Monday, September 17, 2007

Bell's Milwaukee Farewell?

Charlie Bell seems intent on surpassing Yi Jianlian for the title-holder of most bizarre holdout of the Bucks this summer. As reported on Just Another Bucks Fan, a seemingly authentic Bell MySpace page has provided a unique twist to the story and telling details about the player’s thought-process.

The latest is that Bell’s current moniker reads:
“Thank you Milwaukee for the last 2 years!”
Either he really is done with the Bucks, or is just on a melodramatic kick.

From a blog post on Sept 15:
“I also want everyone to know that its not about the money at this point. It's about my heart. This summer has been long and trying for me and my family with many ups and downs. I am grateful for the offer by milwaukee last week and I was willing to accept it with a minor change. But the ultimatum and take it or leave it approach permanently poisened me and changed my desire to even be in Milwaukee anymore. I know that because my heart is no longer there I will not be able to be the player they want or need. They could offer me 10 million dollars/yr now and it would not change my heart. I can't play to the best of my ability if I'm miserable. I can't sabotage myself or a team like that. The Bucks will sign a player whose heart will be with the team. Good luck this season.”
And in a reply to his own post, he wrote:
“I don't threaten. It's immature. I really wanted to go to Greece. What upset me though is when I told my mother that I was going and she cried. She had already spent 3 years not seeing her grandchildren when I was in Europe and told me she couldn't do it again. I was taking the offer in Olympiacos, the team is wonderful and the fans are loyal, it wasn't a threat. The Bucks upped their offer to 3/year when I was there. It made me rethink my decision. And now? If I do decide to go to Europe or whatever I decide, don't worry, I will be happy. Thanks for your concern.”
It’s interesting how he tries to clarify that his trip to Greece wasn’t a threat, but then conceded that he had to rethink his decision after the Bucks upped their offer while he was there. Call it what you want, but the trip was another part of playing the bargaining game with the team he wanted to play for ideally and initially: the Bucks. Obviously he’s genuinely interested in playing for Olympiakos, but the fact that the increased Bucks’ offer made him rethink his decision makes it pretty clear the Bucks are very much on his radar, even if that’s not how it comes off, or what the headlines say.

While his flirtation with Olympiakos is winning him new fans overseas, the ridiculousness of the situation is turning off many in Bucks Nation, and what else could he expect? The Bratwurst speculates that Bell’s sour attitude toward the Bucks and admission that his heart wouldn’t be in Milwaukee is a ploy to warn the Bucks against matching potential offers from other NBA teams.
“So maybe Bell is holding out for an offer from an NBA team that is closer to winning than the Bucks but isn’t willing/able to exceed the contract that the Bucks have already offered? So now he is trying to poison his relationship with Milwaukee, trying to ensure that when someone else brings an offer the Bucks won’t match it.”
In a recent Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, Bell talked more about his unwillingness to play for the Bucks.
“Bell said he was not sure of his next destination, but he hoped to know within the next week.

"I think it's going to be soon," Bell said. "Teams over in Europe, they don't want to let it drag on too long.

"My agent knows I don't want to be in Milwaukee anymore. So, we're just trying to see if we can make that happen."

Although the Bucks have the ability to match any other NBA offers for Bell, he said he hoped they would not.

"That's going to be on them," Bell said. "I don't think it would be a good situation.

"If I was a general manager, I wouldn't want a player who doesn't want to be there. It's hard to coach that type of player."
I’m not sure how agent Mark Bartelstein is guiding Bell through this process, but allowing his client to admit that he wouldn’t be trying his hardest in what amounts to a rather typical situation certainly won’t be a good bargaining chip in future negotiations. And while Bell is a solid backup NBA player, it’s not like we’re talking about the football equivalent of Terrell Owens, talent-wise.

It’s safe to say Larry Harris and the Bucks know this, and judging by the team’s suave handling of the Yi situation, they aren’t likely to suddenly cave in and overpay for Bell. That increasingly makes it look like Bell won’t be playing for the Bucks this year, but I’ve cautioned before, and still maintain, that there’s a possibility he’ll ultimately resign, with the fact that he's a restricted free-agent playing a big role in that possibility.


Jeramey said...

Thanks for the link.

coach said...

...and noe Bell is going to be a Heat.
Bullshitt Europe !

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