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Microwave Rumors: Nick Young and Knee-Mac want to take their talents to Chicago

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[Thanks to Alex Sonty from Load O' Bull fame (and my vacation sub this summer) for this one. Look for more posts from him in the future in this compressed NBA season. -ed.]

Nick Young and Tracy McGrady reportedly, according to sources deliberately cynical leaks, want to be Bulls next season, Yahoo Sports reports.

Tread lightly with the prospects of Young, though. He's a restricted free agent, so the Wizards can basically force him to temporarily stay by matching any offer sheet he accepts from another team. On the other hand, if you're so inclined to fantasize (and I know Young is a fringe favorite among many Bulls fans since he was drafted), the only way the Bulls can fit what he'll be paid onto their payroll is by (a) finding ways to dump the contract of Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, or Joakim Noah or (b) a sign-and-trade with Washington, so figure the sabres horns to rattle blow hard among the Bulls fanbase for Young until the trade deadline and maybe through next summer.

As for McGrady, we do have great restaurants which would value those talents. As for anything basketball-related, reading this felt like watching beautiful women vomit in each other's mouths.

You know the NBA offseason is upon us when Tracy McGrady is a topic, for the same reason that we're all shivering at Yahoo Sports reporting that he wants to play for Thibs with the Bulls:

Tracy McGrady wants to play for the Bulls, sources said, and coach Tom Thibodeau has a relationship with him going back to their Houston Rockets days together. T-Mac is still a consideration to return to the Pistons, too.

The value of McGrady isn't completely absent, for little other reason than he's 6'8" and used that length to grab 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals per 36 minutes last season with only 2.2 fouls. But the fact he's incredibly inefficient, turned the ball over at the highest rate of his career (15.2%) despite also posting his lowest usage rate (18.2%), and more closely resembles a nose-guard than a two-guard doesn't even make him worth an equitable portion of the mid-level exemption. If his value drops to where a veteran minimum is a reality, an 11th or 12th man spot on the roster wouldn't be terrible, but it's all relative, right?

Young, on the other hand, grew on me a lot last season. Always be weary of the guys described as "he'll get ya' buckets" because those are usually players who don't shoot well, can't move off the ball, and can't guard anyone. That cocktail is toxic for a team where the best scorer is the point guard, the coach prefers crashing the basket and perimeter players to read the balance of the defense to get open, and the entire dominance of the team revolves around help defense to stop opponents and create open floor offense.

I'm finally ready to accept that Young isn't that guy. Sure, his .497 eFG% and .538 TS% imply he'll simply need the ball too often to be an effective third or fourth scoring option on the floor, but all of those efficiency numbers were also career highs. More important, his career .383 3P% (.387 last season) and 94.3% of those being assisted last season shows he can be that cog in Thibs' street plan.

The statistical analysis is consistent with the spirit of the Yahoo report that:

Young hasn’t been much beyond a scorer in the NBA, and privately believes the chance to play for coach Tom Thibodeau could round out his game. Still, Chicago doesn’t have the cap space to make him an offer outside of Washington’s willingness to match the deal. The Bulls could find a way to be creative, however, but they’ll keep talking to several shooting guards and explore trades.

The best way for a young, athletic perimeter player's court vision and defensive I.Q. to improve is to relieve the necessary amount of energy he needs to expend on offense. A team coached by a man who refuses to comprise the basketball axiom that you use your energy on defense and rest on offense could be the path for Young to actually maximize his potential in the plus-minus sense.

Until we know all of the rules regarding the luxury tax and exemptions, the practicality of actually getting Young rates as incredibly slim. He isn't under the radar. He's young, athletic, aggressive, and can shoot you out of the gym. That's a guy who can financially benefit from being a salary cap albatross on a lot of bad NBA teams.

Remember: if more than half of NBA teams operated rationally, they would've never exercised the desperate effort to lock the players out and cancel ~20% of the season.

All of that said, I fail to see the price worth paying for Young that's too high to pay for Arron Afflalo. This really isn't controversial.

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