Monday, June 13, 2011
Bulls Review: Brian Scalabrine
By Nick Friedell
Over the next few weeks, we'll take a closer look at each player on the Bulls roster and see where they fit in for the future. Let's take a look at a player that became a Chicago fan favorite as fast as any player in recent memory ...
|Brian Scalabrine was essentially a player-coach for the Bulls this season.|
2010-11 salary: $1,229,255
Season recap: Scalabrine did exactly what the Bulls and new coach Tom Thibodeau expected him to do this season. He was essentially a player-coach. He rarely got into games and at the end of the season he didn't even dress, but he managed to make an impact by helping players understand Thibodeau's system. His teammates and coaches knew he was a quirky guy, but they appreciated his work ethic and his attitude. He earned a cult-like following during his time in Chicago -- people loved cheering for "The White Mamba" whenever they got the chance.
Season highlight: After playing five seasons with the Boston Celtics, Scalabrine made his return to Boston in early November and received a big standing ovation. The Celtics played a montage of a Scalabrine highlights on their big screen as cheers washed over the reserve forward. The running joke on that night was there was more media surrounding Scalabrine than anyone else. The reality was that it wasn't much of a joke.
Season lowlight: After a March 15 game against the Washington Wizards, Scalabrine walked out of the Bulls locker room and told gathering media members to tell Bulls fans that he was sorry he couldn't hit a three-pointer that would have given fans a free Big Mac.
Final grades: Regular season -- A | Postseason -- A
Notes: You could make the argument that Scalabrine was the second-most popular player on the Bulls this season behind Derrick Rose. Every night at the United Center fans screamed for him to come in the game. Any time the Bulls played on the road, fans in other cities did the same. He enjoyed the love that he was given, but even he had to laugh sometimes at the things he heard during the game.
We were talking to Chicago the whole [offseason], but I was talking to [Bulls general manager] Gar [Forman] and the holdout was that I wanted a statue next to Michael Jordan [outside the United Center], 'He was like, 'A lot of good players have come through Chicago, I don't know if i can guarantee we can do that.' So I said, 'I'm going to hold out until you promise me that.' At the end of the day, I said, 'Fine, you don't have to put the statue up.' "
-- Brian Scalabrine on his contract negotiations with the Bulls last summer
What's next?: The Bulls have to decide whether they want to keep Scalabrine in the same role next season. Scalabrine has to decide if he wants to continue serving as a player/coach in the NBA, or whether he'd like to possibly go play somewhere in Europe and continue the "playing" portion of his career. The impending lockout may factor into his decision as well, given he probably only has a few more seasons left to make good money as a professional basketball player. Either way, Scalabrine will be fine. He gets along with people extremely well and will land on his feet whether he's still playing or not next season. Doc Rivers has said Scalabrine has a position waiting for him on his staff with the Celtics if he decides to retire. Scalabrine has repeatedly resisted the notion that he will coach, preferring to focus on the possibility of a broadcasting career.