Let's say for the sake of argument the Bulls had the opportunity to bring back either Hinrich or Gordon on their existing deals by using their cap space. If you bring back Hinrich the pick still does not come with him. Sure there's a million reasons why neither thing could happen, but for the sake of argument, and because it helps frame the Bulls off-season success, let's ask what if it could?
You now have your choice between three scenarios...
1: Bulls absorb Ben Gordon's contract back from Detroit.
His salary is 10.8 million this year, out of the signings we did make, I sacrifice Korver (5 million) and Watson (3.6 million) and take the remaining 2 million out of cap room we still have available.
That leaves us with roughly the vet minimum (maybe slightly more) to fill out the rest of the roster. Though the guard/wing rotation looks something like this:
Rose, Gordon, Brewer, Deng, Johnson, minimum salaried backup PG.
Best thing about this line up, is Gordon is the best floor spacer of all possible players, because he's far more deadly than Korver as a scorer, he's harder to leave alone even for a second IMO.
Downside is that Gordon is coming off a terrible year (though it's largely related to injuries), and you're kind of just assuming he plays well again which may not be the case. The team also lacks depth with it's wings and will actually count on Johnson to play meaningful minutes which doesn't look like a great idea so far.
2: Bulls get Kirk Hinrich back from the Wizards
With Hinrich, instead of signing Brewer, I sign Korver still, I still leave Watson off the roster as we don't need a backup PG with Hinrich on board. Cost of Hinrich is Watson/Korver, and about 400k of our remaining cap room which still leaves us with a need at a backup 2/3 and enough money to sign Matt Barnes to fill it.
New guard/wing rotation:
Rose, Hinrich, Deng, Korver, Barnes, Johnson
This rotation is deeper than the Gordon rotation with the inclusion of Barnes, and can sustain an injury to any one player on it without losing too much of it's power (exception is Derrick Rose, but the drop off from Rose to Hinrich is about as small as any roster is going to have dropping off from it's superstar to his backup, the Bulls would still have a legit starting caliber guy at every position).
3: Finally, let's keep what we have
Current guard/wing rotation:
Rose, Brewer, Deng, Watson, Korver, Johnson
It's more difficult for me to judge this group, because i haven't seen enough of Korver, Watson, and Brewer to really have as much feel for them as Gordon/Hinrich. We also have a pretty good idea how Gordon/Hinrich could work with Rose having seen it while still waiting to look and see how the new players will.
It's worth noting though that Hinrich/Gordon may have worked even better with Rose had they had a real coach calling plays.
I'm not sure what to make of this rotation vs the other two, it definitely has depth, and there is enough money left that another quality player could still be added to it, and in fact I expect another quality player will be added to it. James Johnson likely moving out of it all together in favor of Roger Mason, Keith Bogans, or Rudy Fernandez.
So I was thinking, how would I rank these potential perimeter player groups?
They rank fairly similarly to me, the Gordon group has the highest upside and the lowest floor to me. It lacks depth, and if Gordon doesn't return to form, the lineup is pretty lousy. If Gordon does return to form, it's by far the most potent offensively, and it still has the possibility of throwing out a strong defensive side.
The Hinrich lineup and our existing lineup seem similar in overall talent to me. I think the Hinrich lineup has slightly more defined roles for the players (especially when we add another guard), while having slightly less depth. I think it's better offensively overall with Hinrich's shooting helping more than Brewer's slashing, and slightly worse defensively.
I'll call it a push.
All in all, when looking at the "should we have kept Hinrich or Gordon" debate, even if you could get either back, I'm not sure you do it. The Bulls did a nice job of filling out the pieces and providing depth and versatility for the guard/wing positions.
That ignores the fact that it would have been ridiculous to not go for James/Bosh/Wade when you thought you had the chance to get one. They were moves that had to be done, but even in hindsight, I think the lineup we came up with is similar in quality.