Stein On Bulls, Bynum, Bledsoe, J.R. Smith

January 9 at 8:00pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

During a five-and-a-half minute interview earlier tonight, ESPN’s Marc Stein offered his thoughts on the Deng-Bynum trade, Eric Bledsoe‘s latest injury, and the latest on J.R. Smith and the Knicks (ESPN Radio link). You can find some of the highlights from the interview below.

On what the Deng-Bynum trade means for the Bulls: 

“I really like this deal better for Chicago because they’ve reset themselves entirely as far as finances…nobody wants to part with first-round picks, but to be able to get a first-round pick for a guy who was headed to free agency, that’s a pretty impressive feat…when you look at what’s left over in Chicago, lets assume Derrick Rose comes back, they still have Jimmy Butler, they have Joakim Noah, they’ve got some picks coming in, they’re going to try to get Nikola Mirotic – who’s considered one of the top players in Europe…there’s still some pieces there…if they can hang onto Tom Thibodeau, they still have a good platform for a team moving forward.”

On Andrew Bynum‘s free agency prospects

“…the issue with Bynum is I think everyone’s concerned because it’s been so long since he’s been motivated…the reality is that he’s still a very big guy who takes up a lot of space and did show enough flash in Cleveland to let you know he can still be a productive player when he’s in the mood…He wants to go to a contender and somewhere where he can (make more) than the league minimum. I know Dallas is very interested in him. Miami and the Clippers are two teams that have been mentioned, but I think in both cases there’s probably some hesitation as well…Miami already has Greg Oden there, do they really want two reclamation project centers on that team? 

Doc Rivers has been very vocal this week saying that our concern is on the perimeter because we lost Chris Paul for six weeks…they’re not looking for a big man. Is that smoke screen from (Rivers)? I think we’ll find out pretty soon.”

On how Eric Bledsoe’s injury affects the Suns plans: 

“It’s a crusher…there’s been all kinds of talk that Phoenix would move (one or two of their stash of future first-round picks) in order to try to get another frontline player and make a playoff push now…those plans are going to have to be revised most likely because it looks like Bledsoe (could) miss a significant amount of time.” 

“…they won’t know exactly how bad (the condition) and they won’t know until the surgery takes place, but this is the first depressing downer to happen to Phoenix after a fairy-tale two months.”

On J.R. Smith and the Knicks: 

“The reality is that I don’t think they’ll be able to move him. Now I would not co-sign on the notion that this is purely a Knicks ‘scare tactic’…the Knicks weren’t the ones who told me or Ian Begley that J.R. Smith was being shopped…I don’t think this was some sort of thing the Knicks strategically leaked because they’re trying to light a fire under (him)…They’re undoubtedly frustrated with him, they (feel) like it’s time for a fresh start for all parties, but the reality is that (Smith) has two more years left on his contract after this one, his production has dropped considerably, and off the cour there’s been four or five flareups already that have resulted in fines or negative headlines…the Knicks are realistic, they know that chances are they’re not going to find a trade partner for him, but they’re trying. They are trying and that is legitimate.”

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