Since I received approximately 1,374 questions about Amare Stoudemire, let's start with the life and times of Dalibor Bagaric. I kid, people. I kid.
Amare? -- Everybody, Everywhere
Chicago Tribune Live," I am in the rapidly shrinking minority of those who say trading for Stoudemire is the wrong move. Don't worry: Whatever you call me, my wife has called me worse.
Let's start with the well-publicized cons to acquiring Stoudemire. He's a mostly disinterested defender. He's actually not that great of a rebounder. He drives most coaches crazy. He can be distant from teammates. He underwent microfracture surgery on his knee in 2005. He's going to want more money than in Obama's stimulus package.
Now, here's some unique stuff from my occasionally-gin-soaked brain: How many championships did he win with Shawn Marion, who is better than Luol Deng, and Steve Nash, who while winning back-to-back MVPs, was better than Derrick Rose? (Before people really start bringing the hate mail, let me stress that I do believe Rose projects to be better than Nash. But nobody can say Rose is currently better than the Nash who won back-to-back MVPs.) One counterargument I heard to this is that the Suns averaged close to 60 regular-season victories and played in the brutal Western Conference, so a nucleus of Stoudemire, Rose and Deng would be enough to win the East. I don't see it. And if you're going to enter luxury tax territory, which you'd eventually do when you pay Rose and Stoudemire maximum-type contracts, isn't winning an NBA title the only justification?
Last I checked, defense wins titles. If the nucleus moving forward is Stoudemire, Deng and Rose, I'm guessing I could throw in 10.7 points per game. (I told you: I drink gin.) As I've written in previous mailbags, I see the Bulls' need for an interior player more on the defensive end than offensive. This team scores enough points with Rose and Ben Gordon and, gulp, Tyrus Thomas? (Also, for those who are wondering, Bulls management won't NOT make this trade because of Thomas' recent play. They're merely contemplating whether Stoudemire is the right move, just as Suns management is mulling whether the Bulls will ultimately make the best offer. So relax.)
Stoudemire is a wonderfully gifted offensive player. Pairing him with Rose excites the senses (and you'd think me given that I treated playing defense like the Plague during my long-ago Division III career). And you have to believe that a traded Stoudemire would be an incredibly-motivated-to-destroy-the-league Stoudemire.
I still wouldn't do it. That would be your one major move. And as I said, I don't see it winning championships.
I sent in an plan to trade Larry Hughes and Andres Nocioni to the Raptors for Jermaine O'Neal. After watching most of last night's Raptors-Spurs game, I take it back. O'Neal showed flashes of his old self (6 blocks, beating Duncan on a post move or two, hitting a 18 foot J off a pick and pop), but most of the time he looked disinterested. -- Kevin Pearce; Austin, TX
As I've written in this mailbag before, the Bulls could've had Jermaine O'Neal any number of times even when he was a better player in Indiana and never bit. They won't this time either.
Has Vinny has finally experienced the epiphany that every Bulls fan is already well aware of -- that Ben Goron should take the shot with the game on the line, not Derrick Rose? I love Rose, but he's shown multiple times he still isn't ready or capable to hit the game-winning shot. -- Lewis Reed; Long Island, NY
I wrote about this in Thursday's Tribune. I would've loved to have seen the final play from regulation in Minnesota work because it appeared that Rose and Gordon were going to run some sort of action on top to allow Rose to penetrate and kick to Gordon. Alas, Rose botched the play, dribbled towards Gordon and had to hoist a forced shot. I've written in previous mailbags that Rose has the most talent on the team and also has the best ability to penetrate and get to the rim. So I have no problem with him having the ball in his hands. But, like you, I'd like to see some plays where he penetrates and kicks to Gordon.
Derrick Rose is a phenomenal offensive player, and his demeanor on and off the court is even more impressive, but what do you think his chances are to become a dominant force on the defensive end as well? I wonder if he lacks the physical tools necessary (6-6 frame and lengthy body) to ever become elite on both ends of the floor. -- Dan; Calumet City
I think Rose will eventually be a very good defender actually BECAUSE OF his physical gifts. He's incredibly strong and quick. And, as you mention, his work ethic is great. It's going to take experience, learning NBA sets and personnel and a commitment at that end. He can do it.
Here is another loopy trade proposal: David Lee, Jerome James, and Jared Jeffries for Drew Gooden, Tyrus Thomas, and Michael Ruffin (the salaries match up). The deal is a no-brainer for the Bulls because they'll be adding a low-post presence that is sorely needed, while only eating one not-so-good contract. Feel free to call me crazy. -- J.R.; Chicago
I refuse to. After all, I'm the guy who won't trade for Stoudemire. That said, word around the league continues to be the Knicks won't deal Lee.
Another one: Can we get Amare without giving up Deng, Rose and TT? -- Otavio; Brazil
If the Bulls trade for Stoudemire, Thomas will definitely be in the deal.
What is the criteria for retiring a jersey number? I'm an old school NBA fan and Norm Van Lier was as good as it got in the 70's. Do you think he'll get the honor as did Jerry Sloan and Butterbean? How about Chet or Big Daddy Boerwinkle? -- Rico DeLorenze; Deep River, CT