A picture truly is worth a thousand words…
The last Bulls game I went to was two weeks ago against the Detroit Pistons. It was the night the organization honored Johnny “Red” Kerr who was not only the Bulls first head coach, but also a Chicago area HS basketball legend, one of the all time greats to play at the University of Illinois and a Bulls broadcaster for over 30 years. He was saluted by some the most recognizable names and faces in the game, as well as the two greatest Bulls ever in Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen who were on hand and spoke during the ceremony. Both David Stern and President Obama saluted Red via pre-recorded video messages and a statue of him was unveiled that will be displayed inside the United Center. It was a very special night and it was great to just be there and be a part of it all.
My wife and I had seats near the players entrance and at one point in the game I looked over and saw Norm Van Lier. He along with another Bulls great in Jerry Sloan formed arguably the best backcourt in the history of the organization. He was standing just outside of the tunnel watching the game. He was there to salute Red like we all were. Yesterday, they both passed away. Van Lier was 61 years old, Kerr was 76.
My first reaction after hearing about Van Lier’s passing was very similar to the reaction we all have when someone passes away…”I just saw him”! I didn’t find out about Kerr until this morning but my reaction was still the same. It was one thing to lose Van Lier, but to lose Kerr in the same day? It was unreal.
Today is a very sad day in the history of not only sports, but basketball in Chicago and for Bulls fans everywhere. But with their passing I feel good knowing that thay lived and breathed Chicago Bulls basketball…even until their last breaths. I can’t think of a better way to go out. May they both rest in peace.
The arbitration hearing between Stephon Marbury and the New York Knicks over the $400,000 team fine levied to him for his refusal to play earlier in the season, has ended up with a buyout agreement being reached by both parties today.
Starbury is Free!!
After he clears waivers on Thursday, he will be free to sign with any team that he wants which in this case should be the Boston Celtics who also signed ex-Sacramento King center Mikki Moore earlier today.
Stephon reportedly gave up $2 million of the $20.8 million that that the Knicks owed him; not a bad deal if you ask me. Especially if he can get a championship out of it. I know that people are going to question why the C’s would risk signing him given his baggage and his history of bringing teams down, but I say why not? He’s an All-Star PG and a legitimate scoring threat that will be backing up Rajon Rondo who is none of the above. The reward definitely outweighs the risk in this situation. There is something about winning that can turn a head case into a model citizen. When the Bulls signed Dennis Rodman, he was already a certified nut! That deal turned out OK wouldn’t you say?
I’m more concerned with Steph’s inactivity. He hasn’t played in a regular season NBA game in over a year so there’s no question that the rust is going to be there. He just has to find a way to fit in with the team and contribute down the stretch. If he’s able to do that then I’d say Danny Ainge might have a career as a professional gambler after his GM days are over with!
I guess if it wasn’t for bad luck the Phoenix Suns would have no luck at all. Last night Amare Stoudamire suffered a partially detached retina in a win over the Los Angeles Clippers that required him to have surgery today. Dr’s speculate he will be out at least 8 weeks which makes the remainder of the season for him a wash. Ironically enough, in the same game he showed how bad the Clippers actually suck. The injury occurred in the 1st quarter as Amare went up to block an Al Thornton dunk. He left the game briefly but came back and dropped 42pts…WITH ONE EYE! Wow, that’s got to make you feel terrible as a Clippers player and it has to be an eye opening revelation (no pun intended) as the GM of that organization that your team really is that bad.
Amare’s injury severely eliminates any hope the Suns had of making the playoffs this season after firing Terry Porter and allowing Alvin Gentry to reinstate the high octane, up tempo playing style the Suns are known for. Get well soon Amare…your team needs you.
OK, so my previous post called for John Paxson to be canned after he traded Drew Gooden and Andres Nocioni for John Salmons and Brad Miller. But I digress. Yes, I was very upset that he traded away Nocioni and Gooden, but trading Sefolosha to Oklahoma City for a 1st round pick kind of calmed me down a bit. I thought that was a great move. Sefolosha sucked anyway and if OKC is willing to part with a 1st round pick for him, you can’t pass that deal up.
Next he traded Larry Hughes to the Knicks for Tim Thomas, Jerome James and Anthony Roberson. This is Thomas’ second stint with the Bulls after playing only 3 games during the Scott Skiles era and then being paid $14 million to stay home for 5 months! The Bulls later waived him and he signed with the Phoenix Suns and helped them during their playoff run. Hopefully he can help us out the same way this time. The Bulls are banking on his prior relationship with Vinny Del Negro in Phoenix to be a motivating factor.
Jerome James on the other hand has been out all season with a ruptured Achilles and it’s been speculated that this injury could possibly end his career. If it does, the Bulls will pocket $9 million dollars because the insurance will pay his salary. So I’d say that was a solid move there also.
The talking heads on TV and the guys in the papers are urging fans to be patient after the moves the Bulls made. From a financial standpoint, all of the deals made sense but I have been very, very patient for a long, long time and I think I echo the sentiment of Bulls fans everywhere when I say that I’m tired of being patient and I’m ready to win…NOW!! I feel like we should be well past the rebuilding phase at this point because other teams in the east getting better and we’re not. Sure, there are some big name free agents coming up in 2010 and the Bulls have positioned themselves to make a run at these guys, but that’s rolling the dice. Who knows if those guys will leave their current teams? The only guy who says that he wants out is Chris Bosh and I personally wouldn’t like to see him in a Bulls uniform.
So to John Paxon, I offer the sincerest of apologies. You have to understand that I’m like the biggest Bulls fan in the world and it upsets me to see my team struggle the way that they have. But I will say this…for the sake of your legacy as GM of the Bulls, you’d better hope this works out. Jerry Krause was a short, fat and arrogant jerk…but he did build a team that won 6 rings. You’ve only built a team that made it to the 2nd round of the playoffs. That’s not good enough.
Today the Chicago Bulls and the Sacramento Kings agreed to a deal that will bring Brad Miller and John Salmons here to Chicago and in return the Kings will get Andres Nocioni, Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons and Michael Ruffin. This deal makes no sense whatsoever and I’m very, very upset right now because it doesn’t help us out one bit.
First off, why would you trade away arguably your best defensive player in Nocioni and your best rebounder in Drew Gooden?! When “Noc” goes into the game, he brings a lot of energy on defense and Drew is good on both the offensive and defensive glass. They both play hard and that rubs off on the other players on the floor. But now that John Paxon had the genius idea of trading them away, who’s going to guard the other teams best player now? Who’s going to bang on the boards? I can see if you acquired a player worth having — like Amare Stoudamire — and throwing in Nocioni and Gooden is the only way to make the deal work…I get that; but Brad Miller and John Salmons?! For that you should’ve just kept the team that we had together!
The team has been playing very well of late and we’re 2.5 games out of 8th place in the east and with the squad we had, we could’ve made a push down the stretch. But it doesn’t look that way anymore with two players coming from a team with a worse record than ours. The contracts of Miller and Salmons both come off the books at the end of next season, giving us about $20 million in cap space ion 2010, but this year it looks as if we’re headed back to the lottery in yet another weak draft year. This move is dumber than one the New Orleans Hornets made by trading Tyson Chandler to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Joe Smith. I’m going on record right now to say that as long as John Paxson is the GM in Chicago I will not be attending any more Bulls games! This guy clearly has no idea on how to build a winner. You’re just as bad as Jordan. Paxson…YOU SUCK!!
Bad news Rockets fans, Tracy McGrady’s season and possibly his career may be over after he announced that he will need microfracture surgery on his left knee, the same one that he had scoped last year. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times…the Houston Rockets are the most fragile team in the NBA. If you sign with them, you’re guaranteed to go down with some sort of injury. Guaranteed!
Microfracture surgery is no joke either. It’s hit or miss. You can come back like Jason Kidd and Amare Stoudamire and play at the level you were on before the surgery, or you can nose dive like Penny Hardaway and Darius Miles, who has returned but is nowhere near the player he once was. All I’m saying is, with T-Mac’s history of injuries throughout his career this surgery could spell the end for him. Houston, you have a problem…