My Man Sam(tm) needs a new Monday tradition, since his weekly trade-Eddy-Curry column is now obsolete.
It's good to have the crusty old guy back weekly for the season, even if it means ideas like this:
Big guard, plays defense, can score. Yes, the Bulls need that guy after being burned in consecutive games for 28 apiece from the shooting guards. OK, one was Vince Carter in the loss Saturday to the Nets. But the Bobcats' Gerald Wallace? Plus, how about that 23-4 rebounding deficit in the starting backcourt against the Nets?
No one is the face of evil in the NBA more than Sprewell, whether it's from the P.J. Carlisimo choking incident or the infamous comment that he needed to feed his family when the Timberwolves offered him a $7 million annual contract down from $14 million. He's still unemployed and in need of late-career resurrection, so presumably he'd come cheaply. But would he destroy the team? Hey, we once thought Dennis Rodman could. So how bad is Sprewell? I asked the NBA's Mr. Nice Guy, former teammate Fred Hoiberg, now a Timberwolves assistant.
"Spree was a great teammate," insisted Hoiberg. "People, unfortunately, see the bad part, and maybe it's his fault because he gives the impression he doesn't care [what people think]. But he's a guy who had lunch catered for the team every day. He's the kind of guy who'll do anything for a teammate. He's very personable. His main objective is winning. He feeds off people yelling at him. Playoff time, he takes his game to another level. The true judge of a person is what Mark Madsen thinks of you, and Mark said he's one of the best teammates he's ever had. He'll make a great teammate for whoever picks him up."
Oh, the ole' Dennis Rodman argument, an excuse for every nutcase to make an appearance in Chicago (and if you are lucky enough to listen to talk radio there was a bunch of 'T.O. to the Bears' advocates with this very argument).
I appreciate that Sam went to Hoidberg and got a first-hand account on Sprewell the teammate, but it really isn't that what worries me, it's Sprewell the player. (The BBallBlog pokes fun at the Mark Madsen comment)
As simply a role player, Sam is right: Sprewell could bring value to the Bulls as a defender and scorer (albeit an inefficient one). I have the feeling he'd take far too many shots seeing a roster filled with young players who don't yet have his 'status'. Even a crunch-time savant like Ben Gordon probably would be passed over by a Sprewell who likely still views himself as the player he was in 1999.
This is a guy who last season thought a a proposed 3yr, $27m extension was an insult. It's possible that Sprewell has gained some humility from not being signed thus far by any NBA team. However, I think it's nearly equally as likely that he'd take any audition from a team like the Bulls as an opportunity to show up those who passed over him by putting up gaudy point totals at the expense of the overall team offense.
Bulls fans went through a similar situation with Jalen Rose: a good player thinking he's a superstar. And for a reminder, check out Scott from Raptorblog (where I learned my keen headline-writing skills), who's going through the same thing now that Rose has taken it upon himself to 'lead' Scott's Raptors.
Jalen is paid like a superstar, and the media seems to treat him like a superstar (probably because he gives them great quotes) but he's far from that level in reality. Watching Jalen try to take on Vince Carter one-on-one last night would be humorous if I wasn't a Raptors fan. "Oh, isn't that cute! He thinks he's Vince's equal!"
Since I am a Raptors fan, Jalen's delusions of grandeur are the furthest thing from funny.
I can't see anything different happening if the Bulls signed Latrell Sprewell.