What if the Bulls strike out?

I get this question a lot, seing as many people believe two of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade will go to the same team this summer. Practically removing the Bulls from contention for one of those players.

But even if those people are right, are the Bulls really screwed?

Obviously a signing of one of the greats would be best for the team, but the Bulls still have plenty of options available, though anti-climatic and far removed from the hopeful results.

Now, it's important to note that none of these alternatives are not as attractive nor as effective as getting a legitimate All-Star player. But they are moves that will improve the team going forward.

Option 1: Rob teams with financial problems.

The Bulls have $20 million in cap space. These are crisis times. Teams are losing money. The Bulls could practically rob a team of talent if the financial gain is worth it from the owner's perspective. What if the Los Angeles Lakers doesn't repeat and they need to clear salary? Could Andrew Bynum possibly be available for instant salary relief and a possible first-rounder? Or what about the New Orleans Hornets who are losing money. Could they play with the thought of trading David West? Maybe not, but nevertheless, these are options that can be pursued. Find a team that isn't doing well financially or record-wise compared to their salaries, and see what is available.

Option 2: Draft pick rights.

This is similar to option 1, only in that the Bulls are going after rookies. They call up teams who have picked at a certain range (say 7-15) and offer them the possibility to take on one of their bad contracts for the price of of the rights to their newly-drafted rookie. This is a riskier move, but if Chicago could acquire a Top 10 talent in the draft, for taking on a player earning a little too much, it might be worth it if the rookie pans out. This is a high-risk, high-reward situation all the way through. The obvious gain here is the possibility of that rookie becoming an instant success and long-term player in Chicago.

Option 3: Sign young players.

This is by far the most risky move on the list, and this will be last resort. You use a good chunk of the $20 million available on young players. Players who are reaching free agency for the first time and who are considered decent talents. You then try your best to work with them and develop them, in the hope of finding a diamond in the rough. It's important to note that you don't overpay for these players. You pay them market value and just hope they play better than their contract suggests.

In conclusion, the Bulls have options. They're not pretty, they're not flashy and they're not destined for greatness such as a LeBron James signing would be. But if that's all the Bulls have to work with in July and August, then they'll still improve the team.

What's also important to remember is that Derrick Rose is only going to get better. As will Noah. The Bulls are three games over .500 and they're headed in the right direction. Adding small pieces to the team is of course not the priority, but it will help them improve no matter what.

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  • I've got a question related to the offseason plans of the Bulls.
    Let's say if Bosh really wants out of Toronto, I believe he would demand a sign-and-trade to get the max-max contract. Would it be possible that the Bulls trade with pieces like Hinrich and maybe somebody out of Warrick/Murray/Miller, and then still sign a second-tier free agent (preferably Gay or Johnson) for a near-max deal? Or doesn't that work under the salary cap rules?

  • In reply to Rincewind:

    Warrick, Miller and Murray are all Free Agents and cannot be traded unless it's via a sign and trade. It is possible to trade for Bosh through a sign and trade, but the question is if Toronto would want to. If they tell Bosh to sign whereever he wants, and that they're not going to agree to a sign and trade, the Bulls can't do anything about it if they already wasted their cap space on Joe Johnson for example.

  • In reply to MortenJensen:

    good point...
    Should the Bulls really focus on one of the "big three" then? Given that each one of them would get paid about 30$ million more if they sign with their respective teams, isn't it a very far reach the Bulls would get one?
    Do you think that they could get a better player than Johnson or Gay if they waited like you described in option 1?
    Wouldn't it be more wise to focus on Johnson for example, and woo him? If they go after Bosh or Wade and strike out, most of the second-tier free agents could be off the market, don't you think?

  • In reply to Rincewind:

    Paxson and Del Negro should be at Bosh's door at 12:01 the morning free agency begins.

  • In reply to Rincewind:

    Well there's option 4: Trade Deng for expirings and try to get Carmelo next year. Can't see the Bulls trying that one, but it's there.

    I think perhaps going with young players or picks is actually the safer option. If you just grab whoever is out there (whether FA or trade) because you have money and need to spend it, you usually end up regretting it. Look at the Ben Wallace signing, or how the Pistons have given more minutes to a second round draft pick than either of the guys they signed this summer.

    If you sign young players, you usually give them smaller, shorter contracts (or have to if they're draft picks), so you limit how badly things can go wrong. Also because you're getting them fairly cheap, if they do turn out to be good, you've got a nice trade asset. Sooner or later surely it has to be our turn to get a star at a fire sale.

    As an aside, I really can't see the Lakers dumping Bynum when they're still making huge profits (which I'd assume based on last year's figures they are). Besides, Kobe has an opt out. I'm sure it's mostly an empty threat, but I'd imagine it gives him enough leverage to force the Lakers to keep the team together if he wants it kept together.

  • In reply to Rincewind:

    Joe Johnson is 29 years old and actually have horrid playoff numbers. Unless Chicago got him at a good price, there's nothing to gain from handing him a near max contract.

    Johnson has even declined a 4-year extension from Atlanta worth $60 million.

    As for Rudy Gay, I have no idea what he's looking for in free agency. If he's looking for a deal that we can afford, you obviously try to sign him. But Memphis will likely match.

    I do agree with you that the extra $30 million is a big bargaining chip for Toronto, Miami and Cleveland. That is why Chicago has to get ready for every possible scenario. If all re-sign, the Bulls will have to settle for certain players or attempt to go a different route.

    As for your final point, I think the second-tier free agents can help, but none of them will turn the franchise around. Carlos Boozer would be a big help, but he would need another running mate to join him in Chicago for the Bulls to really turn the corner.

  • In reply to Rincewind:

    So who are some of the young players entering free agency this summer? CDR? I can't think of many, can someone point me to a list?

  • In reply to senrad:

    Maybe Morten can write a follow-up defining potential targets. I'm not opposed to this, as while big names are exciting, it might (emphasize might--just pondering) make more sense to obtain people around the same age as our core, as opposed to "aging" players like Johnson and Wade. The aforementioned Rudy Gay would be a helluva score, but how does he fit with Deng on the roster? I also worry that with him being restricted, you'd really have to overpay him to make Memphis blink. Who else?

  • In reply to MortenJensen:

    Do you have spell check, or maybe, a 4th grade grammar book that you could reference before you post these?

  • In reply to sherryghost:

    please go on and correct all my errors smart-ass. not everyone here is a native speaker.

  • In reply to sherryghost:

    Hakim Warrick is a keeper.

    From Hoopsworld:

    His first couple of games with Chicago have actually gone over quite well, proving that after the free agency buzz dies down from all the big names this summer, he could actually end up with a more permanent home in the Windy City. While some of the other guys in the Bulls' two deadline deals are viewed strictly as expiring contracts, Warrick actually could be a guy that earns himself a spot on this team long-term. If that were the case, he could stop blowing money on a hotel room and find himself a mortgage in the Chicagoland area. If he proves he's good enough, why not?

    Read more: http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=15377#ixzz0gGxvM0bu

    Again, it woud be better for the Bulls to TRADE JAMES JOHSON and possible there #1 Pick and try to keep Hakim Warrick. Minnesota is the perfect location for James Johnson.

    I'd try to get a future pick from them.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    You cannot judge Warrick on these first two games with any credibility, especially when they don't reflect what he's been doing his whole career (he's never been much of a rebounder).

  • In reply to WearShades:

    Agreed. I'm excited about the guy, and hope he continues to play this well and will take what we can offer him this summer. But look at how Tyrus played for four games after he came back from his injury. We'll see how he plays throughout March.

    Regarding rebounding, it's been a full team effort the last few months. That makes it a lot easier for someone to come in and pull down a bunch, especially someone with so much athleticism.

  • Thank you Doug. I was going to be mention Azubuike, Morrow, Redick and Brewer. Foye is one I'm not too crazy about myself, but he is a fairly skilled combo guard. So I didn't think of him.

  • Think about this....IF LeBron James is thinking about his future....the Bulls should be his number 1 choice this summer easy. The Cavs are a aging team with Shaq (who is about done) and Jamison (who is in his mid 30's)surrounded by a bunch of ok/scrub players...New York has no one on their team and Chicago already has a budding superstar in Derrick Rose to go along with a bunch of young up and coming players....Deng,Noah,Gibson and nice complentary players in Hinrich and possibly Warrick. If LeBron came to Chicago next year...we could possibly have a dynasty for the next 5-6 years. We would be that good. I doubt he comes here...but Chicago would be the best place for him.

    If you dont land LeBron (which you probably wont) Go after Bosh hard. Every team needs a good big man to get anywhere in this league. Rose and Bosh could be a scary duo especailly in a pick a roll situation. If you dont get Bosh I would take a good look at both Stoudemire and Boozer.

    I actaully really like the idea of bringing in Rudy Gay. He isnt just a Sf, the guy can play SG as well. Memphis just has OJ Mayo right now, thats why Gay is playing the SF. I believe a starting lineup of Rose,Gay,Deng would work. I especailly like Gay because he is still very young compared to Wade and Johnson. I really dont want Johnson...he is about 30 years old and about to go down hill imo and he wont be worth a max contract.

    Depending on what the cap does...I think the Bulls would be able to get a Max FA and then have enough to still get another solid player worth about 6-9 mil...i think. But the rest of your bench would be a bunch of D Leaguers that are playing on minimum salary.

  • A lot of those guys would fit this team nicely, as in could be your starting 2 next to Rose (or a long-term 3rd guard in the rotation), but none of them are going to make you forget about Wade or Bosh. Those are guys I could live with if our primary FA is a PF, though.

  • option 2 for going after draft is a good idea what is wrong with organization growing their own superstars?

    i saw in a mockdraft, granted early, that we could be looking at a nice bunch of 2 guards (xavier henry, avery bradley, and stanley robinson) these guys can be good

    my focus would be on getting the inside man. they are harder to secure then a 2 guard next to Rose

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