Friday, February 22, 2008

Big Ben is gone!

The Bulls, as close to imploding as they are (if they haven't already), made a big move earlier today, trading away Big Ben Wallace to Cleveland as part of an 11-player deal also involving Seattle.

In the deal, according to the Chicago Tribune:

The Cavs get Wallace, Joe Smith and a second-round pick from the Bulls as well as Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West from the SuperSonics. The SuperSonics gets Adrian Griffin from the Bulls and Ira Newble and Donyell Marshall from Cleveland. The Bulls in return get Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons and Shannon Brown from Cleveland. Of course, this is assuming the league, which K.C. Johnson of the Tribune expects it will.

In the end, this could be a good deal, but it has its bad points.

First, the
Bulls give up on Wallace, who was brought in before the 2006-07 season for $60 million from the Pistons. Big Ben produced 6.4 points and 10.7 rebounds a game in his first year as a Bull, but dropped to 5.1 points and 8.8 boards this year. He had expected to be the missing piece in providing a quality big man to push Chicago back into championship contention since the Michael Jordan era.

The Bulls also lose out on Joe Smith, who was averaging 11.2 points a game and providing some nice stability and veteran leadership to a young team.

Both those guys go to defending conference champs Cleveland, who are currently fifth in the playoff seeding. Lebron James gets a solid big man to help him on the boards, and they get that same veteran leadership.

In return, the Bulls gets center Drew Gooden and guard Larry Hughes. I used to hate Gooden with a passion while I was attending Iowa State and he was starring at Kansas. Of course, I could probably say the same for Kirk Hinrich, and look where he wound up. Gooden was averaging 11.3 points and 8.3 rebounds a game. The Bulls trade a couple of rebounds for some more scoring than they had with Wallace. Plus, Big Drew is seven years younger than Wallace, and will be able to contribute more on a young team.

Larry Hughes could work or not (how's that for decisive!). The 9-year veteran is averaging 12.3 in 32 minutes a game, but is shooting about 38 percent from the field. His shot selection has been so horrid at times that a Cavs fan site called "Hey Larry Hughes, Please Stop Taking So Many Bad Shots" with the actual address of was created (and they are now celebrating). Plus, Hughes has a monstrous contract ($12.3 million) and could push out Ben Gordon, who is a restricted free agent after this season. Plus Hinrich makes $10 million next season, Johnson said in the Tribune, so this is getting expensive.

It's a matter of waiting and seeing if owner Jerry Reinsdorf has raised the white flag a
gain with John Paxson.

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