Belinelli finds a new home and other free agency madness

Free agency is well on its way with many of the big dominoes falling already. The biggest, Dwight Howard, expects to announce his decision today. Somehow I can't imagine Kobe telling Dwight that he'll teach him to be a champion could have possibly gone over well. The Bulls can scratch one familiar name off their list to finalize the roster, as Marco Belinelli signed with the Spurs.

Chicago could have retained Marco for 105% of his previous salary without using the MMLE which means he's one of the only options they had to bring in a player over the vet minimum. With Mike Dunleavy Jr. signed it was easy to see that Belinelli coming back wasn't in the cards though.

Let's give a little love to Marco on the way out the door, he shot just 39.5% from the field for Chicago, but there were times where he carried the offense, and the man knocked down three game winning buzzer beaters for Chicago this season if memory serves me correctly. Not a bad haul for a role player. I'll take a guy who hits three game winning shots for two million anytime.

It will be interesting to see how Dunleavy fits into the roster in a similar role to Belinelli, and it's a shame we never got to see Belinelli play next to Rose where his percentages likely would have risen considerably and his secondary ball handling would have been more deadly against a defense which wasn't loaded against him.

In other news tangentially affecting Chicago, Al Jefferson agreed to a three year deal (third is a player option) with the Charlotte Hornets for 41 million. It's a nice signing for Charlotte for several reasons.

The first is that they didn't massively overpay for Jefferson. That's a win for a franchise in as sad a state as the Hornets in as pedestrian a market as they're in. Jefferson also has a pretty good shot at helping the Bobcats overcome the top 10 protection on the Bulls pick this season or the top eight next season.

The bad news for the Bobcats is Jefferson will also help them miss out on being one of the absolute worst teams in the league this year which means their odds of getting a superstar in next year's draft seem lower. This is the type of move that gets you to 34 wins instead of 24 wins without a clear plan in place to get from 34 to 54.

Overall, I'd say this signing and the direction of the Bobcats is probably good for Chicago right now. By trying to put more talent on the roster but only being moderately successful in it, they likely won't win enough to make our pick lousy, but won't lose enough to get the star player that could turn the entire franchise around and completely kill the picks value.

Other notable free agent happenings

Chris Paul announced he would stay with the Clippers which is a really good move for him. Here's a guy who's going to be much better off locking in that fifth year, and I think it's tough to imagine his situation really looking a ton better with any other team anyway.

Kyle Korver didn't up with the Nets despite the signing being "in the bag". Atlanta decided to throw a truckload of cash at Korver, so he'll be staying with the Hawks at 4/24 which seems like an awfully pricey amount for his skills especially as he ages. The Bulls effectively signed Korver to 2/10 with a 3rd non guaranteed year three years ago which shows you how bad this signing is relatively.

Kevin Martin went to the Timberwolves for 4/28 which is possibly the best value deal in free agency so far. I'd have loved it if the Bulls could have grabbed Martin at that price. Of course, they couldn't legally, so kind of irrelevant, but that's a great move for Minnesota.

JR Smith, whom half of Bulls nation would love and half would loathe, resigned with the Knicks for 4/24.7 was also priced out of what the Bulls could have done if they tried.

Andre Iguodala was offered 4/56 from the Kings before he hesitated and Sacramento (wisely I might add) rescinded the offer. The Iguodala news was interesting largely in that it would have set a scary bench mark for Luol Deng's value. It will be interesting to see what price tag he ultimately lands at.

I'll also be very interested to see where Monta Ellis lands and for how much. Ellis opted out of 11 million if I'm not mistaken which is a lot of cheese for him, and many people have pointed out that he's not likely to get 11 million now. I sure as hell would have rather signed Kevin Martin than Monta Ellis, and he went for seven million.

There were a variety of other signings (and by signings, I mean agreed to terms with the signing set for July 10th which is the first day signings can be completed) and overall when I look at the landscape, I feel better and better about the Bulls getting Dunleavy at 2/6. He's not a star, but relative to the market, he stands out as a good value.

The Bulls front office has done a great job of filling in pieces on reasonable contracts with Dunleavy as just the latest example. As I mentioned before, Chicago effectively paid 2/10 for Korver for two years when he was 29/30 while Atlanta is paying 4/24 when he'll be 32-35.

The biggest ball to fall is still Dwight Howard, in theory, we'll know where he's going to land today. I've said ever since the trade that the Lakers would keep Howard and in a year add LeBron James to go with him. Everyone laughs at me when I say this, however, L.A. thinks big and plans ahead.

If Howard does leave L.A. then Bulls fans can feel a bit better about our front office not pursing him hard last off-season as Howard walking out on us would have been disastrous and likely a forgone conclusion if he's also willing to walk on the Lakers. Whereas if he stays it's easy to think he would have also stayed with Chicago had we pursued him. Of course neither of those things is directly related or can be proven, but it's how I'd feel.

Filed under: Free Agency

Tags: chicago bulls, free agency, nba


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  • Big thing for that Charlotte pick is how Zeller performs (also how MKG and Kemba develop). If Zeller turns out to be a stud, then you're looking at a real nice frontcourt. And if the rest of the guys play well, then you have a team that could possibly threaten for an eighth seed. Highly unlikely, but still.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    I don't think anyone is anticipating Zeller turning into a stud, though I suppose anything is possible. Kemba/MKG don't look like future star players, and this is no different than the other revolving door of pedestrian young talent they've had.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    Another reason why the deal is bad...CHA gave him a a Player Option after the first year.

    So even if AlJeff balls out for them, he could leave them for better team/contract.

    Theoretically, the team could do better, lose a top-5 pick, and the following season have nothing to show for signing AlJeff this offseason.

  • Loved to watch Bellinelli, Korver and Nate but you could just watch Thib's face freeze up when teams would isolate them on defense in the playoffs. It will be interesting to see what Dunleavy can do on D.

  • In reply to granvil:

    I doubt he'll over any more resistance than Beli/Nate.

  • Belinelli had some nice skills but he wasn't very good coming off screens in thibodeau's ray allen screen sets. I think Dunleavy will do a better job with that on the second unit and get that offense flowing better.

    We can complain about alot of things the Bulls don't do well(trades for example) but I do compliment them for trying to get more athletic on the wings(Butler and Snell) and better shooters(Dunleavy, Snell, Murphy) so two weaknesses of poor athleticism on the wings and 3pt shooting they are trying to address. The last piece to the puzzle is a backup center that can eat up 15 minutes a game and give Noah a breather. Of course the biggest thing lacking is the second scoring star next to Rose but thats what the big "2014" plan is all about so we have to wait and see if they deliver.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    A second star would be nice, but not necessary. I think you mean we needed a second shot-creator/playmaker.

    Someone in the mold of Jamal Crawford (we chose Rip instead) or Nate (we're letting him this offseason) would do it.

  • Dunleavy being the only decent value of their top free agents in recent years. RIP was overpaid Kirk was overpaid. As for the rest of their free agents of course vet min guys that do anything will be values but when that is all you can offer it is hard to say it was a great fiscal move. Not like they had 5 million availible and hooked a guy for 750k.

  • I would have liked to see Marco starting next to Rose and Butler off the bench for both Marco and Deng, essentially a 3-man wing rotation.

    One reason I say this is I would not want to start Butler all year at SG given he's due a contract extension at season's end. He'll want significantly more money having been a starter all year.

    But I can understand why Bulls wanted better 3pt shooting than what Marco provided last season. Nowadays a 3pt shooter needs to be in the 40+% range to be considered really good. We'll see how the Dunleavy experiment works out, he's 5.5 years older than Marco.

  • Congrats to Belinelli on securing a little stability, and an actual chance to play for a team in the Spurs who have a great owner and who wants to challenge for championships and not just win regular season games. Marco will be playing for another great coach in Pop who I'm sure will get the best out of him as Thibs did but the end results just may be another finals apperance for the Spurs but it will be tough with OKC the Clippers Memphis and other young teams in the west on the come up.

  • Initially I felt the Dunleavy signing was a disaster but once I started crunching numbers I'm better with it. On paper Dunleavy is a slight upgrade to Marco just like on paper Marco was a slight upgrade to Korver. Marco's skillset may have been the better team fit. But he also performed much better as a starter and that's not an option here where we needed him off the bench.

    Hope to hear some good news about Nate soon. Yes he's redundant with Rose back and Kirk still on the roster. But I'd rather they sign him and figure out the minutes later than let him walk and struggle to find scoring yet again.

    I've got Dwight going to Dallas to team up with Dirk. We'll see whose Howard theory winds up crazier.

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    Just don't see the Bulls going 8 guards/wings and 5 big men when one of them is second rounder Erik Murphy.

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    I disagree Nate's skill is redundant with Rose. We've been screaming for 3 years now to a skillset like Nate to come here to play with Rose...second shot creator.

    I have him going to HOU, and then HOU flipping Asik+Lin+other stuff, to get Josh Smith in a S&T.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Agreed on the skill redundancy. Hinrich is the one with the redundant skills. We'll have an offensive creator for others with Rose back and suddenly Hinrich's average ability to run an offense won't look as hot as it did last season when he was the only player on the roster who could do it.

  • Surprised that you haven't commented at all on any of the trades. Most prominent among them the Nets/Celtics and the Clips finally letting go of Bledsoe and getting Redick and Dudley for him. Pretty good haul for a non starter, even an exciting one like Bledsoe.

    I've never been a huge Redick fan, but I do still wonder how things would have turned out if Orlando hadn't matched his offer sheet and he had played for the Bulls the past 3 seasons. He basically got the same deal from the Clippers that Martin got from Minny, who do you prefer at 4 for 28.

    He should have career years playing with Paul and Griffin. Dudley is an underrated small forward, he actually has a higher PER than Luol Deng. In fact I wanted to trade Deng to the Suns at last seasons trade deadline for Dudley and Marcin Gortat, which is my mind would have made us a much better team going forward, but I am sure that such a thought never even crossed GARPAX desk.

    Portland made a nice pickup of Robin Lopez to facilitate the S&T of Tyreke Evans by the Pelicans, for what amounts to some 2nd round picks. Thus eliminating the need to trade Aldridge for Noah, even if the Bulls were open to it.

    My gut says Howard ends up in Houston, I also don't believe that California's 13.3% income tax rate on millionaires is not a driving force in him leaving the state, that amounts to $2.7-3 million per year on his contract.

    If that happens I would like to see the Bulls pursue Asik, perhaps using Deng. They won't of course, because that would be admitting they made a mistake.

    By cutting into the 2014 cap space with Dunleavy's second year, it seems more likely that the 2014 plan could well up being resign Deng with the remaining $11 million of cap space, amenstitize Bozo and bring over Mirotic for the full MLE.

    So basically, same team going forward, just swap out Mirotic for Bozo and hope that draft picks turn out to be as good as Gibson and Bulter.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Yep same team and probably same result barring any injuries to any Bulls players or Heat players...second round or maybe ECF,doubtful tho.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I thought I had wrote something up about the Pierce/KG trade, but I guess it slipped through the cracks. Overall, I don't think it was a good move for them, but we'll see.

    I like Martin way more than Redick.

  • Free agents. Uh, let's see this time on the merry-go-round it's Mike Dunleavy. Not bad actually for a limited role guy. We even used our MMLE. Who else? Hmm, Kirk Hinrich. Injury riddled with red flags before we signed him. Still, he is part of the family so what the hell. Course we let Nate go and all he did was average 16ppg in the playoffs albeit on .436 shooting.

    And we picked up veteran can possibly help us now(?) three and four year college guys in Tony Snell and Erick Murphy. Murphy smart pick up as in throw of the dice whether he pans out or not. Snell: if you look at proficient wing scorers in the NBA of any scoring significance I'd like you to show me one college profile with the hideous 2 rebounds, .5 steals, and averaged a whopping count em' 9 points a game shooting 42% for his college career. Yeeccch. Hate the singing. Hey, maybe he proves me wrong and hits threes at 36% or better and gives us some legit scoring off the bench. It is possible I guess.

    Second tier Free Agents aside though, somebody said that "we don't need a second scorer" to what, win an NBA Championship? Hmm? If you take a look at the last eight NBA Champions, all of them have one thing in common: an Alpha Stud scorer.

    That coveted yet so elusive alpha scorer at 27ppg or higher(that's in the playoffs) as in a legit sized wing 6'5 and up or big man in Tim Duncan. The exception is the Boston Celtics who had two a wing(Pierce) and a big(Garnett) and both future HOF's scoring over 20ppg.

    Not one champion in the last eight years led by a scoring PG except Tony Parker who had Tim Duncan as a legit co-stud 20+ppg.

    Unless we are some once a decade grand anomaly I don't see the Bulls winning without a second legit 20ppg scorer above the height of 6'5.

    That said, this team could be a lot of fun to watch if everyone plays to their potential and stays relatively injury free for a change. That is if..

    Derrick comes back and plays like the Derrick of old. The Derrick that shot 44 and 43% from 16-23 feet on 5 and 6 attempts per game in 2009 and 2010. Better then one LeBron James in both of those years. The Derrick with 17 and 21ppg on studly .475 and .489 FG's. More recently his efficiency numbers have gone down putting him in the "Allen Iverson" volume shooter category(by the media at least). Though his PER shot up due to increased FTA's and PPG I'm guessing? Even that Derrick at 25ppg yeah, we'll take that guy.

    Will either version of the All-Star Derrick Rose return any time soon? "I could play tomorrow or I could play next year" the Movie, a mutual fiasco production brought to you by "he's been cleared to play by the doctors" Gar/Pax, and the Ron Adams Gar power play firing..?

    We'll see how things look come late October. I'm not getting my hopes up just yet.

  • 12 million per for Andre Iguodala who is going to the Warriors (should of traded deng there last summer for harrison barnes), anyway, there are teams that badly want a veteran small forward like the sacramento kings. maybe some kind of trade package with us recieving marcus thornton and a backup center for deng. I'm having my doubts about Jimmy Butler as a full time two guard since he's a natural 3. I think Marcus Thornton would look great with Derrick and space the floor for him. He's got Ben Gordon swag and I think he could play better defense under thibodeau.

  • Unfortunately, I don't see the Bulls trying to sign Nate. And I thought I had seen something saying Nate's camp was looking for more money than the Bulls could offer. Didn't you see the news that JLucas III was now available after the Raptors let him go a week ago. Knowing Thibs love for JLucas III and the Bulls' FO need to save money and most importantly the return of DRose with Hinrich and Teague as backups, if they sign another point guard, it seems to me it would likely be JLucas III for a league minimum. And although he is not even close to Nate, JLucas III did have some games where he did some similar things as Nate by filling in as a scoring point guard when DRose was out. We should realize that the back-up point guard is Hinrich. He will be in the role CJ had two years ago with Teague and worst case JLucas III or someone like him sitting at the end of the bench or not dressing half the time.

  • Howard going to Rockets!!!... Asik does not want to back up Howard, Bulls should get on on this to get Asik back even tho I know that they want by trading Deng. Put together some kind of deal involving another team...the Lakers to get Asik back cause there's no 2014 plan that will bring in any other big name free agents. The time is now to make a move.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Adrian Wojnarowski        ✔ @WojYahooNBA
    One trade destination that would appeal to Houston's Omer Asik and Tom Thibodeau: The Chicago Bulls.
    Bulls need to make this happen but Rockets already trying to do sign and trade with Hawks probably Asik for Josh Smith...oh well...

  • Espn's Mark Stein is reporting that Dwight Howard has notified all the other teams in question that he is not coming there. So that leaves only Houston even though they had not been contacted as of 5:59 p.m. central. Although Houston has not confirmed.

  • I sent a prior message about Nate Robinson. Not sure it went through. But essentially I just said that JLucas III was let go 7 days ago and knowing how Thibs loves him and the fact that no matter what is said, the backup point guard is Hinrich, Nate will go. If he can't get any more than the minimum somewhere else, I can't see him coming back to be a third point guard and sitting at the end of the bench and the rotation. I just saw a website that says that Washington may be interested and they have some money and Dallas may be interested in Nate. So probably back to JLucas III at the end of the bench for the minimum. And although he is nowhere close to Nate, he did do some similar things when DRose was out before as a scoring point guard when he got playing time. Hopefully, whoever hold this role will not need much playing time with DRose being back fully healthy as well as Hinrich being a solid back-up.

  • Adrian worjanowski is reporting Asik wants out of Houston and he has no interest in backing up Howard. Also that Asik would want to come back to bulls...

  • Asik probably goes to Houston in sign and trade for josh smith.

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    I mean atlanta hawks

  • Last comment here. Golden State signed Iggy for 4 years at $48 million so that may be a framework for Deng discussions.

  • The Bulls so called 2014 plan to sign free agents has officially gone out the window with the Lakers having cap space available for the same year. If the Bulls don't make a move now or during this upcoming season they will move one more step closer to losing Rose and Thibs imo. It's being reported that Asik wouldn't mind coming back to the Bulls and Aldridge wants to come to the much more ammo is needed to make a move with Deng on his last year of his contract???

  • I hear Omer's beef is that he wants to start and that it would not be a good fit for him or D12 to be a power forward. But he would not start in Chicago either. And Houston is dumping salary so it can bring in Josh Smith who had Dwight Howard as the best man in his wedding a couple of years ago so they are pretty close as childhood friends. I could see Atlanta taking Omer as part of a sign and trade for Josh Smith. Because Houston is dumping salary, they won't want Deng back so it might take a third team. Kobe wanted to play with Deng a few years back. I don't know about the costs that would be necessary to make it work but would Deng to the Lakers as part of a sign and trade with the Lakers for Howard allow Asik to come back to the Bulls for Deng. If it did work, I think I would want more for Deng than just getting back Omer. By freeing up cap space, I might also want some other players like Earl Clark from the Lakers and Francisco Garcia from the Rockets who are free agents and maybe sign them for decent but not too big short-term contracts. I definitely would not want Jeremy Lin who Houston is trying to dump his salary as well. Bottom line: Butler starts at small forward but no clear starter for Bulls at 2-guard unless Snell shakes things up.

  • Three team deal bulls, blazers, rockets. Boozer, asik and picks to Blazers and lamarcus Aldridge to bulls.

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    With all the Aldridge talk, yes It would be fine if something emerged with Asik allowing Bulls to trade Noah. But the elephant-in-the-room is Boozer's contract which must be traded (not amnestied) as Bulls can't keep $39 million annual salary at PF with Aldridge, Boozer, Gibson.

    The two big barriers to Bulls improvement remain the contracts of Boozer and Deng.

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    Honestly in that deal i wouldn't even mind Asik coming to the Bulls. Start Asik at the 5 and move Noah to the 4, and just like that we have an unstoppable big front court.

  • Anyone have thoughts on the Lakers maybe amnesty-ing Gasol? If so- maybe we do the same with Boozer and scoop up the big Spaniard. I know he's more of a center, and I don't remember him being as much of a physical presence as Boozer, but I'd have to think his post moves would be a big asset.

  • Howard goes to the Rockets, LOL just kidding he's not sure maybe he's going to the Lakers. At least LeBron made a decision.

  • Bulls send Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson to Rockets for Asik. Bulls send Noah, Charlotte pick, Mirotic, and 2014 First for LaMarcus Aldridge and two future second rounders. Yes!! We have our center AND our second scorer. Now we can challenge Miami as in overrtake to win our 7th championship.(ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha ha.. Uhh, I'm gonna go throw up now.)

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Somebody said now that we've used our MMLE we can't trade Noah for Aldridge anyway. Waahhhhhhh!!

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Why is it that people want to trade Noah and the Kitchen sink for Aldridge when Noah is the better overall player at a more important position. If anything it should be the other way around; Aldridge and the kitchen sink for Noah.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    Yep, I said the same thing yesterday. Some people want us to be the old Clippers constantly trading every asset we have for less than superstar players.

    Aldridge is barely worth Noah straight up, anyone who wants to throw in 3 more #1 picks must not be much of an expert on the value of draft picks or part of the Portland front office.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    +100 to both of you.
    And now that Houston has Dwight Howard, the shopping of Omer Asik will begin.

  • Dwight Howard is now a Houston Rocket!

  • Now that the Howard thing is confirmed, let the pursuit of Asik begin, though I doubt that the bulls are thinking in those terms.

    It appears that most Bulls fans would now trade Deng for Asik, even though most Bulls fans spent Asik's 2 seasons in Chicago trying to trade him for various midgets like Courtney Lee.

    Houston likely has no interest in Deng as they already have Chandler Parsons, who is definitely a better 3 point shooter than Deng(if not already a better all around player), which is what you need around Howard.

    The Rockets biggest need is at power forward. Would they take the BozoHole for 2 years @$32 million for Asik and Lin, 2 years @ $40. Maybe we throw in Teague to give them some point guard support.

    My guess is that neither team does that deal, the Rockets for obvious reasons, the Bamboozler is a useless sack of sh@t.

    Would the Bulls take on the money $40 million and the cap hit $16.6 million in each season. They don't really need Lin, but could flip him in another deal.

    The 2014 plan would be done, but we could just reup Deng and bring over Mirotic.

    2013 lineup

    Gibson/Noah/(Mirotic in 2014)

    Leaves us a bit thin at power forward for this season, but we would have nearly 2 full starting lineup caliber players.

    With the Bulls looking like they will have no more than $11million in cap space for 2014 maybe you make a bold move now. I'd still try to trade Deng, but for "only" 4 years and 44 million, how much better than Deng will we be able to do.

    The biggest problem with this deal is that it locks Reiny into significant tax payment for next season(which they could have amenstied their way out of) and maybe puts us into the repeater tax which may be too rich for anyones blood. That said, letting Deng walk would mitigate most of it.

    I'm afraid that the S&T of Asik & Lin for Josh Smith just makes too much sense to not happen, thus making any dreams of getting Asik back, just that a pipe dream.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Honestly for Asik, Gibson is our only real trade chip they might consider. Nobody wants Boozer because he's too soft and gets paid a lot more than he should.

  • Well it looks like Howards going to Houston and rumor is Asik wan't out. I would love to see Asik back on the Bulls, hated to see him go to begin with. I would trade Taj for him which actually works out for both teams.

    There's also a rumor that the Bulls have interest in Monta Ellis and I also think he would be a really nice fit.

    It's going to be interesting to see what moves the Bulls make if they make any at all. They already made a couple good ones in picking up Dunleavy at a good price and waiving Hamilton.

  • Apparently, teams are contacting Houston about Asik. In other words, there is demand for him, even with his contract. Letting a starting quality center walk for nothing is criminal - no wonder Ron Adams couldn't get over it.

    As BigWay said many times, Bulls should have matched Asik's offer sheet and worried about the third year in the third year. Bulls would have an asset to trade now if they had. And that trade asset could be either Asik or Noah.

    As Jeff Van Gundy said on ABC, "You can't have it both ways, either you're trying to win a championship or you're trying to save money. You can't let a quality big, an asset like Asik, walk for nothing and compete for an NBA Championship. You can't. You just can't!"

  • Bulls fans, PLEASE CALM DOWN WITH ASIK!!! Watched him often this year, and he's the SAME player he was with the Bulls. The difference is more minutes and a bigger role. He's the only worthwhile bigman on that team, so he gets all the boards, and some inside buckets. Still a goof, still can't catch, dribble,shoot, or do anything other than play above average D, and rebound. Like the guy, but he's a below average starter C. Calm down!

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