So I had this great idea (well...great to me anyway) I was ready to pounce on late last week. I wanted to review the Central Division's offseason thus far while intertwining it with the July 20 release of "Dark Knight Rises." The review was going to include quotes from "The Dark Knight" dedicated to each team within the division as a way to mix basketball levity with a commemoration of Christopher Nolan's sure-to-be epic trilogy finale. The shootings in Aurora, CO, however, sidetracked my efforts. I still feel immense heartbreak for the innocent victims involved with such a tragic episode, and I still feel immense anger for the inhumane individual responsible for so much bloodshed. May justice be well served.
Since I finished part of the review, though, I figured I may as well just publish it and finish the rest at a later time. Without further explanation, here's one man's "Dark Knight" themed Central Division review...
In: Marquis Teague, Kirk Hinrich, Vladmir Radmanovich, Marco Bellineli? Nazr Mohammed?
Out: Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, C.J. Watson, Brian Scalabrine, John Lucas III, Mike James, Omer Asik?
"Tell your boy he's gonna be all right, Gordon. Lie. Like I lied."
The uber-athletic Derrick Rose may be out for two thirds of the season following surgery to repair a torn ACL. Wrist surgery awaits Luol Deng after he vies for Olympic glory in London. As of a couple of weeks ago, master celebrator, Joakim Noah, wasn't anywhere near ready to get on the court again following a severe ankle sprain suffered during the Bulls' torturous playoff appearance. Steady backup C.J Watson? Gone. For basically nothing. Same with Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver. All thrown to the wayside supposedly to avoid luxury-tax hell. Omer Asik's departure will likely soon follow. The injuries, the financial purge all point to a possible '97 Spurs-esque catastrophe: A year-previous No. 1 seed disintegrating into lottery latchkeys. The only reason Chicago graded out with a star for this offseason was due to the drafting of Marquis Teague (a good value pick), and the fact that 2011 first-round pick Jimmy Butler played well in Summer League. Other than that, this offseason has stone-cold cataclysm written all over it.
In: Tyler Zeller, Dion Waiters, Jon Leuer, Andrew Bynum?
Out: Antawn Jamison, Alonzo Gee, Anthony Parker, Manny Harris
"The night is darkest just before the dawn."
It's rebuild year number two in the land of off-with-LBJ's head. Kyrie Irving strangely parlayed Rookie of the Year honors into a possible fist-meets-wall adventure, leading to a hand fracture. He'll presumably be back to full health when training camp opens its doors in October. Head-scratching top-five pick, Dion Waiters, delivered some head-scratching performances in Las Vegas summer leagues along with some dogged conditioning. And reports continue to surface/re-surface that Cleveland may be the frontrunner for all-time greatest, handicap-parking prankster in Andrew Bynum. It sounds a bit messy, but in all truthfulness, Cleveland's rebuilding efforts are moving along nicely. Kyrie Irving is a spectacular talent (recent poor judgment aside) who will likely join the elite NBA PG crew in the near future. Tyler Zeller demonstrated supreme polish in Summer League play and Tristan Thompson showed signs of elite future rebounding/defensive marksmanship. Add to all that a bevy of future cap space, multitudes of draft picks, and maybe even Andrew Bynum, and it's easy to see why many believe the long-awaited dawn is making its way to Cleveland.