Bulls did well considering the budget

I've railed on and on about the Bulls budget, profit margins, and unwillingness to spend. However, pushing aside my problems with ownership's stance towards spending money, the Bulls did a nice job this off-season under the constraints they had to work under.

Outgoing: C.J. Watson, John Lucas, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, Omer Asik
Replaced by: Kirk Hinrich, Marquis Teague, Jimmy Butler, Marco Belinelli, Nazr Mohammed

When you look at the five players in the rotation and compare them to the five players coming in to replace their role I think the Bulls overall have done a nice job of remaining relatively even given that they lopped off 7-8 million in salary in the process.

Easily the biggest gap here is Omer Asik vs Nazr Mohammed. That gap will depend on whom you talk to of course. Some view Omer as a potential elite defensive center while others view him as one of the worst offensive players in the NBA. Both statements are probably true, and how you fill your Omer Asik glass depends which of the two are more important to you.

However, the mere fact that we can fill the glass either way combined with the Bulls having two other premier defensive big men really lessens the blow. Their biggest loss was likely at the position they could most afford to have a loss.

Chicago will have to hope Kirk Hinrich is better than the numbers he's played to the past two seasons, but I don't think such a hope is entirely unreasonable. While he lacks some of the shot creation ability of C.J., I think his improved decision making and ability to swing to either guard position can benefit the team if he's able to prove he's better than we've seen recently.

Marquis Teague had a horrific summer league, but while John Lucas occasionally had brilliant shooting performances to bail the team out, his constant selfish play made me want to gauge my eyes out with a spoon. I've seen few players ever destroy an offensive system like Lucas which is amusing given his reputation. What teague lacks in shooting he'll make up with increased athleticism and penetration skills.

While Chicago may struggle initially with Teague finding his niche, his ability to get into the paint should pay off more than John Lucas occasionally having a hot night while dribbling 20 seconds off the clock and then launching an off the dribble contested three.

I've long said that I think Ronnie Brewer's a better player than Jimmy Butler, but Butler shows all the potential to become a better player than Brewer and is a long term fit. The Bulls needed to get him on the floor and give him a chance to fill Brewer's role given that Brewer would be gone next year one way or the other.

On top of the decision making good long term sense, Butler has shown similar defensive prowess in limited minutes while also drawing fouls at a very nice clip which is something the Bulls offense desperately needs more of. He'll need to prove he's not afraid to shoot and can knock down the jumper consistently, but it's easy to see how it could work out.

The most pure salary dump was Kyle Korver for a trade exception that no one expects the Bulls to use. However, getting Marco Belinelli to fill in for Kyle Korver feels like it has the potential to be a trade up in talent. Korver's a more pure shooter than Belinelli, but Belinelli adds a bit more creation ability.

No one is going to run clear outs and iso's for Marco, but I think he's far more likely to put the ball on the floor than Kyle to make something happen. One of the downsides of Korver was that many of the plays we ran for him chewed up tons of shot clock as we waited for him to free himself off of double screens for 16 second at times.

Korver said himself his role in the offense was to run around screens, get the ball and pass or shoot immediately. Belinelli can probably add a bit more to that even if his accuracy isn't quite at Korver's level.

All in all, I don't expect the new bench mob to match the old one, but given what management had to work with they came awfully close. Ignoring the individual matchups and just focusing on what was added or lost this off-season in terms of team skills, and effectively the Bulls lost a bunch of shooting and gained a bunch of foul drawing ability.

Will it all work out in the end? It's hard to say, but I predict not so well. However, I think keeping the whole bench mob together likely wouldn't have made much difference.

The Bulls held it together without Derrick Rose for an awfully long time last season, but they also knew he was coming back for the playoffs. How will they react to knowing they might miss him for 60 games? This team will have to form it's identity without Rose and then completely reforge that identity upon his return.

It won't be easy, and I expect the Bulls to struggle. That said, given an ownership mandate to go cheap, I feel the Bulls did a pretty good job of it.

Filed under: Free Agency

Tags: chicago bulls, free agency, nba

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  • Don't agree with this at all. I'd be more than happy to give Garpax credit if I felt they were solid (even though I hate the constraints they're working under), but the Hinrich move in and of itself was enough for me to give them an D or F grade.

    Hinirich is simply not a very good player anymore, and on top of that he's had trouble staying on the floor. Other than supreme optimism, I don't see what would make anyone think that he would magically get better and healthier with the Bulls.

    It was a lazy move by the front office. And unfortunately, I think the main reason they did it is also financial, to an extent: They think he has an ability to play both the one and two. And I guess that's correct, but he doesn't play either well, so I'm not sure the point.

    I guess the Bellinelli, Radmanovic and Mohammed signings were decent rebounds, but I personally don't think they deserve much credit for them, and their grade will be highly dependent on how those players perform.

    In the end, I think they could've gotten any of number of players to fill in for Rose that would've been better than Hinrich. Delonte, DJ Augustin, Jerryd Bayless among others, all were paid less than Kirk, and are better. And if we signed them, we could've used the saved Kirk money to go after someone like Mayo or something.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    You beat me to the punch. You are exactly right. Making a declining Hinrich the centerpiece of the "replacement" players betrays the same flawed thinking that brought us players like Ben Wallace. The team needed to go in a different direction with a younger more dynamic and less offensively challenged player such as Bayless or West.

    I understand that Gar/Pax were working under constraints from ownership. But their knee-jerk reaction in bringing in a certain type of player that fits their conception of what is needed to beat the competition is just wrong. We needed Kevin Pritchard, not Kirk Hinrich

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    I don't like the move to bring back Captain Kirk either, and agree that better players were available for the money. It seems like a case of cheapness + sentimentalism.

    Still Hinrich had interest from other teams and allegedly took less to play here, so maybe GMs around the league know something we don't. I'm not holding my breath, but it's possible.

    Omer to Nazr is a huge downgrade in a vacuum, but it's even worse when you consider Noah's health. He sat out the Olympics to rehab his ankle and is committed to strengthening them, but at this point I don't know if I trust him to stay healthy. I'm not sure how I feel about Taj at the 5 either. The league is moving away from traditional big men, so he'll probably be fine unless we're playing against Howard, Bynum, Al Jefferson types.

    This offseason really sucks compared to the last one. Instead of licking our chops for another shot at Miami, we're watching our franchise player attempt to reassure us on Youtube and and hoping to make the playoffs.

  • In reply to Tyler Soze:

    If noah is injured, we are in trouble regardless if we still have omer or not. So I don't think it is fair when you bring up the health/injury issue. There is nothing wrong with having a 3 big-man rotation IMO, that's 96 minutes for 3 big mans (32 mins a piece for noah/boozer/gibson).

  • In reply to handushk:

    Disagree. Asik is a starting caliber C, and Houston, among other teams Im sure, agrees.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    He definitely has the potential to be a starting caliber C due to his defensive abilities. Looking at the gamelogs, http://espn.go.com/nba/player/gamelog/_/id/3414/omer-asik

    Asik has only played more than 30 minutes in 3 games last season. We don't know if he can sustain his intensity throughout the game if he has to log starter minutes(last year he looked really tired when he has to play extensive minutes in a row). We will see.

  • In reply to handushk:

    In 3.5 seasons as Dwight's backup, Gortat averaged something like 13mins-4pts-4rbs-blk.

    In the 1.5 seasons in PHO, Gortat averaged 31mins-14pts-10rbs-1.4blks.

    Sure you could make the argument Asik can't be a productive starter, but you're basically making the argument ALL bench players can't be a productive starter.

    We will wait and see, but for some reason, my guess is ALL athletes players that make it all the way to the pro level can play extensive minutes without being tired.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    I agree with you in disagreeing with Doug. Bulls get a big F. Their big signing doesn't even fit the roles he will be asked to play... Captain Klank isn't a good shooter or scorer so having him at SG isn't very good. He can't penetrate or create his own shot from the PG position either which all of our PG's are asked to do. Not sure how you can say he is a decent add no matter how you look at it not to mention throwing away 8 mil on him. There were a lot better options in Aaron Brooks and Jerryd Bayless whom they could have gotten because they signed for less than Kirk. Not to mention both are young and can create their own shots.

    The Nazr and Radmanovic signings are just plain lame. Give me Malcom Thomas over Nazr any day. Vlad Rad like Kirk doesn't fit the team other than being just a three point threat who is too slow to guard SF's and too weak for PF's.

    Letting Asik leave for nothing should earn them an F let alone replacing him with Nazr. Asik has been vital in the last two playoffs can you imagine having to play Nazr Muhammed 30 mins a game in the playoffs should Noah be injured again? Vomit.

    They earn an F for creativity and an F for execution. I can't wait till dumb and dumber get fired.

  • In reply to Chad:

    Why would the bulls front office trade Asik at the trade deadline last year since he was so VITAL in the last two playoffs if they think they had a legit chance to win the championship? After the season is over, a sign and trade just doesn't make sense for Asik cause he will lose money by doing that.

    I don't like the offseason either especially seeing ray allen/rashard lewis going to the Heat. But i feel like the front office was stucked in "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation with omer Asik both last season and this offseason

  • In reply to handushk:

    Agree. The only solution I saw, was being a little more aggresive in their extension offer on July 1. Sucks to lose him for nothing.

    If the plan is to go after RFA's this summer, I would have liked to see Omer back. Then they could trade him or pay the tax when they are raking in the profits & maybe competeing for a c'ship during the poison pill year. That alone tells me they are not going for it in '13. In '14 I just don't see who they could possibly go after. That's my main beef... where is the plan?

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    by this summer i meant next summer in 2013

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    I also agree with this post. Hinrich was a net negative 4 years ago, let alone now. 2 years 8 million for an ambassador signing? This is an attempt to appease the preteens who 'remember that name from somewhere'. Also agree with the latter comment of Malcom Thomas over Nazr, due to the fact I'd rather watch hunger than a DOA. Couple these with the lack of evidence they ever tried to extend Asik before getting blind sided, equals 'F'.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    Initially, Kirk's offer was 2yrs $6mil...but because they eventually declined to match Asik's offer, they decided...hey, let's give Kirk another mil per year because he's one of 'Reinsdorf's guys'.

    So with his payraise and Belinelli's Bi-Annual, they're hard-capped at $74mil.

    Giving Hinrich that extra million could be the difference in us signing Malcolm Thomas and not signing him.

  • I agree with you fellow posters on Hinrich, however I have to believe that move was all Jerry. Kirk was one of his all time favorites & Jerry hated to see him go in the first place. I think he would have been trying to get him back all along these last 2 years.

    The Asik move bothers me, but everything else besides him is probably a wash, and they did try to bring him back on a multi year deal, but in the end that poison pill year coupled with the chance for him to start was just too much. I do like Butler over Brewer though, and thought that Brewer was a bit overrated on the defensive end at times. I like Butler's potential better, and think he will realize it as soon as this season.

  • WOW! 1st time posting! I could not just sit by and read anymore! Doug, I have been reading your articles, and all the comments for a long time. You have got to be kidding me, this is the cheapest cut rate basket ball hating BS i have ever seen. I often wondered why we had so much trouble attracting talent to Chicago, i do not need to wonder anymore. They dumped and received nothing! F- for the FO and Dumpsdorf. Packing away my Bobbleheads for a better day. I do hope i can display them with pride someday soon! Lets get back to the truth Doug. Thanks

  • Well,at least the White Sox were able to add another pitcher at the deadine despite being ranked 24th in attendance in MLB. SMH!!!

  • In reply to nolebron:

    No kidding! Can we get a new billionaire owner who is a fan too?

  • In reply to nolebron:

    I hate when these discussions turn to White Sox bashing. I love both teams and refuse to choose between them. I wish Jerry felt the same.

  • In reply to Tyler Soze:

    I'm not bashing, those are the facts. The White Sox get to run on $97MM payrolls, despite being in the bottom half in the league in attendance and are continuously adding salary at the deadline. Meanwhile the Bulls, who were #1 in attendance this past season are cheaping it up to avoid the luxury tax, when it has been shown that shelling out an extra $10MM in luxury tax would have set them up with nice long term assets. I'm tired of that, I'm not saying spend just to spend, but the ability to profit and pay the tax should have left us sitting pretty. I agree with those of you on this blog saying that Chicago needs another basketball team or an owner who cares about winning.

  • In reply to nolebron:

    Said it before and say it again...

    Bulls = White Sox profit Center

    This is also the reason why Reinsdorf will never sell the Bulls. If he did, how could he fund his PASSION...the White Sox.

  • Can't agree with the Hinrich bashing. Did any of you actually watch a Hawks game last year? Hinrich was a asked to be the defensive SG. He got a shot about once every 7 or 8 minutes, he wasn't running the point. Between JJ, Smith, and Teague, there weren't any shots to be had and there was never any ball movement. His role is going to be much different on the bulls. And as a backup PG/SG he is a big improvement over Watson and Brewer who were entirely one-dimensional. Sure he's not going to look good as the starting PG opening night, but that's not why he was brought in. He was brought in to play 10 minutes a night as the backup pg and maybe another 10 as the backup SG.

  • Anybody hear anything about Malcolm Thomas and/or ETwan Moore?

  • This is really all you need to know right here...

    Dolan and Knicks spends into the luxury tax and still makes about $30mil in profit (about 5th most profitable NBA team).

    Reinsdork and the Bulls don't spend into the luxury tax and make $55mil in profit (1st).

    Is it so hard to throw the fans a bone and spend into the luxury tax, and instead of making $55mil in profit, make $30mil in profit and have a WAY better team on the floor?

    To Reinsdork, the answer is no. Just hoping a 2nd NBA team comes to Chicago.

  • Now with MINN adding AK47, that's another team that doesn't need a proven All-Star caliber SF (Deng).

    Maybe Tyreke can be had, but are the Bulls willing to take back John Salmons' contract? Or Garcia+Outlaw's contracts? My guess is no.

    Maybe the Bulls would take Calderon+DeRozan? But I guess signing Hinrich takes Calderon out of the equation.

    Maybe CLE? But Bulls will only get expiring deals of Walton+Gibson, maybe CLE throws in Casspi, who's also an expiring.

  • Derrick Rose $16,402,500
    Carlos Boozer $15,000,000
    Luol Deng $13,365,000
    Joakim Noah $11,300,000
    Richard Hamilton $5,000,000
    Kirk Hinrich $4,000,000
    Taj Gibson $2,155,811
    Marco Belinelli $1,960,000
    Jimmy Butler $1,066,920
    Marquis Teague $1,028,400
    Vladimir Radmanovic $854,389
    Nazr Mohammed $854,389
    Cap Hold - Vet-Min $854,389

    Total $73,841,798

    So if the Bulls can't sign Malcolm Thomas, we know why...they gave Hinrich an extra $1mil for no apparent reason except he's one of Jerry Reinsdork's guys, and hard capped themselves at $74mil.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Yeah pure stupid. I am doubting they sign Malcom Thomas at this point but hope they do.

  • I think its a fair criticism that the Bulls chose combo guard Hinrich over combo guard OJ Mayo who both cost about the same thing for a 2 year deal. Maybe the Bulls felt Hinrich could run the point better but Mayo did play backup point in the past. Outside of that, I just don't get the Vlad Rad signing, they should of left an open spot for someone better like Carlos Delfino(not sure if he signed for the vet min) or open for a small trade like getting JaJuan Johnson who can shoot the rock for a big just in case the Bulls are forced to trade Gibson at the trade deadline. On top of that, Marquis Teague doesn't look very promising. I know its early but with the Bulls having many needs, wouldn't it of been better to get a more proven player like Doron Lamb who can shoot and run an offense? Even with the financial constraints, they could of made better moves. Nick Friedell actually thinks the Bulls could be a 50 win team, thats a little too optomistic but don't bet against Thibodeau getting the most out of this team, even with a lessened bench mob. I think the 5th seed could still be reachable if everything goes to plan and Rose comes back after the all star break.

  • I am more in agreement with the majority here than with Doug.

    I think the Hinrich move is highly questionable, and depends on Hinrich having a major rebound in productivity, we clearly could have done better for the the full or part of the full MLE, which Hinrich was upgraded to. Even if Hinrich were as "effective" as he was in his last season with the Bulls, would he be all that good anyway. My gut feeling is that CJ was better, but the league apparently doesn't feel the same way, we shall see.

    Asik has been called the second best defensive bigman in the NBA by at least 2 of ESPN's basketball guru's. The Asik/Gibson combo has been the best defensive unit in the league when measured by most all advanced stats. Is that due to Asik or Gibson or the combination of the 2, we will find out this season as the aging Naysay will likely rival Bozo as an historically horrific defensive presence. I would have preferred Darko, who a yet hasn't signed, maybe even Pryzbilla, even though he has ballooned after his injuries.

    Asiks lack of offense was irrelevant, as the Bulls almost always increased their lead or overcame large deficits during his time on the floor. The net affect is all that matters.

    I am not a fan of the Teague selection at all, I am willing to bet huge money that my guy Tony Wroten will be a vastly superior player whom we should have traded up for. Based on summer league, Teague barely looks like an NBA player. As a third point, it doesn't matter all that much, except in case of injury, which was the case last season. It can easily be argued that Lucas won 3-4-5 games for the Bulls last season. Teague will not win a single game for the Bulls this season, and in Roses absence will likely cost us a few games.

    Korver turned out to be a bit of a pleasant surprise on defense, and a bit of a disappointment on offense. I am intrigued by what Belinelli has to offer, the question will likely be how bad he is on defense.

    I am with everybody on the Butler for Brewer trade, Butler seems to have some upside, whereas Brewer did not anymore at this point in his career. If we luck out Butler could be the small forward version of Taj. I don't really see him as a shooting guard though.

    I would rather have signed Carlos Delfino over VladRad. My sense is that Thibs is going to hate VladRad, but Bozo should love practicing against him, as they can both go through the motions while fake defending each other.

    Overall, I can see the point that Doug is trying to make, but we really won't know until we see the second unit play together for a few weeks. Which won't happen until the end of the season with Hinrich starting in Roses absence.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Nate Robinson is supposed to be signing with Bulls. Teague may wind up D League or Europe.

  • In reply to Waldock:

    Robinson is a good energy player and can score, he's basically JL3 to the tenth power.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Good pick up, Bulls can use his offensive energy.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Going in I like him better than JL3, hopefully a lot better.

    If we hadn't lost Asik, I really wouldn't have any problems with this offseason. Going forward, Asik was a key component of building a championship team, especially one that could challenge the Heat.

  • This is why I will continue to say that the Chicago media and some of its sports fans are brain washed when it comes to some of the excuses for Chicago sports teams. Come on Doug, the Bulls did well considering the budget??? This is just being plain cheap and funding all of the White Sox trades. The Bulls could've done so much more with trades in the draft, trading bench guys for other good players, and signing not top notch free agents, but at least try to sign some good free agents. PLEASE STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR THE OWNER DOUG!!! This off season decisions for this team has been as terrible as I can remember and there's just no cause or sense for it....ABSOLUTELY INEXCUSABLE!!!

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I shredded the Bulls in probably a dozen articles this summer for being cheap. To write one article evaluating what they did relative to the budget doesn't seem to be making a whole lot of excuses.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I agree, you've ripped them pretty good, this post just shows that the Bulls moves this offseason could be looked at as being very prudent, if prudence is your thing. I would call it fair and balanced.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I get and understand that some positive has to come out of this somewhat dismantling of this Bulls team, but I just can't get pass the fact that the owner, I won't even call him by his name anymore doesn't give a damn about Bulls fans and it is loud and clear to say the least. If he doesn't care...I mean DAMN!!!... he should sale the team. This is the same ASS along with his side kick Krause that said management wins championships not players. I wonder how many ships would the Bulls have if Jordan wasn't there? I would say close to none imo. But to get to the point, again I understand where you're trying to go with this thread and I as well appreciate your vents about the owner. I just get heated when you try and be positive about the guys moves. I guess its just my growing dislike for the owner cause he has a team who's fanbase is incredible and another team who's fanbase is mediocre at best and he's putting all of his money into that teams well being. It's just a frustrated rant from me so excuse me.

  • They may or may not be better.
    One things for sure. This year's bench is deeper.
    It's like they're planning on injuries.

  • In the wake of this disassembling of a "contender," Doug has consistently said that Jerry Reinsdorf doesn't give a damn about Bulls fans. And he's elaborated on that point to my satisfaction anyway. With all the shock really and outrage over this draft and stagnant off season player movement Doug has been a voice to vent for us all, and personally I have appreciated it.

    As a Bulls blog proprietor(?) he simply can't spout gloom and doom all the time. IMO he's always shown an appreciation of John Paxson and that's his perogative. Certainly Pax has done some positive things for the franchise in assembling character, competitor types of players. It's just now letting solid players like Korver and Watson go for Klank is just too f-ing much. Not to mention availing themsleves of virtually none of the deep talent pool of this draft.

    Honestly many Bulls die hards have been sickened, even for a cheap conservative Reinsdorf/Bulls front office, at the way this draft and off season has been handled. I mean the Klank Hinbrich signing judging many poster reactions says it all. Just famed, sentimental, stodgy, unimaginative operating that alienates hard core fans to the extreme.

    It all comes back to the simple fact that if amnestied early on, a meager $5-7 Mil per year deferred payment would have had the Bulls free to revamp an anemic offense. Instead Mr.Profits to the max kept the cash leaving the Bulls with little wiggle room. Yet even under those constraints we could have picked up some young talent trading options etc. something instead of Klank and Shitmanovic.

    As for the Belinelli pick up based on his numbers I don't have as much of a problem with that.

    And now this Nate Robinson signing I don't know what Doug thinks, but other then his very recent poor history which he rebounded from last year at G.S. I mean he's not a bad "little offensive player. Certainly a decent amounf of his career he's been an offensive contributor. And he's only 28. This seems to support as another poster noted that the front office does not view Teague as a viable option this season.

    If Deng can get healthy, Noah stays healthy with Boozer(huge ifs all around), and then Derrick can come back as a limited but solid player keeping his minutes down in March maybe, just maybe the Bulls can surprise. If they get some offense sooner rather then later, and a firecracker like Robinson doesn't cause dissension, maybe Thibs defensive voice of ultra-competence, despite seeming doltish in some ways as a coach/person, maybe the Bulls can end up above .500 and playing respectable basketball. Maybe. Belinelli and Robinson need to have top flight, career type seasons.

  • Apparently, the British couldn't care less that Luol Deng is killing himself to play for their country. Just one more reason that he shouldn't be.

    Boy, are we all going to be pissed when he comes back, skips surgery, then "reinjures" himself after the season starts and finally has to have surgery in November or December.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nba--luol-deng-shouldn-t-play-in-these-olympics--but-wants-to-pay-his-debt-to-britain.html;_

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Sure sounds like he is going to skip surgery the way he and the Bulls keep talking about how well his wrist is doing. Dumb decision in my view why bring him back less than 100% when you have no title shot? Foolish. I would rather see Deng play 50-60 games 100% than 82 games and he shoot sub 40% and be the ineffective one hander he is currently. His shooting percentage has been horrible. Granted some of that is him being the man on GB and we all know he can't do that as he is no iso player for sure.

  • they brought in a lot of below average players to replace average or above average ones. can you outline a plausible off-season that you would have rated as a failure even given their constraints?

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