While there were many interesting nuggets of information to pull out of the Derrick Rose interview on youtube, the two that might be most interesting to me were related to the makeup of the team. I was left with an impression that he wasn't too happy about the break up of the bench mob and that the team promised to get him a better perimeter creator to play along with him.
While the Bulls like to play things conservatively in terms of both finances and risk taking with the roster, they'll need to be careful not to kill the goose that laid the golden egg here. Much like Jordan, Derrick Rose expects to win championships. He was reportedly in a month+ long depression after losing to the Heat two seasons ago, and I find it unlikely he tolerates the team being stagnant for the next five years.
Rose appears to have been told that the team is looking for a long term fit at two guard to put next to him, so the obvious question now is who can the Bulls get to play that role to help Derrick out in the backcourt?
The Bulls passed on O.J. Mayo
So interestingly, the Bulls could likely have signed O.J. Mayo whom might have fulfilled many of the things they'd look for in that guard and passed. Mayo signed for just two years with Dallas at a fairly cheap rate that the Bulls could have topped by turning their Korver trade into a three way deal with Memphis.
Mayo's been a guy that I, and many others, have thought could have been landed for a reasonable deal who has the skills the Bulls need. He's a solid defender, shooter, ball-handler, and shot creator with plenty of athleticism. He's not particular efficient player and needs to work at improving off the ball, but the Bulls need a guy with his strengths, and there aren't many players with them. Particularly ones not breaking the bank.
There were plenty of risk factors involved with Mayo which is why he wasn't breaking the bank, but with one of the few options that might fit into the Bulls salary structure gone, where do they turn to now?
Tyreke Evans is the next O.J. Mayo
And that might not be a good thing.
Much like Mayo, Evans took the NBA by storm his rookie season. Much like Mayo he had fans of his team thinking future superstar after that year. Then much like Mayo he struggled mightily his second year and had a decline. Unlike Mayo, Evans rebounded in his third season to bring his level of play back up significantly, but still fell well shy of his rookie accomplishments and expectations.
While Evans isn't likely to become available for a five million dollar price tag in free agency, my guess is that the Kings are second guessing committing big long term money to him and will look to move him at the trade deadline. A trade of Rip Hamilton for Evans matches salary and keeps Chicago under their hard cap for the season. The only question would be whether or not the Bulls could throw in enough Sweeteners to make a deal make sense.
Trading for Evans might cost the Bulls the Charlotte pick as well as another of their firsts, and even then it may or may not be enough. Given the skills he's shown, it wouldn't be surprising if there was a team that fell in love with him from afar and significantly outbid what the Bulls are able to bid.
It also may prove challenging to come to terms with Evans as a free agent. O.J. Mayo played the free agent musical chairs game (tm Coldfish) and lost. He was a guy who could have easily gotten well over the MLE in the right year, but there wasn't the right team out there. Will Evans also play the game and lose?
Mayo was also forced into to taking the best offer he could find because the Grizzlies pulled his QO. If he were in Evans situation with a new team that offered the QO to retain matching rights then he could simply play the game twice [and likely would have]. In other words, if the Bulls trade for Evans then they need to do so assuming they're paying him a significant salary as a free agent, because it's far less likely he'll lose at free agency musical chairs.
If not Evans than who?
James Harden is a pipe dream entertained by many Bulls fans. However, he'll be restricted [OKC likely matches any offer], and the Bulls aren't under the cap to make an offer anyway. There's no feasible way I can come up with that lands Harden on the Bulls.
There really isn't much else out there. Certainly not in the realm of guys who might be available via trade or free agency and fit within what the Bulls can do legally. In fact, if it isn't Evans [and it probably won't be], then the Bulls best bet for adding that talented SG might be the draft.
However, when the Bulls had a chance to add Marshon Brooks, a guy who might have fit those needs but slipped significantly, they passed. While Brooks may not pan out at all, the odds of a better prospect to fill their needs slipping to where the Bulls pick are pretty low. The odds of finding a stud SG [or at any position really] outside the top 10 are fairly low overall.
Which means the Bulls may need to look to trade up in the draft. However, they had that possibility this off-season and passed on it too, preferring to keep the existing core players.
Have the Bulls made a promise they can't keep?
It certainly looks like management has made assurances to Rose that they'll get him more help, but it's hard to see how they back them up. So far, they've passed on the obvious opportunities to do. Those decisions to pass may prove out to all be good basketball decisions. That's why management gets the big bucks.
It's easy to complain at every move the Bulls didn't make, but this year's acquisition is frequently next year's bad contract. The Bulls may be right to pass on Mayo and keep Jimmy Butler over trading up for Marshon Brooks. However, there are limited opportunities to get perimeter players that fit the Bulls needs, and I'd bet if the Bulls have no more than two more off-seasons to improve the team significantly before it starts to fester with Derrick.
With Mayo off the table, the question becomes who's on the table that the Bulls can look to? While many Bulls fans have their hearts set on James Harden, the odds of Chicago luring him from Oklahoma City are next to none. They don't have max salary room to offer him as a free agent, and OKC may simply match such an offer if they did anyway.
The next guy