Chicago Sun-Times

May 2010 Archives

Falk's LeBron comments way off the mark

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Once upon a time, David Falk was a powerhouse agent in the NBA and his impressive client roster included Michael Jordan. These days, Falk has a much lower profile, but he got some rare media attention recently by commenting on the impending free agency of LeBron James.

"He should not play in Chicago; he will always compete with Michael Jordan," Falk told "He should not play in L.A.; he will always compete with Kobe Bryant. LeBron needs his own identity.

"The worst place in the world for LeBron to go is Chicago. If he doesn't win six championships, he is a failure. If he doesn't win the MVP five times, he is a failure. Every night he walks into the building he will walk past the statue of Michael Jordan. LeBron is too big. He should not have to play in the shadow of Michael Jordan."

There are so many things wrong with that statement, I don't know where to begin. For starters, the players enter the United Center from the West side of the building and the Jordan statue in on the East side. Unless he makes a special trip, James never will see the Jordan statue.

That's a minor issue, though. The major problem with Falk's comment is that he appears to assume there can only be one great player per franchise.

According to Falk's logic, Kevin Garnett never should have joined the Boston Celtics because he won't be able to match Larry Bird's string of championships. By the way, I guess Bird shouldn't have gone to the Celtics because there was no way he could compete with Bull Russell's 11 titles.

As for the Lakers, Kobe Bryant's image hasn't been hampered by playing with the same franchise as Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West.

The truth of the matter is great franchises have multiple great players. Their accomplishments aren't dissected and compared as much as Falk indicates.

Bulls fans aren't giddy about the prospects of signing James because they believe he'll match Jordan's accomplishments. They're excited because adding James could mean another glory era of playing basketball into June in Chicago on a yearly basis.

If James "only" manages to win two or three championships, only a few misguided Bulls fans would be disappointed with that.

Free agent summit intriguing

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The most interesting thing Dwyane Wade had to say this week wasn't his questioning whether the Bulls are loyal to their former players. It was Wade saying he planned to meet with LeBron James, Joe Johnson, Chris Bosh and maybe other members of the upcoming free-agent class before July.

What exactly will they talk about?

To me, the main subject on the agenda will be figuring out if it is feasible for two of the free agents to team up.

Wade, no doubt, will try to recruit someone to play with him in Miami. I still maintain that Wade will stay with the Heat and is looking for someone to join him there. Bosh is a strong possibility, but I doubt that James would be willing to play with the Heat.

The Heat is Wade's team and I don't see James going somewhere where he won't be the top dog. Sure, he wants talent around him, but there's no way he'll risk playing second banana to anyone.

Because of that, I still believe the Bulls are James' best option if he decides to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers. Perhaps James can recruit someone else -- perhaps Bosh or Johnson -- to join him with another team.

In the nearly five weeks before the free-agent period begins on July 1, there will be countless rumors and speculation about how things will play out. But the truth is, no one knows what will happen and anyone who says differently is either lying or delusional.

The Bulls still stand a good chance of landing James or someone else -- or perhaps two players. They'll get a chance to make their sales pitch. We'll find in July if they can close the deal.

Draft lottery works out great for Bulls

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The Bulls weren't among the teams on stage for the NBA Draft Lottery Tuesday night, but they had a vested interest in the result - and things couldn't have worked out better.

The New Jersey Nets, with the worst record during the regular season, had the best chance of gaining the top pick, and with it the chance to select John Wall of Kentucky or Evan Turner of Ohio State with the top pick.

The Nets, though, ended up with the third pick, meaning they won't get a chance to select either of the top players in the draft.

So why is that important to the Bulls?

Well, the Nets are one of the teams with a lot of cap room this summer expected to make a run at signing LeBron James. If the Nets had won the lottery, they'd stand a better chance of convincing James they can make a quick turnaround from lottery losers to championship contenders.

Picking third, the Nets probably will get a good player, but not someone with unquestioned star potential like Wall, or even Turner, which makes their selling job to James that much more difficult.

The Washington Wizards came away with the top pick and the Philadelphia 76ers will select second. Neither is expected to be in the James sweepstakes.

Despite all of the speculation about where James will play next season since the Cleveland Cavaliers were eliminated from the playoffs last week, the only person with any idea about his future is James, and I doubt he's made up his mind at this point. The free agent period doesn't begin until July 1.

But it's clear nothing that happened in the draft lottery hurt the Bulls' chances of landing James. I still believe Chicago - with a talented young roster led by All-Star point guard Derrick Rose -- is the best option if he decides to leave Cleveland.

The Bulls conducted a workout at the Berto Center on Sunday for six draft prospects, including a trio of players -- Xavier Henry of Kansas, James Anderson of Oklahoma State and Paul George of Fresno State - who could fill the need of a shooting guard with a good perimeter shot.

Of course, the Bulls also could use a big man, but stand a better chance of getting a shooting guard who can contribute immediately when their turn at No. 17 comes up.

The June 24 draft is more than a month away, so it's way too early to say with any certainty which players will be available at the 17th pick, but there's a good chance at least one of the trio of Henry, Anderson and George still will be on the board.

Right now, it appears that Henry, who played one year for the Jayhawks, is the highest-rated of the three. Although he was used primary as a shooter at Kansas, Henry has a versatile all-around game.

"At Kansas, we had two all-Americans, one down low and a slashing point guard," Henry said. "We needed an outside shooter, so that role made the most sense for me.

"When I come to these workouts, I want to show my all-around game."

Anderson, a junior, is rated just behind Henry and also possesses a steady outside shot and the ability to make athletic moves off the dribble.

"Right now, I'm just trying to work out for each team and get feedback and see where I'm going to go," Anderson said. "I think I'm ready to come in and contribute to a team right away."

Henry and Anderson, both listed at 6-6, are projected to go anywhere from late in the lottery to the middle of the first round. George is two inches taller at 6-8, but there are questions about his "motor" and he's projected anywhere from middle to late first round.

"I want to be more like a Tracy McGrady in his healthy form," George said. "He's got a body-type like me playing the two guard.

"I think I fit perfectly with the Bulls. They have a young team and they can use a wing that can stretch the defense."

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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