free agency

Joakim Noah

My heart aches for Joakim Noah and his ailing knees. In less than two years Jo-No has gone from a MVP candidate and Defensive Player of the Year to knee surgery ruining his 2014-2015 season and coming off the bench for a second year player (Nikola Mirotic).  Talk about a tough turn of events. Now it seems those pesky knee issues have resurfaced and they could be a bigger problem than we think.

Joakim Noah is the heart and soul of the Bulls, viagra his energy alone can propel a team, viagra but do Jo-No fans need to brace themselves for the probable reality of Jo leaving Chicago?

Here’s the low down. He had actually been slated to start Monday night’s game against the 76ers, but decided to sit out due to knee soreness. Now normally, if a player has a little soreness we wouldn’t lose sleep over it, but this is a very telling season for Noah and his knees are the second worst next to Derrick Rose’s two completely reconstructed knees.

“You don’t plan on these things. I wasn’t expecting it. I’ve been feeling great up to this point, and it just happened. I don’t think it’s [anything] too serious, but it was definitely a situation where I had to be smart. I wanted to play tonight really bad.”

Another extremely important tidbit, Noah’s contract is up at the end of this season, he’s currently making $13.4 million and that seems a bit steep a price for a guy to come off the bench. Noah needed to regain his stature and prove to new Head Coach Fred Hoiberg he deserves his starting roll and his money. Otherwise, Noah could potentially be shopped around come the trade deadline in February because the reality would be the Bulls could lose Noah all-together during Free Agency this summer.

To top things off, the Bulls have TOO many big men. Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah and that list doesn’t even include rookie Bobby Portis. Basically it’s too many cooks in the Center/Power Forward position kitchen and not enough shooting guards. The Bulls need to unload one of them.

Noah hasn’t had the comeback season he had been hoping for, but it’s still early. Maybe coming off the bench wasn’t his thing, but his most memorable moment was elbowing a Hornets player. What happened to all those triple-doubles of seasons past? If his knees can get it together, Noah has  plenty of time to step up his game. Unfortunately, if Noah’s knees don’t cooperate, we could have a goodbye in our future.

It devistates me to think about Jo-No and all his messy-bun-swagger wearing a different jersey, but I think it’s safe to say Noah fans should prepare ourselves for potential NBA heartbreak.

 

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Melo UC 2

The United Center on Tuesday tweeted by @espn

Ready, pilule set, find let the Carmelo Anthony courting begin! Free agency started at 12:01 AM Tuesday morning and the Chicago Bulls got the first shot at securing the restricted free agent.

Mother Nature seems to be on our side giving Melo a beautiful Chicago summer day for his Tuesday tour, now we just need GM Gar Forman and the front office to pull out all the stops because this dude is definitely the belle of the free agency ball this 2014 off season. His list of possible suitors seems endless and the money is flowing.

After his visit in Chicago Tuesday, Anthony will head to Texas to meet with the Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets and later to Los Angeles to hear out the Lakers. He will be wined and dined by each ball club and after his travels could ultimately crush some hearts and re-sign with his Knicks in New York for a fat contract.

Despite the risk, it looks like the Bulls are all in on Sir Anthony after decking out the UC with the “We want Melo” signage and pictures. Chicago drafted and traded for Doug McDermott to clear cap space last week, head coach Tom Thibodeau is on board for bringing in the small forward with the hot shot, Joakim Noah has been recruiting the sharp shooter since January during the All-Star game and the city of Chicago has been wishing for a scorer since the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen era.

If you’ve missed the rumblings about Carmelo, here are some important factors to consider:

Why Should Carmelo Come to Chicago? 

  • For a better lack of words, the Bulls have been scoring challenged over the last two seasons. They are desperate for a superstar scorer and Anthony could be that guy. He’d be an instant offensive savior for this Bulls team. He averaged 27.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists last season.

    Melo at the UC

    Melo in a Bulls uniform outside the UC

  • Melo understands legacies are made by championship rings and not necessarily how many points you score a game. The Bulls want to win a championship right now. They don’t want to wait a year to clear out cap space to bring in better players. They have a strong core and know they need a solid scorer to complete their puzzle.
  • The Bulls are in the Eastern Conference – the Mavs, Rockets and Lakers are all in the Western Conference which is most definitely a tougher crowd. Think the reigning champion San Antonio Spurs, Kevin Durant and the OKC Thunder, Blake Griffin/Chris Paul and the Clippers – the talent is honestly ridiculous. Other than the Miami Heat, the East is up for the taking. Your odds of at least making it to a NBA finals is far more likely in the Eastern Conference.

What Could Hold Melo Back?

  • More money more problems – Under the collective bargaining agreement, the Knicks can offer Melo a maximum contract of $129 million over five years. Any other potential teams can offer Anthony a maximum of $96 million over four years. Thats a hefty pay cut.

    Melo United Center

    Melo with Championship trophies around the UC

  • Derrick Rose has been injury prone over the last two years. It may be difficult to sell a team with an uncertain superstar piece of the puzzle. Rose could come back stronger than ever this upcoming season, or he may not. It’s all up the air at this point and we know Melo isn’t interested in hanging around to wait and see.
  • Stroke the Ego: Other stars have openly recruited Anthony. Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler are ready for Melo in Dallas, Dwight Howard and James Harden are waiting in Houston and his good buddy Kobe Bryant is ready to chat man to man in LA. Melo and Lebron James even have a bro-mance happening that could hinder his decision. The Bulls superstar, (who hasn’t suited up in quite some time) Derrick Rose, thinks it’s not “his job” to recruit star players. However, he may not have been openly recruiting Melo, Rose did attend today’s meetings in Chicago.
  • Brooklyn Born: New York is Melo’s hometown and I’m sure he feels a connection to his city. It would mean more to win a championship in “his city” rather than some other location. It’s going to take some serious schmoozing for Anthony to move his family out of his fancy life in the Big Apple and run with the Bulls.

Melo Medley

Be prepared to hear quite a bit about Carmelo and his free agency journey across the US over the next few weeks. This is only the beginning as there are quite a few quality free agents available this off season.

Just remember, it’s only speculation until Melo officially accepts an offer – hopefully he’ll keep things classier than BronBron’s “The Decision” on ESPN a few years back. No need to nationally broadcast your choice, but if you take your talents to Chicago Melo, I promise we’re better fans than you’ll find in NY. #letsgo #Bullieve

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Anthony via djjdny Instagram

As the Bulls forward through a long six-game road trip maintaining the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference, mind all eyes and Chicago NBA buzz is currently centered around New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony.

Last week ‘Melo took the league by storm when he exploded for a career-high 62 point performance against the Bobcats. Honestly, purchase who scores 62 points in one game? That’s more than a point for every minute of playing time!

After Melo’s historic performance, the spotlight is again focused on the sharpshooter’s potential free agency this summer and rumor has it he’s got his sights set on Chicago.

Why would Anthony want to leave the Knicks you ask? Despite his recent extraordinary performance, the Knicks are crawling their way through a very weak Eastern Conference. For Melo to be seen as anything other than a dominate scorer he needs to win himself a title and from the looks of it he’s not going to get there with his crew in NY.

If the Bulls have learned anything from their foes in Miami, it’s that championships are won with more than one superstar. We’re all aware the Bulls’ front office intends on continuing to build their organization around the return of Derrick Rose, but why not include another powerhouse to take on some of the heavy lifting and guarantee another 25 points (at the least) a game?

Rumored Destinations:

  • Los Angeles Lakers: Anthony and Kobe Bryantare good friends. What would be better than winning a championship alongside your best bud? The Lakers are always a top destination for the big free agents, but what’s not to love about palm trees and beaches?

    Bulls Women’s White Burnout V-Neck Tee with Red Block Letters and Script by Sportiqe, Clark Street Sports: $34.99

  • Chicago Bulls: Maybe Anthony wants to play alongside Derrick Rose, loves deep dish Chicago style pizza or wants to live in a city that believes in alleys, but he is rumored to be leaning towards Chicago as his top possible destination.

How Could this Happen?

  • First things first, Melo would have to actually LEAVE the Knicks. After playing in Denver he fought hard to get himself to the Big Apple with the big contract. The Knicks can also offer him the most lucrative contract – we’re talking big money.

    How does Melo look as a Bull?

  • Chicago would potentially have enough cap space to be big spenders come free agency this summer. It means they would absolutely amnesty Carlos Boozer (which is inevitable at this point), drop Mike Dunleavy’s contract and no Nikola Mirotic (the Serbian player off in Europe who we’ve been waiting on for quite some time).
  • He’d have to be up for a pay cut. Under the collective bargaining agreement, the Knicks can offer Melo a maximum contract of $129 million over five years. Any other potential teams can offer Anthony a maximum of $96 million over four years.

Could Melo Fit in With the Bulls?

  • The pessimists say Anthony’s offensive play wouldn’t strategize well with Thibodeau’s defensive schemes. It could be another Carlos Boozer situation.
  • The difference between Carmelo Anthony and Carlos Boozer is that Melo isn’t soft on offense. He plays his position (small forward) to perfection offensively. His defense needs some work, but maybe Thibs could take him up a notch.
  • I have flashes of Rose on the pick and roll having Anthony, one of the hottest shooters in the NBA, as an option outside the arc. Who would opponents guard? Rose, Butler, Noah, or Melo? It could be beautiful basketball for our Bulls. Sign me up for season tickets!

Woman’s Intuition:

  • LaLa Anthony, Melo’s lovely lady, thinks her husband will re-sign with the Knicks. She recently said in an interview with Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live” that she knows, “that he wants to stay (in New York), and I support him wherever he wants to go.” She also threw in if she can live in Denver she can live anywhere with her hubby.
  • If anyone knows Anthony best it would probably be the woman he shares pillow talk with every night at home.

As we all sit under blankets in Chibera, summer seems like a lightyear away. What better way to get us through the chilly days than to get our gossip on about potential NBA superstars joining our Chicago Bulls? Don’t get your hopes up too much, rumors are only rumors until the deal is actually made.

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With his contract up at the end of the 2013 season, unhealthy it was a make it or break it year for Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, prostate  and despite Cutler’s injuries and inability to take the team to the post season, the Bears front office has made it clear that #6 isn’t going anywhere this offseason.

The Bears announced yesterday that they had inked the controversial Chicago QB to a new 7-year contract that will keep Cutler a Bear until 2020. Although financial terms to the deal were not specifically released, it is being said that his contract includes $50 million in guaranteed money…not bad for a sub-par QB who hasn’t led the Bears to a Super Bowl in his five seasons, is 39-28 in 67 starts, and ended this season with a measly 8-8 record.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of the deal and also take a look at how teammates, fans and the press are responding to this generous deal.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  • Cutler ended the season with 2,621 yards passing, a 63.1 completion percentage, 19 touchdowns and an 89.2 passer rating. Those stats are a definite improvement from years prior but, in my opinion, they aren’t deserving of a 7-year contract extension. With a new head coach, who seems to work well with Cutler, and weapons like Alshon Jeffery, Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall, I knew upper management would decide to give Cutty more time in Chicago but as I touched on earlier, I didn’t foresee such a lucrative deal being put on the table. However, the decision is very important to their salary cap, so it makes sense that they made it so quickly.

    Kyle Long responds to Cutler Skeptic

  • Caption read: “BOOM…JAY 7 for 126…Congrats now let’s go Win”

    Twitter is abuzz with reactions to this big decision. Cutler’s teammates seem to be pleased with the contract extension, namely Brandon Marshall, who’s been playing with No. 6 since college. Right after the deal was announced, Marshall took to social media to express his excitement. Even rookie Kyle Long defended his QB. I can’t say that I’ve seen the same reaction from fans though. Many share my belief that the deal is too generous, others have said it’s ridiculous that he’s even coming back and there’s even a few who think backup QB Josh McCown, should have snagged Cutty’s spot. However, the impression I have gotten from the press, is that they agree with keeping the QB around, some citing that it’s just easier than searching for a new franchise QB, and others saying he is just too talented to let go. Bulls reporter Nick Friedell poses an important question below…what’s your response, ladies?

WHAT’S NEXT:

Marc Trestman and Phil Emery, Photo Credit- Jose M. Osorio/ Chicago Tribune

With new Cutler’s contract, the offense is pretty much set but you should expect GM Phil Emery and Coach Marc Trestman to be making a whole lot of changes on Chicago’s defense. So far this off season CB Tim Jennings (4-year deal) and OL Matt Slauson (4-year deal) are the only other Bears’ who have received contraction extensions – both were announced yesterday with Cutler’s extension. There are 25 more players on the Bears’ roster who have contracts scheduled to expire on March 11, including seven first-stringers on a defense that finished last place in the NFL in yards allowed per play (sigh). Veteran guys like Devin Hester and Charles Tillman are on that long list. Going into the 2014 NFL Draft, Chicago will have the 14th overall pick and from Emery’s quote below, you can see that their goal is clear.

“I will just tell you we’re going to be a younger defense. The draft will be focused in that area…Defensively, it was not about, is it D-line, linebacker, safety…it’s about finding the best playmakers, the guys that can make a dynamic difference to our defense.”

Love or hate the Bears decision, one thing is for sure – this team will look much different next season when the Bears take the field. We can expect many changes to the roster this offseason, let’s just hope they are all for the best.

It has been a pleasure chatting about the Bears with all of you this season and hopefully by this time next year, Chicago will still be fighting their way through playoffs. And as always, Bear down, sports divas!

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