If you’ve read any of my blog posts since I started this site last November, you know the Marciano body shots I’ve thrown at Ernie Grunfeld. The Wizards GM is always a target of mine because I think he’s done a piss poor job running the Wizards. Yes, he’s the guy who gave Gilbert Arenas $111 million dollars. On Thursday, however, Grunfeld did the Bulls the biggest favor since David Stern rigged the Derrick Rose lottery. He agreed to take on Kirk (Please Flip Saunders don’t call me Kurt) Hinrich and his remaining $17 million dollars. The Wizards have the cap space to absorb Hinrich’s deal, but not until the NBA’s moratorium is lifted July 8. Ironically, the Wizards have that cap room because they shipped off Antawn Jamison to the Cavs at this year’s trade deadline. Funny how this shit works out, isn’t it? By taking Captain Clank (That’s my buddy Chad’s nickname for him), Grunfeld insured the Bulls will have around $30 million dollars to spend on free agents this summer. Which two you ask? I ‘ll let Worldwide Wes answer that question…..”We’re going to Chicago, and Chris Bosh is coming too. Worldwide Wes is now telling people LeBron James will bring Bosh with him to the Bulls once free agency starts July 1. As I’ve written for months, the Bulls are all in on the LeBron sweepstakes. They hired Tom Thibodeau, knowing he was OK with LeBron and Worldwide. They gave away Hinrich for nothing! Look, I have ripped Kirk for a long time, but even I have to admit he was a solid player. That’s where the league is right now, though. If you want to play at the big boy’s table, you better be willing to do what The King, Maverick Carter, and Worldwide want. Who could have guessed that a former Knick would help the Bulls achieve their goal.
Grunfeld and Dave Checketts ran the Knicks in the 90′s. They hated the Bulls as much as us Bulls fans hated the Knicks. No Knick would ever help the Bulls, right? Oh, how things have changed. Checketts had this to say to ESPN New York….”I’ll have to give Ernie a call, has he lost his mind?”
“Ernie and I hated Chicago more than anyone. We wouldn’t do one thing to help them when we were running the Knicks. In fact, we even tried to kill deals we heard the Bulls were working on. We’d call agents and tell them, ‘Why would you send your player there? Are you kidding? Don’t you know what’s going on inside that organization?’” Checketts wasn’t done….
“We tried to convince Michael Jordan to come to New York when we offered him all of our cap space in ’96,” he said. “We even bid on Scottie Pippen once. A lot of time has passed, but it’s still hard to picture Ernie doing a deal that would help the Bulls.” How do you really feel Dave?
Somewhere, the Knicks and their fans are feeling like this is the 90′s all over again. For all of my ball busting of Grunfeld, I owe him an apology. Thanks Ern, thank you for taking the only white guard in the NBA who can’t consistently make a wide open 3. I may have to send Big Ern a gift.
The NBA world has known for 2 years that the Knicks want LeBron James. They started planning for July 1, 2010 the day Donnie Walsh took the helm. Walsh sounded terrified at the thought of the Bulls now having enough room for two max free agents. “They got more cap money than they had, there’s no doubt about that.” He seems resigned to the fact that his dog shit team is falling out of the LeBron sweepstakes faster than “Grown Ups” will fall out of the top grossing movies of the summer. Donnie needs a smoke.
The Knicks main draw for 2 years has been their ability to sell LeBron on the fact that he can bring the sidekick of his choosing. That was their sell. Not their B-List celebrities lining up to make a pitch to The King. The Knicks are planning elaborate dinners, and selling New York. When you have a roster that consists of Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Tony Douglas, I’d be selling the city and anything other than basketball. Sorry Knicks fans, but your 2 year dream is about to become a nightmare. Don’t blame Donnie Walsh, blame Isiah Thomas who ruined your franchise. “Zeke” basically destroyed basketball in New York like LeBron will do in Cleveland once he’s “Up out of there” as Worldwide Wes said. Does anyone think LeBron, who’s in desperate need of winning titles, will want to play with those stiffs over Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah? That’s what I thought. LeBron James is going to be a Bull. I’ve never been more confident about it.
I feel obligated to mention the Miami Heat because they have cleared the deck as well and will make a pitch to LeBron. I’m only mentioning them because I don’t want to be viewed as shortsighted. Know this– there is no chance in hell (Vince McMahon voice) that The King will want to be viewed as Dwyane Wade’s sidekick. They played well together on team USA, but LeBron wants to be the alpha dog, and he wouldn’t be that in Wade’s world. The Heat will come away with Amare Stoudemire and Ray Allen, but The King is out of Pat Riley’s greasy, slimy, scummy hands.
Since Kirk Hinrich is now a former Bull, I have some parting words for Captain Clank. On draft night ’03 there was one guy I wanted no part of. His name? Kirk Hinrich. When a slimmer, younger David Stern announced the Bulls had selected the goofy haired Hinrich, I threw my remote control at the wall. True story. I didn’t want him then, and I basically high-fived myself when news broke yesterday that he was headed to Washington. Kirk is a solid player, yes, but I will not miss his over dribbling or his line drive jumper clanking off the front of the rim. I know many Bulls fans love the fact that “Kurt” was scrappy, tough minded and white. For me, he will always be a 40% shooter who picks up two stupid fouls in every first quarter. Ugh, maybe I will go see Grown Ups just to get Kirk’s game out of my head. The greatest thing he ever did for the Bulls was be competent enough to draw interest from a team like the Wizards. The Wizards have cap space and know that no free agent will go there to play with Gilbert Arenas. Kirk was a gritty defender and a solid combo guard, but he was never worth the $9 million dollar average he was being paid. So long Kirk, I won’t miss you.
Random Tangent: I’m telling you now that some of the teams with cap space (Nets, Clippers, and T-Wolves) who get shutout of the free agent game will need to fill that space through trades. There is still hope the Bulls can trade Luol Deng. It could be in a sign and trade (to the Hawks for Joe Johnson), which would give the Bulls the chance to sign 3 top fight players this summer. Every non Bulls NBA fan is scared shitless right now.
The moment the Bulls and their fans have waited two years for is almost here. LeBron James and Chris Bosh are another step closer to becoming Chicago Bulls. The Knicks, Cavs, and their respective fans are having nightmares of the 90′s all over again. How ironic that a former Knick helped the Bulls get into position to begin another championship run. Thanks Ern, I owe ya.