Will the Bulls retract the QO on Aaron Gray?

The Bulls have up until July 23rd to retract the qualifying offer for Aaron Gray.   After that point, Gray would need to agree to such a move which he's unlikely to do.   $1 million is more than Gray is likely to make on the open market otherwise in this economy.   However, looking at the Bulls roster and keeping Gray doesn't make much sense.

The Bulls

Player Salary
Brad Miller $12,250,000
Luol Deng $9,900,000
Kirk Hinrich $9,500,000
Derrick Rose $5,400,500
Jerome James $6,600,000
John Salmons $6,529,151
Tim Thomas $6,466,600
Tyrus Thomas $4,743,598
Joakim Noah $2,445,680
Jannero Pargo $2,000,000
James Johnson $1,594,080
Taj Gibson $1,039,800
Aaron Gray (QO)$1,000,497
Totals: $69,469,906
Number of Players: 13
Luxury Tax Limit: $69,920,000
Amount Under Tax: $450,094

The first thing to note here is that the Bulls don't have any room under the luxury tax to add even a single player.   Everyone is guaranteed right now except for Aaron Gray, who's offer will become guaranteed on July 23rd, though he can still search for a better one afterwards.

The Bulls present front court looks like this:
C: Noah/Miller/Gibson
PF: Tyrus/Noah/Johnson

Now, we don't know what Gibson and Johnson will bring yet, and the Bulls will need to get fourth and fifth big man production out of the pair this season to have adequate depth in the front court.   That seems like a reasonable assertion though.   In fact, the Bulls probably will get better production than that.

They're also okay at center with Miller, Noah, and Gibson all able to play minutes there without using small lineups the Bulls have favored at times.  

Where does Aaron Gray fit into the equation here?   If it weren't for Brad Miller, we would need his bulk, but we do have Brad Miller.  

On the contrary, look at our guards rotation:
PG: Derrick Rose/Kirk Hinirch
SG: John Salmons/Jannero Pargo

Our three primary guards are better than our three primary big man for sure, however, we lack depth at the position and Salmons may end up playing more at the three if Luol Deng continues to struggle with injuries. 

The Bulls may still have one trade left in the bag, but if not, it would seem to make much more sense to bring in another guard rather than to bring back another big man.   The Bulls have expressed interest in bringing back Lindsay Hunter according to K.C. Johnson.

Del Negro confirmed Lindsey Hunter would return, probably as a player.

However, even Hunter doesn't strike me as a great final guard for the rotation as the Bulls seem completely set at PG barring a Hinrich trade, and could probably use a backup SG more to better hedge a Deng injury. 

We'll see what the Bulls end up doing with the final roster spot.   Yanking the QO rarely happens, so at this point, it's probably better to assume Aaron Gray is the last piece than not.   It just doesn't seem to fit.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

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  • Doug, how can Gibson play any C? He makes Tyrus look like he should be in the strongman competition.

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