By K.C. Johnson
April 18, 2002
I did some research, and, according to USA Today, the combined salaries this season of Eddie Robinson, Marcus Fizer and Travis Best are $11.33 million. Why wouldn't these salaries be able to match up with Vince Carter's salary for next season (when his new deal begins)? Wouldn't the Bulls be able to make it work cap-wise with a sign and trade deal involving Best, ERob, Fizer and their first-round pick? --Aaron Shafter, Chicago
I didn't say it couldn't work cap-wise. I said I didn't think the Bulls would do it since they'd trade practically their whole team. Vince won't even make All-NBA this year. Would you trade Best, Fizer, ERob and a first-round pick for him?
Last week, you wrote the Bulls would have to trade practically their entire team to match up cap-wise with Vince Carter's salary in a trade. Well, if they packaged their No. 1 draft pick along with Eddie Robinson ($5 million) and Oakley ($7 million) in a sign-and-trade, that would just about equal Carter's $13 million a year. The numbers wouldn't be exact, but Krause could find a way to make it work, I'm sure. --Louis Toedt, Elmhurst, Ill.
Read the above answer. Also, both Best's and Oakley's salaries are up after this season, and while Best's will probably go up in a sign-and-trade scenario, Oakley's surely will go down. No team will be paying him anywhere near $7 million next season.
Any change of heart on the potential of Bagaric in light of his break-out game against the Knicks? Paul Peterson, Lincolnshire, Ill.
No. For a more detailed answer, please see below.
Has Dalibor Bagaric gotten better this year? What chance does he have to be a Bull next year? I think hes terrible and shouldn't be brought back. --Chad Wooten, Chicago
Dalibor will be a Bull next year since he has another guaranteed year on his rookie contract as a first-round pick. Terrible may be too strong a word, but slow, cumbersome and predictable (in terms of his moves) seem to fit. The guy works hard. Very hard. And Krause and, to a lesser extent, Cartwright like him. They both love his work ethic. I just don't see him ever being a legitimate player, despite his excellent size.
Why do so few inside players use the hook shot? When perfected it is an effective weapon. Is it too difficult, are the players unwilling to work hard enough to perfect it or does the league defend it too well in this era? I could see Tyson Chandler devastating defenders in the low blocks with a nice Kareem-like sky hook. --Curt Fieleke, Belton, Mo.
Hook shots don't get on SportsCenter. That's too easy an answer, but it has to be part of it. Hilariously enough (as the All Dalibor, All the Time answers continue), Bagaric uses a hook shot. But it has been well-scouted and even though the shot is difficult to block, his has been several times this season.
With everyone talking about Chandler and Curry for the Bulls future, I believe that Trenton Hassell has been greatly overlooked. Could it be possible that he may end up on the All-Rookie second team? Michael A. Senn, Ft. Myers, Fla.
Hassell certainly hasn't been overlooked by the coaching staff. They absolutely love the kid. He's been something, especially defensively, hasn't he? Last week, he shut down Stackhouse and Sprewell in back-to-back games--as a second-round pick. Impressive. The All-Rookie teams are selected by the coaches, and I think he definitely has a shot to make second team. Let's put it this way: He deserves it.
You're awesome! Love your column and your name! Since the season is ending and the players have all summer to forget what you said, how about giving us your NBA "We drive the coach nuts" All-Star team? (The psycho five, if you will) I assume Rasheed is captain. Who else receives the honorary Prozac trophy? I dare you to answer this! Curt Nichols, K.C., Mo. 65030
I can only speak of players that I've covered, but make sure to reserve a spot for Ron Artest. He's one of my favorite athletes I've ever covered, but his intensity also can border on destructive. Just ask Isiah Thomas, who has certainly had his hands full since the trade went down.
Hey Sunshine, how do trades happen? I mean, what are the actual legal mechanics? Are league-mandated forms filled out and then signed with a notary public present? Does Jerry Krause arrange to meet another GM in the middle of a bridge late at night, where both sides hand the form over, not letting go till the other side does? Seriously, how does this work? --Dan Brennan, Madison, Wis.
Paperwork is filed with the league office and the players' association. Trades don't become official until the paperwork is filed and the players are notified, which is why they waited so late in the day to announce the Rose trade, even though it was for all practical purposes consumated earlier in the day.
I don't know about you, but if the Bulls had Eddie Robinson healthy for the whole year, I think we could have about eight to 10 more wins. I really hope he does not have another season like he did this year, which was none because he was hurt virtually the entire season. --Gabriel Medellin, Chicago
I'm not big into the guessing game on how many more victories the Bulls would've had because that's pure speculation. But I do think they would've been a better offensive team earlier in the season, which was a huge problem area at that point. Trust me: He's more frustrated by all of this than anybody else.
Witnessing the evolution of Marcus Fizer as a basketball player under coach Cartwright, I am wondering if the departure of Tim Floyd had anything to do with this. What was Floyd's relationship with Fizer like off the court compared to on the court? Fizer seems more comfortable under Cartwright and it just seems ironic that Fizer plays his best ball when his friend off the court, Tim Floyd, is not coaching him. How do you feel about this? -- Elliot Gaynon, La Canada, Calif.
I've not noticed that dynamic. I think it's more a matter of Fizer maturing as a player and as a person. He tried to do too much when he first came into the league and will admit that. He's settled down, is forcing less and has found a comfortable role off the bench that asks him to just provide scoring. That, I think, has more to do with things than the coaching change.
I enjoy keeping track of the Bulls here in Pennsylvania over the net and your articles/commentary play a big role. Keep it up. Do the teams or league have an interest in kicking out fans that ride certain players the whole game? Recently, one guy was so annoying he made an article you penned about Raptors game (heckling Davis all night). While I'm a Bulls fan and find that amusing, I feel bad for the fans next to him who shelled out 200 bucks to take their family to see the Bulls. --Brad Wakeman, Lewisburg, Penn.
Typically, that's a team's and/or building's security call, but in the case of the fan heckling Davis, they couldn't do anything because all he was being was loud and annoying. (He happened to be sitting directly behind me, which is probably why I buckled under and mentioned him in my story.) Earlier this season, a drunk fan in Indiana was riding Artest all game and he faked going into the stands after him. (This was when Artest was still with the Bulls.) That fan got ejected. Typically, if profanity or drunkenness is an issue, a fan might get ejected. Otherwise, it's fair game. They paid their money just like everybody else.
What's the deal with the Bulls treatment of A. J. Guyton? He's fundamentally sound, shoots daggers from the perimeter and conducts himself with presence and class. He seemed to play well when he got a chance to start awhile back. I don't think he ever got a fair shake with this team, do you? Do you think he has a chance to stick somewhere, or is he destined for Europe? Thanks, and I suggest you take a lengthy, hedonistic vacation when this thing is finally over-Phil Jackson didn't know the meaning of the word odyssey those many years ago. What a long strange trip indeed. --Jason Mitchell, Chicago
To this day, I think the Bulls would've been better off with Ollie and Guyton at the point at the start of the season, rather than Anthony. Guyton would've been in the same predicament when Jamal returned from injury. But he would've played more, earlier in the season. I think he will hook up with another team. He's too good of a shooter not to. He feels confident in this regard as well, saying that players from several other teams have told him that their bosses like him. We'll see. Guyton's a bright guy. He's got a degree from Indiana he can fall back on as well. But I think you'll see him in the NBA. As for vacation, it's coming and it will be hedonistic, thanks for asking.
Thanks for all your interest, support, disagreements and questions over the course of this season. Without readers, us writers wouldn't have much fun. My guess is we will continue this feature on a sporadic basis around draft time and in the playoffs. (Eds note: Yes, we will. Check the site as the draft approaches.) It's been a lot of fun. Thanks again,
P.S. As an added bonus, I've had several requests over the course of the season to detail Oakley's best quotes. I've kept a file all season and wanted to unveil a few of my favorites now. I understand that many people are tired of Oakley and think his quotes are better than his play. But trust me: From a writer's perspective, he certainly made another 60-loss season much more tolerable.
On his first day of practice: "I'm coming here with my hard hat on and having me two sandwiches."
On being named captain: "I'm like a toll booth. Sooner or later, you have to come to me."
On his candid nature: "The only time I bit my tongue was when I was a kid and fell off my bike. It hurt, so I never did it again."
Some of his comments after the franchise-worst, 53-point loss to Minnesota in November that led to his $50,000 fine: "If we're not trying to win or get to the playoffs, we might as well just play young guys and sit everybody else on the bench and get blown out by 50 every night. [Floyd's] the coach. I'll express it to him. That's how I am, like it or not. They can trade me. But I'm going to speak my mind.
"If Tim challenged our effort, you have to challenge the way he does things too. He makes lineup changes every day. The last two nights, the guys he rotated in [at small forward] got killed at the position. We just can't go out and throw one guy in one night and another guy in one night. We have to be more consistent."
On fallout from $50,000 fine: "You buy a chocolate cake, you know what's in it. You buy a loaf of bread, you know how many slices come with it. So how many sandwiches you want and how many slices of cake you want? I'm all about having a good time and respecting my teammates. I respect Tim. But things happen. Brothers get into it. Husbands and wife do too."
After a 32-point loss to New Jersey in November: "This isn't like a flat tire you can fix and keep on riding. This is a blowout with no spare and nothing's open for 100 miles. So we have to do some walking."
On a 3-13 start: "When you're 3-13, you're still in the woods. 'We're so deep and low in the woods that we can't even start a fire big enough for anybody to see us, see our fire or even any smoke signals.''
On his play: ''I was a Cadillac with the back window shot out when they bought me,'' said Oakley, 37, a 16-year veteran. ''So they're going to ride it or put it in the shop. The window still ain't fixed. So what do you want? It's still $3,099. Take it or leave it. I ain't really said nothing yet.''
On Jerry Krause: "He's been around a long time and won championships. They had a dynasty here. Now they've got a coffee shop."
On officiating: "Some nights, [the referees] are going to blow whistles. And some nights, they're going to blow bubbles."
On not playing down the stretch: "I'm cool with whatever. I'll just keep eating my bread, sipping my soup and serving my time. But the chicken is going to lay some more eggs one day.''
And finally, after 29-point loss to Milwaukee on March 12: "It was like a cookout. They had everything--barbecue chicken, wing dings, shrimp cocktail, potato salad, chips and dip. They had a party. We just watched it."
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