If you haven't heard, the Chicago Bulls fired coach Scott Skiles on Christmas Eve after steering the team to an underwhelming 9-16 start. Maybe it's not a huge surprise considering the expectations facing Skiles and the Bulls this season, but I thought he'd at least make it to the All-Star break.
So how does this pertain to the Blazers? In today's New York Post, Peter Vecsey notes that Skiles might still have a job if the Bulls had taken two current Trail Blazers in the 2006 draft.
Three years ago, the Bulls won 47 games with the above mentioned core, plus Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler. Last season they won 49 games. In between Curry forced a trade to the Knicks that yielded Tim Thomas, the No. 2 of '06 and the No. 9 pick in '07; Chandler was dealt for P.J. and J.R. Smith, and Wallace was signed to $60M, four- year free-agent contract.
What do the Bulls have to show for that? Thomas was waived long after being sent home by Skiles. Smith was traded to the Nuggets for a pair of second rounders and Howard Eisley. The No. 2 pick was used to take LaMarcus Aldridge and sent him to Portland for Tyrus and Victor Khryapa. And last June's No. 9 selection got them Joakim Noah.
Don't look now but Aldridge is precisely the type of player the Bulls would love to have patrolling their paint . . . and they wouldn't have had to trade two of their top six for, say, Pau Gasol.
"Looks like we finally returned the Portland favor from 84!" a Bulls official laments.
Brandon Roy might have also helped from that '06 draft. No, nobody knew he was going to be All-Star good when the Timberwolves tabbed him and traded his rights to Portland for Randy Foye. But we all kinda knew Roy was 6-foot-6 and a smooth operator and Chicago's backcourt remains conspicuously undersized.
Their loss is our gain. One thing though: I don't know that it's entirely accurate to say "nobody knew he [Roy] was going to be All-Star good." Maybe no one expected Roy to be All-Star good this fast, but I'm pretty sure there are a couple of people wandering the halls here at Center One Court who had a good idea of the kind of player Roy could become.