Yet another ESPN article on the Bulls today. The suggested moves have previously been talked about here and at other sites on various threads, so nothing groundbreaking here. But, again, an interesting read.
Here are my replies to some of the suggestion in the article. (I have not copied the whole article, so I think this should be OK.)
Step 1: Work out a sign-and-trade for Rashard Lewis
The Bulls desperately need a polished small forward to bind their high-octane backcourt to the big athletic frontcourt. Lewis is a perfect fit. He's young, athletic, but also has a few years of experience under his belt. His outside shooting is something they've desperately searched for and he'll be great on the break. What would Lewis cost the Bulls? At a minimum, Fizer and Crawford. Fizer and Crawford are solid players in their own right, but they'll be terrible fits on the new look Bulls. Fizer still has upside, but he has no future on the Bulls now that Chandler and Curry are running the show. The Bulls' attempt to turn him into a small forward was a joke. He could, however, give the Sonics that inside muscle they had hoped Vin Baker would bring. Crawford is always intriguing because of his height and ability to play the point. However, with Williams, Rose and Trenton Hassell taking the majority of the backcourt minutes, Crawford won't get the time needs to develop. The Seattle native would be a great fit on the Sonics, however. With Payton in the last year of his contract, Crawford could join a young nucleus of Fizer, Desmond Mason, Vladimir Radmanovic and Calvin Booth that would give the Sonics great cap flexibility and a solid base to build on for the future. If the Sonics are unwilling to deal, the T-Wolves could part with Wally Szczerbiak for that package and the Magic would likely dump Mike Miller in a heartbeat, even if the deal just included Crawford.
Fizer ($2.95M) and Crawford ($2.03M) for Lewis does work under the CBA, but the most we could pay Lewis would be about $5.8M. It is hard to imagine why Seattle would prefer Fizer and Crawford to Lewis signed at a reasonable $5.8M, but perhaps they are really high on Radmanovic. And remember that glowing article about Crawford coming out of Seattle earlier in the year. That might make a trade like this one go over a bit better. I think Seattle also would get an $800K trade exception, which could be particularly valuable this year as the reality of the luxury tax starts to set in.
Step 2: Convince Travis Best to re-sign
The Bulls could go with a more veteran back-up point guard like Tim Hardaway, Terry Porter or Avery Johnson, but no one will give them the offensive firepower off the bench that Best does. Best has competed at the highest level and will have plenty of opportunities to play while Williams learns the ropes. The trick will be convincing Best not to bolt for greener pastures. It may mean that the Bulls overpay a little to keep him on board, but he is, no pun intended, their best option to mentor Williams in the backcourt.
I would prefer Hardaway, Porter, or Johnson, since I think we could one of the three for $1-2M, whereas Best probably would cost us $3-$4M.
I would love to see us sign-and-trade Best to Miami for a second round pick. Heck, if it was legal, I would be willing to give Miami a second round pick to make the trade go through, since we would pick a $3M trade exception.
Step 3: Use Charles Oakley as trade bait to land Popeye Jones
Krause's vision of Oakley mentoring Chandler and Curry last season was clearly flawed. Oakley didn't have the demeanor or patience for the Bulls' rebuilding project. To make matters worse, the Bulls quickly learned that Oakley no longer had the bite to back up his bark. But the idea of getting a few veterans to anchor their young stars is sound. There are plenty of intriguing veteran big men out there. Danny Manning, Grant Long, Chris Gatling, Kevin Willis and even players like Bo Outlaw, P.J. Brown and Robert Horry are all options here. But if Krause really wants to play it safe, and still land a player who can still give them productive minutes, he should work out a deal with his old friend, Michael Jordan, for Jones. Jones was the glue that held the Wizards together last season. He hustled, crashed the boards, dove for loose balls and was always positive, despite the Wizards' death spiral at the end of the season. The Wizards will hate to lose him, but Jordan and Oakley pined to play together through most of last season, and won't pass up the chance to give Oakley one last shot.
It would be great if we could trade Oakley to the Wizards in exchange for Popeye, but that seems a bit farfetched. I think we have a far better chance signing him outright, especially given the glut of PFs that the Wizards have (Brown, Jeffries, Thomas, Laettner).
Step 4: Use the mid-level exception to lure Scott Williams back
The Bulls will have plenty of interesting players to throw money at. If they couldn't land Lewis, Devean George would be a nice pick-up. But right now, what the Bulls need is more veteran role players. It won't be easy, but Krause could take the final step of bridging the past to present by bringing Williams back. Williams ability to play both forward and center, combined with his rebounding prowess, inside toughness and willingness to take on any assignment is a perfect fit for Chicago. If Williams won't come, Gatling is the type of super sub every playoff caliber team needs.
Suggesting that the Bulls use the mid-level exception on Williams makes me wonder how much guys like Ford know about the NBA. Perhaps he was just suggesting using part of the mid-level exception, but paying anything over the million dollar exception ($1.4M) for Williams would be overpaying, given his age and injury history.
Adding Lewis, Jones, Williams, and Hardaway would be a miraculous summer. I think we could do so and end up with a total team salary of around $42-$44M and a $3M trade exception.
Step 4 is a joke and pretty much brings into question this guys knowledge.
Why would the Wizards trade Popeye for Oakley when they have a player in the same position as Chandler and Curry? It makes no sense.
As for the glut of PFs, Laettner was used a lot at C last season and Jeffries is going to be used as a SF this season. Etan also plays C. I know all 3 can also play PF but I wouldn't say the Wizards have a glut.
Lewis was paid $4.4M last year, so if he is paid more than 120% of $4.4M or $5.2M, he becomes a BYC player.
As a BYC player, Seattle then can only take back the maximum of his salary last year ($4.4M) or 1/2 of whatever he signs-and-trades for.
In the sign-and-trade I mentioned above, Lewis would count for $4.4M. Seattle then could take back $4.4M*1.15 + $100K or $5.2M. Fizer ($2.95M) and Crawford ($2.03M) total $4.98M so the trade works from Seattle's end.
The maximum the Bulls could take back would be $4.98M*1.15 + $100K or $5.8M, so that is the maximum that the Bulls could pay Lewis.
The vast majority of sign-and-trades that have been mentioned for Lewis, especially those involving Houston, would not work because of the BYC player issues.
"Suggesting that the Bulls use the mid-level exception on Williams makes me wonder how much guys like Ford know about the NBA. Perhaps he was just suggesting using part of the mid-level exception, but paying anything over the million dollar exception ($1.4M) for Williams would be overpaying, given his age and injury history."
Hans Christian Ford knows little and has beem making up things ever since I first read him.
Although Ford is an idiot, there are a few points on which I agree...
"Fizer still has upside, but he has no future on the Bulls now that Chandler and Curry are running the show. The Bulls' attempt to turn him into a small forward was a joke. He could, however, give the Sonics that inside muscle they had hoped Vin Baker would bring. "
I would like to keep Crawford, but I'm kind of a Crawford fan and I KNOW he'd succeed in Seattle as well as he would on the Bulls, except that he could receive mentor training from GP. But Fizer fits in well with the Sonics need for frontcourt scoring and toughness, and so a Fizer+Craw trade to the Sonics for someone isn't so horrible.
Who would we get besides Lewis? Mason and Drobnjak? No thanks... but who, then?
Chad Ford is a gigantic idiot, though the evidence for that lies more in his writings throughout the year than in this particular article. My take: If there's any team out there that considers Marcus Fizer "inside muscle", let's pull the trigger on a trade immediately. He has muscle, and he sometimes stands around in the paint. Unfortunately for Marcus, that does not equal inside muscle. He might have a bright future playing for somebody, but not for us. He belongs on a team like Miami or San Antonio. A team with defense to spare, in need of a guy who can create his own shot and find a way to put points on the board when the offense stalls. Our guys aren't good enough to constantly cover up Fizer's mistakes on D, and we already have a guy (Jalen) who can create for himself when the offense breaks down, and with JWill, we've got another guy like that coming in.
How about Fizer and Best for Mike Miller and some cap filler?