Bulls

Dwyane Wade on 2010 free agency: 'My eyes were here, LeBron's eyes were here'

Dwyane Wade on 2010 free agency: 'My eyes were here, LeBron's eyes were here'

The idea that Chicago was an ideal destination for Dwyane Wade and LeBron James always seemed more like conjecture and a kind nod to Wade’s hometown more than something that was actually possible in 2010.

But on the eve of James’ first visit to Chicago, as the Cavs come into town for a preseason game Friday night, Wade said a Chicago union was a lot closer to fruition than many believed.

“Chris Bosh effect,” Wade said, referring to the third member of Miami’s Big Three that won two championships in four years, making the Finals every season from 2011 to 2014. “(Miami) Had the opportunity for us three to play together and we both separately really wanted to play for Chris Bosh. It was gonna be kind of a sense where Chicago could’ve got two players and it probably was going to be LeBron and Chris or me and Chris.”

Wade took multiple visits as a free agent in July to Chicago, leading many to believe he would join a team coming off two first-round exits but presenting a core of a young and healthy Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng.

Having already won a championship in Miami, Wade had designs on helping his favorite team return to glory—and bringing James with him. Considering the villain role both took with Bulls fans in the years after, picturing them here in their primes is a tantalizing but weird thought.

“I mean, this is a place I wanted to play,” Wade said. “It was a place LeBron also loved. We loved the city of Chicago. It’s a great market as well. Obviously, the sunny sun of Miami is great too. We had two great choices. It pretty much boiled down to what we felt we could build.”

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The Bulls just hired away a promising assistant from Boston named Tom Thibodeau, and were marked as a top free-agent destination.

“Chicago was very tempting from a standpoint of what they had on the roster when it came to young talent,” Wade said. “But when it came to the point Miami was able to get three players, that changed the whole dynamic of the summer.”

“But I know LeBron’s eyes were here. I know my eyes were here. I know Chris’ eyes were kind of everywhere because he was in Toronto so he was just happy that people knew who he was (laughs). Toronto was a little different than it is today.”

Wade chuckles at the conspiracy theories that the three always planned on signing together in Miami back when they signed short-term extensions in the summer of 2006.

“Crazy notion. I wish we were that smart,” Wade said. “Thank you for the credit for seeing in the future. We knew what the money would be like, we knew that the Miami Heat would have it. It makes no sense. How did we know the Heat could afford 3 players? How did we have an idea in 2006 or whenever they said we would have this plan that the Miami Heat would be able to do this? I never thought me and LeBron would play together.”

“It was a question posed to me, y'all can ask, (Heat owner) Micky Arison asked me a year or two before, you think LeBron would like to come to Miami? I said "you got a 0.000001 percent chance" it was a powerful .1 percent because he ended up coming but I had no idea, I never thought about it, besides All-Star games and Olympics, I never thought about the NBA, taking the same court. But when it presented itself, you open it up, you start the conversation, you start looking at it a little different. Thank everybody for thinking we were that smart but this kind of happened when it happened.”

[SHOP: Buy a Dwyane Wade jersey]

The Bulls had the cap space to sign two max players that summer, and apparently were in negotiations with the Los Angeles Clippers to trade Deng to free up even more money, especially as the Bulls got word the Heat had three salary slots opening up to fit the top three free agents on the market.

According to published reports at the time, a Deng trade would’ve given the Bulls nearly $30 million in cap space and had it happened, Wade said, “It would be a different story. We thought about it. That didn’t happen. It was something they talked about. They were very open with us with what they were trying to do.”

From a talent standpoint, perhaps the Bulls would’ve been better equipped to acquire a then-27 year old Wade, who averaged nearly 27 points to go with 6.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds along with James, the 25-year old two-time reigning MVP.

How Wade, James and Rose would’ve fit together certainly seemed like a cluster, especially considering Rose’s star was on the rise, approaching a year where he was the youngest MVP winner in NBA history.

Seeing how Wade and James struggled to figure out how to play together the first year in Miami wouldn’t have compared to the issues if their point guard was just as aggressive on offense.

“So you’re already talking two guys who are ball dominant,” Wade said. “And then you have a young up-and-coming star in the league who is ball dominant. At that time, I don’t think it would’ve worked out for us. We took our two ball-dominant selves away from having three guys as ball dominant.”

But when Miami GM Pat Riley orchestrated the pieces to free up that third salary cap slot, that’s when the Heat took the lead and signed the free agents, leaving Chicagoans to wonder “what if” every time they saw Wade in a Heat uniform since.

Thumb injury leaves Wendell Carter Jr. on the outside looking in at NBA All-Rookie teams

Thumb injury leaves Wendell Carter Jr. on the outside looking in at NBA All-Rookie teams

Wendell Carter Jr. was on his way to becoming the second consecutive Bulls player to make an All-Rookie Team, but a thumb injury that required surgery in January ultimately proved to be the deciding factor in his omission.

The All-Rookie Teams were announced on Tuesday afternoon and, as expected, Carter was not on either. The seventh overall pick had a promising rookie campaign in which he averaged 10.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Those marks ranked 10th, 4th and 2nd, respectively, among first-year players.

But Carter's thumb injury limited him to just 44 games. Of the 10 players who made the first and second teams, Memphis' Jaren Jackson Jr. played the fewest games (58) while the group averaged 72.8 games played.

Carter's thumb injury was initially diagnosed as a jam, but further testing revealed that surgery was the best course of action for the then-19-year-old (he turned 20 in April). The Bulls opted not to rush Carter back at the end of the season - a wise decision on multiple levels - and Carter, when he spoke with media members for the first time after undergoing surgery, said his goals had moved to the long-term.

“So many people have had this injury and they don’t get it taken care of and bones are coming out of their socket very easily,” Carter said. “I just wanted to eliminate all that. If I was to get in a cast and come back and the tendon didn’t come back out, then I’d have to wait another eight weeks and get the surgery. So I just went ahead and knocked it out to get it out of the way.

"It's all good. I'm just looking at the long-term now."

He was one of the league's youngest rookies but hardly played like it. He moved into the starting lineup for good just a few days into the preseason and wore multiple hats for the Bulls. Injuries to Kris Dunn, Bobby Portis and Denzel Valentine thrust Carter into a significant scoring role for the Bulls, sometimes acting as the No. 2 option behind Zach LaVine early in the season.

He took on more of a traditional post-up role - with solid footwork making him a serviceable roll man - when those players returned and Jim Boylen took over, slowing down the offense. He shot a respectable 48.5% from the field and his 79.5% mark from the foul line showed a nice touch. But he also went 6 of 32 from beyond the arc in his rookie season. He'll need to find some more versatility on the offensive end, though there will be more floor spacing in his sophomore season after the Bulls added Otto Porter Jr. at the trade deadline.

He is one of five rookies over the last seven seasons to average at least 7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game, joining Andre Drummond, Anthony Davis, Nerlens Noel, Kristaps Porzingis, Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid in that category. That's not to suggest that Carter will have the same career arc as those All-Stars plus Noel - he's got plenty to do on the defensive end - but in Carter the Bulls have found a defensive anchor and someone to complement Lauri Markkanen on that end of the floor.

He's a raw talent who showed promise as a rookie. And while it didn't result in an All-Rookie bid, the future is bright in the middle for the Bulls. Like many of his teammates, expectations will increase for Carter as they enter Year 3 of their rebuild.

Check out the All-Rookie Teams below.

So you want the Bulls to trade up in the NBA Draft? Here's what it costs

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AP

So you want the Bulls to trade up in the NBA Draft? Here's what it costs

NBA Draft capital is incredibly expensive these days.

It's never been cheap, but the price of moving up continues to cost teams a pretty penny without a surefire promise of return on their investment. This proves to be incredibly risky when considering trading in the top 5.

One year ago the Dallas Mavericks, who were picking fifth, wanted Slovenian point guard Luka Doncic. Knowing the Atlanta Hawks were eyeing a point guard, they put together a package that included the No. 5 pick and a top-5 protected first round pick the following season in order to move up two spots. It was a steep price, as the Mavericks wound up with the No. 10 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft that will convey to Atlanta.

Consider two seasons ago, when the Philadelphia 76ers traded the No. 3 pick and the Kings' 2019 first-round pick to move up to No. 1. That Sacramento pick wound up being the No. 14 selection thanks to the Kings' surprise season out West, but at the time it was an incredibly valuable asset that many thought would yield a top-10 pick. The Sixers drafted Markelle Fultz while the Celtics drafted Jayson Tatum. Two years later, Tatum looks like a budding star while the Sixers traded Fultz and his bag of issues to the Magic in February.

In 2009, the Timberwolves traded two key rotation pieces to the Wizards for the No. 5 pick. In hindsight, trading Randy Foye and Mike Miller for a top-5 selection doesn't seem like a lot. But consider that Foye was a 25-year-old coming off a 16.3-point season, while Miller was a 28-year-old with a career mark of 40.1% from beyond the arc and averages of 13.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists to his name. The price to move up to No. 5 and draft Ricky Rubio - which they did a day later - was steep.

In 2005, the Utah Jazz held the sixth pick in the draft but desperately wanted to move up to get Illinois point guard Deron Williams. On draft night, they sent the No. 6 pick, the No. 27 pick and a future first round pick (Detroit's in 2006, which wound up being No. 30) to move up three spots to No. 3. They were able to grab Williams, and the rest is history.

So if we take out the 2009 trade that didn't include any picks, here's the history of trades involving top 5 picks:

Get: No. 3 overall
Give: No. 5 overall, No. 10 overall the following season

Get: No. 1 overall
Give: No. 3 overall, No. 14 overall the following season

Get: No. 3 overall
Give: No. 6 overall, No. 27 overall, No. 30 the following season

It's not cheap. And as we can see, the cost to move up is getting pricier. The 2019 NBA Draft won't be any different. We know that picks Nos. 1 and 2 are off the table. The New Orleans Pelicans will select Duke's Zion Williamson and the Memphis Grizzlies will follow a few minutes later by taking Murray State point guard Ja Morant. It's also pretty safe to say that the New York Knicks will draft Duke's R.J. Barrett with the third pick.

It gets pretty fuzzy after that. Picks 4-14 are all pretty much in the same tier, to the point that including assets to move up in a class that will be a major dice roll would be tough to justify. Then again, maybe the price to move up to No. 4 or 5 isn't as substantial because there isn't a sure fire player the other team would be giving up by moving back in the first round. In 2005, it was obvious the Jazz were going hard after Williams or Wake Forest's Chris Paul. The Sixers wanted to move up to No. 1 to get Markelle Fultz, who as funny as it seems now, was the consensus top pick. And the Mavericks were clearly eyeing Luka Doncic after the Kings passed on him for Duke's Marvin Bagley.

This time around? It's tough to say. The Bulls need a point guard in the worst way and Vanderbilt's Darius Garland will likely be gone before the Bulls pick at No. 7. It'd behoove the Bulls to jump in front of Phoenix at No. 6; the Suns have similar needs to the Bulls and are in similar situations as far as their respective rebuild goes. But the Bulls aren't once piece away from contending, and none of the players they would go target at No. 4 or 5 would really move the needle next season. That's critical, because they'd almost certainly be including next year's first-round pick in any deal (let's be real and say Kris Dunn's trade value is essentially zilch). If the Bulls were to attach even a heavily protected first round pick, they'd need to be certain they were going to have on-court improvement in the coming years. This is still a team that won 22 games a season ago.

It's too early in the pre-draft process to consider which teams may move back, and who teams trying to move up would want to target. That will happen in the coming weeks. For now, just realize that moving up in the draft costs a whole lot, and you'd better hit on the pick if you're going to give up assets during a rebuild.