Which power forward should the Bulls chase?

A lot of names have been thrown around from the Bulls fan base, and the names most often discussed are:

- Chris Bosh
- Carlos Boozer
- Al Jefferson
- Amar'e Stoudemire
- Troy Murphy

Let's start with Chris Bosh.

6'10, and around 250 pounds after some much-needed weigth gain in the summer of '09. Bosh is a face-up power forward who can take it strong to the rim, draw fouls and get to the line. He's also a pick and pop option, as he's got a solid mid-range jumpshot. The knock on Bosh is his lack of explosiveness and power. He doesn't have an effective back-to-the-basket game unless it's against considerably smaller opponents. What he does have is speed. For a 6'10 player, he runs the court effortless and would in theory work with Derrick Rose as he could fill the lane and finish over the rim.

Bosh is also a strong rebounder and alongside Joakim Noah, the Bulls would have the best rebounding front-court in the NBA. However both are on the skinny side, and would be outmuscled frequently.

Next up is Carlos Boozer.

At 6'9 and 266 pounds, Boozer isn't easy to push away. The Utah forward is one of the most effective weapons on the low block, as he has great footwork and can get his shots off through hooks, fade-aways and up-and-under fakes. He shoots a high percentage, is an elite rebounder and isn't afraid of passing the ball. While he doesn't rival the athletic abilities of Chris Bosh and Amar'e Stoudemire, he is arguably the best big man of the group in a half-court setting.

The downside to Boozer is his lack of loyalty, his lack of defense and his injury history. Boozer has missed 146 games in eigth seasons which could prove problematic if acquired. The last thing Chicago needs is another key player going down with injuries. But when healthy, Boozer performs at such a high level that you cannot ignore him.

Al Jefferson from Minnesota is our next candidate.

6'10, 265 and with possibly the best low-post game in the NBA. Jefferson can score against anyone down low by using a wide variety of moves and fakes, as well as simply overpowering his opponent. Like Bosh and Boozer, Jefferson is also a tremendous rebounder having grabbed 11 a game in three of his last four seasons.

What Jefferson doesn't bring to the table is the ability to run with Derrick Rose or for that matter, score at high efficiency. Despite his strengths around the rim, Jefferson often falls in love with the mid-range jumpshot which has him shooting under 50% from the field. Much like Boozer, he works best in a half-court setting. Jefferson missed 32 games last season when he tore his ACL, and his play was affected by it this year. His numbers dropped considerably and his defense looked worse than ever. Jefferson is under contract in Minnesota and could only be acquired through trade.

Next up is fan favorite Amar'e Stoudemire.

6'10 and between 255-265 pounds. Stoudemire is a large body with freakishly athletic ability. He can run the floor all night long and is the best pick and roll big man in the NBA. Stoudemire scores at a high volume (23.1 points a game) and on high efficiency (61.5 TS%). His rebounding numbers are abysmal for someone that skilled, that large and that athletic. But his impact on the floor is undeniable. Along with Steve Nash, he's taken Phoenix deep into the playoffs and performed at a high level. Stoudemire can make the occasional back-to-the-basket move, but his strengths are on display mostly in up-tempo situations that feature a lot of pick and rolls. He draws fouls at a high rate and knocks down his free throws.

Defensively, Stoudemire leaves a lot to be desired. He doesn't box out nearly as often as he should and he loses sight of the ball. In the past, Stoudemire has also experienced knee problems and have begun wearing goggles to protect his eyes. He got poked in the eye which left him in danger of losing his vision and is now forced to play with those goggles the rest of his career.

Troy Murphy is our final candidate.

(It should be noted immediately that Murphy is only of interest if the Bulls should somehow acquire an elite wing player such as LeBron James or Dwyane Wade. Murphy, while an upgrade, is not a primary goal going into the summer for Chicago.)

Having said that, Murphy is probably the best 3-point power forward in the league today, depending if you think Dirk Nowitzki shoots the long ball enough. At 6'11 and around 250, he's got size on his side and isn't entirely unathletic. Murphy is an outstanding rebounder and would also become one of the best pick and pop options for the Bulls in years. His overall volume of shots is low as he attempts just 11.3 shots a night. At 58.5 TS%, he's efficient and doesn't take shots outside the offense.

Murphy is a team player, and his part on the Bulls would be as a third or fourth scorer who could see a lot of open shots built on the penetration of Derrick Rose. With Joakim Noah playing the role of defensive center, Murphy would be able to concentrate on sneaking in for defensive rebounds and get down the floor. While not super quick, Murphy can play the role of trailer and spot up from three. So he wouldn't negatively affect the Bulls' running game.

Overall, Murphy makes few mistakes but is fairly unimpressive compared to the other four. But as a third or fourth option, he would likely look tremendous.

So who to chase? Stoudemire gives the Bulls the best pick and roll option. Murphy the best pick and pop option, Bosh the best combination of those two, Boozer the most efficient half-court man and Jefferson the best low-post player. All provide strengths in different areas and all have weaknesses that are hard to ignore.

Adding the growth of Joakim Noah into the mix, some defensive weaknesses can be hidden next to him. Assuming Luol Deng is also around, the Bulls would be able to survive on the defensive presence of those two. Players such as Boozer, Stoumire and Jefferson are all so beefy that even though their defensive awareness isn't all that great, they'll be able to shield off the basket with some consistency.

Chris Bosh is the most versatile offensive weapon of the group, but is likely to get tossed around more, which will force the Bulls to find a thick big man to come off the bench and play minutes. And no, Eddy Curry isn't coming back. But unlike Stoudemire, Boozer and Jefferson, Bosh hasn't been phrone to injuries. Murphy is healthy but, as noted, unimpressive in the sense of being a primary target. So for those reasons, we'll leave him out of the next paragraph.

The easiest guy to remove from the list has to be be Minnesota's Al Jefferson. Injuries, half-court man, bad defense and low efficiency. The only way Jefferson could fit onto the Bulls was if LeBron James or Dwyane Wade came over. That would leave so many lanes to the basket open with James + Rose or Wade + Rose attacking the rim. But since that's highly improbable, Jefferson is the weakest link.

Al Jefferson

The remaining three would all lift the Bulls a tier as each provide an offensive aspect that has been much needed in Chicago. All three would be able to play alongside Derrick Rose, while also fitting in nicely alongside Joakim Noah. But the Bulls need to have players out there who can stay healthy. As mentioned, Boozer has missed 146 games in his eigth years in the NBA. Stoudemire, also an eigth year pro, has missed 140. Bosh, having just completed his seventh season, has missed 65.

So it comes down to what the Bulls prefer.

Health = Chris Bosh
Efficiency = Amar'e Stoudemire (61.5 TS%)
Up-tempo = Amar'e Stoudemire
Defense = Toss-up between Carlos Boozer and Chris Bosh
Rebounding = Carlos Boozer (11.8 per36)
Scoring = Amar'e Stoudemire (24.1 per36)
Versatility = Chris Bosh
Pick and roll = Amar'e Stoudemire
Pick and pop = Chris Bosh
Post-game = Carlos Boozer

Regardless of which direction the Bulls go, it's clear that these three should be their main targets.

So who would you choose, and why?


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  • Bosh or Lee.

  • From what we have seen in history, majority of the players have a major injury(miss a year, such the next year).
    Bosh has less miles and age is a factor. I would say others(forget Al Jefferson) are in their prime or the other side of prime. Bosh can grow a little with Rose and Noah for a year or two.
    I doubt any team will be like the Celtics where 3 great players come in and they win the championship.
    Except for Dwight Howard, there is no real strong and agile men whom Noah cannot give a honest effort against with Bosh being around..

  • It's gotta be Bosh and if not him, Lee. David Lee has a greatly improved offensive set and never seems to be outworked. His defense is suspect, whether that be due to the lack of team defense overall in a D'Antoni system or him personally is up for debate. But none of the PF's listed above are above average defenders anyhow.
    Amare/Boozer and even Murphy have red flags regarding health and it's hard to justify giving any of the three 10+ million/year, although the thought of Rose/Amare pick and roll makes me drool.

  • Too bad you didnt analyze Lee. He may be what we end up with.

    Murphy would have to be acquired in trade & Indiana will not want our bloated Hinrich or Deng deals. Murphy is an expiring contract & valuable. We dont have the pieces to get him.

    Minnesota would probably take Deng for Jefferson, but as you pointed out, Jeff is not a good fit for Bulls.

    Bulls reportedly dont have interest in Amar'e due to injury concerns (see Sam Smith) and they have made no effort to acquire him was he was reportedly available in past.

    Boozer has too many concerns - especially injury, size, defense & loyalty. Bozzer tens to get "injured" & take off time after signing big deals. Also, with the Paxsons having some say - I just cant see John embracing Carlos for the way he treated brother Jim.

    No complaints about Bosh but I see him going to NY or Miami. That is why I think we will end up with Lee

  • I'll be honest. I flat-out forgot David Lee for some reason. Even when I searched through data and stats, he didn't even cross my mind.

    *Slaps wrist* Bad Morten. Bad.

  • In reply to MortenJensen:

    You also appear to have forgotten that Luol Dung provides zero defensive presence.

    Putting him in the same sentece with Noah is ludicrous.

    Deng is at least as useless defensively as the worst of the free agent power forwards whether that be Amare, Boozer, Bosh or Lee.

  • For me it would be Bosh, hands down. Out of the stars in his class (i.e. LBJ, Melo and Wade), he's been in the league seven years and hasn't remotely tasted success. He'd come to the Bulls hungry, won't have to be "the man" or carry the team and could actually blossom into the superstar he should be. He would fit nicely with Rose, Joakim and Deng and be able to grow with the team and the new coach.

  • David Lee and Bosh are the only power forwards I want the bulls to add this summer, so lets see what we end up with.

  • If Lebron ended up in Chicago, Channing Frye and Al Harrington might be worth a look. They could be signed with remaining cap space. They both can spread the floor and split time with Taj at the four.

  • In reply to kbar17:

    I've read in the past that Bulls have sniffed around/kicked the tires on Al Harrington (such as the reported attempt to trade Ty Thomas in December). So, I wouldn't be too surprised to see that come to pass.

  • In reply to kbar17:

    The Bulls will probably have to settle for David Lee or Boozer cause Miami seems to hold all of the cards as far as players wanting to go there to play. Yes, the Bulls have better talent then Miami and it would be easier for a power forward to fit in with the Bulls but these free agents I think, are looking at playing in a city with nice weather and trying to do what Boston did a couple of years ago. And I am sorry but the Bulls management drag their feet entirely too much and are too arrogant and too cheap. I am sorry Bulls fans but I just don't see a big name free agent signing with the Bulls as much as I along with all of you want them to. I really don't think these guys can take the pressure of playing in the shadow of the Jordan legacy. We should all hope that since the Bulls have given up so much in players over the last couple of years that they would be able to do something very big this summer. Again all we can do is hope that management wants what we all want and that's to be on top again.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Miami doesn't hold all the cards.

    Bosh agreed he would do a sign-and-trade, if he leaves Toronto. Pat Riley doesn't have the pieces to get a trade done. I highly doubt Brian Colangelo wants Mike Beasley.

    Advantage Bulls.

    Look for Amare' Stoudemire to stay in Phoenix.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    If Bosh wants to go to Miami then that is where he is going to be. So basically it comes down to him and if he wants to play for the Bulls so no the Bulls do not have an advantage. Miami has a lot of enticing thing that would make a player go there to play with D-wade. Mrhappy the Bulls will have to make one hell of a pitch to Bosh to get him to play in Chicago. Again the only way the Bulls have an advantage is if Bosh wants to play with them. CASE CLOSED.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Haven't read all of the posts yet, but I disagree with a weakness for Bosh is his explosiveness. The dude's got arguably the quickest first step of any PF in the game and you can see it reflect in his FTA's.

  • In reply to mucha819:

    His first step is quick, and he does have the ability to get to the rim. However, he doesn't have the explosiveness of Amar'e Stoudemire for example, when it comes to looking at that hoop and wanting to kill it. He doesn't try to stuff it hard in traffic, even though he often has a chance to. I might be nitpicking, but I think it's important to have a big man who has that 'mean streak' of wanting to attack the hoop in an insane fashion. You even see David Lee and at times Carlos Boozer do the same. Bosh is more finesse.

    Most of his FT attempts actually comes from people grabbing him when he spins. Something he does a lot, and which is effective. He is so quick at removing himself from his defender that he's often just taken down or grabbed hard, which leads to freebies.

  • In reply to kbar17:

    I think the probability of being able to trade for Jefferson is higher than that of a S/T for a player like Bosh or Joe Johnson etc. I base that on the current status of the teams for which these players currently play. I think Jefferson gives you the best chance to add two players whereas if you add Bosh, Amare, Boozer, Lee, or a top free agent at a diff. position, that will probably be the only key aquisition that the Bulls could secure. If that happens to be true then Jefferson could allow for the most rewarding overall roster upgrade aside from being able to sign LeBron.

    Why do I think a trade for Jefferson is possible? Minnesota needs an entire team makeover.. a 1 for 3 trade could be really good for that team where as Toronto is not in position to take on a second bad contract at the SF position(Deng) and I absolutely do not see them being interested in Hinrich. Maybe Minnesota looks for a shakeup in style and they decide to take a package of Gibson, Deng, and our 1st round pick to pair with Love, Flynn, Rubio. They could create more of an up-tempo Euro-style team which could put some fans back in the seats while the Bulls build a more NBA standard unit with Derrick Rose, Joe Johnson (signed outright), James Johnson, Al Jefferson, & Joakim Noah. I heard that Minnesota turned down a mid-season offer from the Bulls for Jefferson but I also think Gibson is a more attractive piece now than he may have been then and I also have heard that Minn is now actively shopping Jefferson.

    I'll predict that Jefferson plays closer to his 23/11/1.5(blocks) production from his best two seasons rather than his 17/9/1.3 last year while still working to regain some explosiveness after ACL surgery. I really like the idea of the Bulls adding someone with pure low post scoring ability to limit the amount of jumpers we settle for (on average) while maintaining the team's fast break ability through the upgrade of the SG position and the expanded role of James Johnson (if the Bulls were to move Deng).

  • In reply to kbar17:

    In these conversations often the last thing you hear about is the guy's competitive spirit. is he a guy who knows the secret to winning simply because he cares enough about winning to have figured it out.

    Some guys are good at scoring. And they like it. The adoration, the money(the babes). But does that necessarily mean someone witht hat competitive fire to win? No and hell no.

    Of course you have to have talent, but desire, and on both ends even making the effort on D if you don't have the best lat quickness. When a team has a good defensive system/coach and one player is just so so, but has the competitive desire you can make it work. Pau was thought of as soft and a "dunk on whitey" machine in the Chris Kaman mode before he went to Phil and the Lakers.

    Now he plays with grit, intelligence, and yes toughness.

    So who are the competitors? Out of this list. Who are the day after day reliable work their ass off competitors? Boozer? I sure don't get that impression. Bosh? I'm just really not sure. David Lee? My guess would be yes. Stoudemire? I think he's a guy who can be a little of both, but with the right coaches and players he can bring it.

    So guys on my final list would be: Amare, Lee, and perhaps Bosh. Obviously if it turns out Bosh does have it in him, then you take him if you can get him. But Amare and Lee with the right coach and players you've got the hook up.

  • In reply to kbar17:

    Think Minnesota would take Deng for Jefferson? Double win?

    I'm not a Bosh guy, though his ability to take size away from the basket would open the lane up for Noah. I think Stoudemire and Lee would be better running mates for Rose, with Lee bringing a similar versatility to Noah's with better width. I hadn't considered Troy Murphy, though, so he could be an intriguing secondary option.

  • In reply to the1tab:

    That depends upon how urgently Minnesota us trying to unload him. I speculate that the TWolves are desperate for a roster overhaul and will opt to build around players they have drafted (Love, Rubio, Flynn) while securing several new pieces for the upcoming season. Trading Jefferson, which I have heard they are trying to do, seems like the quickest way to land 2-3 talented new players. Production-wise, Deng and Jefferson were almost equivalents last season. Now, anyone with half a decent basketball sense can tell you that Jefferson is clearly the superior talent when both players are at 100% but as part of a package they could make up for this to a degree. It will depend on what types of other offers Minnesota receives and, as I said earlier, how determined they are to have him dealt this offseason... assuming the Bulls revisit this deal at all.

  • In reply to the1tab:

    I think the power forward that the Bulls should go after first is Chris Bosh but at the same time The Bulls should not waste their time on him either. If Bosh wants to sign with the Bulls he should let them know right a way cause the Bulls have other players that they need to contact. Amare would be second but I don't think he will leave PHOENIX so David Lee would be my next choice. Bulls management need to be very swift and accurate with these players.

  • In reply to the1tab:

    juicewolta +2 I agree

    Reese +2 also...i still think Amare will be gone though because i dont believe they can beat the Lakers. And in the West...you have to beat the Lakers to sniff the finals. I think this big playoffs Amare has had will deff. get him that MAX money he has been looking for. Thier team is just so old though...Nash 36 i think, Hill 37 are like their best players...theres not much future there imo.

  • In reply to the1tab:

    I'd say it's:

    Bosh: He's certainly available and a top tier guy at his position.

    Amare: Would be #1 if you knew he'd be motivated and healthy. Probably not leaving the Suns though, especially if they make the finals.

    Lee: Clearly a big drop from the first two, but for a less than max contract I like him with the ability to add another piece.

    Boozer: Basically David Lee level production with attitude and injury concerns. We all know he can be better than Lee at times, but you don't get that Boozer every game. I'd really be reluctant to sign him.

    Obviously Murphy is only a use the rest of our space option, and I don't think it's worth trading for Jefferson given the combination of what we'd likely have to give up and his contract vs production.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    you wouldn't give up Deng/Gibson to add Jefferson(22/11/1.5)/Joe Johnson??

  • In reply to kbar17:

    Bosh and Amare....are my 1st choices...then Lee...Ill pass on Boozer because i dont think he is worth the money.

    Bosh is 25 or 26 years old...plenty of time left in the tank, plus we are a young team...he would be perfect. Can run the pick and roll game, can hit open jumpers, score easy points, decent defender. Leader. He would be a great compliment for Rose.

    Amare is pretty much the same thing, hits jumpers,scores easy buckets,makes other bigs get into foul trouble (something Bulls dont have right now), attacks the basket, mean streak, great in the pick and roll game. He and Rose also could be great together.

    on thing that scares me about Al Jefferson is that he just had a DUI plus his knee surgery. Unlike Amare, Jefferson seemed to lose a lot of his athleticism...which could be scary down the line because he doesnt have much of a jump shot...he is strictly a post player if i can remember.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    I like Bosh and Amare more for the Bulls too if they are coming by themselves. That being said, Jefferson is a few years younger than Amare and also has time to perfect his jumpshot.. although I don't think his jumper is thaat bad right now. I have a few friends with DUIs and I wouldn't say that a DUI automatically classifies you as a person with "character issues" until a trend of off-the-court issues surfaces. Keep in mind that Amare also took a while to get his full range of his athleticism back after knee surgery. It was really about a full year before Amare seemed like the player he was before his surgery. The fact that Jefferson was able to produce above average numbers and play 76 games while working his way back is an encouraging sign that his injury will not become a recurring problem. As with all injuries though, you never know what will happen in the future regardless of your history.

  • It was reported that the TWolves rejected a Deng + Tyrus deal for Al Jeff before the trading deadline. IMO David Kahn is a poor GM but in this situation I think he made the right decision if report was accurate. Al Jeff is a dominant low post scorer when healthy. The assumption, of course, is that he will fully recover from his injury and return to his previous production.

  • Speaking of white guys, you left off Kevin Love, who I would take over Jefferson and Murphy, Lee and Boozer at a minimum.

    And as a second guy(after Lebron or Wade), with a nice contract right now, he should be at or near the top of the list at power forward, especially since I think that Bosh is terminally soft.

  • Personally, I think that Miami is in the most powerfull position to attract free agents, primarily because they already have Wade in place and it is Miami, which is a crappy NBA city, but likely the most sexy city for NBA players lifestyle wise. Additionaly, if they can salary dump Beasely, apparently they can sign 2 max free agents in addition to Wade.

    However, given that NBA players love money even more than normal human beings, and everyone but Lebron is going to want if not demand the 6th year and extra $30 million that means that most of the guys will need a S&T to get where they want to.

    So they could sign Wade and Lebron, but would not have any assets to get Bosh or Amare in a S$T, unless Beasely gets it done for either team. So they can only get a second or third guy only if those guys are willing to forgo the 6th year and leave the $30million on the table.

    This is what puts the Bulls in the #1 spot to acquire 2 guys, and elevates them to Miami's level as the top destination. Miami has zero in the way of S&T assets(unless somebody takes a chance on Beasely) while the Bulls have Deng and Hinrich at a minimum as a starting point.

    The plan is simple, sign Lebron outright for 3,4, or 5 years(whatever he wants), sign and trade for Wade, Bosh or Amare or whoever else Lebron disignates, and then bring in the coach that Lebron wants.

    Despite my dislike, distrust and even disdain for Reinsdorf, I actually believe that the Bulls will do whatever is necessary to get the job done this time. He knows that creating another dynasty will put more money in his pocket. He better know that Miami, New York, New Jersey, Dallas, and the Lakers and at least half the rest of the league will all to whatever is necessary to get Lebron to join them also.

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