Bulls

Plenty of two-guards available on trade market

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Plenty of two-guards available on trade market

With the latest injury suffered by Rip Hamilton Monday night, you have to wonder whether Bulls general manager Gar Forman will consider making a trade for some shooting guard insurance before the March 15 deadline. Problem is, the Bulls don't want to tap in to their big man depth with Omer Asik and Taj Gibson, and they don't want to add salary for upcoming years when they're likely to be above the luxury tax line.

So, the odds of a deal are small, unless the Bulls can find a team that's willing to trade their expiring deal for your expiring deal, something like Kyle Korver for Jamal Crawford or Nick Young. Now granted, the Bulls would probably have to throw in a first-round draft pick to make either of those trades happen and given their luxury tax concerns in upcoming years, it's unlikely they would want to give up picks that could add low salaried bench players.

I poured over NBA rosters to see which guards might be available in the trade market, and here's the list I came up with (as requested by my friend Matt Spiegel at The Score):

Stephen Jackson
Eric Bledsoe
Brandon Rush
Monta Ellis
Mike Dunleavy, Jr.
Carlos Delfino
Anthony Parker
O.J. Mayo
Shannon Brown
Daniel Gibson
Rodney Stuckey
Raja Bell
Francisco Garcia
Michael Redd
James Anderson
Ray Allen
Quentin Richardson
Mikael Pietrus
John Salmons
Ben Gordon
Landry Fields
Xavier Henry
Toney Douglas
Nick Young
Wayne Ellington
Josh Howard
Kirk Hinrich
JJ Redick
Anthony Morrow
Courtney Lee
Rudy Fernandez
Tracy McGrady
Jerryd Bayless
Leandro Barbosa
Wesley Johnson
Jamal Crawford
Corey Maggete
Wesley Johnson

We can eliminate most of the names pretty quickly. The Bulls don't have the assets to make a run at Monta Ellis, Ray Allen, O.J. Mayo or Rodney Stuckey and they wouldn't be willing to take on the remaining years on the contracts of guys like Stephen Jackson, Ben Gordon, Anthony Morrow and Wesley Matthews.

So what's left is mostly a collection of overpaid veterans like Mike Dunleavy, J.J. Redick, Corey Maggette and John Salmons; guys near the end of their careers like Tracy McGrady, Anthony Parker, Michael Redd, Quentin Richardson, Josh Howard and Raja Bell; or players who haven't come close to reaching their college potential like Toney Douglas, Jerryd Bayless, Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Rush, Shannon Brown, Francisco Garcia, James Anderson, Xavier Henry, Wayne Ellington and Wesley Johnson.

Who does that leave? The Bulls could make a run at Jamal Crawford, who isn't expected to exercise his player option for next season, or Kirk Hinrich, whose contract expires at the end of the season. Or, they could try to swing a deal for players with expiring deals like Leandro Barbosa, Rudy Fernandez or Nick Young.

Bottom line, don't expect the Bulls to make any moves before March 15. They're confident a healthy Rip Hamilton gives them their best chance to match up against the Heat come playoff time.

Carlos Boozer says Nate Robinson was one of his favorite teammate because 'he would bring snacks to every flight'

Carlos Boozer says Nate Robinson was one of his favorite teammate because 'he would bring snacks to every flight'

Carlos Boozer and Nate Robinson only played one season together with the Bulls. But oh, what a memorable campaign it was.

And it produced a friendship that still lasts to this day. Cupcakes and snacks will do just that.

Boozer retold a story to NBC Sports Chicago on Tuesday of Robinson and his daughter, Navyi, baking cupcakes for Bulls players on road trips.

"We had so much fun. Me and Nate hit it off right away," Boozer said. "We're both very animated, we're both very loud, we talk a lot, we're great teammates. We love playing passionately, we compete.

"Nate is one of the best teammates I ever had. I played my whole life, I've been playing a long time and he's the only teammate that would bring snacks to every flight. And we'd travel on the road, he would bake us cupcakes for every road game. I never had that before.

"Him and his daughter, Navyi, would bake the cupcakes before every road game. So every road game we'd get to the plane and Nate would hook us up with cupcakes.

"Just a great teammate. He'd go through a brick wall for you, never complained, practice every day, play every day, ready to come and give it his best."

Boozer and Robinson will face off against each other during the Big3 Tournament, which begins this weekend in Houston. The league will travel to Chicago and the United Center on June 29.

"I'm looking forward to being in Chicago," Boozer said. "We've got a lot of great fans out there. I miss the (United Center), miss that Chicagotime summer weather and looking forward to getting back out there in a couple weeks."

Boozer's Ghost Ballers and Robinson's Tri-State team won't square off against one another until Week 5 in Miami. But it's sure to be a fun matchup for the two friends and snack buddies.

"He's one of my brothers, one of my closest friends," Boozer said. "Nate has been training like an animal and he's gonna use this platform to show everybody how much skills he has, also to get back into the NBA. Nate's a great talent and I'm looking forward to seeing him get down."

Boozer's team includes co-captains Mike Bibby and Ricky Davis, which gives them a pretty solid trio heading into the event. But no teammate, NBA or Big3, can match Nate Rob and his cupcakes.

Check out more on the Big3 right here.

Scottie Pippen's injury history sheds light on what could be ahead for Michael Porter Jr.

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USA TODAY

Scottie Pippen's injury history sheds light on what could be ahead for Michael Porter Jr.

By now you probably know the story of Michael Porter Jr.'s back. Right as his college basketball career was starting—two minutes in to be exact—he had to sit out with back pain, which eventually developed into Porter undergoing a microdiscectomy of the L3-L4 spinal discs. The general consensus has been simple: if Porter's medicals are clean then he is a potential top-five pick, but if there is a lack of medical information or any indication that lingering issues persist, he will be available at picks six through the late lottery. Regardless of how his medical records look, what we do know is that Porter was the top-ranked player in his high school class before the eventual re-classification of Marvin Bagley. With this in mind, any team in need of serious star power—hello Bulls!—should have no problems spending a high pick on Porter, and Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen is a big reason why.

In July of 1988, Pippen has disc surgery following a rookie season that was plagued by constant back pain. During that rookie season Pippen played just over 20 minutes a night and played in a total of 79 games.

While the late 80's didn't have the help of NBA Twitter to breathe doubt into fans, there was still a running sentiment that Pippen may not be effective as he was during his initial NBA season. But in his sophomore NBA year, he almost doubled his scoring total while raising his free throw percentage from 57.6 percent to 66.8 percent. On top of this, Pippen also increased his workload by playing 33.1 minutes per game. Altogether he increased his field goal and free throw percentage each of his first four seasons in the league, all following his rookie year back surgery.

This however, should not come as a shock. In an interview with SB Nation, Dr. Charla Fischer, a spine surgeon at NYU Langone Health, stated: "Most patients tell me they feel at least 50 to 80 percent better immediately after the surgery." 

Players typically take two seasons to return to form following herniated disc surgery, and that is right in line with Pippen's first All-Star appearance in 1990, about one and a half seasons following his procedure. When you relate this back to Porter, a clearer picture of what to expect forms. Because Porter has already missed an entire season of basketball (at Missouri), it figures to take about a year for him to totally regain the explosivness that he showcased at the high school level. 

Pippen averaged 14.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.1 apg, along with a combined 1.9 stl/blks per game in the season following his back procedure. Now it would be unreasonable to expect Porter to come into the NBA performing at that level, but more so because of his lack of all-around polish more than anything else. And that is what makes Porter such a conundrum. He is a player whose game—as of now—is totally based on scoring, and his scoring is directly tied to how close he is to 100 percent. So again, developing the rest of his game in terms of passing and defense will take on everlasting importance, regardless of if he ends up with Chicago or another team. 

And while it is true that Pippen's injury history eventually caught up with him, leading to another back surgery in 1998, this was six NBA championships later. Pip went on to play six more seasons following his 1998 procedure. This included four seasons with Portland where the team routinely won around 50 games, and had a legendary battle with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2000 Western Conference Finals.

So no matter what, Porter's first year should be looked at as one very, very long training camp. He will be in the best position to succeed if he is selected by a team willing to look at him as a long-term piece, rather than a 6-foot, 11-inch savior.