Breaking some patterns

It's not been an uncommen sight to see the highest paid player on the Bulls be a veteran with serious mileage or limited ability. Last season, it was 33-year old Brad Miller. The season before, it was the often problematic Larry Hughes. Before that, often problematic and old Ben Wallace. The list continues.

This year, the highest paid player will for sure be under the age of 30. In fact, so far no Bulls player is past the age of 29. That can change in free agency seeing as Chicago only has 10 players on its roster, but by all accounts the highest priced player will still be 29-year old Carlos Boozer. A player who's been selected twice into the NBA All-Star game, is in the middle of his prime and who has a career rebounding rate of 10.2.

The main core on the Bulls has already been established. The team will roll its dices with Derrick Rose, Ronnie Brewer, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah in the starting unit. An average age of 25.2 years. What makes this squad even more interesting is the value in which they sit at. Rose and Noah are still on rookie deals which is obviously an incredible talent to dollar ratio. Deng will earn $11.3 million and is the only player with a questionmark next to his on-court value. Because when you look at the deals signed by Boozer and Brewer ($15.2 and $4.16 million per year respectively) it jumps off the page as good value.

For comparison's sake, Chris Bosh got $110.1 million over six years, and Amar'e Stoudemire got $100 million over five years. Boozer at $76 million total over five seasons, might prove to be the best deal of those three. It doesn't hinder the Bulls from moving him the same way it did Ben Wallace, simply because Boozer is a better player at a better age and has a better all-around game. It's basically hard to imagine Boozer becoming an albatross contract unless a freak accident occurs.

Brewer at $12.5 million over three years is a deal that you essentially don't expect for 25-year old athletic freaks who plays defense and has a career TS% of 57.1. Yet, here we are. Brewer will step into the starting shooting guard spot and liklely get somewhere around 30 minutes a night. In Utah Brewer had two seasons of 30+ minutes, and one of the factors in his decision was due to the starting opportunity. So he will expect minutes.

Compare this current team to the days of Fred Hoiberg, Rick Brunson and Kevin Ollie, and the Bulls seem to have broken a pattern of getting old mediocre players onto their roster. They now have two legit All-Star players as their offensive foundation. Two near All-Star players who specialize in defense and one hard-nosed defender filling out the starting unit. It's not LeBron James, but you could do a lot worse.

Add to that the fact that such deals are easier to move in deals, and the Bulls' summer suddenly looks even better through long-term glasses. For the first time in years, the Bulls do not have a contract on their team which is hard to move. You could argue Luol Deng, but rest assured he's good enough to find a new home if the Bulls tried to move him aggressively. Seeing as there is no reason to do so currently, make him valuable in his own right to this team. With coach Thibodeau implying Deng will play a bigger role offensively, there is optimism for a strong Deng season.

The contracts of Kyle Korver and C.J. Watson (both at 3 years and $15 & $10.2 million respectively) also looks like smart down-to-earth signings that will provide the Bulls with necessary weapons. Compare this summer to Atlanta who paid their star Joe Johnson $123.6 million, and you're looking at a Bulls team which has combined the power of smart financing with under the radar players.

It seems that the days of finding weak talent at large prices has finally died and replaced by a competent decision-making process that has given the Bulls one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. And that, with just 10 roster places in place.

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  • Hopefully, youth will be served in this case.

    There are still more (BIGGER) moves to make though.

  • Good Article! The Bulls have definitely made smart business and basketball decisions. Even though we didn't get Lebron, we got SCOTTIE PIPPEN! So that should count for something right? lol

  • I am actually a big fan of these offseason moves.

    I am not a huge fan of Brewer starting SG since he cant shoot but I am going to hold out hope that it somehow works in our favor. But overall we are a much much better team then last year.

    I think a healthy season for the most part will get us top 3 in the east.

  • In reply to 1096ballenf:

    Really? I like the Brewer signing as I miss Sefelosha and see Brewer as a slight upgrade. In addition, he's more athletic than Kirk was, can finish on the break ('yall remember Kirk's missed lay-up in the Boston series?), is not as good of a shooter (if you can call Klank Hin-brick a "good" shooter) but is a much better slasher.

    Now while we need another SG, hopefully a scorer/shooter, how many minutes do you think will be open for this player? If Brewer starts and Watson and Korver can play here what role will they have? I would be okay with Almond or House.

  • In reply to evilhoban:

    It was more I think we need a SG who can stop and pop the three in transition. I still like Brewer but I would like him alot more if he could hit the J.

    But if we could get Almond, and just play him when needed, then that would fit perfectly.

  • In reply to evilhoban:

    MATT BARNES:

    Coming this cheap, why aren't the Bulls getting in on him?

    http://twitter.com/WojYahooNBA/status/19272944134

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Becuase he woundn't have signed with the Bulls for the same price he did with the Lakers. That was a championship ring discount. If they manage to lose to Miami or someone else next season, he'll opt out.

  • The Bulls contracts have been the best so far out of anybody this summer. Every player came at a great price. Now lets see how we spend the rest of our cash....i say take a risk on somebody...aka Tmac. I like to see Morris Almond get a shot too...he could be a solid catch in shoot guy for us. He did pretty well in the summer league.

  • csharp,

    I agree with you.

    All the Bulls' contracts, this off-season, look smart, in terms of $, years and production.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Certainly seem better than most teams made out, but 5 years for Boozer when he'll turn 29 this season is somewhat risky given his injury history. Korver at 15 million for 3 years seems a bit high given Brewers' contract and the minutes they're likely to play. Even more so when looking at what the Nets signed Morrow for. Morrows younger, more athlectic, no injury history, and arguably a better shooter than Korver and signed for 12 million over 3 years.

  • I agree. I was kind of surprised at how much money Boozer and Korver signed for. With big men like Gooden, Milicic, Amir Johnson getting so much money it is a surprise that an elite talent like Boozer got so less relatively. But it also might be luck.
    There were four teams who needed a PF and had cap space: NY, Nets, Miami, Chi..
    Miami wanted Bosh...NY wanted Amare...Nets probably were big on Favors or as we thought probably nobody really wants to go to a 12 win team. I feel the Bulls got lucky with Boozer in terms of competition for money.
    I was surprised about Korver that they got for such a deal. He is the kind who could have gone to any team literally for the MLE or a little less than that. If Mike Miller(older and similar player) got a 5 year deal....the Bulls did some magic here.
    I wish they were aggressive with Morrow and get him for the same money he got from the Nets..
    That said, if you look at the Knicks, they have done well too. Except for Amare, they haven't given long contracts. And Amare is an elite talent.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Miller got a five year deal from Miami as a way to get around the cap. I doubt they expect him to play that long, they just needed to stretch his payday out.

  • Agree that the Bulls FO is performing better. The main reason? Gar has taken over from Pax as the key decision maker.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    I'm just pleased we're spending money!

  • In reply to evilhoban:

    And it wasn't spent for the sake of spending, which ups its value. The CJ Watson acquisition took me by complete surprise, and I'm glad the Bulls didn't waste time with an offer sheet but did an S&T instead (even if the Warriors' Jeremy Lin signing was imminent).

    In a previous thread we discussed how much Brad Miller was the "right" backup for Noah in terms of offering a different skillset and forcing defenses to change. The young player out there whose game most resembles Miller's is probably Spencer Hawes, now of the Sixers. Is there a way we can trade for him? I'll lean toward no, just because I'm sure Doug Collins has Hawes penciled in as the starter at center and we can't/wouldn't offer a starter in return. Hawes is, however, on his rookie deal just like Noah, so the finances involved aren't exorbitant.

  • Mitchell,

    Barnes could change the whole market if he signs for only $1.7.

    He's argueably better than Mason Jr.

    Right now, it's a debate of YOUTH vs. EXPERIENCE. If the Bulls' management goes for YOUTH at SG/SF, then they need to make a trade. If they go for EXPERIENCE, then they could sign McGrady, Howard, Butler or Mason Jr.

  • Has Barnes made that much money in his career that he can take 2million less to play for a contender? Would surprise me.

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    UnstopaBull,

    I don't think he has made HUGE NBA money in the past.

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    Barnes has been a journeyman his entire career, playing on short term contracts.

    He has yet to get his big payday, and at his age this is his last chance.

    Maybe he doesn't like the offers he is getting this year, and he thinks that if he wins a title with the Lakers he can cash in next summer like Ariza did a year ago.

    Risky strategy with a lockout looming.

    Either the Bulls are about to pull off an under the radar stunner, or they are simply not interested in Barnes.

    I think that it is the latter, much to my chagrin, just like Morrow.

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    The cycle of dead weight contracts was broken when the bulls let BG go.

  • Mitchell,

    I have heard 4 veterans mentioned at SG/SF for the Bulls.

    - Tracy McGrady
    - Josh Howard
    - Rasual Butler
    - Roger Mason Jr.

    The only young player's name I have heard is Rudy Fernandez.

  • Why so much attention on Kurt Thomas, and Matt Barnes contract with the Lakers? I'm surprised no mention of Ratliff signing a one year deal with the Lakers for just over a Million. Thomas is a 6' 9" power forward that hasn't ever been much of a shot blocker. Ratliff is a little taller and younger, but a lot longer and better of a shot blocker. The playoff series between Utah and LA illustrates that Boozer as a 4 needs to be teamed with a long, tall shot blocking 5 to be most effective on defense. I would have liked to see Chicago get Ratliff for that contract length and price. I hope Asik works out, and Noah & Boozer stay healthy all season, but some more insurance there would be nice. I was hoping the Bulls would even keep Samardo Samuels for the minimum, but Cleveland reached too much on that contract.

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