So ESPN and CNNSI are now reporting that Bell's offer is actually $18.5 million over five years, slightly more than what the JS reported earlier today when they broke the story (nice work by Charles Gardner, he's stepped up of late). Bell has now launched an all-out media assault trying to convince the Bucks not to match the offer--complete with continued threats that his heart wouldn't be in it (wink wink)--which I'm beginning to think will probably work at the end of the day (or in this case, at the end of the 7 days the Bucks have to match it).
Now, after the signing a locked MySpace blog entry addressed to Bucks fans was unlocked and has now been locked again. I saw it on the blog, and it was pasted in over here. And wow, all I can say is Charlie needs to spend less time reading about himself on blogs and message boards, because it's clearly getting to him.
To the realgm’ers and jsonline'ers and any other fans who want to knowLook, I like Charlie Bell. I've never heard anyone say anything but nice things about him off the court, and on the court he was a hard worker who did everything that was asked of him the past two seasons. He's basically been given a free pass by most Bucks fans since he came out of nowhere and actually played defense from time to time. I also don't doubt that Bell is just doing what's best for himself and his family, which is EXACTLY what he should be doing. And his strategy, as awkward and off-putting as it has been, looks like it will probably work. At this point it certainly seems like the Bucks misplayed the situation, especially if the rumors are right that they could have had Bell for three years and $9 million last week if they only had offered to make the last year a player option.
Current mood: happy
Those without sin cast the first stone. I think it's unfortunate that some of you say the Bucks should match any offer that I get so that I will be unhappy. You must be very unhappy in your own lives to seek vengeance on me because I want what's best for myself and my family. All I wanted, more than anything this summer was stability for my family because we have being moving all over the world since I have been playing professional basketball. The Bucks said they could not and would not give that to me. They also said they have no more money because they spent it all on Williams, Voskhul, Storey, and Mason. So when Miami stepped in and was concerned about what I had been through and wanted to offer me and my family the stablity that the Bucks said they could not offer, I turned down Olympiacos offer (THANK YOU AGAIN OLYMPIACOS, the fans are loyal and the owners are incredible) and well, the Bucks had already told me they were signing someone else anyway, so there was nothing to turn down. I just want them to stick to their previous promises to me that they ABSOLUTELY could not do more than 3 years or 3 million dollars/year. NBA players are human beings. We have lives, feelings, family, and values and we want to be treated as such just like you do. No one feels good about being given a life changing 24 hr ultimatum by their employer that effects their entire career and family. Especially when they have been an employee that shows up for work everyday, on time, and when they have done everything asked of them plus some. You and everyone else wants to be valued by their employer, especially if you put your heart into your work and do your best every time you go into work. If your not valued at your current job and you know that you are a good and talented worker, you find another employee who values you and cares about your life outside of basketball as well as on the court. Otherwise all jobs would be created equal. Well, God Blessed me to find that team. And that team is the Miami Heat.
But once again Bell is proving that the more athletes talk about their contract negotiations, the worse they look. It's not quite Sprewellian in nature, mind you. But the bolded part about Miami being "concerned" with what he had "been through" is pretty great--hopefully Bell's not surprised when Pat Riley expects him to play basketball, too. And while it certainly seems like he used the Olympiacos trip as a negotiating ploy and wasn't very serious about taking it, at least he's appreciative that so many fans begged him to come and made him feel good. That's perhaps the most surprising part of all this--that Bell seemed so concerned with fans' perceptions of him that he's repeatedly gone out of his way to address fans directly, only to then delete those message a bit later when they don't exactly resonate with average fans. Maybe Bell DOES realize his scorched earth policy is BS, and he's just trying to make it as awkward as possible for the Bucks to match the deal, who knows. But given all the postings and un-postings over the last week, my guess is that he actually is very sensitive about everyone's perception of him. On the one hand it's kind of fascinating to see, especially as someone who does spend so much time on the Bucks, but on the other hand it's not altogether reassuring when you see players become unglued by fan reaction.
Overall I do think this is a very good signing for the Heat, for whom Bell has more value than the Bucks at this point (see my previous post). And while it's not a no-brainer for the Bucks to let Bell walk, the length of the deal probably puts it out of the range of acceptability for the Bucks, who would also have a hard time putting together a press conference even if they did match it. At this point nothing will surprise me, but I'd be lying if I said that after everything that's happened I'll be applauding Bell the next time he's in the Bradley Center--regardless of whose jersey he's wearing. Sorry Charlie, my heart just won't be in it.