Chicago Bulls

Schanowski: Wade to Chicago unlikely but possible

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Schanowski: Wade to Chicago unlikely but possible

Friday, July 2, 2010
12:18 PM

By Mark Schanowski
CSNChicago.com

What should we make of Dwyane Wades decision to schedule a meeting with the Bulls on Thursday? Was it simply a case of making his friends and relatives happy by listening to what the hometown team had to say, or is he really interested in joining forces with Derrick Rose in Chicago? Please post your comments in the section below.

First off, theres probably a 90 percent likelihood Wade will stay in Miami for the rest of his career. He loves the South Beach lifestyle and the weather. Hes one of the biggest sports celebrities in the area, and he enjoys mingling with all the beautiful people that travel in and out of South Florida. Like many of us, Wade grew up with the harsh Midwest winters, and hes probably not in any hurry to experience that all over again. Spending a good chunk of his summers in Chicago is one thing, making it his year-round home again is another.

So, what is the unlikely scenario that could cause Wade to re-consider his devotion to Miami? First off, it would mean LeBron James deciding to stay in Cleveland, which is looking more likely with each passing hour. Next, Chris Bosh accepting a sign-and-trade deal to a Western Conference team like Houston or Dallas. That would force Wade to look over the free agent landscape, and realize the only help he might get is from talented, but erratic big men Amare Stoudemire andor Carlos Boozer. Wade is tired of doing so much heavy lifting after experiencing that 15 win season back in 2007-2008, and then pretty much carrying mediocre Miami teams into the playoffs (and first round eliminations) in each of the last two seasons.

All of a sudden, those harsh Chicago winters might not seem so bad anymore. If Wade would be willing to sign with the Bulls, he could bring Boozer or Stoudemire with him, and instantly transform the Bulls into one of the best teams in the East. A starting line-up of Wade, Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and StoudemireBoozer would cause all kinds of problems for any team in the conference. By contrast, if Wade stayed in Miami with either Stoudemire or Boozer as his All-Star running mate, the rest of the starting line-up would include some combination of Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony. Not exactly a title contending group.

Bulls Executive John Paxson desperately wanted to draft Wade back in 2003. He had the former Marquette All-American in for a couple visits, and was hoping Wade would still be on the board when the Bulls picked at number 7. But Pat Riley surprised everyone by selecting Wade with the 5th pick, forcing the Bulls to settle for Kirk Hinrich. Captain Kirk has been a very productive player, but Wade is arguably the third best player in the league behind LeBron and Kobe Bryant. Paxson would love the chance to bring Wade back to his hometown as a high-scoring compliment to his All-Star point guard, Rose.

Its pretty unlikely Wade has the same type of nostalgic feelings about a Chicago homecoming. After all, he was critical of the way the Bulls organization treats its former players, and hes going through a messy divorce with his childhood sweetheart whos living in the Chicago area right now. Wade has temporary custody of the couples two children, and probably wants to avoid the drama that would be sure to come with playing for the Bulls. But from a pure basketball standpoint, signing on with the Bulls might not look all that bad if Riley strikes out in his plan to sign two all-stars to team up with Wade in Miami.

LEBRON DECISION COULD COME BY MONDAY

The Bulls get their chance to make a presentation to the biggest prize in the 2010 free agent class, LeBron James, on Saturday in Cleveland. As I mentioned, agents, NBA executives and national media members are now predicting James will probably stay in Cleveland, possibly on a 2 or 3 year contract. James can tell his home-state fans he will give it all he has to win a championship during that time period, and if hes unsuccessful, he can leave in good conscience.

Officials of the Nets and Knicks say their presentations to LeBron went well on Thursday, and Im sure well hear the same from the Heat and Clippers on Friday. But the reality is, James can only play for one team next season, and unless hes prepared to turn his back on the only place hes ever called home, the Bulls are facing an uphill battle.

Jerry Reinsdorf, John Paxson, Gar Forman and new coach Tom Thibodeau will lay out all the reasons why the Bulls offer the best chance for LeBron to win championships right away. Im sure theyll also lay out an impressive marketing plan that emphasizes the Bulls unique status as a world-wide brand. Lets hope LeBron puts basketball and winning over everything else when deciding which team to sign with next week.

No big deal, only the short-term future of at least a half-dozen franchises riding on what he ultimately decides.

State of the Bulls: Stacked 2018 draft class

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USA TODAY

State of the Bulls: Stacked 2018 draft class

2018 draft class is loaded at the top

Quietly, you can bet Bulls' front office executives John Paxson and Gar Forman had a little celebration after hearing that prep star Marvin Bagley III was going to graduate from high school early and enroll at Duke for the 2017-18 season, making him eligible for the 2018 draft.

Bagley, a 6'11 power forward from Los Angeles, is being compared to longtime NBA star Chris Bosh, right down to his smooth left-handed shooting touch. Bagley averaged 24.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and two blocked shots during his junior season for Sierra Canyon H.S. He's also fared well against NBA competition at the highly-regarded Drew League in L.A. this summer. Bagley’s physical tools are off the charts, and you can count on Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski preparing him well for life in the NBA.

Most NBA scouts and execs expect the No. 1 overall pick to come down to either Bagley or Michael Porter Jr., who will play his one season of college basketball at Missouri. The 6'10 Porter averaged an amazing 34.8 points and 13.8 rebounds last season against Seattle high school competition. He's considered a more dynamic scorer than Bagley with more range on his jump shot. Some scouts believe he could quickly develop into one of the league's elite players with Kevin Durant-type length and shooting ability at the small forward position.

International swingman Luka Doncic is also highly coveted by NBA teams. The 6'8 swingman has excellent shooting range, and is also capable of creating his own shot with outstanding ball-handling ability. Forget the stereotype of European players being mechanical and unable to compete athletically, Doncic is capable of being an 18-20 point scorer in the NBA and should go in the top five next June. He's considered one of the best international prospects in the last decade.

Two 7-footers also will hear their names called early on draft night 2018. University of Arizona freshman DeAndre Ayton averaged 19.8 points and 12 rebounds in high school last season, while Texas freshman center Mohamed Bomba has an incredible 7-foot-9 wingspan. Sure, the NBA has moved away from the traditional low post center, but teams are still looking to acquire agile big men like Karl-Anthony Towns, Joel Embiid, DeAndre Jordan, Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside. Depending on how they fare against top level college competition, Ayton and Bomba could round out the top five.

Other names to watch in the lottery portion of next year's draft include Texas A&M power forward Robert Williams, Michigan State's forward duo of Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr., and the latest one-and-dones from John Calipari's Kentucky program, center Nick Richards and small forward Jarred Vanderbilt.

In case you missed it, ESPN released its preseason win total expectations for the Eastern Conference on Wednesday, and the Bulls were dead last with a projected record of 26-56. Now, I'm not sure a team with veterans Dwyane Wade and Robin Lopez and the three young players acquired in the Jimmy Butler trade with Minnesota will be quite that bad, but if you're going to rebuild, the idea is to get the best draft pick possible, and the Bulls appear to be on course for a top-five selection depending on how the lottery falls.

If the Bulls are able to land an elite talent like Porter Jr., Bagley III or Doncic in the draft, then use their $40-50 million in cap space to land a couple of quality free agents, the rebuild might not be as painful as some fans are fearing.

Last dance for LeBron in Cleveland?

Well-connected NBA writer Chris Sheridan dropped this bomb on Twitter Wednesday, quoting an NBA source, "This will be LeBron's final season in Cleveland. He is 100 percent leaving. Relationship with owners beyond repair." Don’t forget, Sheridan was the first national writer to report James was going to leave Miami to go back to Cleveland in 2014, so his reports definitely warrant a little extra attention.

Okay, we've already heard countless rumors about James planning to join the Lakers after next season. He's built a mansion in Brentwood, is close with Magic Johnson and will be able to bring another superstar with him to L.A. like Paul George or Russell Westbrook. Plus, the Lakers have a number of talented young players in place like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. and a promising coach in Luke Walton.

Add in the likelihood Kyrie Irving will be traded before training camp opens and LeBron's long-standing poor relationship with Cavs' owner Dan Gilbert, and you have the perfect formula for another James' free agent decision next July. Although, I'm not sure why LeBron would want to go West, where Golden State is positioned to dominate the league for another five seasons, with strong challengers like the Rockets and Spurs still in place. 

But if we've learned anything from watching James over the years, he's clearly a man who wants to align the odds in his favor. So don't rule out anything when it comes to James' free agent decision. If the Cavs make a home run trade for Irving, maybe LeBron decided to plays out his career in his home state. If not, look for him to find a team with the cap space to bring in another top star to run with him.

Back in 2010, the Bulls carved out the cap space to add two max contract stars, but lost out to Pat Riley in Miami. This time around they won't be on James' July travel itinerary.

One thing we know for sure. Where LeBron plays in 2018 will be the number one story throughout the NBA season.

Report: Bulls expected to reach buyout agreement with Dwyane Wade

Report: Bulls expected to reach buyout agreement with Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade's homecoming may not last much longer. 

According to Nick Friedell's ESPN report, the Bulls are expected to reach a buyout agreement with the 12-time NBA All-Star "at some point in the next few months." 

The news comes two months after Wade picked up his player option, choosing $24 million over earning less on a more competitive team. 

If Gar Forman and John Paxson indeed decide to buy D-Wade out, the "Three Alphas," which consisted of Wade, Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo, would all be out just one season after coming together. 

The buyout may also mean more ping-pong balls in next year's stacked draft