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Word on the Street: What if Bulls didn't get No. 1 Pick?

Word on the Street: What if Bulls didn't get No. 1 Pick?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
CSNChicago.com
What if the Bulls didn't get the No. 1 pick in 2008?

That is precisely what Darrell Horwitz discusses in his Bleacher Report article, "Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls: What If They Didn't Get the No. 1 Pick?" The odds of getting the No. 1 pick in the lottery was a mere 1.9 percent chance. Luck was smiling on the Bulls.

So what would have happened if the Bulls weren't lucky that night? Would the Bulls even be in the playoff hunt? Would Carlos Boozer have come to Chicago without Rose? Would Tom Thibodeau have chosen the Bulls? Would Kirk Hinrich still be the point guard?

For a team that has the promise of future championships awaiting them, it is certainly interesting to reflect on what might have been. (Bleacher Report)

Ochocinco coming to a soccer field near you?

Chad Ochocinco is getting a backup plan together to prepare for a potention NFL-less fall. According to USA Today, Ochocinco is set for a four-day tryout with Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer starting Tuesday. The Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver began playing soccer at age 4 and is friends with soccer stars Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronaldinho.

"Due to the NFL lockout, I'm excited to be able to follow my childhood dream of playing for a Major League Soccer team," Ochocinco said.

Sportinng Kansas City said that it would determine whether to extend the trial period after the tryout. (USA Today)

Campbell, Bolland still out with injuries

Brian Campbell and Dave Bolland will not return to the lineup for the Blackhawks' game against Dallas on Thursday. Campbell suffered an injury to his left leg against the Florida Panthers last week and did not practice Wednesday. He could meet the team in Glendale for their game against the Coyotes on Sunday.

Bolland will sit out for the next two games and won't make the trip to DallasPhoenix because of his concussion. His status has not improved since Tampa Bay defenseman Pavel Kubina elbowed him in the head last week. (CSNChicago.com)
Bulls approaching 50 wins

The 2010-2011 Chicago Bulls are on track to reach 50 wins this season. Surmounting that number would mark the first time the team has reached 50 wins since Michael Jordan roamed the court during the 1997-98 season.

Ryan Christopher DeVault believes that this could be the Bulls' chance to finally break that 50-win plateau. He also says confidently that the most successful seasons of the Bulls have all ended in NBA titles. (Yahoo Sports)

Bears scout at Illinois' pro day

Representatives from 30 of the league's 32 teams were on hand at the Illini pro day, including New York Jets coach Rex Ryan and six representatives from the Bears. Bears running backs coach Tim Spencer helped put Mikel Leshoure through drills after a long chat while the linemen were working out.

Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli put Corey Liuget and defensive end Clay Nurse through drills. (Chicago Breaking Sports)

Ex-Fire Bocanegra makes U.S. exhibition roster

Carlos Bocanegra (Saint-Etienne, France) is one of twenty players that play abroad selected to a 24-man roster as the United States host exhibition games against Argentina and Paraguay. Landon Donovan (Los Angeles) and Clint Dempsey (Fulham, England) head the roster selected by U.S. coach Bob Bradley. Bradley did not select any players from the Chicago Fire.

Players will train in Cary, N.C. and play Argentina on March 26 in New Jersey. Three days later the team will take on Paraguay in Nashville, Tenn. (Tribune News Services)

ICYMI: Craig Kimbrel's next steps; White Sox reportedly promoting Zack Collins; Six thoughts on Olli Maatta

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USA TODAY

ICYMI: Craig Kimbrel's next steps; White Sox reportedly promoting Zack Collins; Six thoughts on Olli Maatta

The Cubs mapped out the next steps for closer Craig Kimbrel, the White Sox are reportedly promoting Zack Collins from Triple-A and how does the Anthony Davis trade affect the Bulls? Here's what you may have missed from the weekend in Chicago sports:

Cubs

Craig Kimbrel will officially join Triple-A Iowa this week, the latest development in his buildup towards joining the Cubs' 25-man roster.

A small change in interactions with his teammates has paid huge dividends for Kyle Hendricks. However, Hendricks landed on the 10-day injured list Saturday due to shoulder inflammation.

The Cubs wrapped up another tough road trip, finishing 2-5 against the Rockies and Dodgers this week. They did pick up a huge victory on Saturday behind Yu Darvish, however.

Brandon Kintzler joined Kelly Crull on the latest Cubs Talk Podcast to discuss his ongoing prank war with Steve Cishek, his growing role as a leader and mentor inside the clubhouse and more.

White Sox

According to a report, the White Sox are promoting top catching prospect Zack Collins from Triple-A Charlotte, adding another piece to their rebuilding puzzle.

The Eloy Jimenez Show is headed to the North Side this week, as the first act of the Crosstown Classic commences at Wrigley Field. In Jimenez and Lucas Giolito, the faces of the White Sox franchise might just be emerging. Jimenez even got a rave review from Yankees All-Star Gleyber Torres.

Although the White Sox are on the rise, learning to win also means the team has to learn how to lose.

Yoan Moncada's ongoing back issues continued this weekend.

Blackhawks

The Blackhawks acquired defenseman Olli Maatta from the Penguins for forward Dominik Kahun. Here are six thoughts on the deal and what's next for the Blackhawks.

NBC Sports Chicago's Blackhawks beat writer Charlie Roumeliotis answers fan questions in the latest Blackhawks mailbag.

Roumeliotis discusses how Matthew Boldy and Kaapo Kakko would fit with the Blackhawks in his latest NHL Draft profiles.

Other

The Bulls weren't part of the Anthony Davis trade to the Lakers, but the deal could have an effect on the NBA Draft. And while the Bulls don't currently have salary cap space to sign a max player, here's how they can make room for one.

The Bears are on summer break for the next five weeks. Here's what they'll be up to.

How the Bulls can land a max-salary free agent

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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 percent 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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