The shooting guard position going forward

Whether the Bulls win the championship or not this year, there are still areas in which the team can improve significally in terms of filling out their roster. So just for now, let's ignore everything called playoffs and lock-out. Imagine both dealt with.

The obvious concern regarding Chicago's roster is at the shooting guard position. Since the middle of October, it's been the most active debate in terms of what the Bulls potentially could be missing from being a contender for the title.

You don't often find teams this deep into the playoffs who exclusively rely on one shot-creator for the majority of a ball game. However Derrick Rose has been doing just that, which is one of the reasons he hoisted the MVP award this season. The situation, and Rose especially, have drawn comparisons to the Philadelphia 76'ers team from the 2000/2001 season in which Allen Iverson took home the MVP.

Now, a case can be made that this Bulls team does have decent scoring talent around Rose. Afterall, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, and Kyle Korver combined this season to average 54.9 points which is far from terrible. The problem doesn't lie in the overall point production, but rather the lack of dimensions in which these points are coming from.

Carlos Boozer is capable of getting the ball on the low block, but to consistently create his own offense is asking too much. Boozer is a guy who does his best work when he reacts quickly, and that's usually what he does when he gets a good pass. But that pass isn't always there, and when it isn't, Chicago tends to eat a little too much clock trying to find Rose a hole in the defense. Having another player on the floor who can dribble into his own shot, won't allow the opposing defense to focus as intensely on Rose as they have over these last two seasons. Both Deng, Noah and Korver fall under similar categories as Boozer, as all of them have to be set up primarily.

So what kind of options are out there, and which are realistic? Assuming the MLE (Mid-Level Exception) is still availble after the CBA negotiations, Chicago can probably guarentee themselves someone like Marco Belinelli or J.R. Smith. Belinelli never did much ballhandling for New Orleans due to the presence of Chris Paul and Jarrett Jack, but he's a decent dribbler and passer. The problem with Belinelli is that he's pretty underwhelming. Sporting a PER of 12.1 is hardly impressive, so throwing the MLE at him might not be a sound idea financially. A part of it, yes. But given that the Bulls likely need to use the entire thing on a scoring wing player, this doesn't seem like a viable option.

J.R. Smith has had his issues in Denver. Without going into detail, Smith has a very negative reputation around the league as well as being reported as immature despite having reached the age of 25. Smith is also very inconsistent, having gone from a TS% of .603 to .515 in a span of two years. This season he pulled it back up to .550 but it's impossible to project what kind of effort and production he'll give a team.

Sacramento Kings guard Marcus Thornton could have been an interesting player to look at, but seeing as he exploded in Sacramento with 21.3 points a night after a mid-season trade, it looks like he'll be out of Chicago's price range. That shouldn't keep the Bulls from offering him the entire MLE, but he's not likely to accept it.

So what can be done about Chicago's one major roster problem?

The Bulls signed Jannero Pargo and John Lucas to multiple years through unguarenteed contracts, meaning they can be moved along with Keith Bogans (who is also unguarenteed for next season) to a team in desperate need of immediate cap relief. Pargo, Bogans and Lucas combine to earn roughly $3.9 million. The Bulls can take back 125% of that salary, which is about $4.9 million.

There are shooting guards out there who could start for the Bulls at that price range, such as Houston's Courtney Lee ($2.2 million) packaged with Terrence Williams ($2.3 million) - Though the Rockets are in no rush to clear additional salary with their cap number going from $71 million this season to $48 million next season. New Jersey's Anthony Morrow is another option, though his ballhandling isn't going to solve Chicago's issues.

O.J. Mayo from the Grizzlies is making $5.6 million, so to get him Chicago will have to add salary, but none of their remaining contracts are unguarenteed. Having said that, it's not impossible. The Bulls have two 1st round picks in this year's draft and could offer a re-signed Kurt Thomas at a partially guarenteed deal. Though, you have to wonder if Memphis will be ready to let him go after their playoff run.

With the problems in Orlando, Chicago might look J.J. Redick's way yet again. Last season, Orlando matched the offer sheet Chicago signed Redick to. The Magic would also to be able to take money off the cap completely, but with Redick's contract of $6.7 million, creative finances would have to be applied again. Lucas, Bogans, Pargo, two 1st round picks and a re-signed Kurt Thomas (same offer as in the O.J. Mayo trade) would maybe not be enough for Orlando, but it would make them think. The Magic is on the hook for $76 million next season. If they could remove $6.7 million, they'd be considerably closer to the luxury tax limit.

A player who was attatched to Chicago rumors all of last season was Blazers guard Rudy Fernandez. Seeing as Portland's cap number will be at $74 million next season, he too could be a possibility. If Portland ends up paying Greg Oden his $8.8 million qualifying offer, while also hanging onto Andre Miller for $7.8 million (Miller is on an unguarenteed deal), it might even be possible to make a play for Wesley Matthews pending their priorities. Portland usually doesn't have a problem spending, but with the CBA issues, who knows. It's a long shot, but one that could be there. Fernandez though, should be able to be acquired.

Overall, there are players out there who can be had for the right price. With Chicago becoming a legit championship contender this year, it's only assumed that the team is willing to spend money for the future, especially to round out the starting line-up. How does a starting unit of Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, J.J. Redick and Derrick Rose for the next four years sound like? Because pending the right offer, this could be a reality.


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  • What about players that we think might be too expensive (by maybe a few mil a year) but who would be willing to sign got the money we can offer because they want to be on a serious title contender. Maybe a backloaded deal?

  • I would consider Jason Richardson or Shane Battier over any other player mentioned above in FA.


  • In reply to chrishunigan:

    J-Rich ya.... No thanks to Battier though and hes a SF

    Out of anyone mentioned above the one I would incredibly love to have on our team but I feel is the least likely is Wes Mathews

    Doug mentioned that if Chicago was willing to take a risk B-Roy could be an option

  • In reply to chrishunigan:

    Bulls should focus ALL their attention on Dwight Howard. If D-12 enters the trade market, the Bulls better be ALL OVER him with the plethora of assets the Bulls posses.

  • In reply to chrishunigan:

    Would Arron Afflalo be obtainable? He's a restricted FA, right? Does CHI have enough cap space to sign someone outright?

  • In reply to brad73:

    Maybe we could do a sign and trade but word is Nene is going to opt out so I dont think they well be pressed for cap space

  • In reply to brad73:

    Afflalo would be my pick as well.

  • In reply to brad73:

    To answer the original question, that starting lineup sounds no better than what the bulls have now. redick is NOT the solution at SG if the point is to find a guy that can create his own shot. but I agree that that's what the team needs. Brandon Roy would be awesome as long as he's used judiciously with korver and brewer.

  • In reply to tekioko:

    Asides, why do the Magic a favor in helping them keep Howard? Either make a play for him yourself, or enjoy the warm fuzzies when he is shipped off to the Lakers for Bynum (one injury away from retirement) and whatever PuPu platter the Lakers throw at Orlando to match salaries.

    Major conference competitor (Orlando) gets gutted
    One of the players that has given you fits shipped out
    Dwight in LaLa land probably = distraction

    Bulls win either way.

    Asides, there is only so much 'Duke' someone can take; and Reddick was one of the most loathsome since Laettner.

  • In reply to saigman:

    Richard to the Emperor

    I like your thinking. A little chaos for the Magic.

    Steal DW if we can but in no way help Orlando meet payroll by taking JJ Reddick.

    A little chaos in the East can go a long way.

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    Steal DH (Dwight Howard). Don't know who DW might be :)

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    What a luxury.

    We're so happy with our Chicago Bulls we can day dream on a Friday afternoon about SGs in the middle of a playoff.

    Better believe D.Rose is thinking of only one thing: beating Atlanta tonite.

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    Thats what happens when you get overly giddy by the regular season, we aren't interested in anything but the ECF or the finals. luckily we drew the Pacers and Hawks so we can daydream our way there.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    No daydreaming for D.Rose and company.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I like what the other writer about Wilson Chandler? Known to be a SF but probably can play SG. 6'8, can hit the 3, play good defense when he wants too, great athlete. From Depaul.Tough kid that Thibs could really like.

  • In reply to tekioko:

    Kirk Hinrich shot 58% FGs in the Orlando series. We have seen how Hinrich shoots for the last 6/7 years. Basically, it shows with Rose getting smarter and if our front-court is healthy...all we need is a better Bogans...say Redick or Affalo and not a star SG. We need Noah and Asik to develop their offense to open up space for the guards.

  • In reply to tekioko:

    I fully expect both Micheal Redd and Mike Dunleavy will get looks from the Bulls.

  • In reply to brad73:

    ABB (anyone but Bogans), yeah you know me...we all down for ABB??

    Worst case scenario (well, asides from another year of the Bad Bogans Experience) is they resort to drafting a SG, and insert a rookie into the starting lineup. A PER of 7 over the course of a season is a fairly low bar to jump over, so I'd have to assume that even that would represent an improvement.

  • In reply to brad73:

    Bulls have ZERO cap space after the Noah extension. What Bulls have is a MLE if it still exists under the new CBA

  • In reply to brad73:

    I know hes a SF but so is Joe Johnson what about CJ Miles??

  • In reply to brad73:

    Nice job, Morten.

    Whoever the Bulls go after is going to have to be able to knock down open 3s at a high rate and play solid defense. The former's important because, regardless of the player's other offensive abilities, he's going to spend a lot of time hanging out at the 3-pt line in the Bulls' offense. The latter's important because Thibs and the organization both value it so highly.

    I don't see many SGs out there that are both gettable and exciting.

  • In reply to brad73:

    Denver will be letting Smith walk, so they'll want to keep Afflalo. The MLE wont get it done.

    Pity because I've been on the Afflalo bandwagon for ages but Smith has gone and talked his way out of Denver making the decision on who to keep easy.

  • In reply to brad73:

    I think the perfect answer is Leandrinho Barbosa from the Toronto Raptors. He has a player option for next year at $7.6 Mil and Colangelo doesn't want him to pick it up... BUT Barbosa was hurt most of last year, so of course he will pick it up... he is in a contract year, and why not get paid just under $8 Mil while proving yourself to the league again.

    The Raptors have glaring holes at Center, Point Guard, and Small Forward, so they need flexibility...any opportunity Colangelo has to save money, he'll do it..

    So if the Bulls come along and offer Brewer (6'7 and can play SF) at $4.7 this year and $4.3 next year, and Bogans at $1.7 mil this year plus say a sencond round pick?

    That would probably be enough for Colangelo, and the Bulls would get an exceptional defender at SG and a very efficient he would be playing for a contract next year so he would be very motivated.

  • In reply to zmorg77:

    --Commercial Break, I can add to my comment....

    The above deal of Brewer+Bogans+2nd rounder for Barbosa would be a good deal for both teams, and here is why..


    * Colangelo gets flexibility
    * saves $1.3 mil in salary
    * gets a 2nd rounder
    * get a decent SF in Brewer (quality defender, possible starter)
    * get a cheap reserve veteran SG on a 1 year deal. (exactly what they need)


    * Gar/Pax finally get a starting caliber two guard to play off D. Rose, a quality defender, and an efficient scorer

    * Bulls only take on $1.3 mil in Salary (and don't use their mid-level exception to fill the starting 2 guard spot)

    * Only give away a 2nd rounder and essentialy 2 reserve caliber players on a "championship contending team"

    * The Bulls "Consolidate Talent" which is essential when tweaking to build a champion

    What do you guys think? I know it sounds funny, but if we made it our main priority when the off-season began, it would go a long way to improving the team.

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