Ask Sam | Sam Smith opens his mailbag | 03.07.2014

Every Friday, Sam Smith of Bulls.com opens his Ask Sam mailbag and responds to the latest round of emails from his readers

I was reading an article on ESPN recently and in the article (it read) that all the Bulls need to do to get Carmelo Anthony is amnesty Boozer and trade away Dunleavy, but I thought that it was much more complex than that. Because looking at the Bulls payroll as is, for next season they are at 63M, which is right at the cap, maybe a little over. So if they amnesty Boozer and trade away Dunleavy for nothing, that gets them to about 44-45M. But now wouldn't they have to set aside 6M for 2 likely 1st round draft picks, plus then have 2M in cap phantoms eaten into their payroll, leaving them with only 10M to offer Anthony, not to mention having to renounce the rights to their FAs and not able to bring over Mirotic. I personally don't want the Bulls to sign Anthony. I think we could be title contenders with Mirotic, and a healthy team. I really think if Asik was healthy in the 2011 ECF, the Bulls knock off Miami. The Bulls gave Miami a lot of trouble with their bigs when Rose was healthy. Miami had no answer for our big men.

Gaurav Garg

Sam: You certainly are ruining your chances of working at ESPN. The “Noah recruits Melo at All-Star” was the Anthony rumor of the week. Is it July already? Yes, we’ve got four months of these coming. But you are correct. It’s a lot more than the breezy summary ESPN offered. But when ESPN promotes something, it gets attention; they are great at that and we all do watch. They do say Entertainment before Sports in their name. Anyway, Anthony can sign with the Knicks this summer for $129 million; the maximum the Bulls or any free agency team could offer would be a four-year deal worth about $96 million. But the Bulls would need to be $22.5 million below the cap for that amount of about $33 million less to be paid Anthony. The Bulls without Dunleavy have about $42.5 million committed next season to Noah, Rose, Gibson, Butler and Tony Snell. The cap is expected to rise to about $62 million from the current $58 million. If you also gave away Snell you’d be close to that $22 million base salary. But it would require an amnesty for Boozer, releasing Hinrich and Augustin, trading both your first round draft picks for future draft picks and telling Nikola Mirotic you are not interested this summer. So then you basically are trading Augustin, Hinrich, Dunleavy, Boozer, Snell and two first rounders for Anthony. And Anthony still could not get that full $96 million because you have cap holds for roster spots as you have to have placeholders up to 12 on your roster and the Bulls would have just four players other than Anthony.

I'm sure you've seen the latest speculative reports saying Noah recruited Melo during All-Star weekend. I know it's still a long shot, but let's say Melo signs (after the Bulls have amnestied Boozer and traded away Dunleavy or Taj). This leaves no money for Mirotic. I'm not quite sure how the mid-level cap exceptions work. I know it's probably not enough money anyway, but would the Bulls have a mid-level cap exception to offer Mirotic then? Since he's only under Bulls rights, why couldn't the Bulls offer more money and go above the cap and pay the luxury?

Jon Leong

Sam: One reason Mirotic has not come yet other than being young is he didn’t want to be limited by the rookie scale for a low first round pick (salary about $1.5 million) when he can make more than that in Europe. He has a buyout this summer and indications are he’d like to come to the NBA. It obviously depends a lot on economics with what the Bulls do. If they keep Boozer and remain over the salary cap, they could offer him their exception which starts about $5 million now. But he has a substantial buyout estimated around $3 million. He has no buyout in 2015. The tricky part is he might not want the exception. But if the Bulls amnesty Boozer and got below the salary cap they’d have enough to offer Mirotic more than a $5 million starting salary to cover his buyout and pay him a larger salary. If the Bulls were to clear out their roster to pursue Anthony, clubs in Spain which have some money could tell Mirotic they want him and the NBA doesn’t and he could sign a long term deal to stay in Europe. Though no one truly knows his preferences now. When you are below the cap to sign free agents you can only go up to the cap. When you are above, you can only use the mid-level exception of about $5 million. You get well into the tax in trades that take on future salary and Bird exception players you have whom you can sign above the cap.

ESPN is now reporting that Noah is trying to recruit Carmelo Anthony. I have no problems with that and I personally think Melo would be great for the Bulls. I know that it is unrealistic, but it brought to mind a topic that I have heard a lot this season. Butler was great last year in the playoffs when he was playing SF with Deng out. The Bulls now are starting him at the SG. I have heard a lot about Jimmy being moved back to SF where he is at his best. If Melo came then it would only make sense that Jimmy has to stay at the SG position. Can you explain, other than size, what exactly the difference in the position is that commentators are saying Butler should be a SF and not a SG?

Alec Fowler

Sam: Butler isn’t a great outside shooter to space the court. But Anthony is. As the positions are somewhat interchangeable it would not be a big issue. The larger issue with Anthony would be character. And I’m not saying he’s a bad person at all. In fact, by all accounts he seems to be a solid teammate and good in the community. But he basically begs the Knicks to trade for him and they decimate their roster to do so, including this year’s first round pick. They have one bad season and he walks out on them? After all, they were a second round playoff team last season and were a play or two away from forcing a seventh game against the Pacers. So they have one poor season and he walks out on them after all they gave up under his pleas? And then he’d have the Bulls basically blow up half their roster to accommodate him so he can make his $70 million or $80 million and then be congratulated for “taking less” while four or five Bulls who worked so hard the last two seasons are sacrificed along with two first round draft picks so Anthony can have a better chance to be with a winning team? Of course, you’d also have to make a lot of these moves in clearing space before Anthony could sign with you.

I’m weary of all the stories about “I just want to win a championship” from the superstars. As the movie says, Show me the money!! It’s hard for the 99% of us to understand this. What is inter-generational wealth? $20-40 million invested, making money for the next generation? These guys all pay high taxes so let’s say they keep 40% of the gross. Then expenses: agents, staffers, hanger-ons; probably take another 20%. They have remaining 20% of what the contract was for. I won’t get into life styles because it’s not my business. Not that any of this is actually. Take Lu, because I wish he was still here. $70 million contract. He keeps about $14 million.... over 5 years. He clearly doesn’t need a tag day but are his great grandchildren taken care of? A dilemma I don’t have to worry about but real to him. This doesn’t even address the whole mismanagement of finances that some of these guys fall into. So next time someone says, hey Carmelo, take a $50 million pay cut and play for team X, it may not be that easy of a decision for him. Money or rings?? Fame or family? The superstars decisions are not that simple. Except for Tim Duncan.

Greg Young

Sam: True, there aren’t many Duncans. Or Spurs. But it’s a point that doesn’t much gets considered with all the ridiculous sums of money that are too much for any of us to grasp. Of course, you can’t understand when it seems like $200,000 is quite enough even for a rich guy to live on what’s the problem with signing for $75 million. But you get to some of the real issues rich people face. How about the bankers getting huge bonuses amidst bankruptcies that were requiring government bailouts to save the economy? You didn’t see many giving up those bonuses. There are huge taxes, and for all that LeBron and Wade took less stuff, they went to a non-state tax state and made up most of that. Illinois isn’t, as we here know. There are so many more expenses for even the responsible ones. But the other big factor is the advisors and agents who make their money based on what these guys make. They do not like the big contracts to be a lot smaller as then their take is less. And then they end up losing clients as other agents (it is a shark pool) come in and point out how much less they took because of their guy and how much better they can do for them. Plus, when you sign a star for under market it’s difficult to then market yourself to the next client showing him how much you got for your guy. Plus, players compete this way. There is no guarantee of winning, and certainly not against LeBron James. But then you also are measured by what you make, and Anthony will hear plenty of talking of how much less he makes than other stars, that the Lakers are going for Love, say, and offering him a maximum and the Knicks are going for Durant, say and offering him a maximum, and you, Melo, are signing for much less. Much less than Chris Bosh as well. There’s a lot of ego involved in these things and a lot of pressure from financial advisors and much of it involves not allowing yourself to be shortchanged because the money is a symbol and reflects also what they think of you, they are told. It’s not that easy to say you’ll give up maybe $50 million for a hunch that you have a better chance of success somewhere else. And those players where you are going better stay healthy because this is your last long term contract as you turn 30 in May.

What do you think of these pro journalists discussing the Bulls pursuit of Carmelo Anthony? Is it hot air meant to pass time & get attention - not to be taken seriously?

Long Giangle

Sam: Free agency and trade possibilities always are a favorite sports pastime, so it’s generally expected and accepted. When it’s a New York player it’s louder because of the larger-than-anywhere-else media. Obviously we got another dose of this with the latest “recruitment” rumor. I’m still assuming Anthony resigns as the Knicks can make a persuasive case of getting back into contention with a new coach, adding a good free agent with the mid-level exception, keeping Tyson Chandler and one of their young guys, like Tim Hardaway Jr., and then after next season being able to pursue any free agent as Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani come off the books along with Chandler. And with all three expiring contracts and the Knicks one of the franchises least concerned with payroll, perhaps they persuade someone this summer to take Stoudemire or Bargnani and add Iman Shumpert to a deal and get back a longer term deal a team wants to move for financial reasons, maybe like the Pelicans’ Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans.

Watching this Knicks game, I can't help but think that if Carmelo Anthony gave a damn about winning a title, he'd sign with the Bulls for a minimum max contract around $15 mil /year - a la James, Wade, Bosh - and join a team built to win now - while leaving it intact. Given how irreparably awful the Knicks seem to be, do you see any chance for this? Or is he really more concerned with the location of the team he plays for, making tens of millions nonetheless?

Brian Jackson

Sam: You blame him for not pursuing winning. But is changing teams every time you have a bad season (he won 54 games last season) not pursuing winning? Would it be guaranteed with the Bulls not knowing for sure the health status of Derrick Rose, who wouldn’t play again until after Anthony had to sign. If you were Anthony, would you give up that much on a gamble? Anthony gets a lot of criticism, but I like him as a player and hardly see him as a loser. He’s been on NCAA and Olympic winning teams. His basic problem is when he came into the NBA the publicity machines decided it was the next Magic and Bird. LeBron is one of those; he isn’t. He’s a terrific scorer more in the mold of players like Bernard King or Dominique Wilkins or Bob McAdoo, league leading scorers not good enough to carry a team. They all are in the Hall of Fame. None won titles as a leading man. Anthony is never in trouble; he’s not an embarrassment to the league or his team. He shows up every game and competes hard. No, he isn’t a natural passing or defending. But he’ll try. He needs to be a team’s second best player; maybe third. The problem is there aren’t too many better—certainly not at scoring—or that he can get in a place like that. He’d be amazing playing with LeBron or Durant or, yes, Rose. But Rose when he was MVP. We all think Rose can be close to that again. But how could Anthony when he hasn’t seen Rose play in two years? And how could the Bulls take the chance of basically cutting half their regulars and then hope, like Tracy McGrady did at the last minute, that Anthony doesn’t opt to go somewhere else or stay in New York? It’s unfair to brand Anthony only about money in a world where I see very few employees taking less money so they can see their company be more successful. Trading for Anthony doesn’t much get mentioned. Would the Knicks risk losing him for nothing? The theory goes they’d have to get something. Obviously, the Bulls aren’t trading Noah. Would they take Boozer and others to match salary with just one year left for Boozer and say three firsts, this season’s two and a future and the rights to Mirotic? It would be a tough sell to a New York audience as none are lottery picks, and maybe Mirotic doesn’t want to play in New York. Don’t you just call Anthony’s bluff, if he is bluffing, and see if he’ll take $50 million less somewhere else or go to Dallas or Charlotte? Hey, never say never in the NBA, right? Again, with four months to go this is just the beginning of many more sourced stories to come. Isn’t it great!

You continue to dismiss the Carmelo Anthony rumors, even as current Bulls players recruit him (Noah) and it's becoming increasingly clear that he's very interested in Chicago. I'm confused as to why you're having such a hard time digesting this notion - the Bulls have the assets to engage in S&T talks with NY for Melo (Multitude of 1st round picks, 2015 expiring contracts in Boozer & Dunleavy, and potentially even the rights to Mirotic to close the deal). And the Bulls would be better off dumping salary (Dunleavy & Gibson) if that's what it takes to land Melo. If you have the opportunity to field a team of Rose, Butler, Noah & Melo, you seize it. That group right there has more potential than any combo they're looking at if they decide to go with Mirotic and a few draft picks this summer…. stars win - the idea is the pair stars with stars and that's why getting Melo is a must.

Ryan Jody

Sam: I’m not a believer you destroy your team for a “star” not named LeBron or Durant. I have often written I’m a fan of Anthony’s and I don’t see him as loser or ball hog like many do. I just see this scenario unrealistic given how much the Bulls have to do on spec and how much Anthony has to give up financially with little indication he’d do so and with any personal certainty about the health status of Derrick Rose. I’m dubious about this “recruiting” thing. Players always ask each other about playing for their coach or team or what it’s like. Making “come play with us” small talk isn’t quite recruiting. Plus, the Knicks basically never in their history have traded All-Star talent for future considerations. As I’ve often noted, I think any team would love to have Anthony. But they’d also love to have LeBron. It just seems so unrealistic, though it does leave me a lot to write about. Which is not all bad.

What place do you see the Bulls finishing in? Who will they play in the first round of playoffs?

Devan Damji

Sam: Obviously, it’s much too soon to even have a good idea, though the teams seem to be spacing out. The Heat and Pacers will be one/two. The Raptors, Bulls, Wizards and Nets seem like they’ll be three through six, which avoids a first round matchup with either Indiana or Miami. Charlotte seems like it should grab one of the last two playoff spots as long as Al Jefferson remains healthy. The Hawks have the other one and seem like they should hold on as long as Paul Millsap gets back before long. The Cavs would seem to have the best chance to jump one of them given the way Kyrie Irving has played and their overall talent, but they have a tough Western Conference road trip coming up that could bury them. Toronto has played the most consistently of the middle group and seems to have the best schedule. I see the Bulls in fourth or fifth with a first round matchup with the Wizards, who’d be a tough first round opponent with their athletic backcourt. My guess is the Bulls would rather see the Nets again with their lack of size even with that loss in Brooklyn last week.

What are the chances Noah gets enough votes to make some noise for MVP voting? I'm firmly in the camp that MVP truly means most valuable player, not best player in the league. By that measure, who is truly more valuable? I certainly think the Thunder would be buried in the West standings without Durant. Dragic with Phoenix and Curry with the Warriors make sense to me, but all would be on par or behind Noah in my opinion. With all due respect to LeBron, the Heat would likely be the 2nd best team in the East without him. Would you vote for Noah?

Bob Hobaves

Sam: I entertained this thought in my pregame story from Brooklyn Monday as there was a boomlet of Noah discussion after his big game against the Knicks Sunday. It’s obviously something we would have dismissed even before the season not only with an MVP on the roster in Derrick Rose but Noah just grateful to be an All-Star reserve. And even mid-season when the TNT studio hosts were picking their All-Star reserves, the majority didn’t even have Noah on that list. I agree MVP isn’t exclusively the league’s best player because then you’d just give it to LeBron every year, which may happen, anyway. I see the award as an alchemy of best player having a best season combined with importance to the team and the team having a strong season. Traditionally, MVPs don’t come from middle of the pack teams, so appropriately it should be between James and Kevin Durant this season. I’m still leaning toward Durant as I also like to spread it around if it’s close because there is no one standard. The question for Noah is whether he gets in the top five, which is MVP consideration. I probably don’t have him quite that high yet, though the impressive thing is you can make a case for him there. And coming into this season you’d be laughed at to suggest it. It depends on how the Bulls season plays out. But if the team gets to 50 wins, he’d be a contender for three, four or five.

If Noah keeps playing the way he is playing and the Bulls are the 3 seed in the playoffs, what do you think the chances are of Noah being defensive player of the year?

Matthew Hallock

Sam: There’s been a season long notion that the Pacers’ Roy Hibbert should be Defensive Player of the Year. I don’t see it. It’s a non-thinking vote based on sort of Greek logic: The Pacers have the best opponent shooting percentage defensively, ergo, they must be the best defensive team and then Hibbert as their center must be the best defensive player. He’s a fine rim protector as a shot blocker. But he’s so immobile you can get him out of position with movement, and he doesn’t come out on the court that well to help. I have him as the Pacers’ third best defender. I’d have Noah ahead of him, though that Defensive Player of the Year has somehow morphed into best defensive center. It shouldn’t be.

What are your thoughts on Thibodeau remaining as coach? I know he has three years left; however, given the friction between he and Gar, it seems like something has to give?

Joe Rychalsky

Sam: I thought we’d dealt with this enough and John Paxson addressed it recently on radio as ridiculous, but I guess with the Bulls on national TV playing the Knicks it must have come up again. Thibodeau has a long term contract. He loves coaching the Bulls and loves Chicago. He talks often about how grateful he is for the opportunity. The Bulls are committed to Thibodeau and there never has been any serious issue beyond the usual coaching considerations that differ from management’s. It’s epidemic in the NBA: The coach always wants a better player for today’s game and the general manager has to plan as well for the future, especially when you aren’t on a title track, as the Bulls don’t seem to be this season. There’s a lot of speculation the rumors came out of New York to try to drive a wedge between Thibodeau and the Bulls because the Knicks may fire their coach again. It you see Thibodeau joking with Forman or Paxson before games, as he often does, you’d be embarrassed sending me this email.

Point guard, shmoint guard. Who needs a point guard, when you have point center? Have not seen such a good passing center, since… well since Boerwinkle. And that is saying something. Is this surge of assists from Noah planned by Thibs?
Will it continue? Personally I miss the center based passing attack of Boerwinkle.

Craig Dillon

Sam: More Bulls old school. The NBA obviously is very different these days with the perimeter oriented offenses, which makes the Bulls different and some advantage as teams don’t see a player like Noah in any other games. But there have been some terrific passing centers. I mentioned Bill Walton last week as the best and I’ve never heard anyone suggest anyone was better. Some say Arvydas Sabonis was more creative, though almost as good. You read when Noah got those 14 assists that Sam Lacey last did it, and he never comes up. Vlade Divac was terrific and Noah admits he learned much of what he does from Brad Miller. And a year ago if you asked anyone in the NBA the best passing center they’d have said Marc Gasol. It’s something that’s evolved with the Bulls as Thibodeau is good at taking advantage of what the players do well.

After watching the Knicks game (and being stunned by the player Joakim Noah has become), I just wanted to drop a quick line and say I was wrong. I pushed the notion that blowing the whole team up was the only course of action. Turns out, this has been one of the most fun seasons to watch in recent memory, and while we may be destined to lose in the conference semis, I bet we manage to give the Heat a good go for 6 games or so.

Matthew Weber

Sam: Again, it’s a long way to the second round, but you were hardly alone in your tanking demands. Though you are one of the few willing to acknowledge it was perhaps an overreaction. How do you think they are enjoying this season in Philadelphia? And after they win 18 games after this draft another one like it. You never want to forfeit a season with less than you can deliver because it also stains you as someone willing to be a loser and accept losing. Someone loses. If there are 30 teams, someone finishes 30th no matter how good they may be. Twenty nine just are better. But you always owe it to yourself not to quit on a season or a game or any single day. There’s always something to be gained by trying harder and giving your best at anything you attempt. You can find a heck of a season out of the misery of November and December. There’s more to basketball than the title and more to life than being with the best looking guy or girl in the room. One of the best things the Bulls do is pursue mostly high character people. When you do, like with Noah, you don’t create an atmosphere where losing is accepted even one day. So those of us around the team knew it wasn’t feasible and not going to occur. Which is why you heard it more on TV and radio. Sure, it’s a strategy and it’s been employed. But there’s so much luck involved you may as well play Power Ball as well. You hire competitors, and if you are able to tank away a season you don’t have the people around with whom you can ever win.

It's nice to see some national appreciation for Joakim Noah's game these past few weeks. He appears to be dominating with rebounds, defense, and assists, with scoring sprinkled in. I am too young to have seen Bill Russell, but it has been said that he just did what it takes to win, including tipping blocks to himself instead of into the 5th row. Not to be blasphemous, but it seems the same can be said of Noah the way he tries to do whatever it takes to win, including often saving the ball to extend a play. Both appear to affect the game without prolific scoring. So what is the difference in Noah's game from Russell, aside from Russell being mentioned among the greatest of all time?

Scott Katschke

Sam: I have seen every game Noah has played for the Bulls and have been pleased to see his amazing growth and even wrote a story this week about him as maybe even a top five MVP candidate. But in comparison with Bill Russell I’d only say the only time they are in the same sentence is to say, Joakim Noah is no Bill Russell.

Let me apologize for jumping the gun earlier this year regarding "Bulls tanking." I was obviously wrong about a few things concerning the Bulls although I felt the premise was correct. That said, Thibs has dramatically improved his game day coaching this year. It is much better and further along than I expected it would be. I felt as though he was handcuffed by his own maniacal ways and Type "A-ness" in his approach. He has shown much better ability to adapt this year. This has been pleasant to watch. Earlier in the season they were boring, slow, and predictable. They've sped up the game, they get easier buckets, they are playing more freely, and it is enjoyable.

Greg Mendel

Sam: Ok, two fans admit they were wrong. About Thibs: He hasn’t changed. He does change his socks, I believe, but he doesn’t change much. He’s coached the same way. Noah missing training camp set him back and they never were able to get into his offense. You’ll recall Noah basically never having a healthy full season until now. Gibson also missed much of last season with injuries and being slowed. Plus, he’s made himself a better post player with offseason work. Same with Jimmy Butler, who also was out quite a bit early in the season. As was Kirk Hinrich. Thibs has a full team now, and if they aren’t quite Lakers’ Showtime, they can score and the better pace is more due to players actually able to run better.

After following the Bulls all year, I've noticed that Jimmy Butler is the glue for this team. His stats might not show it, but whenever he misses a game the team isn't the same.

Waqas Suleiman

Sam: This excess of glue makes things sticky. We know Lu was glue. Noah certainly has to be the way he holds the team together. And then there’s trainers Fred Tedeschi and Jeff Tanaka, who have the tape for the ankles. As we know with the Bulls, it’s a sum greater than its parts, a team in the true sense. So all the parts are vital. You wouldn’t want to see them without Noah. Gibson’s development has been a story of the season. Jimmy has been terrific, especially the way he rebounds for a guard and disrupts plays with steals. He’s one of the best I’ve seen because of his competitiveness never giving up on plays and when he makes a mistake hustling back to disrupt the fast break or next possession. His shooting obviously still needs work, but he’s getting to the line better than ever of late. The Bulls sure would have a problem if they had an Elmer on the team.

I know you have been getting a flurry of Carmelo to Chicago questions but I think they would be giving up too much to get him. We would have to give up Taj, Boozer, A Draft Pick, & Dunleavy. Who would play PF & we would have to try to fill out the bench with veteran minimum players. I say amnesty Boozer, bring over Nikola Mirotic, try to resign D.J., Captain Kirk, & Jimmer (if we can afford them), try to sign Stephenson, & draft a wing & center with our pick & the pick from Charlotte.

Johnny Hunter

Sam: The Bulls cannot do all that, and as I explained above there are some scenarios that don’t involve releasing Gibson if Anthony will sign for less money. The larger point is we are going to see loads of wild rumors given it is four months to go and all this is going on already. And that it appears the Bulls are coming into all this with an open mind because transactions and players you never considered might become available can and you have to be flexible enough to react. I suspect that’s their priority for now.

Last season we saw an exciting playoff run, with the help of Nate Robinson and Marco. I and many other Bulls fans were upset to see them go and not be resigned. I see another exciting player in DJ Augustin and another exciting scorer in Jimmer. I think these two are likely to put on a show in the post-season, but what are the chances of seeing them being resigned? D.J. in particular?

Josh Sherrin

Sam: Does it matter with the point guard whisperer, Thibs? If Augustin were to be offered a starting job somewhere it would be tough to tell him not to take it. But he likes Chicago and is grateful for having gotten the opportunity. The Bulls also are grateful for how well he’s played. But, again, there are so many other possibilities that to even speculate now is premature.

I may be the only one who doesn't want Carlos amnestied and do not want Carmelo. Look, why do we have to blow this team up? I don't know too much about Mirotic but I feel this team deserve another chance to win it all. Look all we need is another veteran small forward to put Dunleavy back on the bench. Go after Marion in Dallas or Richard Jefferson who looks rejuvenated in Utah, give them a one year and see how that works. Then, we will be able to resign Augustine and Captain Kirk. With a team like this you don't think " They call him Mr. Thibs" could win with a team like this?! I love this team and just want us to win.

Jackie Lane

Sam: I’ve actually gotten a lot of pro Boozer don’t amnesty him emails of late. Although he had that little burp with wanting to play more late in games, he’s again settled into his role, and, after all, they remain a top three defensive team and he still starts and have led after the first quarter in most of their games. Boozer remains a big part of the team and his rebounding has been important. When I hear so many suggesting to amnesty Boozer let Taj go and forget Mirotic for now to pursue Anthony it would basically turn the Bulls into what they haven’t been, a poor rebounding team with a tough time defending being so small.

Noah is probably the only one who has a legit chance from the bulls to get defensive player of the year since it normally goes to bigs, I feel Hinrich and butler should at least be considered. Is it a crazy statement to say we have the best defenders in the league at all three of those positions? I can’t think of anybody at those positions who are better than those three. If you had to pick the Bulls' DPOY to this point, who would it be? I can’t decide.

Brandon Revering

Sam: You probably have to leave out Hinrich because of playing time, but those three have been among the best defenders at their positions this season. You’re right that the coaches who vote this won’t vote three. I’d probably go with Noah, though less that he’s a center but the way he can switch and defend on the perimeter as well, which basically no other center does.

Is there anything in the rule book that would prevent a NBA player from buying out a player from another leagues contract? I am asking could Derrick Rose 'gift' Mirotic money to get out of his current contract and make it more feasible that he comes next season? Easy for me to say because it’s not my money and ignorant fan logic that he owes it to 'us.'

Atif Hasan

Sam: Actually, you could chip in to buy out his contract as you probably owe it to the Bulls for all the pleasure their games have given you. If you’d like I’ll send you my address and you can send me the money to hold.

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