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First, come Gasol crumbs:

  • Peter Vescey is back with a Gasol-rumor tidbit that was kindof buried: "[West's] plan is to shave $10M off Memphis' cap next season to $34M."  On the assets hierarchy, that puts the Bulls expiring contracts at more of a premium and hopefully keeping outgoing talent at a minimum. This was kindof implied before, but there was a chance that Memphis would be ok with being nearly $10m under the cap like they're scheduled to be this offseason, but apparently they want to get way under. Vescey still claims that West is holding out for Gordon and/or Deng though.
     
  • John Hollinger agrees with me:
    The deal that makes the most sense for Chicago is one that gives up lots of future assets but no present ones -- in other words, Thomas, Sefolasho[sic], P.J. and the Knicks' No. 1 pick. That's the deal that puts the Bulls within reach of the title; once you include Gordon or Deng I don't think the improvement is marked enough to put them over the top.
    Granted he said that it's a package that makes the 'most' sense, not that it's the only deal that makes sense.

Meanwhile, I'm really itching for this roadtrip to get started. It'll be a great opportunity to pad the road record and eliminate that as a potential indicator of future playoff failings. And if there was a good way to play the West, this would be it: Clippers, Sonics, Blazers, Jazz, Kings, Warriors, ::cough:: Phoenix. Alright there's a couple real tough games, but even the worst of the West could be pretty decent in the East, so finishing over .500 overall will work for me.

As it stands now they're near the top of the conference in record, and at the top if you believe in other metrics. And honestly I can't think of a team that would beat them in a 7 game series right now. Come playoff time I may be more scared of Lebron and the Jamesons, but right now they look awful. Orlando's come back to earth, Miami is a tired old joke, Washington has a terrible defense, and Detroit has Chris Webber. So it's a good time for the Bulls to get some wins out West, move to the top of the standings, and then come back home to prove that they're truly the best of this conference.