Bulls past All-Star snubs, on to Warriors

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Bulls past All-Star snubs, on to Warriors

Saturday, Feb. 5, 2010
10:31 a.m.
By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

SAN FRANCISCOWith the second-best record in the East, it would seem that the Bulls would get rewarded with at least one player--either Luol Deng or Carlos Boozer, to go along with starter Derrick Rose--when the All-Star reserves were announced Thursday night. When they learned that they were shut out, they predictably downplayed the situation.

"It's unfortunate for our guys. I thought Luol and Carlos were deserving, but (Joakim Noah) was on that path until he got hurt. But Im not really concerned about stuff like that because that stuff, you really have no control over," said Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau prior to the team's Friday morning practice at the swank Olympic Club in downtown San Francisco. "In our eyes, theyre All-Stars and I think whats important is what their teammates think and what their coaches think, and we feel theyre All-Stars. But in the grand scheme of things, what were doing with our team, thats whats important."

"In some cases, I think its politicalwhatever it isits like the Hall of Fame," he continued. "You cant get caught up in it. Again, its what each individual thinks."

Deng admitted he was disappointment, citing the facts that some All-Star reserves have missed significant time--similar to Boozer, whose numbers compare favorably to others who were honored--and of the conference's so-called elite teams (Atlanta, not considered an upper-echelon team, had two players selected), the Bulls were the only squad with a lone All-Star.

"I wish I would have made it, to go there, represent the team with the record that we have and everything, but at the same time, its weird to me that we only have one. But then again, I think all I can do is kind of put it past me. I really think Im a step ahead of where I was last year, so my main thing is to keep going forward. I am disappointed, but theres nothing you can do about it," said Deng. "Im kind of surprised at that because I really feel as a team, we went through a lot with injuries. We had Carlos missing, Joakim missing and I feel like other teams had injuries, but some of those guys that were hurt made it. So, Im kind of surprised that we didnt get rewarded for how well weve done as a team. We do have Derrick and Derrick deserves to be a starter and everything, but were 20 games above .500."

Deng also implied the snubs could be a motivating factor, but the Bulls' team-oriented goals would take precedent over individual honors.

"I dont know if were a one All-Star kind of team. I think we have more than that. I think if Jo was healthy, he would be in it. If Boozer played more games, he would be in it. Im a step ahead of where I was last year. As a team, were somewhere where we want to be," he remarked. "It kind of shows that were not there yet or the respect is not there yet. Weve got to be hungry for that."

As for Boozer, he acknowledged that his training-camp injury limited his odds and therefore, he lowered his expectations, although he felt Deng should have received the accolade.

"Im not disappointed. I didnt think I was going to make it because I didnt play enough games, but I really wish Luol would have made it. I thought he was very deserving, he played every game this season, having a monster year for us and I was really hoping that hed make his first All-Star team," said the two-time Western Conference All-Star.

"Im sure its going to motivate the hell out of him. Hes already motivated, but itll to motivate him even more. We have a lot to prove. Were a team thats still trying to go out there and find our respect from everybody else," Boozer added. "Its an All-Star Game. I didnt come here for All-Star Games, I came here for championships. Ive been an All-Star a few times, but I want to win some rings. For me, Im not concerned with what everybody else thinks about us."

Added Thibodeau: "What you do on a winning team is important. Coaches tend to put more stock in that."

"Luol has been great all season. I think Carlos has been great since hes been back. I do think that him missing the early part probably hurt him, but if Carlos plays the whole season, in my opinion, hes definitely on the team. Same thing with JoJo got off to a great start, got hurtthose things you dont have control over," he concluded. " How well our team does is important and I think, as we go forward, the more we win, the more people will get recognized."

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Ex-Bear Brandon Marshall an early favorite at NFL owners meetings

Ex-Bear Brandon Marshall an early favorite at NFL owners meetings

PHOENIX – Brandon Marshall never needed a whole lot of encouragement to step before a microphone but the NFL, which sometimes wished he'd put a sock in it, has now invited the former Bears wide receiver to speak up.
 
The NFL extended an invitation for Marshall, whose time in Chicago ended in some measure because of his insistence on pursuing the media portion of his career, to address the league higher-up's ostensibly as part of a communications bridge-building. Marshall jumped at the chance.
 
"They thought it was important for a player to come up and give a player's perspective and talk about the relationship between owners and players," Marshall said on Monday at the outset of the NFL owners meetings. "I think it's evident that our relationship could be so much better."
 
Marshall has been part of Showtime's "Inside the NFL" in recent years, flying to New York to participate in taping the show, and ultimately accepting a trade from the Bears to the Jets in 2015, which obviously cut down on his commute. The Jets released Marshall earlier this month, after which Marshall signed on with the Giants.
 
He told owners this week, "If we want our game to continue to be on that [positive] track, that it's on being super successful and being a pillar in our community and being a thread in our community, we have to make sure our relationship as players and owners is good."

[VIVID SEATS: Get your Bears tickets right here!]
 
The immediate response was more than a little positive: Per San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York:

https://twitter.com/JedYork/status/846400103472480256
 
Marshall predictably welcomed the forum and wants to see it expanded.

"I'd like to see more players be more involved in our owners meetings," Marshall said. "And not only at the owners meetings, but any time we're talking football, we should have players at the table. Commissioner Goodell is always open-minded. He always has that open-door policy. So I think he'll continue to listen and continue to evolve this part of our business."

Raiders-to-Vegas the latest in long line of NFL relocation drama, some of which included the Bears

Raiders-to-Vegas the latest in long line of NFL relocation drama, some of which included the Bears

PHOENIX — The Bears next play a team named "Raiders" in 2019, having just played them in 2015 at Soldier Field. Whether the Bears' schedule of opponents will say Oakland Raiders or Las Vegas Raiders is still fluid, but the Raiders are leaving Oakland sometime in the next several years after the expected vote Monday at the NFL owners' meetings.

Leaving a press conference at which NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Raiders owner Mark Davis and a couple other league figures formally announced the foregone conclusion of the Raiders moving from Oakland to Las Vegas, a Cleveland media counterpart fell in beside me and remarked, "Well, at least that's one story you won't have to worry about covering in Chicago."

Maybe yes, maybe no.

The NFL game presents endless spurts of the byzantine and bizarre, so my colleague — who saw his Browns bolt from their lakefront to Baltimore one dark upon-a-time — might be premature with his effort at comfort. Besides, nobody to my knowledge ever took the temperature of Decaturites when their town lost the Staleys to Chicago (at least the Bears kept a Staley as a mascot). And a deal had been worked out, later abandoned, to move the Bears to Hoffman Estates in the mid 1990s, something that had been preceded by then-chairman Michael McCaskey shopping the franchise to various suburbs, low-lighted by a flirtation with Gary, Ind., to something that concept drawings labeled "Planet Park."

Hizzone Da Mare once told George Halas that if Papa Bear took his team out of the city, the "Chicago" part of its name wasn't going with it. And son Richie blustered regarding Gary, "Let them move to Alaska."

Well, I mean, then again, hey, if Juneau or Fairbanks can come up with the requisite relocation fees.

And you can only wonder how many members of Raider Nation are feeling that way about the Raiduhs, that they can go to Alaska (or Gary) for all they care.

The vote approving the Raiders' move to Las Vegas (presumably the league toned down any anti-gambling rhetoric for the day) was believed to be 31-1, with only the Miami Dolphins saying nay. But the side issues were everywhere and somewhat more entertaining, given that the deal was a fait accompli ever since the city of Oakland failed to deliver enough of a stadium package to keep its Raiders where they'd begun under Al Davis when the AFL was formed in 1960.

It was difficult not to chuckle as Mark Davis opined that he thought his late father "would be proud" of moving the team to the self-appointed entertainment capital of the world. True that; Al moved the Raiders to Los Angeles in 1982, to a second location in that market subsequently, and then back to Oakland in 1995. Definitely a legacy to be proud of.

And one for Goodell, too, who summarized, "You know that our goal is to have 32 stable franchises for each of those teams and the league," meaning stable financially, not necessarily geographically. "We're all disappointed for Oakland and their fans," Goodell managed to say.

The Raiders do have one-year options on their lease in Oakland for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, and Davis said that if their Las Vegas facility isn't completed for the Bears' 2019 visit (OK, he didn't say "Bears," that was me), an extension might be in order.

Some observers are waiting for a reaction statement from jilted Oakland mayor Libby Shaaf, who got a thanks-but-no-thanks public letter from Goodell this weekend and sent a last-minute one for the league to delay its vote on the Las Vegas move, which the league didn't do. Somehow the thought of the Raiders asking Oakland to do something for them in their time of need is something worth buying a ticket to.

In the meantime, the move proceeds as expected, adding another mystery to the NFL firmament: moving a team to a significantly smaller sports market from the one it already occupied; moving not one but two teams into the Los Angeles market that had been abandoned by the Rams, Raiders and even Chargers (one of the teams now returning there); those sort of things.

How viable the Las Vegas market is for NFL football is something that'll play out over the next number of years. For now, good seats still available ... in Oakland.