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BlogABull-ets: Harden trade means Bulls 'stars' next to follow? and Dalen Terry gets a raise
oy...I'll work on that title. Or not, it's pretty catchy!
I consider it a character flaw if one is still “posting” on “Twitter”. So instead of putting thoughts there for free, I’ll pad and group them on the ol’ website. Then post a link to Twitter, but that’s just for the sweet 4% traffic boost not engaging with the platform, I swear!
James Harden finally traded. Are Zach and/or DeMar next?
Going AK mode, I’ll totally punt the idea of the Bulls improving themselves and instead try and filter any real NBA transactions with how it may hurt or help other teams vis-a-vis being a “competitive, tough out” against them.
In that context, James Harden finally being traded to the Clippers is bad news for the Bulls, as the Sixers improved from Harden giving them nothing and did so very early in the season.
Philly received some useful role players (and Marcus Morris), but also maintained flexibility to try and acquire a 3rd impact player to go along with Embiid and a breaking-out Tyrese Maxey (selected 17 picks after Patrick Williams).
That suggests maybe a market forming for Zach LaVine, but I actually think that’s less robust after this trade. The Clippers were one of the few teams who would take on huge salary with few questions asked, and the Sixers were clearly prioritizing preserving cap space for summer 2024 in their Harden trade.
Now that it’s done, would Philly want to instead commit that space to LaVine? I don’t think LaVine is the caliber of player who’d change that plan.
Jake Fischer of Yahoo! agrees, explaining as a 2nd tier rumormonger why some 4th tier rumormonger (in this case, Chris Mannix) mentioning LaVine to the Sixers (“league sources speculate”) doesn’t make sense:
For all the noise surrounding Zach LaVine’s availability in Chicago, the Bulls have explored his market for the same reasons Philadelphia likely wouldn’t be interested in obtaining him: questionable defensive chops and winning formula and his gargantuan contract.
Now, DeMar DeRozan could be a more plausible, lower-cost option for Philadelphia. He’s a proven playoff…well, playoff participant. And his slow deliberate style could work well with Embiid even if they take up similar space on the court.
If the Bulls do flounder early this season, trading DeRozan makes the most sense for the Bulls as he is more likely to get a good return and his absence would more effectively tank this season. I liked Mark Karantzoulis’s hypothetical comparison of the Harden+Tucker trade return from the Clippers to a potential midseason one from the Lakers for DeRozan+Caruso. Certainly, including Caruso would even greater magnify both the return and the harm to the current season. Having LaVine lead late game offense with more Patrick Williams on-ball reps, you better believe that’s a tankin’.
This is all too-early speculation, because AK has been too-late to everything going back to needing more than 6 hours to realize he should fire Jim Boylen. But we’ll have to see if their lame metrics for success aren’t enough for DeRozan, and while they’re hoping to make 10th place DeMar will ask out. It behooves DeRozan to get to a team this season that would have Bird Rights on him to get a new contract. Find it funny seeing today that NBC Sports Chicago is describing DeRozan (who describes himself) as a drama-free star. I agree that it’s not his primary motivation, and hasn’t been at all so far. But he does have a post-prime career to think of and it’s languishing in Chicago.
Dalen Terry’s contract option picked up
The Bulls had until the end of the day yesterday to take the active step to pick up Dalen Terry’s 3rd year contract option for the 2024-25 season.
And they didn’t lose the paperwork amongst Halloween party planning. I found it weird, and I usually do, how the Bulls media partner KC Johnson said “this wasn’t a deadline decision”. Was that just to say it was done in the middle of the day as opposed to last-minute? Or were the Bulls whispering to him that they were confident in Terry, and any ‘delay’ of picking up the option shouldn’t be read into at all?
If they are confident in making this wrong decision, that wouldn’t be the first time. It’s already looking like a bad decision to draft Terry 18th overall in the first place. I wrote a couple weeks ago why picking up the 3rd option was not a good move.
It’s also a low-impact move, but this is a team that deals in low-impact moves all the time as they stay extremely close to the Luxury Tax.
I’d expect that the front office believes they’re continuing to be “player friendly” by giving Terry an unearned raise. But they’re only friendly (aka overpaying) to players of inessential caliber like him or Vucevic or Ayo. DeRozan, and even LaVine at this point, would consider it friendly to them to have the best chance to win. And seeing their team make bad decisions on the margins to then pull out empty pockets when they get near the Luxury Tax (when they have exceptions unused) doesn’t send friendly signals IMO.
Terry won’t be making a lot next year, $3.5M, but if he was a free agent would he get that anywhere else? He’s still young of course, but many his age or younger will be in the 2nd round and undrafted next year and making the minimum. Terry has proven so far to be worth of consideration in that tier of prospect. For example, recent-waived Carlik Jones has gone to The Bulls…the Golden Bulls of Zhejiang, China.
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