Bulls

Beyond the Arc: A 'Melo' trade proposal

255018.jpg

Beyond the Arc: A 'Melo' trade proposal

Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010
4:35 PM

By Mark Schanowski
CSNChicago.com

OK, I know this seems like strange timing after Luol Deng scored a career-high 40 points Monday night against Portland, but then again, maybe its perfect timing for the Bulls to make another pitch for unhappy Denver superstar Carmelo Anthony.

In case you havent been following the behind-the-scenes drama, let me get you caught up. After the Nuggets opening night win last week, Anthony told reporters its time for a change. He added he wont sign the 3-year, 65 million contract extension offered by the team, saying now is the time for him to make a move to re-start his career.

The Nuggets front office was hoping Anthony might be swayed by re-joining his teammates and head coach George Karl after a long summer, and somehow be persuaded to accept the extension, especially given the uncertainties of what changes could come in the next collective bargaining agreement. But obviously, thats not the case.

Anthony saw Dwyane Wade recruit fellow superstars LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Miami this past summer and watched Carlos Boozer and Amare Stoudemire move to major markets in the Eastern Conference. He also sees a Denver roster thats loaded with bad contracts and broken down players. Clearly, the long-term outlook for the Nuggets isnt all that encouraging.

So, Denvers first-year general manager Masai Ujiri is probably going to have to trade Anthony before the February deadline, or watch him walk away in free agency next summer with the Nuggets getting nothing in return.

The other development from last weekend came out of Philadelphia, where the 76ers' best player, Andre Iguodala, said hes tired of losing and might ask for a trade if the team doesnt begin to show some signs of progress after a slow start under new coach Doug Collins.

Reportedly, the Nuggets have interest in Iguodala, seeing him as a possible long-term replacement for Anthony at the small forward position. Ideally, Denvers front office is looking for an expiring contract, a young player with star potential and draft picks, but if they cant get that, a player like Iguodala might be their best hope of staying competitive while gradually re-structuring the team.

So, heres where the Bulls come in. Doug Collins has a long-standing relationship with the Duke basketball program, since his son Chris has been an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski. Doug has always spoke in glowing terms about Deng, and might see him as an ideal fit as the starting small forward in Philadelphia. And, if the 76ers need a little extra incentive, the Bulls could include a 1st round draft pick in a trade offer for Iguodala.

The trade then gets expanded to a 3-way deal, with Deng and a No. 1 going to Philly, Iguodala, Taj Gibson and the 1st round pick the Bulls acquired from Charlotte in the Tyrus Thomas deal going to Denver, and Anthony coming to Chicago. Im not 100 percent sure about the salary cap math, so James Johnson might have to be included in the package going to Denver for the salaries to match. The Bulls then instantly become the favorites in the East with a starting line-up of Anthony, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose and Keith BogansRonnie Brewer. And, they would be set up for at least a four-year run at championships, assuming Carmelo signs the same extension the Nuggets have been offering.

As youd expect, there would be a number of hurdles to clear for this deal to happen. Right now, Iguodala is starting at shooting guard for Philadelphia and Collins would have to be convinced its in his best interests to trade his best player for a small forward like Deng, who would join Thaddeus Young, Jason Kapono and former Bull Andres Nocioni to form a log-jam at that position. The trade would also force Philly to rush top draft pick Evan Turner into the starting lineup at shooting guard. Turner was the No. 2 pick in last summers draft and has a world of potential, but he struggled at times in the preseason, and Im not sure if Collins thinks hes ready to handle 35 minutes a night.

Also, its hard to know for sure how interested Denver actually is in a player like Iguodala, who started on the U.S. gold-medal winning team at the World Championships this past summer, but has multiple years remaining on a contract that pays about 12 million a season. The Nuggets might decide to go back to New Jersey and try to structure a deal based on promising rookie power forward Derrick Favors and Troy Murphys expiring contract, plus draft picks. Or, they could go to Anthonys top choice, the Knicks, for a package built around Eddy Currys expiring deal and one of two promising young forwards, Danilo Gallinari or former DePaul star Wilson Chandler, plus draft picks.

Any way you look at it, NBA general managers will be playing some serious poker over the next few weeks to see what if will take to get the Nuggets to cash in their talented chip.

So, what do you think? Would you make the deal suggested above? Or, should the Bulls just wait for Boozer to get healthy and play on with the team already assembled? Please post your comments in the section below or feel free to drop me an e-mail.

The Bulls played a great all-around game in win over Portland and Deng showed he can be a good fit playing off Rose in Tom Thibodeaus offense. But the reality is, this is Luols seventh NBA season and hes probably somewhere in the 10 to 15 range among NBA starting small forwards. The Bulls came up short in their bid to sign James or Wade over the summer, now they get a second chance to acquire one of the top six players in the league. If Denver would take Iguodala in a deal for Carmelo, isnt this an idea worth pursuing?

Mark Schanowski hosts our Bulls pre- and postgame studio coverage with 15-year NBA veteran Kendall Gill. You can also watch Mark on SportsNet Central, Sunday through Thursday at 6:30 and 10.

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.

Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.

"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"

Paxson scored 10 of 12 points for the Bulls during a fourth quarter run in Game 5 of the 1991 NBA Finals, the series clincher, and famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch that series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.

"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"

Watch the video above to see the interaction.

Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stock is on the rise; just how high will he climb?

shaikentucky.png
USA TODAY

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stock is on the rise; just how high will he climb?

John Calipari's 2017 recruiting class featured five McDonald's All-Americans and Hamidou Diallo, a former five-star recruit who nearly jumped to the NBA the previous year. It also included a lanky 6-foot-6 point guard named Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. And for the first part of the 2017-18 season, the Toronto native who played his final two high school years in Tennessee, appeared to be a nice fit off the bench for Calipari.

But something flipped. Gilgeous-Alexander was inserted into the starting lineup for good on January 9 and never looked back. He played his best basketball beginning in late February to the end of the season, a span of 10 games against eight NCAA Tournament opponents. In those games Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 19.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.7 assists. He shot 51 percent from the field, 50 percent from deep and 84 percent from the free throw line, and added 1.4 steals in nearly 38 minutes per game for good measure. He was one of the best players in the country, and on a team with five McDonald's All-Americans, he was Calipari's best freshman.

"I knew with how hard I worked that anything was possible," SGA said at last week's NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. "It was just a matter of time before it started clicking and I started to get it rolling."

That stretch included a 17-point, 10-assist double-double against Ole Miss, a 29-point showing against Tennessee in the SEC Tournament, and 27 more points in the second round of the NCAA Tournament against Buffalo. Even in his worst game of the stretch, a 15-point effort against Kansas State in the Tournament, he made up for 2 of 10 shooting by getting to the free throw line 12, converting 11 of them.

It made his decision to make the jump to the NBA an easy one - that, and another loaded Calipari recruiting class incoming. He stands taller than just about any other point guard in the class and might have as good a jump shot as any. He's adept at getting to the rim, averaging 4.7 free throw attempts per game (that number jumped to 5.6 after he became a starter, and 7.5 in those final 10 games of the season. He isn't the quickest guard in the class, but he uses his feet well, is able to find open shooters due to his height and improved on making mistakes on drive-and-kicks as the season went on.

"I think I translate really well to the next level with there being so much more space on the floor and the open court stretched out," he said. "It only benefits me and my ability to get in the lane and make plays."

There's something to be said for him being the next in line of the Calipari point guards. The ever-growing list includes players like Derrick Rose, John Wall, Tyreke Evans, Eric Bledsoe, Jamal Murray and DeAaron Fox. It's the NBA's version of Penn State linebackers or Alabama defensive linemen. The success rate is nearly 100 percent when it comes to Calipari's freshmen point guards; even Brandon Knight averaged 18.1 points over a three-year span in the NBA.

"That’s why guys go to Kentucky," Gilgeous-Alexander said. "It prepares them for the next level. Coach (Calipari) does a really good job, especially with point guards, getting them ready for that next level in a short amount of time."

Gilgeous-Alexander didn't test or play in the 5-on-5 scrimmages, but he still came out of Chicago a winner. He measured 6-foot-6 in shoes with a ridiculous 6-foot-11 1/2 wingspan, a full three inches longer than any other point guard at the Combine. He also added, rather uniquely, that he watches of film Kawhi Leonard playing defense. Most players don't mention watching film on different-position players; most players aren't 6-foot-6 point guards.

"(It's) obviously a more versatile league and playing small ball. And with me being able to guard multiple positions, a lot of teams are switching things like the pick and roll off ball screens, so me being able to switch and guard multiple positions can help an organization."

Gilgeous-Alexander's arrow is pointing way up. He appears to be teetering near Lottery pick status, though that could go one way or the other in private team workouts, especially if he's pitted against fellow top point guards like Trae Young and Collin Sexton. But if his rise at Kentucky is any indication, he'll only continue to improve his game, his stock and eventually his draft position.