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Schanowski: Wade to Chicago unlikely but possible

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Schanowski: Wade to Chicago unlikely but possible

Friday, July 2, 2010
12:18 PM

By Mark Schanowski
CSNChicago.com

What should we make of Dwyane Wades decision to schedule a meeting with the Bulls on Thursday? Was it simply a case of making his friends and relatives happy by listening to what the hometown team had to say, or is he really interested in joining forces with Derrick Rose in Chicago? Please post your comments in the section below.

First off, theres probably a 90 percent likelihood Wade will stay in Miami for the rest of his career. He loves the South Beach lifestyle and the weather. Hes one of the biggest sports celebrities in the area, and he enjoys mingling with all the beautiful people that travel in and out of South Florida. Like many of us, Wade grew up with the harsh Midwest winters, and hes probably not in any hurry to experience that all over again. Spending a good chunk of his summers in Chicago is one thing, making it his year-round home again is another.

So, what is the unlikely scenario that could cause Wade to re-consider his devotion to Miami? First off, it would mean LeBron James deciding to stay in Cleveland, which is looking more likely with each passing hour. Next, Chris Bosh accepting a sign-and-trade deal to a Western Conference team like Houston or Dallas. That would force Wade to look over the free agent landscape, and realize the only help he might get is from talented, but erratic big men Amare Stoudemire andor Carlos Boozer. Wade is tired of doing so much heavy lifting after experiencing that 15 win season back in 2007-2008, and then pretty much carrying mediocre Miami teams into the playoffs (and first round eliminations) in each of the last two seasons.

All of a sudden, those harsh Chicago winters might not seem so bad anymore. If Wade would be willing to sign with the Bulls, he could bring Boozer or Stoudemire with him, and instantly transform the Bulls into one of the best teams in the East. A starting line-up of Wade, Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and StoudemireBoozer would cause all kinds of problems for any team in the conference. By contrast, if Wade stayed in Miami with either Stoudemire or Boozer as his All-Star running mate, the rest of the starting line-up would include some combination of Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony. Not exactly a title contending group.

Bulls Executive John Paxson desperately wanted to draft Wade back in 2003. He had the former Marquette All-American in for a couple visits, and was hoping Wade would still be on the board when the Bulls picked at number 7. But Pat Riley surprised everyone by selecting Wade with the 5th pick, forcing the Bulls to settle for Kirk Hinrich. Captain Kirk has been a very productive player, but Wade is arguably the third best player in the league behind LeBron and Kobe Bryant. Paxson would love the chance to bring Wade back to his hometown as a high-scoring compliment to his All-Star point guard, Rose.

Its pretty unlikely Wade has the same type of nostalgic feelings about a Chicago homecoming. After all, he was critical of the way the Bulls organization treats its former players, and hes going through a messy divorce with his childhood sweetheart whos living in the Chicago area right now. Wade has temporary custody of the couples two children, and probably wants to avoid the drama that would be sure to come with playing for the Bulls. But from a pure basketball standpoint, signing on with the Bulls might not look all that bad if Riley strikes out in his plan to sign two all-stars to team up with Wade in Miami.

LEBRON DECISION COULD COME BY MONDAY

The Bulls get their chance to make a presentation to the biggest prize in the 2010 free agent class, LeBron James, on Saturday in Cleveland. As I mentioned, agents, NBA executives and national media members are now predicting James will probably stay in Cleveland, possibly on a 2 or 3 year contract. James can tell his home-state fans he will give it all he has to win a championship during that time period, and if hes unsuccessful, he can leave in good conscience.

Officials of the Nets and Knicks say their presentations to LeBron went well on Thursday, and Im sure well hear the same from the Heat and Clippers on Friday. But the reality is, James can only play for one team next season, and unless hes prepared to turn his back on the only place hes ever called home, the Bulls are facing an uphill battle.

Jerry Reinsdorf, John Paxson, Gar Forman and new coach Tom Thibodeau will lay out all the reasons why the Bulls offer the best chance for LeBron to win championships right away. Im sure theyll also lay out an impressive marketing plan that emphasizes the Bulls unique status as a world-wide brand. Lets hope LeBron puts basketball and winning over everything else when deciding which team to sign with next week.

No big deal, only the short-term future of at least a half-dozen franchises riding on what he ultimately decides.

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.