Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bucks Want Bell, Whether or Not He Wants Them

It's only fitting isn't it? This summer saw the Bucks draft a player who refused to even acknowledge the Bucks' existence and sign a player who once called Larry Harris a snake in the grass, so the Bucks' decision on Thursday to ignore Charlie Bell's pleas and match Miami's five-year, $18.5 million offer sheet can't be THAT surprising, can it? The hard part now is acting like Charlie didn't threaten to sabotage the team less than a week ago. Don't worry, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Gery Woelfel:
“The Bucks have matched the offer,’’ Mark Bartelstein, Bell’s agent, said Thursday afternoon. “The rule of being a restricted free agency made this a long, arduous and difficult process.

“But Charlie is a professional. This (free agency) waa a roller-coaster for him. But Charlie’s ready to go.’’

Over at the Journal-Sentinel, Charles Gardner has some more spin from Bartelstein:
Bell's agent, Mark Bartelstein, said he talked with Bell today and that the 6-foot-3 guard was "kind of digesting it."

"This is all part of the business," Bartelstein said. "They (the Bucks) realize Charlie Bell is a heck of a player, a huge piece of their present and future. They decided they wanted and needed to have Charlie with them."

"Restricted free agency is a very difficult process," Bartelstein said. "You go through an emotional roller coaster. There's going to be a little bit of a healing process."

Bartelstein said he was highly appreciative of the Heat's offer to Bell. "They treasured him and wanted him," Bartelstein said.

So don't worry about Charlie's heart not being in it, because now he's back to being a professional and ready to go--and there's a healing process that's about to start, so hopefully that helps. Thanks, Mark. After the Royal Ivey signing on Tuesday and Bell's continued embittered rhetoric, I was beginning to think the Bucks were preparing to let Bell walk. But in the end the Bucks decided Bell's price tag was too low and his short term value too high to allow an Eastern Conference rival to poach him for nothing. Are the Bucks a better team, more capable of seriously challenging for a playoff spot? Absolutely. Are they really closer to becoming a legit title contender. Not really. And that's what this decision really came down to: the need to build a more respectable, functional team (ie get at least one guy who shows some interest in defense) in the short term, even if Bell isn't a game-changer and you have him for longer than you'd ideally want him.


alex said...

And isn't that true though, that in the end the Bucks need Bell?

He certainly opened up to the public in a way we aren't accustomed to, but that he made it public might be the extent of the abnormality, if you know what I'm saying.

In the end, out of all the guys in the league, even after all of this, I don't think Bell is one of the more likely guys to slack on the court.

Jake said...

The fact that this is the way the process has to "work" this way is pretty disgusting. I'm not 100% convinced it has to be this way. When Etan signed with us, he practically begged for the Wiz to match the offer (which, thank god, they did.) Now Charlie literally commanded the Bucks NOT to match the offer, which they immediately did. I hope both sides can put away their differences and all indications point to Charlie being a true professional and will play hard. But shouldn't how an organization treats its player be a major concern? I think players would respond to that. If Milwaukee could cultivate a feeling of loyalty and pride in their organization, even without consistantly winning, I think it would improve everything about the franchise. And that starts with not jerking around players like Charlie Bell.