Ask Sam | Sam Smith opens his mailbag | 06.22.12
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Just wanted to let you know I am taking bets. Now that LeBron has finally bought... won a ring, how many agonizing ESPN articles will be written claiming he might be better than Jordan? Any takers?
Sam: It’s going to be a tough week for the MJ legacy.
With the Thunder falling they look like a team in need of defense and veteran leadership. So how about Luol Deng and Taj Gibson for James Harden, Nick Collison, and Thabo Sefolosha. The Thunder greatly upgrade their defense and get a solid complimentary scorer in Lu. The Bulls get an All-Star quality SG and a couple other pieces to fill in the bench. Will the Thunder be looking to make some changes or will they try to make another run with the same group?
Sam: The money doesn’t come close to matching, but, if anything, Thunder GM Sam Presti has been exceptionally patient. After all, they did get to the Finals. They beat some really good teams in the West. You don’t change your roster after that. The most interesting decision seems to be about coach Scott Brooks. He was in a lame duck season this year even after making the conference finals last season. There hasn’t been much talk of an extension, though the Thunder is an exceptionally closed organization. I do assume Derek Fisher is gone and I might try to deal Kendrick Perkins since he proved way too slow. Though, again, he was on the floor beating the Mavs, Lakers and Spurs. I suspect they’ll make another run with whom they have.
So you offer that the original Dream Team is not the best ever assembled, but you failed to mention a team that was better. I understand your arguments, but in order to understand your logic you will have to name a team that was assembled that was better.
Sam: Let me count the teams. I’ve nothing against the Dream Team, but I remain your servant here in the interest of truth and accuracy. We’ve been overwhelmed over the years with this propaganda of it being the best team ever assembled. It is, of course, opinion. Like in political campaigns, you tell a lie often enough and maybe people will believe it. So came the Dream Team, which was a great marketing tool for the NBA, entertaining and a doorway to pro basketball for the rest of the world. But it was more museum piece, which was appropriate as there was no serious competition in that era. But as I noted in my Monday column, Bird and Magic were effectively retired and the best center, Olajuwon, wasn’t yet a U.S. citizen. I wasn’t talking about other USA teams, like 1960 and 1984. The Dream Team was more talented. It just wasn’t as talented as a dozen or more NBA All-Star teams, which are made up of players in their primes having great seasons. So here are just a few and let me know if you think the Dream Team was better: 1964 West of Bob Pettit, Elgin Baylor, Walt Bellamy, Guy Rodgers and Jerry West with Wilt and Lenny Wilkens off the bench. How about the following year with Baylor, Pettit, Wilt, Wilkens and West and Nate Thurmond, Bellamy and Gus Johnson off the bench. How about the '68 East with Jerry Lucas, Willis Reed, Wilt, Dave Bing and Oscar Robertson and Bill Rusell, Dave DeBusschere, Gus Johnson, Sam Jones and Hal Greer off the bench. Don’t know the old timers? How about the '85 East with Dr. J., Bird (in their prime), Moses Malone, Isiah Thomas and Jordan with Robert Parish, Bernard King, Sidney Moncrief, Terry Cummings and Dennis Johnson off the bench. How about the '87 East with Bird, Dominique, Dr. J., Michael and Isiah and off the bench McHale, Barkley, Mo Cheeks and Parish. Or the '90 East team with Barkley, Bird, Ewing, Jordan and Isiah with McHale, Joe Dumars, Parish, Reggie Miller, Dominique, Rodman and Pippen off the bench. What, no Laettner? Want more current? Maybe '96 East with Pippen, Grant Hill, Shaq, Jordan and Penny Hardaway (before Penny and Hill were hurt and both were looking like Kobe) and off the bench Ewing, Reggie Miller, Glen Rice and Alonzo Mourning. How about 2000 West with Duncan, Garnett, Shaq, Kobe and Kidd with Payton, Stockton (healthy), Karl Malone, David Robinson and Chris Webber off the bench. The Dream Team was entertaining, but perhaps not in the top 10 of greatest NBA teams ever assembled.
I believe Luol Deng and Richard Hamilton are dispensable pieces. Taj Gibson and Omer Asik on the other hand are irreplaceable. I watch replays of some of last year ECF games, and it's actually Gibson and Asik defense that makes it hard for LeBron and Wade to score. Asik really forced them to change their shot whenever they drive to the lane.
Sam: That is both the strength of the Bulls and the dilemma. Gibson and Asik did come out statistically and otherwise as the team’s best interior defensive pair. That’s why the Bulls before Rose was injured were such a threat. But times are changing. It doesn’t seem like with the new labor rules coming in that the Bulls can afford so much depth. Which raises the question about Omer. The Bulls have given every indication no matter the cost they’ll match any team’s offer on Omer. But given coach Thibodeau uses a fourth big sparingly, does it make sense and is it a luxury the Bulls can afford to pay so much to a player averaging maybe 12 minutes? It’s why I’ve raised the issue of perhaps moving Noah or Asik. Not that I’d want to lose either, but can the Bulls afford to keep both? The conundrum is they have the most value. Hamilton has almost none given his age and recent injury history and Deng because of his possible wrist surgery, whether he could pass a physical and that no one would know until after the Olympics in August.
Are these Bulls fans you are talking to? They know the Bulls need a Big Three and they still want to trade away Deng and Noah for next to nothing? Instead of trading a proven young All-Star player like Deng, why not try and trade the rights to Mirotic and Charlotte's pick to Washington or another team for the #3 pick or two other players high in this years draft and get that shooting guard and the best player still available? Why should we wait more years again for 2015 when we can have a good team now? Who in Chicago is dreaming of Mirotic to be a star when he has never played a game in the NBA?
Sam: There are some who feel that way, though I don’t think the Bulls do. The issue with your logic is you don’t get much of anything for one player who’ll be here in 2015, perhaps, and a pick that would only be top seven in 2016. I’ve mentioned trading the 2016 pick as a sweetner maybe to take a deal over the top. But I don’t think you get much at this point for either. No one wants to trade Deng and Noah. The point is are you good enough, and if not maybe you need to do something and take a risk. Frankly, I don’t expect the Bulls to trade either. I think they’ll hope to put the band back together in 2013-14, and I’ve heard Bulls players saying if they can just remain healthy with Derrick’s return they don’t see why they can’t be right back where they were without any major changes. It’s uncertain given the potential financial constraints. But the question is can you get another star? Does trading one of those players or maybe Asik get you into the lottery and get you a draft pick that three years from now turns into a star, like Deron Williams or Chris Paul after the top two picks, Kobe Bryant at No. 13, Dirk Nowitzki at No. 9, Kevin Love at No. 5, Russell Westbrook at No. 4. There are stars to be gotten after the top pick. You just have to be smarter than the average bear. Or Bobcat. But you have to give up something to get a shot.
Lots of rumors out there about trading Deng. It does have some sense to do it right now but I still doubt the Bulls front office pulls the trigger. Do you rate chances of trade happening over 25%? Or lower?
I see your response to everyone's ideas for trades and rebuilding, and generally speaking you shoot them down. At the same time, you don't seem to think this current Bulls team is in position to win a championship (which I agree with). Since that is the case, what realistic moves do you think the Bulls need to make (not what you think they will make) in order to turn this team into a champion again? Sadly, I think this team is fatally flawed in several ways - especially that it is injury prone, the top guys make too much money and don't do enough on the court (other than Rose), and they don't have a second guy who can take over offensively. Any chance they go into full rebuilding mode?
Sam: Now the questions are getting tough. I’ll answer the last part as, no, there’ll be no wholesale rebuilding with trading off players for draft picks and cap space. After all, it’s not looking like LeBron, Wade and Bosh are opting out in 2014. The Bulls tried that once. It wasn’t what they hoped for, but didn’t turn out too badly with consecutive seasons leading the league in wins. But I don’t see a replay of that. And it’s not like there are free agents worth doing it for. I reject many of the trade suggestions — though hardly all — because so many are one sided to benefit the Bulls. It’s not easy to make trades as the other team often doesn’t want to be a feeder system for the Bulls. I thought the Bulls had a shot to win this season, so they’re not that far away. It’s not that I don’t want to keep Deng, but I might take a shot with he or Asik and maybe the 2016 Charlotte pick to see if I can get into the lottery this season or next. What we all recognize is Rose needs a higher level, young, athletic player to play with. Given financial issues and Deng a free agent in the summer of 2014, which is also when I can see an amnesty for Boozer with one year left (no, you can’t trade him for anything better, though you can for players with longer contracts who are less productive), then perhaps you try to put some stuff together aiming toward that summer. Look, Miami took two years running in place even with Wade and even after winning a title to get what they have now. The Bulls had a great run these last two seasons. It didn’t ultimately led to a title. It happens. I’d regroup — not rebuild — and aim maybe two years out while like Miami then being able to finish in the middle of the playoff pack until then.
With the Wizards-Hornets trade happening, Bradley Beal seems to be a lock at #3. If the Bobcats pick Thomas Robinson with the #2 pick, the Bulls can get either Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Harrison Barnes by trading Luol Deng for Kings #5 and John Salmons. Who do you see the Bobcats are picking? What are the chances their picking Thomas Robinson at #2?
Sam: The rumor now seems to be Robinson at No. 2, though the fan favorite in Charlotte seems to be Kidd-Gilchrist. The latest I’ve heard from one GM is Kidd-Gilchrist slipping to No. 5 and then Portland going big with Drummond. By the way, I can’t see any way the Bulls do anything that brings them Salmons and his big contract. No way.
I'm not sure if the Bulls have their mid level (which I believe is 5 million). If they did could they offer it to Rashard Lewis? I know it would put them over the cap as presently constructed, so not sure if it can be done or the Bulls deem it worthy. He would have the opportunity to get relevant again.
Sam: After being the most overpaid and underutilized player in maybe NBA history he’ll be bought out for about $13 million and maybe chase the most money he can. The other option is chasing a title with maybe Miami for a minimum deal as his buyout is in eight figures. The Bulls will offer a minimum deal, I assume, and maybe with uncertainty regarding Deng he could see a chance to play a season and get himself a new deal. But after barely playing for two years with various injuries and his scoring average going down for each of the last five years who knows if he has anything left. As for the Wizards, they must assume Okafor and Nene is enough to be a top four East team. If they can the Bulls definitely can.
The NBA is truly unique in that fouls can completely change a coaching lineup and player minutes: 2 fouls benches a top or key player in the 1st up to mid 2nd quarter, 3 puts them on the bench for sure, even if it's the early 3rd, and 4 puts a Kevin Durant, while on a potentially huge OKC run in game 3, planted on pine for almost 7 minutes before the fourth quarter. The vaunted NBA "No Call" which is the MVP of both the Eastern Conference Finals and this Finals, has also made a roaring comeback. Are there more powerful referees in any sport in the world at this time, than basketball officials and is there a way to install sensors and Questek so Tony Brothers doesn't become more important than a coaching strategy and tactics?
Sam: There is, as we know, more talk about NBA officials and calls than in any sport and how they can manipulate the results. Yes, we saw Durant sitting with fouls, though I did suggest again doing away with the six foul limit in exchange for free throws like college. The college game stinks, but they have some good rules. There are unfair calls because it is absolutely impossible to officiate a sport with contact allowed even though the rules originally said there shouldn’t be any. But I know enough officials to know they are the most scrutinized people in sports as they are graded even by halftime on their missed calls in the first half and calls they should have made. There are spotters at every game recording every call made and missed with subsequent grading. And so there are no makeups since if you make a bad call you compound it making a second to supposedly even it up and get two bad grades, which lead to fewer key assignments. They try to make the right call. Go to the park sometime and ask if you can officiate a game and see what the players say as you do it. But nothing is worse as far as undue influence than the NFL, where long pass interference penalties in a sport with few scores completely changes the game. You cannot overcome a bad call like you can in basketball with so many scoring chances. And those guys aren’t even full timers. What chance do they have of getting it right even occasionally?
I've been against trading Luol Deng for a long time now, but recent articles have given me a new perspective. With our salary cap situation the way it is, moving Deng now makes an awful lot of sense, especially if we can get lottery type talent. Most mock drafts have us projected to take Harrison Barnes, Jeremy Lamb, Dion Waiters, or Austin Rivers if we trade into the lottery. For all intents and purposes, let's say this happens and we have our choice of any of these 4 players. Who do we take? My guess is if the Bulls are intent on dealing Deng for a lottery pick, they target Rivers, although Barnes upside would be hard to pass up. Rivers could play the point or the 2 and would make an ideal combo guard while Rose recovers. With this move you could then start Jimmy Butler at the 3 and not lose too much defensively.
Sam: As I mentioned a few weeks back in my Monday NBA column, if the Bulls were to make a deal into the lottery with Deng and the uncertainty about his wrist I could see at No. 5 at Sacramento as they could afford to wait if he has surgery and desperately want a three and a veteran. I suppose if the Bulls were interested in Rivers they could deal with Toronto at No. 8 as Rivers would figure to be there at No. 8. I frankly have no idea whom the Bulls would want if they did trade in there. The larger question is who, if anyone, projects as a star talent to team with Rose and be a potential double team target to take the pressure off Rose. The general consensus is Davis, Robinson, Barnes and either Kidd-Gilchrist or Beal are gone in the top four. I don’t see any of them dealing for Deng, though I could see Charlotte taking a shot at Rudy Gay if Memphis is dealing given a fluid ownership situation. I wouldn’t be interested in Drummond or Perry Jones or Kendall Marshall. I don’t think Waiters is good enough to give up for Deng. Lamb seems interesting as a shooter, but he’s so skinny. Rivers seems intriguing, though very young and the scouts don’t quite rave about him that much. He’d seem to fit that combo guard thing, though does he shoot enough? Trading Deng for any lottery pick is a huge risk and you’d better get that one right. I might take a shot if Toronto does Calderon and No. 8, which I doubt they do.
Would it be possible for the Bulls to pick John Jenkins at 29th and sign Captain Kirk in free agency as he is a proven combo guard that can play both positions? Kidd could be open to signing with Chicago, (or) if Jamal Crawford takes less money could chicago sign him?. that way the core stays (mostly) in tact.
Sam: Jenkins is the name for the Bulls on most of the mock drafts, which doesn’t mean much as history doesn’t get many of them right. And why would you at 29 as you don’t know what teams will do that far ahead. Kirk or Jamal would work because they could move over to shooting guard when Derrick returns, though cost is the question. I’m not much for Kidd.
What would the Bulls have to pay Taj to extend him this offseason?
Sam: I assume the Bulls are wondering as well. But given Taj was an older rookie and will be 27 Sunday and needs to play two more years to become an unrestricted free agent, it makes sense for he and the Bulls to make a deal. He should get some security and the Bulls should be able to get him at a more reasonable price given they would be extending him early. If I were Taj and seeing guys all around me going down, I’d sign up as soon as I could. I’m always shocked when guys don’t sign their first big deal as soon as they can. Once you do that you are set for life. As we’ve seen too many times, health is hardly guaranteed.
I figured you would want to hear this — I spoke with one of Luol Deng's Agent's (associates) and he all but guaranteed that Luol won't be getting surgery this off season. I know that really doesn't mean anything, but that's the word coming from Deng's camp.
Sam: Thanks. That is interesting. I’ve heard some similar stuff and Lu did say after the 76ers series there was no certainty he’d have surgery. Kobe has continued to play with a similar injury without surgery, so it is possible and is encouraging for next season in that with Deng here to open the season along with Noah, Hamilton, Boozer, Gibson, presumably Asik and whomever else the Bulls can pick up (I assume they get a decent point guard), there’s no reason the Bulls can’t be a top four team even without Rose. And then if he comes back around the All-Star break, which seems reasonable, and even if not at 100 percent, it could be a very interesting season without any major offseason moves.
We all know that Team USA is a collection of the best players that the NBA has to offer, I was just wondering in your opinion would a collection of the best international All-Stars have any chance of beating the USA team in a seven game series?
Sam: Perhaps. The U.S. has most of the best players in the world in LeBron, Durant, Rose, Kobe, Carmelo, Chris Paul, Howard, Rondo, Westbrook and Love. But you could put together a team with Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Manu, Rubio, Gortat, Gasol squared, Scola, Calderon, Dragic, Ilyasova and a few others and make it a series. The U.S. should win, but the internationals in recent years have become good enough to pull an upset.
Brandon Roy says he wants to play this season. How many miles does he have left on those knees, and could he be a fit for us?
Sam: Supposedly none given he “retired” because of knee problems. But I think the Bulls were interested last year when there was talk of amnesty and if he wants to give it a try for a reasonable deal I can see where the Bulls would have the roster spot and opportunity. But a lot of teams will take a shot at him.
With Jared Sullinger having back problems — so much so that I hear trainers are advising to not take him in the first round — what would you think of the Bulls grabbing him? They have a back of the first pick and that's an extreme talent, even if he's only available for the next 4 years, how could you not pass up that talent at the end of the first there?
Sam: I would definitely take a shot, but I cannot imagine him falling all the way out of the first round. I know DeJuan Blair did with medical issues, and I thought the Bulls would grab him at No. 26. They went for Taj Gibson and did better. I recall fans going nuts after that draft about passing on Blair, though I rarely hear from them anymore. Sullinger obviously will slip once those things come out, not that teams didn’t know. But there were issues about him, anyway, because he played so called below the rim. I thought he’d fall out of the lottery, anyway. But the talent isn’t that great into the early 20’s and I’d expect him to fall no farther than there. Given the Bulls are solid up front, I don’t see them trading up to chase him.
I know that Coach Thibodeau is a mainly defensive minded coach, which is fine with me. But I was wondering how much influence his defensive mindset has into the draft. We saw Jimmy Butler play some above average defense on LeBron and Carmelo Anthony this year and it seems to me he will be a defensive stud. Do For/Pax look for players that are mainly defensive in the draft or did Jimmy just turn out that way?
Sam: The Bulls do consult Thibodeau, as they should, and then they pick whom they think fits their roster best, which they should. Not that Thibodeau is a short term option, but there is a good reason for the division of responsibilities. Coaches are about winning only the next game. Executives are about building for years ahead. There’s hardly a coach anywhere who if given the choice wouldn’t trade a draft pick for a veteran. I remember when Tim Floyd got here. He was hired because he worked well with college kids. And pretty soon after he was hired he came up with 100 trade ideas to get rid of everyone under 30. If they end up at No. 29, the Bulls will try to find someone who can be a rotation player over the next three years no matter the position, just as they did with Butler, who looks ready to play bigger minutes this season.
Since the rumor is that Jimmy Butler will take Brewer's roster spot for salary reasons next year, and Gar Forman has been looking at combo guards in the draft (presumably to replace Watson), do you see the Bulls buying an extra late first round draft pick this year to fill Korver's spot as well? I know picks in the 20s often don't pan out to more than spot bench players, but this year's draft is considered very deep, especially at the guard position. Or would Thibs not be able to handle two rookies at once?
Sam: I haven’t heard that and there generally isn’t a lot of that happening since it becomes pretty costly to pay up to $3 million and then another $1 million for a guy your coach may not play. As good as Butler looked at times last season, as you note he didn’t get much time and Thibs does like his veterans. But he may not have much choice this coming season in the backcourt.
When are the Bulls going to get a new look? I think almost every team in the NBA has gotten a face lift of some sort. New logo, jerseys, or something.
Sam: I think you do that when you are trying to get more attention and mostly don’t. Or if you’re owned by an oligarch. The Bulls have an iconic uniform, logo and colors, sort of like the Yankees, Dodgers and Celtics. I don’t see them interested in any such changes.
Among all the speculation and suggestions flying around about what the Bulls may do to the roster this off-season, one of the more striking ones is the idea that we could swing a Boozer-Amar'e deal. Considering the inability of Melo and Amer'e to play effectively together in the past season and a half, would this actually be something both sides (or either) would seriously consider in your opinion?
Sam: I thought we were done with trade/amnesty Boozer. Not happening. Anyway, even if the Knicks offered the Bulls never would take Stoudemire’s $64 million over the next three years uninsured, which means with all the injuries he’s had he could be gone in six months and you’d owe him $20 million more than Boozer. Which also is why no other NBA team is taking Stoudemire as much as the Knicks would like to deal him.
Is it financially viable for the Bulls to pick up Ramon Sessions this summer now that he's a free agent?
Sam: Well, he gave up $4.5 million for next season to become a free agent. I’m fairly sure he’s not going to take a minimum or low dollar exception from the Bulls. Even though I heard he loves deep dish.
After seeing Thunder lose game 4 and go down 3-1 — their size not being used or not being effective — I am more sure that Bulls would have given Heat a tougher matchup. The Bulls would not be outrebounded by Heat, would actually try to put some of the offensive boards back up, and Gibson and Noah would not be forced out of the game due inability to contribute on perimeter D. What might been.
Sam: Ah, yes, the sad refrain of the playoffs. Boston taking Miami to seven still is the one that probably hurts the most. That Boston team? I had heard the Heat most feared the Bulls and you could see that in that last regular season game in Miami when the Heat resorted to all sorts of cheap shots and dirty stuff. They were feeling desperate against the Bulls and knew no one wanted to shake their hands. It would have been a heck of a series. Yes, if only.
It seems a lot of Bulls fans are anxious for something new and would like the Bulls to trade up in the draft. It is fun to speculate and yes it is not completely unrealistic for them to trade up. Wouldn’t you say though it is less than likely? Sure it may be appealing for the Bulls to move one of their 8 figure contracts and get a promising young player going forward. Why though would a team in the lottery make that deal? They would be on the hook for a lot more money for one. Secondly, they you are trying to sell hope to their fan base. Hey I appreciate Deng and Noah as much as anyone but do they really inspire in the average NBA fan’s confidence that his or her team is going to be a contender now or in the future? Plus if you're the Bulls you have to be asking does trading Noah or Deng really make you a better basketball team? The Heat at least to me don’t look like a dynasty. Sure LeBron is the best player, but Wade has appeared at times to be slowing down, Haslem? Mike Miller? Shane Battier?; hardly seems like a roster built for the long haul. Yeah 2013 could be tough but by 2014 the East may be yours for the taking if you just hold on to your guys.
Sam: Now what’s the fun of that, of being so realistic? As I’ve mentioned above, I don’t expect a move, though the fun of the NBA is to play some fantasy basketball. Deng would be appealing to many teams, especially the Kings, as I’ve suggested. And teams generally have the most success building through the lottery. But given you don’t quite turn around your team with Deng or Noah and it’s not like the No. 5 or No. 8 pick assures you a star, I suspect the Bulls will be cautious, pretty much stay as they are, hunt around for a fill in point guard later this summer with someone not getting a deal and then pretty much bring back the same group to give it a run in 2013-14 with presumably a 100 percent Rose. I agree about Miami, though you look awfully good beating a team like the Thunder in five. But the Heat got bench performances no one imagined or we figure to ever see again. Which is why I think the Wizards made the deal they did. With some size, which the Bulls have, I think teams see the Heat as vulnerable in a relatively weak East. Miami will be the overwhelming East favorite next season, but they don’t have many ways to improve. Maybe they get another, but they can be had.
How about the [icy feeling] Wade's got? All the attention given to LeBron right now? Every sports network is focused on LeBron's legacy with nary a peep about Wade. Could that effect how Wade gets along with LeBron in future seasons?
Sam: Sorry, I don’t see it. Wade has a second title justifying his recruiting pitch and his own decision from 2006. With his family issues being settled in his favor, he seems more mature and centered even if he needs to quit complaining about non foul calls.
Are Okafor and Ariza really that bad that the Hornets would trade them for the Rashard Lewis and his 20-whatever million a year? I know that it frees up alot of money for them in the summer of 2013, but who do they really think they are going to sign? Okafor was good for 10 point and 10 rebounds in 30 minutes per game. Ariza is a good defender who can score 10-15 points a night. Would they have taken Boozer for Okafor and Ariza and would that have been a good trade for the Bulls? Or would Washington have taken Boozer for Lewis and that 2nd round pick?
Sam: I think it was a good trade for the Hornets. They cleared more than $40 million in salary, effectively netting $27 million after cutting Lewis. That should give them plenty of room to sign or match any offer on Eric Gordon. With two lottery picks, one Davis at No. 1, they are getting positioned to build the right way and really make a run. They need to thank David Stern for killing that horrible deal that would have saddled them with Luis Scola, Kevin Martin and Lamar Odom. They are following the Oklahoma City model and with Davis seem to have a chance to make it work. I think they made a great deal.
I just read that Derrick Rose flew to Alabama to have his knee examined by Dr. Andrews. I may be just a pessimist, but I don't know why you would talk with another doctor unless there were any complications or did not like hearing what Dr. Cole was suggesting to him. If his rehab is going as well as GM Gar Forman says it is why is he getting a second opinion?
Sam: Indeed, why would the president have more than one advisor if that advisor was so good? Why would Thibs have more than one assistant? And why would Derrick’s surgeon not do the operation alone? Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Unlike some people in politics, more information is actually better. I’m glad Derrick is going to other physicians. You should know as much about something so important as you can. It’s not an insult to anyone. That’s why physicians consult. There is nothing new or different regarding Derrick’s rehab. Which brings me to the real unpleasant part: Next season. And we heard of this already with talk on Chicago radio that Rose’s rehab is going badly. I’ve actually seen and talked to Derrick, though I did not examine him. I was amazed to see how well he moved and not wearing any sort of big braces like I expected. He actually moved better than I did, though I am more worried about what happens with Medicare than he was. This is going to be the worst, most repeated story in team history because of this crazy media era. This is going to be the “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead” of 2012. For those who lived before SportsCenter, in 1975 the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco was dying and every night on national TV was a breathless report of him near death. It went on for weeks. Saturday Night Live immortalized it with the news anchor segment every week after he’d died announcing Franco was still dead. And so will be breaking reports of Rose walking, limping, twitching, near playing, soon to play, stumbling on the way to a movie and out an extra week, having taken a step back, having eaten more berries and back sooner, having told John Lucas III he wants to be known as Derrick the IV and Thibs from the opening of training camp calling Rose a game time decision. I can’t wait for the 2013-14 season already.