Bulls

Sam: Bulls praise Rodman's legacy

Sam: Bulls praise Rodman's legacy

Friday, April 1, 2011
Posted: 6:20 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com
AUBURN HILLS, MICH.As a player, Dennis Rodman was reviled by most opposing fans and loved by the faithful in the cities where he was employed. No better example of that is Chicago, where The Worm was hated by Bulls fansand playersduring the Bad Boy Pistons era, during which he was at the forefront of Chicago fans misery, before relocating to the Windy City and playing a major role in three Bulls championships.

When asked about the legendary rebounder and defender, however, the current Bulls are nothing but complimentary about the man whose jersey will be retired at a halftime ceremony of tonights game against the Pistons.

Bulls veteran Kurt Thomas, like Rodman, a native of Dallas, competed against Rodman in the NBA, but he looked up to him from a unique perspective long before he made it to the pros.

As a player, Ive been watching him my whole life growing up in Dallas. I followed his career, thought he was an unbelievable player. To lead the league in reboundingI think it was for six years straightthats an unbelievable feat. The number of championships that hes won in this league, just a tremendous player, Thomas, who grew up in the same gritty neighborhood of Dallas as Rodman, told CSNChicago.com. Just the fact that hes from Oak Cliff, Im from Oak Cliff. Growing up in that area and to see a guy like that make it to the highest level, playing in the NBA. Then, the way he played.

Off the courtI know the real Dennis Rodmanhes an unbelievable person. He has a great heart, hell give you the shirt off his back. Hes a great guy. Hes just an amazing person, he continued. Throughout his career, hes always giving back to the poor. Hes always done amazing things in Dallas, in the area where he grew up. Everywhere hes played, hes done an amazing job of giving back, second to none.

Now 38, Thomas also received on-court advice from Rodman as a young player.

He told me, Hey, young fella, just keep working hard. Never give up and never settle.

Its great to actually be here, to know that all the fans are going to come out, support him because he gave a lot this league and its definitely an honor for me to be here to witness and be in the building, said Thomas. He definitely should be a Hall of Famer, without a doubt.

Joakim Noah, perhaps the Bulls player that most embodies Rodmans on-court spirit (and free-spirited nature away from the game), also gushed about Rodmans influence.

Dennis has always been a hero of mine and Im just really excited for him and its very well-deserved, said Noah, who slyly confirmed hes partied with Rodman a few times and the experience was very fun, before the teams Tuesday morning shootaround. Hell yeah, hes a Hall of Famer. People always talk about his antics and all the other stuff, but I think people forget he was a hell of a basketball player.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau offered yet another perspective on Rodman.

I coached him two years in San Antonio. Real smart player, very unselfish player, team player and more of a complete player than hes given credit for. Everyone knows about the defense and the rebounding, but he was a great screener, great passer and he could score when he needed to, praised Thibodeau. Fierce competitor. I have a lot of respect for him. He had a great career.

What I remember about him is just how hard he played, added Thibodeau, who said hed try to greet Rodmantime-permittingduring Fridays game. I really like him. Hes a good guy, really good guy.

When asked about Rodmans Hall of Fame worthinesshes been nominated for the upcoming class; many observers feel his off-court antics will prevent him from ever being enshrinedThibodeau was adamant that Rodman is deserving.

I think so. And those things sometimes, you can never tell why. But I think hes deserving. When you look at what he did over his career, he maintained a high level of excellence for a long period of time. Hes one of the all-time great rebounders in the history of the league. He helped you execute, he played tough, he played big in big moments, so you have to give him a lot of respect for that, said the coach. Statistically, its still pretty amazing numbers when you look at what he did, but he wasnt a big-time scorer, so sometimes that goes against you. But hes a big-time winner.

Rodman was one of them best defender Thibodeau ever coached. He could defend multiple positions. Great rebounder, great multiple-effort guy, too. I often think about his rebounding, where he tipped the ball two, three, four times. Hed just keep going until he got it. He was always in great shape and again, hes looked at sometimes in a negative way for the stuff off the court, but on the court, he was fabulous, terrific.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

How the Bulls can land a max-salary free agent

dangelorussell.jpg
USA TODAY

How the Bulls can land a max-salary free agent

The Bulls will enter free agency with approximately $20 million in cap space. That’s far short of the amount needed to sign a max-salary player, but there is a path for the team to land a star — if one chooses to play in Chicago. With rumors out of Brooklyn that D’Angelo Russell would be on his way out if the Nets sign Kyrie Irving, coupled with the uncertain futures of both Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, Bulls fans are wondering “what if.” I’ll let much wiser people debate if the Bulls should extend an offer to any of these players; I’ll outline how it could happen.

In terms of this discussion, it’s very important to note that not all free agents are eligible for the same max salary. The league has three tiers of max free agents, broken up by years of service. Players with 0-6 years of service are in one tier, 7-9 years in another, and 10+ years of service in the last.

Players in the more experienced tiers can get a much larger contract over players coming off their rookie contracts. The wonderful Larry Coon explains this in detail in his CBA FAQ. The exact 2019-20 salary cap will be announced at the end of the month. It’s currently projected at $109 million, and for this scenario, we use that number. Essentially, tier 1 players can get 25 percent of the cap, tier 2 30 percent and players with 10+ years of experience can get 35 percebt of a team’s cap.

Russell would fall into the 0-6 years tier, earning him a first year salary (the one that matters in terms of cap space) of approximately $27.2 million. Klay Thompson has eight seasons of experience and is eligible for a first-year salary of about $32.7 million. His teammate Kevin Durant can sign a max deal starting at $38 million.

Step 1- Get medical waiver on Omer Asik’s $3 million cap hit.

The Bulls will find out by June 30 if the league approves their waiver request on Asik. The former Bulls big has a $3 million cap hit of guaranteed money on the books for the 2019-20 season. The team waived Asik back in October and it looks like his NBA career may be over after dealing with arthritis and Crohn’s Disease. The NBA is likely to approve the Bulls request, and they’ll get that money back in cap space for free agency.

Step 2- Waive and stretch Cristiano Felicio

The league allows teams to waive players and stretch their contracts over several years to lessen the immediate cap hit a team takes. Felicio is owed approximately $15.7 million over the next two seasons. The stretch provision means teams can spread out the cap hit of a waived player twice the years remaining on the deal, plus one. This translates to a cap hit of approximately $3.1 million over the next fives years instead of the amount he’s owed. This means the Bulls would gain an additional $5 million in cap space this summer.

Accomplishing steps 1 and 2 will clear enough cap space for the Bulls to sign a 0-6 year free agent, so if Russell wants to play for the Bulls and the front office feels he’d be a good fit, it would only take these two steps to sign him. It gets more complicated for the more experienced free agents.

Step 3- Trade Kris Dunn for a 2nd round pick.

Dunn is owed $5.3 million for the 2019-20 season. Trading him for a second round pick would net the Bulls a cap saving of $4.4 million. The reason the Bulls don’t get to keep the full amount is that teams have to account for a roster spot against the cap when they go below 12 players. Trading Dunn would get them into the 7-9 years tier and allow them to sign Klay Thompson (or any of the other free agents at that tier).

Step 4A- Trade out of the first round of the 2019 draft

Here is where it gets a lot more difficult for the Bulls if they want to sign a 10+ year free agent. They have to clear about $5 million more in cap space. Let’s safely assume they aren’t going to trade Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen or Wendell Carter for pennies on the dollar just to clear cap space. Otto Porter’s contract makes him a very unlikely trade candidate as well. Trading the No. 7 pick for a future first nets them another $4.4 million, close enough to get to that max slot with other small moves.

The major flaw with this is the draft is June 20 and free agency starts 10 days later. You’re not going to get a commitment from any superstar worth this amount until June 30, so essentially this option is off the table.

Step 4B- Trade Denzel Valentine and Chandler Hutchison for second round picks

This option is a lot more likely if the Bulls can sign a superstar in the 10+ years tier. Hutchison showed promise in his rookie season, and despite missing all of last season, Valentine should be able to get you something (especially if packaged with Hutchison). I doubt the team wants to punt on Hutchison after one season, but they'd have to, if this was the only thing in the way of signing a franchise changing star.

If you want to dream for the Bulls, our friends at NBC Sports Boston put together a list of the top free agents available. The likelihood is that the Bulls will use their cap space to sign a few veteran free agents to give them some much needed depth, but should they dream big, there is a path to be in play for a star.

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Bulls not a part of Anthony Davis-to-the-Lakers trade, but it could have an effect on the draft

Bulls not a part of Anthony Davis-to-the-Lakers trade, but it could have an effect on the draft

Farewell, Lonzo Ball-to-the-Bulls rumors.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Saturday evening that the Los Angeles Lakers have finally acquired Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, and the deal doesn't include a third team.

In exchange for Davis, a six-time All-Star about to enter his prime, the Pelicans recieved Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and three first round picks, including the No. 4 pick in next week's NBA Draft.

There was some speculation - also reported by Woj - that a third team would need to get involved in order to satisfy what Pelicans GM David Griffin was looking for in a package for Davis.

Though the Bulls were never directly connected in reports as a potential third team, it made sense considering they own the No. 7 pick and have a need at point guard.

There was also some speculation - though, again, never concrete news or reports - that Zach LaVine could have been an option in a deal, with the Bulls acquiring the No. 4 pick.

Alas, the Bulls aren't part of the deal. But it still may have an effect on them.

The Pelicans now own the Nos. 1 and 4 picks in next week's draft. They're obviously going to take Duke forward Zion Williamson with the first pick but now have options at No. 4. Whereas the Lakers had been linked to Vanderbilt poing guard Darius Garland, the Pelicans really don't have a need there with Ball and Jrue Holiday in the backcourt.

That, in theory, could bump Garland down to No. 6 and the Phoenix Suns, which would then free up the Bulls to take North Carolina's Coby White at No. 7.

Wojnarowski also reported that teams are still inquiring about the No. 4 pick from the Pelicans. It's unlikely the Bulls would depart with LaVine though maybe they could put together some sort of package to move up from No. 7.

What's more likely is the Bulls keep their assets intact in such a weak draft class and move forward with the best player available on the board at No. 7.

But it's officially Woj Bomb season, so buckle up. As is the case every NBA offseason, anything can and will happen.