No (serious) draft talk until the lottery next Tuesday. Before then, some quick subjective roster analysis before mulling over who can/will be dealt. First off, the guards:
Kirk Hinrich is probably the most untouchable (there are no true untouchables, of course) on the whole roster. While one of the captains this year, he will be looked on this coming season to be a true leader, hopefully to the point where the Bulls staff doesn't complain about the lack of fossils around the lead the team. I completely agreed with My Man Sam(tm) when he said recently "I think that leader in the locker room thing is overrated. If you don't play, guys don't take you seriously." Antonio Davis and Adrian Griffin aren't walking through that door (thank god), so the Kirk will have to continue to grow as a player. As I've said plenty times before, a move full-time to the point with some offseason help in the form of a defensive 2-guard will in turn help Kirk shoot better and keep from getting run down on offense. At least that's the plan. Expect his contract to be extended this summer, for the full 5 years and slightly less than Chandler's $10m-per. That may seem odd considering Tyson's play this season, but I have a feeling Hinrich will sign early at a 'discount' rather than go to restricted free agency after the '06-'07 season.
Ben Gordon failed to have the breakout season needed to establish himself as an absolute keeper. He did seem to improve defensively, but consistency on both ends is still an issue. People may wonder why Gordon always seems to be the centerpiece of any proposed deal, but that's as much to do with him bringing the most value in return as it is in his own deficiencies. If the Bulls are going to make a big move, he'll be the one to go.
I pick on Chris Duhon mercilessly, but if he is perfectly suitable as an emergency point guard to spell Hinrich. Hell, in the 5 years Jason Kidd has been on the Nets they've yet to find a backup as good as Duhon. The problem is that Duhon is playing 30 minutes a game, and in those doses his weak offense can hurt. Bring in the M2GwcDaS this summer and Duhon can assume a more fitting role. Duhon will be an interesting measuring device for the Paxson regime. With two more seasons at $3m-per, Duhon has an agreeable contract and other teams are always looking for 'true' point guards. Will Pax use him to get a more pressing need, or will the seemingly perfect Skiles/Paxson player be overvalued for his intangibles? I give Pax enough credit to know that while Duhon may be the type of player he likes, he won't be afraid to cut him loose in a trade.
Jannero Pargo is pure roster fodder at this point. His 'instant offense' legend is more like a myth, and like Duhon I think Pargo is overused as a byproduct of Skiles' famously large player rotation. Put Duhon in Pargo's role, and as a free agent, Jannero can come back or not, it really doesn't matter. He's been with the team for a few seasons, so if familiarity with the system wins him a roster spot in the summer over the usual dregs of the undrafted and retreads (like Randy Livingston), fine.
Eddie Basden was brought in on a one-year deal to give defensive help at the two, but he never impressed Skiles enough to get regular time, even spending a stint in the D-League. I'm all for the idea of trying to find such stoppers off the scrap heap (think Bruce Bowen or Quinten Ross), but it looks like Basden wasn't the diamond in the rough. Hopefully this summer will bring a more long-term solution, and the Basdens of the world can find a spot, but merely as a specialist off the bench.
More to come...