For the past five seasons, the Chicago Bulls seemed like they are just one big acquisition away from hoisting the Larry O’brien trophy. And after a year of hard work and heart break, not much has changed.
This years free agent class appears to be the most fruitful in recent years and gives the Bulls a great opportunity to finally get over the hump. It won’t be easy though. They need to go out and hit the market aggressively, but before that they need to cut some dead weight.
Carlos Boozer’s contract hinders the Bulls from going out and signing the big free agents. He will be involved in a sign and trade if not waived via amnesty. I would be surprised if the Bulls keep Mike Dunleavy and/or Kirk Hinrich, as they just take up salary space that is needed to acquire Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Love.
Of course Chicago’s number one goal is to sign Carmelo Anthony this off season. The Bulls finished first in team points allowed last season and last in the league in total scoring. It is clear to management and Bulls fans that adding Melo to a lineup that involves a presumably healthy Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah can make them the best team in the league.
The max contract that Chicago could offer Melo is 96-million dollars over 4 years, even though it is unlikely that they will be able to free up that much cap space. According to ESPN Insider Chris Broussard, Anthony would most likely have to accept a contract that starts off around the 15-16-million dollar range in order for the Bulls to sign him and fill their roster. This would be a huge pay cut for Anthony as the Knicks would almost be able to double that price. But if Carmelo really cares about winning now like he stated in his past interviews, there is no better place for him than Chicago.
Another piece that will be a good fit to the Bull’s puzzle would be Pau Gasol. Chicago has showed interest in Gasol for years now and loves what the multi-talented Spaniard could bring to the Bulls.
Gasol is indeed getting up in age, but has championship experience and is one of the most cerebral players in the NBA. Pairing him with Joakim Noah will wreck havoc in the East.
It seems like almost every team with championship aspirations is putting out a bid for Pau Gasol. The two front runners as of now are the OKC Thunder and the Chicago Bulls.
A wild card player that the Bulls would surely want to wear the red & black would be the veteran forward Paul Pierce. Ever since the Deng departure, Chicago has had a hole at the 3 position. They threw Jimmy Butler there but he seemed to really struggle scoring down the stretch.
Pierce isn’t Chicago’s first option, but the former champion might be looking for one more crack at the NBA championship. The Clippers have been rumored that they would like to be involved in a sign trade that would land Pierce in L.A., but the Nets feel they won’t be receiving enough talent in return.
If Chicago fails to land Carmelo, look for them to aggressively target another offensive-minded small forward that would add to their mediocre offense.