The Other Side: Chicago Bulls


Hey, Kirk, when do you think we should tell Tyrus that we sold his seat to the guy with the cane? Never, Luol. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)


Since the Chicago Bulls beat the Washington Wizards, 117-110, on Dec. 6, they have had some serious bad luck while eating. First, rookie-of-the-year favorite Derrick Rose cut himself while eating an apple in bed (that's his story, and he's sticking to it). Former Wizard Larry Hughes had the best quote on the incident: "Mama always said, 'Don't eat in bed.'"

Then, at the end of December, Hughes, Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas ate in the locker room before a Dec. 31 game against Orlando. They broke new Coach Vinny Del Negro's team rule -- which the players claimed they didn't know -- and were fined for conduct detrimental team. The incident led Chicago Tribune columnist Rick Morrissey to write that Noah, who has had several dustups in his short stint with the Bulls, has to go.

The Bulls (15-20) are coming off a 99-94 win against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, a victory that followed a disappointing stretch of six losses in seven games, with the losses by an average of 12.1 points. The Bulls have their share of problems with injuries and inconsistency this season, but they have been pretty decent at United Center, where they are 11-5 this season.

Here is what you should know about the Bulls heading into the tonight's game:

1. Hughes Wants Out
Less than a year after arriving from Cleveland, Larry Hughes is already asking to be traded. The Bulls are looking to deal him, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. Although he reluctantly "deals" with a sixth-man role, Larry Hughes doesn't accept it and still believes he should be getting starters' minutes. He has started just five games and is averaging 26.8 minutes -- the lowest since his rookie season in Philadelphia -- and that isn't enough. Bet he's rooting for point guard Kirk Hinrich to come back real soon from his thumb injury, huh? Despite his reduction in minutes, Hughes is still producing 12 points, three rebounds and two assists -- almost identical numbers as last season, when he started 57 of his 68 games with Chicago and Cleveland.

2. Drew Gooden Is Back, Others on the Way
The Bulls are finally starting to get healthy again. After missing the previous eight games with a sprained right ankle, DeShawn Stevenson's bearded brother, forward Drew Gooden, returned to have 18 points and 10 rebounds against Sacramento. Forward Luol Deng (sprained right ankle) thought he'd be back for Friday's game against the Wizards, but he had to change those plans after developing some soreness in practice on Thursday. Hinrich, who has been out two months because of thumb surgery, has started practicing. The Bulls haven't had a full roster at any point this season, and it's unclear whether having a healthy team will help or hurt the Bulls, especially with Hinrich joining an already crowded backcourt.

3. Ben Gordon Keeps on Shooting
After taking a step backward last season when he was mentioned in trade rumors and playing for a contract, Ben Gordon is back to producing the way he did in 2006-07 -- when the Bulls advanced to the second round of the playoffs. Gordon is averaging a team-leading 21 points and shooting 45 percent from the floor after failing to sign a long-term deal last summer and settling for a one-year qualifying offer. Gordon will become a free agent this summer, but he hasn't ruled out returning. He recently passed Scottie Pippen as the franchise's career-leader in three-pointers made. Gordon has 680 threes in 351 games with the Bulls. Pippen had 664 in 856 games with the Bulls.


This has absolutely nothing do with the current Bulls, but I stumbled upon this video of Michael Jordan and his mother, Deloris, and I haven't stopped laughing. It's funny because it's so absurd. I don't want to give away what happens because I want you to check it out:


By Michael Lee |  January 9, 2009; 2:18 PM ET
Previous: How Bad Is Too Bad for Phoenix? | Next: Eddie Jordan Stays Cool on NBA TV

Comments

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Isn't it a shame how the NBA sells so many seats the coaches and players don't have the best seats in the house to see the game?

Then I see families with little kids, and you know it's a profanity fest next to so coaches. it's an absurd approach to the sport, selling tickets to sit on the bench or displacing the teams to sell tickets.

Posted by: oknow1 | January 9, 2009 2:39 PM

"While high-caliber big men having been moving around the league, Ernie has been too chicken to make a real move to get one and contend for a championship."

Seriously, which do you think is more likely: That Grunfled is literally afraid to make a deal to get a quality big man or that he doesn't have anything anyone would want in return for one.

And who, exactly, are these "high-caliber big men" who've been bouncing so freely around the NBA lately?

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 9, 2009 10:02 AM

Tier 1 - Pau Gasol, Kevin Garnett

Tier 2 - Elton Brand, Ron Artest, Zach Randolph, Shaq, Al Jefferson

To name just a few. Obviously some of these guys (Shaq) are past their prime, but would still be an upgrade in the post than anyone we've got.

And no, I don't think Ernie really tried. I think he and Abe Pollin were chicken of the luxury tax. I think they prefer to have "fine upstanding citizens" as opposed to rolling the dice on talent like Randolph or Artest.

I've NEVER heard even a rumor about the Wiz sniffing around any of these guys; nor do I even hear rumors about the Wiz looking to position themselves to make a run at someone like Boozer or Bosh in the year(s) to come.

I "literally" think that Grunie/Pollin already know that a healthy Arenas is going to fill the seats. I "literally" think that the Wiz have been so mediocre for so long, that the brass is content to give us a streaky All-star and a couple of playoff appearances and expect us (fans) to be OK with that b/c it's better than what we've had in a while.

Posted by: p1funk | January 9, 2009 2:53 PM

TRADE THE POET AND DESHAWN FOR LARRY!!!!!

Posted by: insanity999 | January 9, 2009 3:03 PM

I know Blatche is getting a bad rap on some of the regulars here but I can't notice but compare him to Tyrus Thomas. Thomas was drafted I believe in the top 5 of the draft and was rated highly (miles away from AB) getting into the draft. I remember that he was once considered to be number one. Their stats are not far apart. So if choosing your PF, who will you choose TT or AB?

Posted by: Dave381 | January 9, 2009 3:15 PM

p1funk,

We had no chance at getting KG or Gasol, and you know it. KG wanted a ring. Gasol, we didn't have what Memphis wanted in return. Namely the biggest expiring contract they could find.

Brand is a walking injury, Artest (in addition to not being a big man - he's a 3) is a headcase, as is Randolph, Shaq we had no chance on (wants more rings), and Al Jefferson was a chip in the KG deal, so again no chance.

Let's get realistic. The only real way to get a quality big man in this league is to draft and develop him yourself. Or to be a perennial contender. And of course it helps to have 'Lakers' or 'Celtics' somewhere in your team's name.

And on top of that, if you want a 'tier 1' big man, you have to have incredible timing and more than a smidge of luck. You need to have a rotten season the year before he enters the draft, and you need to get lucky on the ping pong balls.

So none of this can possibly be framed as a knock on EG. He has ensured that we kept a very serviceable big man (even when his coach wanted to get rid of said big man...), a serviceable backup, and on top of that, two draftees with high potential are currently being developed. Sure he misfired on one (Pech) but what do you want? Even Jesus (contrary to published reports) wasn't perfect, lol!

Posted by: jones-y | January 9, 2009 3:56 PM

pfunk, in order to trade for someone, you have to (A) have a reason for wanting them and (B) have something someone else wants.

Garnett: Traded for a young double-double producing big man playing at an All-Star level after only 3 NBA seasons. Do the Wiz have one of those? Nope.

Brand: Signed to a huge deal as a FA. The Wiz didn't have any FA money to spend, let alone the kind it would have taken to sign Brand. (And no, not re-signing Jamison would not have helped.)

Artest: Not a "big man."

Shaq: Acquiring Shaq at this point in his career only makes even a little sense for a team that thinks it's one player away from contending. Regardless of what he may say to the media, I give Ernie Grunfeld credit for having more sense than that.

Randolph: A stat-mongering cap killer with questionable work ethic and attitude, who's never done anything to improve any team he's ever played on. He's grotesquely overpaid (and often grotesquely overweight) and doesn't belong in the same sentence as those others.

Jefferson: Traded for a future first-ballot HoF big man. Do the Wizards have one of those? Nope.


The only possible exception is Gasol who was traded for an expiring contract. The Wizards had one in Jamison but it's an open question whether that trade would have really made the Wiz better. Gasol is a great second or third fiddle next to a true franchise superstar, but as a go-to guy his teams have always been underwhelming. Last I checked, no one of Kobe Bryant's caliber was leading the Wiz. But since, at the time of the trade, Jamison was the leading player on a Wiz team that was headed for the playoffs without Arenas and Gasol was the best plyer on a team that was headed straight to the lottery (again) that deal was hardly the no brainer people seem to want to make it out to be.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 9, 2009 4:20 PM

jones-y,

I'm sure EG said all of those things to himself and talked himself out of even trying. Instead he talked himself into offering a max contract to GA while he was still on crutches. Then we gave $50 million to a power forward that plays like a 2 guard. So while we hope that our "serviceable" big men continue to stay "serviceable"; or hope that JV turns into Tim Duncan - we will also get to watch Stoudemire, Bosh, and Boozer go to some other team that will end up better than us.

My question to you is simply this:

Let's say GA comes back the same. Let's say AJ drinks the fountain of youth. Do you see this roster winning a championship in the NBA as it currently stands?

Posted by: p1funk | January 9, 2009 4:38 PM

Let's say GA comes back the same. Let's say AJ drinks the fountain of youth. Do you see this roster winning a championship in the NBA as it currently stands?

Posted by: p1funk | January 9, 2009 4:38 PM

NO

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 9, 2009 4:53 PM

p1funk, regardless of what EG may have said to himself, he had no chance in making any of those deals except, as kal mentioned, the Gasol trade.

Championship? No. I think our best case scenario is to be competitive in the conference finals before losing 4-2.

"we will also get to watch Stoudemire, Bosh, and Boozer go to some other team"

I'm not quite sure how you're extrapolating your argument into these future results in such a way, but like any other GM, I'd expect EG to pick up the phone and inquire. If it doesn't happen, that doesn't mean EG did not do his job... In fact, we fans will have no way of knowing how hard EG did or did not attempt to get one of these guys when they come available.

Posted by: jones-y | January 9, 2009 4:57 PM

Let me ask you this. Would you consider Washington as a desirable destination for ANY of the big men we are discussing?

Posted by: jones-y | January 9, 2009 4:59 PM

"Let's say GA comes back the same. Let's say AJ drinks the fountain of youth. Do you see this roster winning a championship in the NBA as it currently stands?

Posted by: p1funk"

Depends on Blatche, McGee, McGuire, Young, and Crittenden. Gil, Caron, and AJ aren't the problem (at least when healthy). It's everyone else. Boston isn't/wasn't great because they had 3 all-stars. They were/are great because they have 7 other players that can go off on any given night.

All the Gil haters should know best, it's a team effort. No one or two superstars are going to lead any team to a title. It doesn't matter if you trade Gil for Kobe, he won't bring any more success until the guys around him step up and provide the same impact that the Lakers' reserves bring.

Posted by: psps23 | January 9, 2009 5:06 PM

All the Gil haters should know best, it's a team effort.

Posted by: psps23 | January 9, 2009 5:06 PM

Someone needs to explain to Gil that it's a team effort.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 9, 2009 5:20 PM

I want to see how larry hughes play tonight

Etan + deshawn for Larry Hughes

mybe we add Stowie or 09 high 2nd rd pick
to make reunion happen

think about all the steals we will get with Areanas Hughes Butler

Posted by: jahbless420 | January 9, 2009 7:58 PM

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