Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Daily Dime Live: 2010 Free Agent Summit

The most renown and influential free agency period ever in sports has officially started (as of an hour and a half ago). NBA guru's like Michael Wilbon, Chris Sheridan and Kevin Arnovitz are holding a 'summit' chatroom for all questions & comments:  CLICK HERE

 Also, ESPN Chicago's Bulls blogger Nick Friedel talks points for the Bulls' pitch from the perspectives of Jerry Reinsdorf, Tom Thibodeau and more..... READ

Experts Saying Lebron to Chicago 'Probable'

The vegas odds place the likelihood of Lebron James going to Chicago at -500. What that basically means is that you have to place at least a $500.00 bet to win $100.00. The next closest odds are James returning to Cleveland at +100.  Vegas odds are reliable, but more so are NBA insiders and analysts whose lives the past seven weeks have been nothing but free agency.

Where are They Going? ran an free agency piece this morning regarding all the top free agents and their bets on where they'll end up. ESPN writers such as Bill Simmons, J.A. Adande, Chris Broussard, Ric Bucher and Chad Forde offered their insight, along with other notable NBA analysts like Henry Abbott and Kevin Arnovitz from TrueHoop.

6 out of the 7 who were polled picked Lebron to land in Chicago. ESPN Insider Chris Sheridan picked the Knicks, but said he wouldn't go higher than a 50-50 chance. Hmmm. In addition to Lebron, all-star Chris Bosh was picked by 4 out of 7 to end up in Chicago by the time free agency ended as well.

Other players that some guessed would end up in Chi-town were Joe Johnson, Carlos Boozer and David Lee. Now whether the Bulls land King James or not, it seems that the team is in prime position to improve somehow, some way. If they did pull off a Lebron-Bosh pairing, their the favorites in the Eastern Conference hands down. But nonetheless, there are other options. Dwayne Wade is from Chicago, but he recently expressed some not-so-kind words about the organization and their faithfulness to retired players.

Either way, Bulls fans should be tuned in starting @ 11:59 TONIGHT. It's been over a  decade since there's been much to really anticipate from the once cornerstone of the entire league. Not only do they have more money to throw around, but they also have more enticing pieces already in play than any other teams looking to score big. They are capable of landing two top free agents, to go along with a core group that gave Lebron James and the Cavaliers an unexpected hard-nose fight in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs this year.

Free Agency Dime: How many max players can each team afford?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Farewell Captain Kirk, Thanks for the Memories

It has been finalized now that the Bulls are moving guard Kirk Hinrich, along with the 17th pick in tonight's draft, to the Washington Wizards in an obvious move to free up cap space. The move allows the Bulls to potentially land two big name free agents like Lebron and one of three all-star big men, either Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire and David Lee.
In his seven years with the team "Captain Kirk" was a fan favorite and gave everything he had night-in and night-out.  He hustled, was a consistent shooter and a great defensive player. He wasn't flashy. Rather, he did all the things that nobody recognized.He did the small things. It's a shame that fundamentals and hinrich's style of play are no longer appreciated in the NBA. Nobody can really say the don't like Hinrich because he was never in the spotlight. He was always under the radar just doing his own thing. But at the same time, he  was always a key asset for the team that improved every year since Kirk's '03 rookie season when he was drafted 7th behind the likes of Lebron, Carmello Anthony and several others. Chicago Bulls blogger Sam Smith did a piece this past winter on Hinrich and how he was the catalyst behind the team's success. Every notable offensive category was higher when he was the lineup, and their record was in the ballpark of 18-5 when he started up until that point in the season. He was a team player which in this era of the NBA is sometimes hard to find.
What an offseason so far as a fan. My favorite team trades away my favorite player, and are the front-runners to sign my least favorite professional athlete. Despite my personal preference, John Paxson and Jerry Reinsdorf did what they had to do. Ridding Hinrich's 9 million dollar salary put them in prime contention for landing two top name free agents. Where they'll go from here, no one really knows. But the first step is tonight @ 7:30 (exactly nine minutes ago).

For me personally, the lasting "Hinrich Memory" I'll have is the first round of the '08 playoffs. Rajon Rondo gave Hinrich a shove on a fast-break knocking him hard to the floor, and Kirk shot up and took sprint in revenge of the dirty play. The whole team on the floor was holding him back as his arms and legs flapped around struggling to take revenge. But the best part was Scott Skiles on the sidelines, grinning and looking at the rest of the bench like, "wow, did you guys ever see this coming?" Hinrich had never shown too much emotion or  anger on the court, and the fiery-ness sort of surprised everyone.

BYE-BYE KIRK? HELLO LEBRON? bulls blogger Sam Smith

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The End For Two Guys That Took a Similar Path?

Ron Artest and Rasheed Wallace share a similar career-journey through the NBA. Each could have also potentially played their last game in game 7 of the NBA Finals. And although Artest's career, which may have been justified with a game-saving performance and Finals championship, and Rasheed "Roscoe" Wallace's, whose reputation dwindled progressively throughout the season may seem as polar opposites, each's final chapter may share a similar conclusion. 

A must read from ESPN columnist Scoop Jackson-FULL STORY

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Thibodeau Hiring Getting Positive Reviews; Not A Play For Lebron

   I have yet to see any negative responses in regards to the Bulls recent hiring of Boston Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau. He's been labeled as an experienced veteran with uncomparable basketball knowledge, as well as the mastermind behind the Celtics defense.  Bog-A-Bull calls Thibodeau "a bright, work-a-holic teacher and taskmaster."
   ESPN Chicago said Thibodeau was the most underappreciated coach in the league. That's a bold statement for someone who never has held a head coaching job. But, he's got plenty of time to prepare, and if he does things right and lifts the Bulls into contention, the doubts will cease. I don't think it's fair to say that even if the Bulls got Lebron and whoever else they wanted that they immediately become title contenders. But if Thibodeau can just bring some consistency, all should be well in the Windy City. The Bulls put together one of the streakiest seasons I'd ever seen this past season, and still made the playoffs and competed with the heavily favored Cavs. They would win 5 then lose 7 like it was nothing. Hinrich was injured, then Deng and then Noah. They barely squeaked into the playoffs and could have finished way better.
    If there is a downside to "Thibodeau Time," (to other Bulls fans that is) it's that reportedly, the move doesn't hold weight on Queen Jame's free agency decision. 
     According to espn chicago bulls blogger Nick Friedel, "The Bulls were told by a few people close to James that the hiring of Thibodeau would not influence his decision on coming to Chicago one way or the other, and that after reports surfaced that John Calipari might be a candidate for Bulls coach, James let it be known he did not want to be part of those decisions for any prospective team unless it involved someone he really did not like."
    I guess since I can't really complain about the news, I'll leave it on that note. But gee, if Lebron actually ends up not coming to Chicago, I might run out of things to write about.

  • Follow "the sports guy" Bill Simmons tonight on as he'll be courtside at the Garden on a live game-chat 




Saturday, June 5, 2010

Thoughts on Thibodeau: Well-Traveled Veteran Brings Experience, Respect, and Hope?

 "Who is [your daddy] and what does he do (in an Arnold Schwarzenegger voice)?"
He, is former Boston Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau. And all he does, apparently, is basketball.  "Tom's a workaholic," Celtics forward Paul Pierce told recently. "I'm always catching him in there working, watching film in his office. He's probably the most prepared coach I've ever seen."

I recently imposed the mind of John Paxson and imitated my opinion of the Bull's pitch to possible coaching candidates during their interview. Here's a snippet:

-First off, we've got the best core group of young, promising talent in Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.
-Secondly, we're the front-runners for scoring Lebron James. We've got plenty of loot to put in his pocket (and a hit out on Delonte West if need be), along with the pieces he's looking for to win a championship.
-And as you probably already know, Chicago is a major media market, so you'll get plenty of face time. What you might not have known, is that our attendance is annually right behind the Lakers for tops in the NBA. Season tickets and fan support always helps, right?
-If you're looking for a challenge, you'd get to coach in the shadows of Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan and be expected to return the team to greatness within the same two-year limit we've given every other coach since '98
-Did I mention the whole Lebron thing? Oh ok, just making sure. 

Whatever the Bulls recruiting strategy may have been, it worked. And it did so much quicker than anyone anticipated. Friday, sources said the interview with Thibadeau went 'very well' and that he impressed enough to be considered a top 3 candidate. When asked if he was the front-runner for the position, Bulls front office said they still had other scheduled interviews. Saturday, something changed their minds however and sources close to the story have confirmed that Thibodeau and the Bulls agreed to a 3-year contract. Although no deal can be confirmed until the Finals conclude, the word on the street is that the deal is done. 
Most people don't know too much about what Thibodeau brings to the table, but he is highly respected and spoke of around  the league. And according to ESPN Chicago's Nick Friedel, blogger of the Bulls, he brings 18 years of assistant coaching experience that would benefit any franchise.
A player's coach with a defensive guru, who is immersed in the basketball culture highlight some of his qualities; here's the list.

Bulls"Unofficially" Ink Thibodeau

Yesterday, reliable sources  told that "impressed" were the reactions of general manager Gar Forman and VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson after the interview between the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau. The Bulls then labeled Thibodeau in the 'top 3' of possible coaching candidates, only because their were still other interviews scheduled.

However, sources today confirmed that the Thibodeau and the Bulls have agreed to a 3-year contract, although no official announcement can be made until the conclusion of the NBA Finals.

Bulls land Thibodeau according to sources -from

Thibodeau hired to coach Bulls -

Friday, June 4, 2010

Coaching Update: Thibodeau Impresses, Negotiations May Come Soon

    Boston Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau has been in the midst of the discussions of many head coaching vancancies since the beginning of May.  He recently turned down an offer to coach the New Orleans Hornets, most likely because he's smart and realizes he will soon have many competing offers to weigh both financially and location-wise.
    One of those other options is the Chicago Bulls, who's pitch to possible candidates look something like this:   (from the perspective of the always-interesting John Paxson, VP of Basketball Operations)
-First off, we've got the best core group of young, promising talent in Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.
-Secondly, we're the front-runners for scoring Lebron James. We've got plenty of loot, and the pieces he's looking for to win a championship.
-Chicago is a major media market, so you'll get plenty of face time. In addition, our attendance is annually right behind the Lakers for tops in the NBA.
    The bottom line is that the situation in Chicago is just as, if not more compelling than others like the Nets and Hornets. And personally, even as a broke college student, I wouldn't take a million dollars to coach the Knicks. Funny how the coined "mecca of basketball" is now a place where people go to commit career suicide. It's like the NFL's equivalent to the Redskins (apologies to 3/4's of my friends and family).
    But the Bulls seem to be interested in Thibodeau, and sources expect negotiations with he and other candidates to begin next week. Other candidates include Dan Majerle of the Suns, and current ESPN analysts Byron Scott and Avery Johnson.
   On Thibedeau, "Tom's a workaholic," Celtics forward Paul Pierce told ESPN Chicago recently. "I'm always catching him in there working, watching film in his office. He's probably the most prepared coach I've ever seen."
    The Bulls are looking for a coach with "distinct philosophy," according to sources, and Thibodeau is the architect behind the Celtics successful defense. He is listed as a top 3 candidate, but the Bulls said
it's too early to name him the top choice because there's too many interviews still left. More updates and details are expected early next week, which might give Thibodeau some time to actually concentrate on the team that still pays his salary. After all, they are playing in the NBA Finals.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

"Nobody's Perfect:" Let's Put the * In Sports Pt. 2

    Yesterday evening, Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galaraga pitched the 23rd perfect game in Major League Baseball history, but he'll never actually get the recognition for it. With two outs in the top of the ninth, only one batter in the way of history, Galaraga hadn't even reached 90 pitches. Jason Donald was up to bat next, and due to the unimaginable events that followed, he would not prove to be the last hitter Galaraga would face. Donald dribbled a ground ball towards the first & second base gap, causing Galaraga to cover first as Miguel Cabrera came off the bag to field the ball. Cabrera's toss hit Galaraga in stride, and as his foot landed on the base just before that of Donald's. Unfortunately, that's not how field umpire Jim Joyce saw the play go down. As Galaraga began to throw his arms in the air in celebration, he saw Joyce re-adjust his arms, signaling the runner safe. All he could do was smile; motionless. 
    After immediately getting the next runner out, and a polite exchange in words between Tigers manager Jim Leyland and the umpire who made the call, Joyce was confronted by dozens of reporters all interested in the same question; what the hell happened?
   With no answer, Joyce regretfully apologized for his lack of judgement, saying, "that wasn't just any call. I just cost that kid a perfect game." Joyce continued to explain that he thought he had a good angle on the play, he just flat out missed the call. "It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the [stuff] out of it," Joyce stated.
    Who could argue that Galaraga isn't deserving of a perfect game added to his credentials? Nobody. In fact, many are insisting that commissioner Bud Selig over rule the call and set the record straight. The call was obviously wrong, and Galaraga in true did throw a perfect game from the mound. Michigan senator Debbie Stabenow even issued her take on the situation earlier this morning, stating, "last night's performance deserves its place in the record books. It is clear that Commissioner Selig should make an exception in this case and invoke the 'best interests of the game clause' to reflect Armando Galarraga's perfect game for the Detroit Tigers."
   As right as she is, and everyone who's seen it for that matter, the play was ruled safe, as certain as a called strike three that ends a game; It's just never occurred in a situation quite like this one. Hereby my friends, is a more reasonable, collectively-understood example of why there is a place for *'s in sports. If the blown-call occurred in a 6-2 game in the top of the ninth, we wouldn't have been suffocated with the incident all morning. If Pete Rose's stats appeared next to another individuals name, they'd be a sure first-ballot hall of famer without question. Granted the two situations are much different, but they each happened nonetheless. Yes, Pete Rose went against the game he dedicated his life to, but in the grand scheme of things, the situations are very alike as well. The hall-of-fame deserving numbers Rose put up, he did and deserves credit for. Galaraga did nothing to cost him his perfect game, yet he has to suffer through it.
    The bottom line is that the hall of fame is not a judge of character. It's merely one of talent and statistics. You can be mean, argumentative, violent, what have you. But if you put ink on the stat page then it's there, no matter how it got there, and must be treated with all others it compares too. Unless, of course, the sports world just bites the bullet and adopts Asterix's. Give Bonds, McGwire and Sosa the hall of fame, just put they may/have cheated and had an unfair advantage. Give Galaraga his perfect game, but credit the circumstances which it occured. Plus, in Galaraga's case at least, his asterix wouldn't take away from a single thing. Steroids I'll give you, do.
    Many people's reaction is that this idea would simply get abused, that we would end up using them as an excuse for any mistake or misjudgement, which is ridiculous. Rarities like hall of fame nominations and perfect games are hardly usual or common occurrences.
   Here's how it would works: There's three types of applicable "asterixes" (a physical label or marking noting some sort of information); a performance-based, judgemental and a justifiable asterix, going from worse to to least offense. A performance-based asterix would be applied to somebody like Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire. Their stats resemble legendary achievements and are hall of fame worthy numbers, but at some point in their career/s manipulated the system in ways tied directly to performance such as steroids, human growth hormones, corking a bat, etc.  A judgemental asterix is also one that recognizes significant career achievement, however represents the misuse, abuse or mal-practice of a common social norm, un-related to performance enhancement. A judgemental asterix would be associated with the likes of someone who's numbers and stats are iconic, however showed poor character and knowingly participated in or contributed to practices not socially accepted. For instance, betting on baseball like Pete Rose, or being convicted of armed robbery like O.J. Simpson. Neither 'cheated' the game they played or held any sort of unfair advantage over opponents, but acted at some point in a shameful way that is looked down upon by society norms. The third asterix, a justifiable asterix, is not really any offense or drawback at all. It would appeal to instances where an outcome was compromised only for the purpose of correcting an obvious, acknowledged mistake. If Sen. Stabenow were to get her wish and Bud Selig overruled the controversial call, ruling the game final one batter earlier than originally, Galaraga's perfect game would go down with a justifiable asterix.
    We are in the middle of an era that encourages and hoists professional athletes to be higher than the rest, and it's obvious through their behaviors and unjust decision making.  But one day, Armando Galaraga deserves to be able to share a piece of history with his grand kids. And Jim Joyce deserves to live down his "career-defining call." And when I take my kids to the baseball hall of fame someday, I won't be satisfied If they can't relive 1998's 3-way home run chase, or Barry Bond's incredible 2004 season.

Let's Put The * In Sports Pt. 1

      It's commonly heard in reference to a star professional athlete who has tainted their name in some way shape or form. Like Pete Rose, who bet on baseball (not to mention his own team). Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens who used performance enhancing drugs (we've got to be past the "allegedly" stage). Guys like O.J. Simpson, Pac-man Jones, Ben Roethlisberger and Tiger Woods may have gone against the traditional ways of society, did not cheat....let me finish... their sport or its system in any way.
      The burning question remains for guys like Rose and Bonds; will they ever get in the Hall of Fame? One frequently tossed-around approach to Bonds and other "dopers" has been putting an *Astrix* by their name in history. Well, steroids or not, Barry Bonds hit more home runs than any player ever did in a single season and a whole career. It can't be erased, yet it will never be fully acknowledged as legit, so why not? I say *'s be used whenever necessary. If the only way a guy who had two of the most statistically unimaginable seasons ever, is the only player ever to reach the 500 home run 500 steal plateau, and not to mention holds arguably the most cherished record in all of sports, can get those achievements displayed in history is by putting a * by his name, so be it with me. That way everybody wins. He gets the acknowledgements that his statistics are worthy of, and those opposed can still hang on to the mark that diminishes his credibility.
       It's more of a discredit to the integrity of the game to forget the moments these players brought than it is to take steroids. Sorry. Bond's case is just one example of many. The McGwire, Sosa & Griffey chase in '98 was one of the most followed baseball summers ever. And Rose should never be forgiven of what he did, but nor should his accolades be erased and forgotten either.
       These are more controversial examples for the implementation, but in light of yesterday's blown call, blown perfect game fiasco,a more substantial and reasonable example for the need of *'s prevails. All the talk I'm hearing is that the majority say commissioner Bud Selig should over-rule the call and set the record straight. Umpire Jim Joyce made a honest, yet crucial mistake, and was devastated after the game in his apology. I for one can't envision the anger and frustration Armando Galaraga is going through, but if Selig were to take some form of action in correcting the situation, that my friends, is an **Astrix** Which leads me in to Pt. 2 (see above)

Rose Talks Off-Season Plans, Free Agency and More

Bulls young star point guard Derrick Rose spent most of the evening last Friday signing autographs at a local Chicago suburban dealership, but found some time afterwards to sit down exclusively with ESPNchicago to talk about his offeseason, free agency, the coach search, and reactions to Dwayne Wade's recent comments.
Rose has meshed superbly with the Chicago fans and media, and is going to soon be a true town "hero," regardless of Mr. James' future plans. Its very common for young stars to struggle in handling the pressures of a major media market like Chicago, but Rose has answered everyones questions while not stirring up any controversary. Here's an extent of the convo Rose had with

Q: How's your offseason been?

A: It's been good. Everything is fine. I'm trying to work on my game. That's about it.

Q: What are you working on?

A: Jump shots. I'm getting a lot of jumpers up right now.

Q: You were working out in Chicago?

A: I'm training in Chicago now, but I'm going out to L.A. in a couple days to work out.

Q: Have you been able to relax at all after the season?

A: I took a vacation with my friends. I took a week off, but it's fine now. We went to the Atlantis.

Q: Have you been paying attention to all the free agency news?

A: No, if they ask me about it, that's when I'll have a say-so about it. If anything, I'm leaving it up to the front office and general manager to handle it.

Q: I heard one guy ask you if LeBron was staying at your house. Have you talked to LeBron?

A: No, no, that's not true. Don't believe none of that. Don't believe none of that, man.

Q: Have you been interested in what's going on with the coaching search?

A: No. I'm young. I barely know some of the coaches' names in the NBA. If anything, it'll have to be the front office and general manager to make the decision if I have a say-so. If anything, Joakim [Noah] will have a say-so before I do.

Q: Would you be interested in playing for John Calipari again?

A: No, he's in a good fit [at Kentucky]. I don't think he should leave. He could start his legacy there, so I don't see why he would leave.

Q: Randy Brown was quoted as saying you didn't understand what Dwyane Wade was saying when he questioned the front office's loyalty. Were you surprised?

A: He's a grown man. He can say whatever he wants to say. I'm just trying to play ball. That's what it's all about.

Q: You've had some time off since the season ended. What are your thoughts now when you look back on it?

A: We got to get further. That's the only thing about last year. Last year was all right. We lost too soon. Next year coming up, we got to get further. It's going to be fun.

Q: How do you get further?

A: By getting the free agents we're supposed to be getting.

Q: Have you been watching the Blackhawks?

A: I'm a big fan.

Q: Do you have a favorite player?

A: I'm not a fan like that where I know the game, but I'm a Chicago sports' fan, period. As long they're in Chicago and doing well, I'm going to be watching.

Q: Do you have a prediction for the Stanley Cup finals?

A: The Blackhawks, man. I think they can get them. They're a young team. They're playing with a lot of confidence right now. I'm looking for a sweep.