Actual game-watching is kind of in a funk right now, as the Bulls are taking care of business playing awful teams (continuing in Charlotte tonight), and since the performance is expected, the attention drifts to injuries and playing time more than performance.
But there's some off-court stuff that's piled up the past few days:
- Luol Deng, All-Star. Still sounds great. Sam Smith has the requisite schmaltzy ode to the long-time Bull, and though it has some questionable historical accuracy I quite enjoyed it. Kelly Dwyer has the same feelings I do on the matter, maybe Luol isn't the absolute most deserving, but he's fairly close to the others and I'm definitely happy he got the nod. The point is also made that while the Bulls are good enough to theoretically have 2 all-stars, their team strength is more of an absence of bad players than a top-heavy construct.
- If you need more reason for Luol Deng love, here was his Wednesday post-game anecdote for the Will Ferrell introductions, as told to Aggrey Sam of CSNChicago:
It's the 1st time I've ever seen Thibs smiling before a game...I told him (Thibs), 'Yo, let's be serious, man. You can't be smiling out hereI like this most because it further affirms that Thibs is a crazy-person. Also it's important to give extra cred to the Ferrell introductions as it mildly irked a Heat beat writer as the Jackie Moon character was based in Miami.
- Doug Thonus at Bulls Confidential brought up a possible wrinkle in the Deng selection:
When Luol Deng signed his extension years ago, he had incentives in the contract which could raise the total value to 80 million. While I don't believe those incentives have ever been spelled out, one of them was likely an all-star appearance.
It's quite possible this all-star appearance will cost the Bulls and put them into or near the luxury tax [also quite possible it will cost them nothing as I'm only guessing since the information hasn't been reported]. My belief is that if the Bulls were a Deng all-star appearance away from hitting the tax that they would have taken appropriate steps to waive Scalabrine/Lucas in order to get under it though as they're pretty thorough.
It's also worth noting that if he has an all-star incentive the fact that he made it this year means the incentive will officially be "likely" next season and therefore his cap number next year will start off higher.
- Another Bull hoping to head to All-Star Weekend is CJ Watson for the 3-point contest. I'd think Kyle Korver is a better bet, but CJ is certainly doing more work campaigning, which led to this interview by SBNation Chicago, part of their robust Bulls notebook post. There's also an accompanying podcast discussing the interview.
- Apparently this is old news to some, but I always wondered why there's been no All-Star Game in Chicago since 1988 (long before the United Center was even built), whereas Houston was just awarded their 2nd in 6 years. Melissa Isaascon, who has impressive access to Jerry Reinsdorf, received confirmation that Bulls ownership doesn't like how the league handles the ASG, and it's because he just loves his season ticket holders that much. Uh, ok.
- And here's your regular reminder that you want Dwight Howard on your side. (via TBJ)