Derrick Rose Joins The King

derrick_rose_bulls_cavs_.jpgFinally! After long last, Derrick Rose has just punched his one-way ticket back to the Playoffs, after signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers! Rose agreed to a one year/$2.1 million contract on Monday, according to Brian Windhorst, and the new contract is definitely something different than what Rose is used to (Rose earned a lot more money previously when he signed his maximum contract back in 2012 with the Chicago Bulls).

The signing comes as no surprise to NBA fans, as Kyrie Irving recently requested a trade from the Cavaliers (and every team needs a point guard, right?), but does this signing guarantee Rose a starting spot alongside Lebron James and the rest of the talented roster? I know Derrick still shows flashes of greatness at times, but his injuries have definitely held him back, and there’s no guarantee that Irving will be on another team come next season. Still, I love this signing, because Derrick can finally be part of a winning team again.

Let’s look back on Rose’s last couple of seasons: In 2016, Rose and Butler fought to gain control of the Chicago Bulls throughout the entire season, eventually leading the team to a perfectly average 41-41 season (where they missed the Playoffs). Rose was then traded to the New York Knicks over the offseason, where his presence was expected to bring the  Knicks back to the Playoffs. Unfortunately in 2017 (for the 2nd year in a row), Rose, alongside Anthony and Porzingis, were unable to make the Playoffs, finishing at 31-51. These two years of mediocrity and failure would lead Rose to search for a team that wanted to win, and now, we see Rose preparing to wear a Cavs uniform for the upcoming NBA season.

To me, Rose in a Cleveland uniform doesn’t make much sense. If you’re a true Derrick Rose fan (such as myself), then you can remember the days when Rose was nearing his peak and battling James and the Cavaliers. Even better, you can remember the great rivalry of Joakim Noah and Lebron James that always made the games between the two teams a lot more entertaining (the comments Noah made about Cleveland still make me laugh to this day). The point is, the history between the two players has always been bitter. They never had problems specifically with one another, but no one could have ever imagined the two teaming up together on a single team. It’ll take some time to get used to for a few people, but I’m very excited to see what Rose can accomplish now that he’s on a successful team again.

I think the best part of all of this is that Derrick has the chance to really improve his game alongside James. We’ve seen how much Irving grew as a point guard once Lebron joined the Cavs back in 2014, and I think we can see the same from Rose (as long as he doesn’t get hurt again). Derrick continues to persevere every season, as well as being a reliable player in late game situations (when he’s healthy). Although, I think it was smart for the Cavs to solely offer him the veterans minimum salary, as I believe it’ll make him work even harder to prove the front office wrong and show he can still be an athletic guard. This offseason continues to get crazier everyday, and now that Rose has a new home in Cleveland, Ohio, nothing will surprise me. Rose could very well be in the Finals come next June, and he may even get that ring he so desperately craves.

The Bulls’ Continuous “Rebuild”

maxresdefaultIt’s a shame nobody can see me as I write this piece, because I literally have my face in my hands at the thought of Gar Foreman and John Paxton trying (yet again) to rebuild the Chicago Bulls. The “dynamic duo” of Foreman and Paxton have continuously gotten Chicago into some controversial deals, as every year since the end of the 2014-2015 season, the Bulls’ front office has clearly been attempting to shake up the team in some way or fashion, but just as clearly, their efforts have failed miserably.

Let us recall the firing of our beloved coach Tom Thibodeau after the 2015 season, every Bulls fan was shocked and enraged with the outcome, especially because the Bulls had just finished a great season with 50 wins in the regular season along with a great playoff performance against the Bucks and Cavaliers. That’s not even mentioning the fact that the Bulls could have advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals and thus, possibly the NBA Finals had it not been for some questionable calls in Game 4 of the Semifinals (all true Bulls fans understand what I’m talking about, but after all, it’s for another day).

Eventually, during the 2016 offseason, the Bulls front office decided to trade our hometown hero, 2011 MVP, 2009 ROY, or most simply put, Derrick Rose. The trade was shocking and it hurt true Bulls fans, as we had watched the young man grow and prosper under Coach Thibodeau. The city of Chicago lost a true hero that day, and the kid that would one day return our franchise back to its glory days of the 90’s was gone. Although we were able to acquire Dwayne Wade and Rajon Rondo, they still were not the same as what Rose had once been.

Now, during today’s 2017 offseason, the Bulls look so much different than they did just a few weeks ago. If trading away Rose wasn’t a big enough blow to fans already, the Bulls decided to trade away our star, Jimmy Butler. Butler, along with our 16th pick in the draft this year, were traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Zach Lavine,  Kris Dunn, and their 7th pick in the draft this year. In essence, the Bulls gave Minnesota the key to the Playoffs next season in exchange for a dump on the front porch of every Bulls fans’ homes. Before you criticize my comparison, just think with me for second…

Lavine tore his ACL and had to miss the second half of last season so his chances for a  re-injury are higher now (this tale sounds pretty familiar right Bulls fans?). Dunn didn’t do too much this previous season, but I’ll admit, he has high potential to shine in a big market like Chicago. And finally our newest member, Lauri Markkanen, has yet to play in the league so we have no idea what he is capable of yet. All in all, Minnesota got a much better deal out of this than the Bulls did. I find it funny too because now that Minnesota has a big three in Towns, Wiggins, and Butler, many free agents like Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford have begun to migrate over as well. In fact, the Timberwolves are now my third favorite team due to the fact that they essentially recreated part of the 2015 Bulls team (they even have Thibodeau as their head coach).

For Chicago however, we as fans don’t have much to look forward to this upcoming season. Although the East continues to worsen as players migrate West (minus Hayward), the Bulls will have very minimal talent to lead them back to the Playoffs. The Bulls already released Rondo, so the last piece of true talent that remains from last season is our veteran leader, Dwayne Wade. The so called “rebuild” that the Bulls are currently in seems to be going nowhere and as a true fan, I am not looking forward to the next few seasons. Our only real chance is that one of these young guys comes out of nowhere and surprises the franchise with a new star in the making. I have many doubts for the Bulls, but hopefully something good can come from all of this renovation. Once again, prepare yourselves Chicago. It’s gonna be a painful and bumpy couple of seasons.



The Superteam Era Has Begun

warriorswin.jpgOh no… the sport that I have loved and appreciated throughout my entire life is now beginning to enter a dark and irreversible path. The NBA is now realizing that the only way to win in this league is to form what I despise the most: A Superteam. Golden State being the first of its kind (which could be argued as not the first), probably being followed by whatever the Cavs do during this offseason and maybe even teams in the future like the Celtics or Lakers. All that we know for sure is that the small market franchises will never win in this current form of the league and the rivalries of basketball will mold together towards strictly the superteams.

Remember back in 2013 when the Bulls would constantly mess with the Heat and both teams had such strong hate for each other? Remember when the Pacers were close to being in the NBA Finals barely three years ago? Remember when the Kings from 2001 could’ve (and possibly should’ve) beaten the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals? Well now that the Superteam era has begun, all of those great memories will never reappear ever again. From now on, all we will remember are how the Playoffs continuously sucked until the NBA Finals occurred, where the two superteams of each conference met to face off that year.

To be honest, this post is more of a memorial to all of my favorite basketball memories as a kid. I’m really going to miss all of the great players who stayed with smaller franchises in order to build and win a ring the loyal way (players like Westbrook and Lillard). Because of what Kevin Durant has done and will continue to do with the Warriors, the rest of the NBA players will now follow in his footsteps in order to become a champion (and frankly, I don’t blame them). Of course I will continue to support the league and sport in general, but it will never be the same over the foreseeable future.

Goodbye to the good basketball integrity and loyalty that I grew up watching as a young boy, because it will continue to inspire me as a fan throughout my entire life. I know that there are people out there that are mourning with me, so just know, hopefully someone will break this curse eventually. Someday… someone will defeat a superteam in the Playoffs and rekindle the fire of the loyal NBA player. But it’ll be a while, so stay patient everyone… it’s about to get really bumpy.

Recapping Nashville’s Historic Run

nashville.jpgI’ll be honest, even though I’m a Blackhawks fan, I was really sad to see the Predators fall to the Penguins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Nashville had entered the Playoffs as the second wildcard team in the Western Conference facing off against the heavily-talented Chicago Blackhawks. Out of nowhere, the number one seeded Blackhawks were swept right out of the series and right into the offseason, as the Predators eliminated the Blackhawks in just four games. Although I was very angry with Nashville (more of my anger was towards the Hawks), I was very certain that St. Louis (who I hate even more) would knock them out just as fast as they had done to my beloved hometown team. I was so wrong.

Once Nashville stole Game 1 in St. Louis (meaning they were 5-0 in the Playoffs), I knew that this team was no fluke. With players like P.K. Subban and Pekka Rinne leading the charge, they eventually went on to win the series on their home ice in just six games, but they were now facing the second best team in the west. Anaheim was entering the series following a dangerously close series with the Edmonton Oilers, but they had proven their talented team was capable of anything. It was a clash of the titans, as the Predators and Ducks dueled for the rights of the Western Conference, with the Predators winning the series in six games.

The final stage was a lot different however. The Cinderella story was nearing the final chapter as the Predators were now facing the defending Stanley Cup Final Champions in the Pittsburgh Penguins. With the star Captain Sidney Crosby leading the way for the Penguins, it was clear that this was going to be the hardest challenge the Predators would face in this year’s postseason. It was home ice advantage throughout the first five games, as the Penguins led the series 3-2 heading into Game 6 in Nashville (no home team had lost a game yet). Game 6 was very close, with a very controversial call against the Predators that would have given them a 1-0 lead late in the game. Unfortunately, the Penguins would later score two goals and win the game and the Stanley Cup Final altogether.

One of the great things about sports is the “what-ifs” that come with them. Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final had a great “what-if” that could have changed the entire series and its’ outcome. Regardless, the Predators had a historic run through the playoffs and they reminded sports fans all over the world why Playoff Hockey is one of the best sports to watch. I’ve said this before, but the NBA Playoffs could really take a page out of the NHL Playoffs’ book, because the Stanley Cup Final was definitely more entertaining than this year’s’ NBA Finals (don’t worry, that’ll be coming up shortly). It will be very interesting to see what happens this offseason with the Nashville Predators, because they just put their team back up on the map, and now, they have unfinished business with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Grab your popcorn everyone, because the Predators just found new prey.