After a disappointing season and a short playoff run, the Chicago Bulls are looking forward to strengthening their offense this summer.
The Bulls are showing a lot of interest in free agent Carmelo Anthony after his productive season with the New York Knicks.
Anthony could be the offensive difference the Bulls need. Anthony was second in the league averaging 27.4 points per game. The Bulls’ offense came in last place in terms of scoring – a frighteningly low 93.7 points per game.
Because they have the number one defense in the league, led by Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah, the Bulls can focus on offense this summer. They have a few options to make a vital change to the offense this offseason.
Anthony is the first plan of attack for the Bulls. It will be a long shot acquiring Melo given the Bulls’ salary cap and the likely pay decrease Anthony would have to take.
Anthony aside, one move the Bulls need to make is re-signing point guard D.J. Augustin. Signed with the team in December 2013, no one expected much of the newcomer. But Augustin surpassed all expectations, leading the team with 14.9 points per game. With his impressive performance this season, it’s no doubt that other teams will be interested in signing Augustin for next season. However, he is very connected to Chicago and the team that gave him a shot after being waived by the Raptors.
“They definitely gave me an opportunity, and I owe them a lot,” Augustin said to the Chicago Tribune. “It’s not always about the money. It’s where you feel comfortable or where you fit. They told me they wanted me back.”
The Bulls are also faced with the possible amnesty of forward Carlos Boozer. Boozer has been in Chicago since 2010, which means the Bulls can waive Boozer’s salary without it counting toward the salary cap. If Boozer is traded and the Bulls give up a draft pick, the Bulls are open to trades for five key players that could solve their immediate offensive problems: Shabazz Napier, T.J. Warren, Kyle Anderson, Clint Capela, and K.J. McDaniels.
It’s important not to underestimate Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau’s ability to transform above average players into All-Star caliber players. For example, Thibodeau could just be the mentor that Los Angeles Lakers’ Nick Young needs to up his game and turn Chicago’s offense around. Indiana Pacers’ Lance Stephenson and Dallas Mavericks’ Devin Harris are also key players who, under Thibodeau’s tutelage, can become vital offensive weapons.
Another possibility is that Nikola Mirotic chooses to play for the Bulls. Mirotic was a 2011 draft pick by Chicago, but wound up choosing to play for Real Madrid. If he decides to play in the NBA for Chicago, he could represent the spark that the offense needs. However, it may take a full rookie season to develop his NBA potential. In the meantime, the Bulls can’t wait for the star European to make up his mind and must pursue other options.