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Jeff Van Gundy: Bulls May Miss The Playoffs; LeBron Gets Rejected

It’s hard to be considered an offseason winner when your No. 1 player and franchise cornerstone recently tore up his knee and won’t be returning until probably March at the earliest. But the Bulls aren’t just going to be one player down next season; They’ve made some huge changes in this offseason. They lost Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver and Omer Asik, among others, and replaced them with Kirk Hinrich, Nate Robinson and Nazr Mohammed. Rose probably means a dozen wins himself, and with the new changes they’ve made, Jeff Van Gundy doesn’t think they’ll even make the playoffs. The Notorious J.V.G. said on ESPN 1000′s “Waddle & Silvy” show that it’ll be a heck of a year if the Bulls can even win half of their games. His main reasoning behind that was the Bulls went from an MVP and a very good backup point guard (C.J. Watson) to a combo guard who’s fallen off the last few years (Hinrich), and a rookie who probably should’ve gone back to school (Marquis Teague) … In fact, who knows what’ll happen with the Kentucky rook. Turns out he’s the only first-rounder who has yet to sign his rookie scale contract. Didn’t Calipari teach him anything about chasing the dough? But according to reports, we probably shouldn’t be blaming Teague. Rookie contracts aren’t that hard to explain. Teams can sign the player for anywhere from 80 to 120 percent of a set value, and because you just drafted the kid and aren’t trying to start off the new relationship with an Albert Haynesworth-level holdout, nearly everyone gets the 120 percent. Outside of San Antonio, this is standard course for the NBA. Yet the Bulls don’t want to give it to Teague. This makes a lot of sense, Chicago. Your franchise is hobbling around town with five pounds of ice on his knee, you just drafted a young point guard with some serious potential, and now you don’t want to give up one cookie from the box you have … Yesterday we ranked the 25 most overpaid players in the NBA, and we heard more than a few people questioning us about Kobe Bryant. We put him at No. 2 on the list because he’s the highest-paid player in the league and will soon be making $30 million in a season. That’s absurd. On the other hand, you can make the argument that he’s worth at least double that number to the Lakers per season in Hollywood … Next up… the 25 most underpaid players in the league … And New Orleans has signed free agent Roger Mason while Darko Milicic is apparently not giving Europe any consideration. He wants to come back to the NBA and continue to improve his career. We’re telling you, he’s gonna end up in South Beach and get a shot at another coattail-riding championship … Keep reading to hear about the man they’re saying is the next Chauncey Billups …

Damian Lillard blew up during summer league, averaging 26.5 points and 5.3 assists per game. Quite honestly, he was the best player there, and now Neil Olshey, Portland’s GM, is apparently comparing his new rookie to Chauncey Billups. The similarities are there. Both players are shoot-first point guards who can still create for others. Both are physical, 6-3 guards that have enough athleticism to get wherever they want, and both have a calm demeanor that always seems to rub off on their teammates … LeBron James sure has been busy at the Olympics. Between throwing down statue-esque dunks against Tunisia that caused the guys at the end of their bench to nearly lose their minds, he’s been making some friends in the Olympic village. At one point, LeBron was introduced to some of the female swimmers, including Lauren Perdue (who is super fine by the way), and asked her to come eat with him in the mess hall. She turned him down. She had a curfew. Despite that, she still tweeted out a photo with Cleveland’s favorite athlete. Um yeah… LeBron’s no fool. But he’s gotta step up his game a little more than that. Dinner in the mess hall? Rocking those damn hipster glasses? … But hey, at least he didn’t look like Dwight Howard after the big man met Dominique Dawes four years ago … And we just recently passed the five-year anniversary since Kevin Garnett was traded to Boston, unintentionally starting America’s obsession with the “Big Three” trend. It feels like it was so long ago when the three stars – KG, Jesus and the Truth – came together to form what was considered at the time to be a sort of NBA Dream Team. But perhaps more memorably, back then no one looked at Garnett as a hyper-psychotic bully who picked on tiny Europeans. At that point, he was a passionate dude who had been screwed over by years of pathetic mismanagement in Minnesota, as well as somewhat of a failure as an individual player. Three times during his prime, Garnett had failed to even get the Wolves to the playoffs, despite putting up obscene numbers. He ran away from the ball in close games faster than Usain Bolt, and seemed to fade as games went deep into the fourth quarters. Everyone was happy to see Da Kid get his shot, and Garnett more than anyone else. He couldn’t have found a better situation … We’re out like Misty and Kerri‘s unbeaten set streak.

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