starts at the shooting guard. That’s where Keith Bogans is starting with Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver getting considerable run off the bench behind him.
According to an NBA source, no deal is imminent or even likely — even though the Bulls have had recent talks with a few teams….
A few of the proposals would hurt their chances of joining the league’s elite in the next two or three years. The worst thing the Bulls could do is make a move to win a few more games (and possibly a playoff series) by reducing their flexibility going forward. With a core of Derrick Rose, 22, Joakim Noah, 25, Luol Deng, 25, and Carlos Boozer, 28, the Bulls have to plan for the long term.
The two names that often come up for the Bulls are Charlotte’s Stephen Jackson or Memphis’ O.J. Mayo. But both of them have issues of fit. Jackson at age 32 has two more seasons at $19.2 million left — that’s’ a lot of money heading into a new salary structure under whatever collective bargaining agreement is approved. Plus he is at an age where traditionally stats for guards start to decline.
Mayo is younger and less expensive right now, but like Derrick Rose his rookie deal will be up soon and he will demand a much bigger salary.
Besides, the Bulls are 20-10, the three seed in the East right now, and we still don’t know how good they really are. Patience may be the smart play here, other doors will open down the line.
Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver
That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.
Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.
What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.
Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.
By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.
Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.
How’s that going?
(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.
Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.