The Bulls are fairly close to completing their 2012 off-season moves with quite a few changes taking place. After losing nearly half their team in Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, Cj Watson, Omer Asik, Brian Scalabrine and John Lucas… the Bulls did a fairly good job putting in replacement pieces at a smaller cost – despite what most fans would say. The additions of Nate Robinson, Kirk Hinrich, Marco Belinelli, Nazr Mohammed, Vladamir Radmanovic and rookie Marquis Teague will prove to be adequate fill ins. And no matter who the Bulls were to sign, the season obviously would be a struggle with Rose being out.
With much of the off-season complete, look for the Bulls to button up final roster decisions. The Bulls are interested in Tracy McGrady and rookie Malcolm Thomas, with likely 2 year deals being offered to both, but management is looking to shed salary before making a decision. The team is practically willing to give away Rip Hamilton with no takers so far. The Bulls and Cavs have engaged in talks about Hamilton. The Cavs are interested in adding some depth at the two guard stop, but are weighing other options before making a decision on Hamilton. If Rip is shipped to Cleveland, the Bulls would likely move faster in signing Thomas and McGrady.
Other then Hamilton’s status, the Bulls offseason looks pretty close to complete, with a chance the Bulls sign McGrady whether Hamilton is moved or not.
Today the madness of NBA free agency will begin. The NBA announced today that teams can now begin talking to free agents and make unofficials signings and trades. Free agent signings and trades wont become official until December 9th when training camp opens. So now the question is asked, what will the Bulls do in the coming days? Teams will be acting fast to gather who they can before everyone is nabbed up.
The Bulls could wait to see who is amnestied (each team has a chance to waive one player, still pay his contract but wont count against their cap) however from what I’ve heard the Bulls may look at other options to fill their shooting guard issues. The Bulls currently are 50/50 on bringing back Keith Bogans, but whether they do or dont, it is likely he will not be the teams starting shooting guard come Christmas day.
Look for the Bulls to target former all-star veterans. Players that are either at the tail end of their career looking to win or have been injured in the past looking to prove themselves again. A highly regarded Phoenix Suns source of mine tells me Vince Carter would immedietely sign with the Bulls if his option is not picked up by the Suns. He is hoping there is mutual interest. He almost certainly would sign close to the veterans minimum for a chance to play here.
However, I’m told the Bulls will wait first to hear the status of Richard Hamilton. If Hamilton is bought out, the Bulls will move quickly to pick him up and make him the starting shooting guard for the upcoming season. Hamilton is the Bulls #1 free agent target, if he is not available the Bulls will move to other names.
For instance, players such as Tracy McGrady, we all heard Stephen A. Smith say T-Mac would love to play here if there is mutual interest. Other players the Bulls will look at are Josh Howard, Michael Redd & Caron Butler (I picture him signing with Heat or Clippers though). The Bulls could also try to sign a couple of these guys (for example Howard AND Michael Redd, to have a little insurance and depth in case one gets injured).
Of course, the Bulls would love to sign a Jason Richardson or Jamal Crawford, but only if they will come on inexpensive deals (which is not likely).
Now, another possibility that nobody is talking about is finding a two guard via trade. I have already heard the Bulls and Pacers have had discussions about Danny Granger, likely for expiring contracts of Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer and a young big man such as Omer Asik. However, that deal could be on the back burner for the time being as the Pacers are looking to trade for Rajon Rondo. Regardless, look for the Bulls to explore packaging expiring contracts and a big man for available shooting guards. If that were to occur and occur quickly, the Bulls would likely shop around for an insurance back up big man.
Lastly, I read a tidbit from K.C. Johnson of the Tribune that the Bulls could look at T.J Ford, management and the coaching staff loves Ford and could sign him regardless of who they signs or start at shooting guard. However, the Bulls would also be content with a point guard group of Rose, Watson and Lucas.
And with that… what a great feeling it is to talk basketball again… this next week or two will be absolutely nuts with signings and trades, all flowing in like never before. The Bulls have endless possibilities and options, we will see in the coming days which direction they go, it should be fun.
The Bulls are actively talking with several teams about multiple scenarios as the trade deadline looms closer. The biggest question is, will the Bulls sacrifice team chemistry to find a shooting guard? We will find out for sure by tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime, here is what’s being discussed as we speak.
Courtney Lee remains the biggest possibility, with the Bulls having an outside chance at O.J. Mayo. The problem with getting Mayo is Memphis seems less interested in trading him. The ball is in their court. While Houston, on the other hand, is more willing to talk. Who knows, things can change very quickly as the deadline inches closer.
The Bulls want Courtney Lee without messing up the chemistry of the team. However, the Rockets remain adamant on receiving a young big man in return. The most recent talks have the Rockets sending Courtney Lee and Brad Miller to the Bulls in exchange for Keith Bogans and Omer Asik. The Bulls like the idea of getting the two guard they covet while receiving a veteran big man (who is familiar with the team) in Miller coming back to the Bulls, but the Bulls are reluctant to give up a young and promising Asik, and have to absorb Miller’s rather large deal that has 2 years and 10 million left after this season. Stayed tuned as this situation unfolds.
There is no telling how much the Grizzlies want for Mayo. The Bulls would likely have to give up one of Taj Gibson or Asik and a package of draft picks. The Mayo situation will all depend on who budges first.
Other players with larger contracts are there for the Bulls taking, but the team is unwilling to add any big deals with the uncertainty of the future collective bargaining agreement. The Bucks have offered former Bull John Salmons for practically nothing; C.J. Watson, Keith Bogans and maybe a second round pick, but the Bulls aren’t interested in absorbing his large 5 year contract. Stephen Jackson has been offered as well, but the Bulls would have to deal too many pieces (Ronnie Brewer, Asik, Watson, etc) to get him and are just not interested, once again, in absorbing a large contract and disrupting the team’s chemistry.
It will be interesting to see what falls into place as tomorrow’s deadline inches closer.
Bulls and Bobcats discussing 8 player trade. Main pieces being Stephen Jackson coming to the Bulls with James Johnson andTaj Gibson going to the Bobcats.
Bulls can pull trigger but are holding hope on landing O.J. Mayo or J.R. Smith without giving up Taj.
By Philip Kay
Brian Scalabrine has agreed to an unguaranteed contract with the Chicago Bulls. This sets the Bulls roster at 13. The Bulls are still working on getting a contract extension done with Joakim Noah before the late October deadline.
By Philip Kay
While vacationing in Europe, I see an advertisement for the Germany-Turkey friendly and automatically think of Omer Asik. I’ve never seen him play in live action before, so I obviously was pretty excited.
When I first see Asik, I look at his size. Tall guy, but he needs to bulk up as we all know. It looks as if he’s been working on his shoulders, but there needs to be more muscle. He’s going up against Tibor Pleiss, Oklahoma City’s second round pick of this years draft.
The game starts and Asik scores the first 8 points for Turkey. The first 6 points come off pick and rolls or being left open under the basket. The next 2 points were the ones that impressed me the most. Asik had the ball at the perimeter and blew by Pleiss for a dunk. This looked exactly like Brad Miller’s move where he’d drive by his guy and get a layup(in Asik’s case, a dunk), except in fast forward. Germany calls a timeout.
Shortly after the timeout, Turkey gets a steal and fastbreak opportunity. Asik runs up the court, gets the pass and starts dribbling to the basket to dunk it. Play gets broken up though, the pass to Asik was a backcourt violation, but Asik still displayed his quickness and ballhandling skills on that play.
The first quarter is over and Turkey has the lead. Asik does not play in the second quarter for no specific reason, and Germany starts running away with the game. Turkoglu looks bad and is at least 10 pounds overweight.
In the second half, he gets more playing time, but the game is already lost. He adds 5 more points and finishes the game as the best turkish player with 13 points, 2 rebounds, and a block. The Germans win the game 68-54 despite not having Dirk Nowitzki.
Asik probably won’t be ready to contribute for the upcoming NBA season, but he has the potential to be a solid player. He’s very fast for a center and has some nice ballhandling skills. He has a nice spin move with his back to the basket and is good at rolling to the hoop. He really just needs to bulk up and keep learning the game. At the moment his strong is too weak for the league. His rebounding didn’t seem great, but not horrible either. Expect above average rebounding from him.
Hopefully Asik turns into the player we all envision him becoming, if not it was only at the expense of a second rounder.
By Philip Kay
As we all know, the Bulls need to get some perimeter shooting in their lineup. Rose, Noah, Boozer, and Deng are all locks to start, so the three point shooting needs to come from the off guard position. Two players that come to mind are free agent Delonte West and the disgruntled Blazer, Rudy Fernandez.
After a promising rookie year, things went down hill for Rudy Fernandez and he fell out of favor in Portland. Already having to play behind Brandon Roy, the Blazers signed Matthews Jr. to a big deal, leading to Fernandez demanding a trade. There was a lot of hype behind Rudy coming into the league, and many called him the second coming of Ginobili with his slashing and perimeter shooting. He could still end up being that player if given a chance, but even if he doesn’t improve, the Bulls would be a lot better off with him.
Offensively, Fernandez would be perfect next to Rose. With Rose or Boozer likely seeing a double team and both relying heavily on scoring close to the basket, a reliable shooter like Fernandez would punish teams from doubling either one of them. Everything else he brings to the table would only be a bonus.
On the defensive end, Fernandez has the tools to be a decent defender. As an athletic 6’6″ guard, buying into the same defensive system that made Eddie House and Nate Robinson look better than what they are should cover up for his defensive issues.
If the Blazers refuse to give Rudy up for what the Bulls are offering, the Bulls should look into the idea of adding Delonte West. West doesn’t have the potential that Fernandez has, but he’s proven himself as a solid NBA player. Although his three point shot isn’t deadly, teams still respect his outside shot enough to make sure he doesn’t get an open look. He’s also a capable defender, so he won’t hurt the team.
What leaves West unsigned are his previous issues and many label him as a cancer. However, West has always been considered a good locker room guy and doesn’t let his issues get with his teammates unless your name is Lebron. Delonte likely won’t command much money so signing him to a small deal should be a low risk high reward scenario.
Right now, the Bulls focus is on Rudy Fernandez. Talks with the Blazers haven’t stopped, but the Bulls simply aren’t offering enough to get a deal completed right now. Time will tell to see who bites first, or if no one changes their stance.
By Philip Kay
The Bulls have signed Keith Bogans to a 2 year contract. Bogans brings the teams roster to the required 12 players. The Bulls are still trying to nab Rudy Fernandez from the Blazers and hope to pair him up with D-Rose.
By James Lauren
We’ve heard it all about bringing T-mac in (or actually not bringing him in). He will un-do all the good things about this summer! He will be a disaster! He would disrupt team chemistry and play! He wont play defense! He wont work out hard! Hes a prima donna! He doesnt care about winning, hes a loser! Hes all about “I”! He runs his mouth too much! He’s done! But before we sign Keith Bogans, lets look at the situation a little more.
We can SAY all we want, but the fact of the matter is, the Bulls are bringing T-Mac in to hear his side of it, let him plead his case. Yes, I know its rare. Can a former superstar change his attitude and become a team player? Well, thats exactly why the Bulls have scheduled a work out with him on Monday, to find out.
First thing is first. The Bulls will look in depth at McGrady’s health status. Can he still play effectively for an 82 game season? If he can, it’s worth the risk.
The second main aspect will be his attitude. For the Bulls to even consider signing T-Mac, a series of questions will occur to find out if he will buy into the team concept. Questions in hopes to reveal whether Tracy is for real and about winning, or if the horror stories about him are true.
If McGrady were to be signed, he must agree upon several aspects. A) This is Derrick Rose’s team B) you are not guaranteed a starting spot, playing time is earned and C) this is about being a part of a team and winning. If T-Mac is serious about winning first and joining the Bulls (which he has indicated through his tweets), and can sell himself on being part of a team concept, the possibility of signing the former All Star could be a possibility.
So as the debate rages on and as Monday approaches, the question about adding T-Mac comes down to if. If T-mac agrees to being a team player, adding him is possible. If T-Mac thinks hes T-mac of 2003, say good bye.
And if he is a “changed man”, a healthy, team player, hes clearly worth the risk. The risk outweighs the reward incredibly. A player who could add much needed scoring and star power. A best case scenario, he becomes a valuable side-kick to Rose and Boozer and helps contribute to a long playoff run… and shakes his haunted past of being labeled a “loser”. Joining the Bulls could be great motivation for him to move to the next chapter of his career, becoming a winner. It could make for great entertainment for Bulls fans.
Or we can sign Keith Bogans
By Philip Kay
The Bulls have signed veteran center Kurt Thomas to a deal. This ends the possibility of the Bulls landing Shaq, whom they were waiting on to see if he would accept a contract smaller than his demands. The Bulls will bring in Tracy McGrady for a workout Monday.