Bulls

Is Carmelo final piece to Bulls' championship puzzle?

236615.jpg

Is Carmelo final piece to Bulls' championship puzzle?

Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2010
4:43 PM

By Mark Schanowski
CSNChicago.com

If you are Bulls General Manager Gar Forman, how much would you be willing to give up in a trade for Denver All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony? Please post your comments in the section below.

In case you missed it, Anthony only has one year left on his existing contract, and reportedly is telling Nuggets management hed like a fresh start somewhere else. Ever since his wedding in New York last month, speculation has Anthony trying to arrange a new super trio with the Knicks featuring himself, Amare Stoudemire and either Tony Parker or Chris Paul. The Knicks still have cap room left after striking out on LeBron James and some of the other top free agents, and they also have a number of trade pieces that could be attractive to a Denver team looking to cut payroll.

Lets start with Eddy Currys expiring contract, worth about 11 million dollars for the coming season. The Knicks also could include one or more moderately priced young players like Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike and Toney Douglas. At this point, no one is sure if Denver is willing to trade Anthony before the season begins, but after watching LeBron bail on Cleveland last month, NBA executives have to be more concerned than ever about losing a superstar player in free agency. And, as the Bulls painfully learned in their pursuit of LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, even the best sales pitch wont be effective if a player has already made up his mind to go somewhere else.

So, realistically, what could the Bulls offer to try to bring Anthony to Chicago? Obviously, any deal would start with Luol Deng, but the remaining years and dollars on his contract might scare off Denver right away. The Bulls could also offer Taj Gibson, James Johnson and a couple of 1st round draft picks, including the future number one coming from Charlotte in the Tyrus Thomas deal. And after December 15, they could also include the contracts of free agents they signed this summer like Ronnie Brewer, C.J. Watson and Keith Bogans. But if Denvers not interested in Deng, basically theres no chance to work out a trade because the Bulls wont and shouldnt include Joakim Noah in any trade proposal. And, dont even ask about Derrick Rose, he is the franchise player and untouchable.

Denver has offered Anthony a three-year contract extension worth 65 million dollars, and reportedly he is considering whether to accept the money and then STILL ask the Nuggets to trade him! Sometimes, the arrogance of professional athletes can be just too much to take. Now that LeBron, Wade and Bosh have formed their super-team in Miami, suddenly every NBA star thinks he has the right to force his current team to send him to a franchise of his choosing.

We saw it with Paul earlier this summer in New Orleans. Even though hes said publicly hes willing to see how successful new General Manager Dell Demps will be in strengthening the team, privately hes still pushing for a trade to the Knicks, Blazers or Magic. Does that mean the NBA will one day be reduced to about a half dozen super teams, and 24 collections of patsies like the Washington Generals team that used to lose to the Harlem Globetrotters every night? Lets hope the owners are united in the current negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement and find a way to close some of the loopholes that made the whole Miami situation possible.

Anthony will continue to think hes entitled to be traded to the Knicks, and since the Nuggets dont have a lot of leverage in the whole situation, he might just get his wish. And, if the Nuggets trade him to a team hes not excited to play for, basically it will be a one year rental with Anthony heading to free agency next summer. The stakes are higher than ever for NBA executives. Thanks goodness the Bulls have a humble star in Rose, who says hes NEVER leaving Chicago. That is the kind of player you can build a franchise around.

CONGRATULATIONS TO SCOTTIE PIPPEN

After that rant on the loyalty of NBA stars, I wanted to close by congratulating Scottie Pippen on his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. What a sight it was to watch Pippens acceptance speech with his long-time teammate Michael Jordan standing right behind him as his presenter. After M.J. blasted the people he believed had slighted him during his career in his acceptance speech last September, Pippen was the picture of class and dignity in his short speech. Scottie thanked Jordan for being such a good friend and teammate and basically thanked everyone who helped him achieve the remarkable success he enjoyed throughout his NBA career. Through it all, his love for the game of basketball and the coaches and players he spent time with came across loud and clear.

Jordan didnt make many mistakes during his basketball career, but I have to believe he regrets being so mean-spirited in his Hall of Fame speech. It was the classic case of the student becoming the teacher, with Pippen giving 23 a lesson on how to accept a tremendous honor with humility and class. Scottie is coming back to the Bulls organization as a team ambassador, and who knows, he might get involved with the coaching staff at some point in the future. Theres no question he has a lot to offer after going from a walk-on at tiny Central Arkansas to a Hall of Famer and one of the NBAs 50 Greatest Players.

Draft night highlighted the unfulfilling feeling of this past Bulls season

Draft night highlighted the unfulfilling feeling of this past Bulls season

The door has officially been closed on the 2017-18 season for the Chicago Bulls, and the word that most comes to mind is “unfulfilling.”

Or maybe even “indistinguishable.”

Draft night was supposed to be a culmination of a painful seven-month stretch that only had occasional yet costly moments of light.

Death lineup? Meet Death March. And Death April, while we’re at it.

The Bulls brass sold everyone on a full rebuild after trading Jimmy Butler one year ago, with an unspoken promise that this draft would bear franchise-changing fruit—hence the general feeling of angst or even indifference with the solid selection of Wendell Carter Jr. and their not-so-secret affection of Chandler Hutchison.

It was why fans believe the Bulls got cold feet about trading to move up, and why they believe the Bulls weren’t being pragmatic in staying away from Michael Porter Jr.

Porter, some believe, has star written all over him given his prep ranking this time last year and the Bulls were in position to speed up this process without having to go into a painful Process.

They were desperate for a star, believing the tankathon had produced so much suffering it had to be something on the back end.

There was the fight (or the punch).

The aftermath.

The miserable 3-20 start.

The 14-7 streak that produced the audacity of hope.

The reality that 14-7 was damaging enough to the lottery chances that a 3-11 finish couldn’t rectify.

And finally, the coin flip that cost them five spots in the lottery one month ago.

So that empty feeling has less to do with Carter and Hutchison, who’ve done nothing to earn the “blah” reaction from the fan base and some media. It has everything to do with the unanswered questions over the last 82 games and lack of clarity over the three hauls from draft night last year.

It’s not that Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn underperformed individually last season, but the lack of cohesiveness due to injuries and circumstances has led to the varying thoughts.

LaVine is approaching restricted free agency and by all accounts is taking his continuing rehab in Washington very seriously.  Markkanen has added plenty of muscle since the offseason began, appearing as if he can play Michael B. Jordan’s in-ring foil in the next installation of “Creed” as Ivan Drago’s long lost son.

And despite the report about Dunn not working as hard on the floor this offseason, that would be more of a concern if this were late August, not June.

The last time they were seen together on the floor, they looked no closer to a pecking order than the day they arrived.

What we know is that they’re productive NBA players, capable of putting an individual tattoo on a game at a moment’s notice, skillful enough to take your breath away.

And for whatever reason, the expectations changed once the three displayed they could be dynamic on their own—a star needed to be anointed and groomed to go with the star they believed was coming their way after the season.

Management is fully behind Markkanen, but Paxson’s strong words about LaVine at the season-ending news conference illustrated how much it feels LaVine has to prove next season.

With his restricted free agency status looming, the Bulls’ initial offer will show how much they value him until and if he gets a better deal on the market.

And the fact the Bulls weren’t afraid to draft Trae Young while having a healthy debate about Collin Sexton on draft night has to show they have at least some skepticism about the future at point guard.

But stars—developing stars, acquired stars, drafted stars—have to do it on their own. No amount of promotion or prodding from management will validate their faith, if that’s the route the Bulls choose to go.

This has to be a meritocracy or it won’t work and, honestly, it’s time for a reality check.

All the worry about the Bulls getting back to title contention sooner rather than later seems like folks getting ahead of themselves.

The front office has taken its share of shots from media and fans, so some questioning is earned but they’re right about one thing. Rebuilds aren’t completed in a day or 12 months.

Expecting some magic potion to arrive in the form of a top draft pick isn’t going to cure what ills this roster, and it doesn’t seem likely all the cap space will result in a free agent choosing the Bulls over the usual suspects.

However, methodical building can look like complacency if not done with a sense of urgency.

And with urgency in mind, this past season was unsatisfying to say the least—heading into the next phase with two more young pieces to develop while the first three are still in the evaluation stage.

Loyola's March Madness hero Donte Ingram will play with Bulls' Summer League team

Loyola's March Madness hero Donte Ingram will play with Bulls' Summer League team

Donte Ingram's 2018 keeps getting better and better.

The March Madness hero, who buried a game-winning 3-pointer in the first round of Loyola's win over Miami, will play on the Bulls' Summer League team.

Ingram, a Simeon Academy graduate, had himself an incredible senior season with the Ramblers, who advanced all the way to the Final Four as a No. 11 seed.

In five NCAA Tournament games Ingram averaged 7.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists for the Ramblers. He also had 18 points in the MVC Conference Championship Game to secure the Ramblers' March Madness berth.

He'll join first-round draft picks Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison on the Las Vegas Summer League team, which will begin play early next month.