Monday, September 17, 2007

More Bell...Too Much In Fact

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 know
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.
Look, 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.

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.


Anonymous said...

I loved your last line. I have to say, you have the best coverage of the Bell coverage that I've seen. I am suprised that Bell is so candid on his blog, more intensely, blogging has just begun to take hold, can you imagine in 5 years when all the players have grown up in this tech era, many more will have blogs then, we can only hope they will be as classlessly candid as Bell. For him to elude to the fact that he would be a cancer on the Bucks makes me lose all the respect for him that I had. To me, this is the biggest part of the story, now I really don't believe if the Bucks resigned him he would do it, and that almost makes it seem more pathetic. As far as this story goes though, I wonder what kind of mainstream Milwaukee press it is getting, with the Brewers coming down the stretch and the Packers 2-0, I can't imagine many people know about this, and especially the lengths it has gone to on Bell's myspace. I honestly think that when he shows up with the Heat at the BC this season most people will politely cheer, which is a shame, because that will mean that they'll have no idea what an jerk he's been.


Anthony Ryan Delorie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anthony Ryan Delorie said...

I understand exactly where Charlie Bell is coming from. The money is all relative, you see 9 million and you think that's incredible amount, but it's relative. It really bothers you when you know other people on your team, in your league that make a hell of a lot more, are not more talented, don't work on their game, their rehab, etc.. Yet they are compensated more.

Also I think Bell would totally play in Greece if just up to him. I think he's really taking into account what his wife wants. Since he's going to be traveling so much where as she lives in the home city and raises the kids, so bigger deal to her.

You shouldn't knock the guy for being honest. Vince Carter signed a max deal with Toronto then quit on his team. This is nothing like that. Charlie is not signing with the team, and he's being honest on why. It takes a lot out of you emotionally to reach the level he has, and a lot to maintain it.

I wish he'd come to washington, we have a lame duck maxed out small forward in Antwawn Jamison who couldn't guard a chair.

Also let me give an example on why I think Charlie Bell is classier than a lot of athletes such as Jared Jefferies. Jared Jefferies said he was insulted by Wizards offer, then takes less money to play in NY. Charlie is insulted but he's still taking a better deal to go elsewhere.

Also Milwaukee could have handled this completely different not offering Bell any contract and instead publicly stating they'd like to bring him back and would let market dictate if they could.

You don't give an ultimatum to someone you really value. I understand it's a business, but ultimatum shows level of interest. If you really want someone you wait and see how it plays out, you don't force their hand.