Bulls waiting for help

Risk-averse team bides time for 2010 free-agent class

November 22, 2009|By Mark Heisler Inside the NBA

This isn't just any circus trip for the Bulls, it's the 10-year anniversary of their first after Michael Jordan left … when they went 0-7 … starting their five-year, 0-32 run.

Of course, their last five were way better (9-24) showing they're on their way back. Of course, at this rate it may take a while. This is no go-for-broke organization, but which one in Chicago ever was? The town always has belonged to the owners, as fans picked up the pieces of their broken hearts and supported Phil Wrigley, William Wirtz, the McCaskeys and, uh, fans.

Even while fading, the Bulls were No. 1 in the NBA in attendance over the last 10 years.

Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf is arch-loyal but risk-averse. John Paxson, who ostensibly gave up the general manager's role, remains as shadow GM without the title or the obligation to talk to agents or a pesky press.

Unfortunately, conservatism works best with something to conserve.

As if waiting for someone to drop in their lap, like Jordan at No. 3 in the 1985 draft, the Bulls let Ben Gordon go because they couldn't move Kirk Hinrich's contract, even if they still might have found a taker and, even after banking all that money for 10 years, they won't pay the luxury tax.

Gordon now is averaging 21 points for the Pistons and defenses are loading up on the Bulls' Derrick Rose.

The Bulls now gaze skyward, hoping to see Dwyane Wade, area native, drop in next. However, of all the big free agents in 2010, Wade is the likeliest to stay with the Heat holding their own maximum slot to get help … like Chris Bosh?

Of course, the Bulls, with cap room and a nice young roster … why wouldn't the Bulls be high on LeBron James' list?

There is all that traditional inertia to overcome, but this is the 21st Century, in most places.

Coast to coast: Oops: After granting Stephen Jackson's wish to be traded, the Warriors may have to move Monta Ellis amid speculation that coach Don Nelson, known to outsource his duties to assistants or toss them the keys and head home to Maui, won't take much more, either.

Ellis has been unhappy since he was suspended after his moped accident, when management dangled the possibility of voiding his contract, and last week Nelson told him to "be quiet" in a team meeting.

"I disciplined him and it's over," Nelson said. "If he's (upset) at me, he can be (upset) at me. All he has to do is play for me. He doesn't have to like me."

Gee, where could this lead?

James' discontent: James acknowledged his disappointment that the Bobcats, not the Cavaliers, grabbed Jackson.

"Jackson could really help us," James said. "I was looking forward, if it would happen, to him coming."

The Cavaliers reportedly offered Delonte West and the retired Wally Szczerbiak, but not Zydrunas Ilgauskas, whom the Warriors wanted.

In one of the world's great unsolved mysteries, the Cavaliers continue to believe Ilgauskas, who's 34 in his free agent year, has a role alongside Shaquille O'Neal, who's 37 in his free agent year.

Gee, where could this lead?

Disgruntled in Orlando: Does leading the team against the coach count as leadership? The Orlando Sentinel's Brian Schmitz reported Dwight Howard, on behalf of his Magic teammates, asked sharp-tongued coach Stan Van Gundy to lighten up.

Van Gundy, lightening up: "You've seen my press conferences. It was all negative. … I think our team needs a great high level of enthusiasm and energy to play. I have to balance being real demanding and not being as negative. You can be demanding, saying, 'Hey, that's not right. Let's do it again, without sort of what the heck are we doing? We suck!' "

Apparently hurt feelings explains why Howard was averaging 18 points, 11 rebounds and 1.8 blocks after last season's 21, 14 and 2.9.

mheisler@tribune.com

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.