Can the Chicago Bulls take advantage of a teetering Miami Heat team?

Cracks have begun to show inside the Miami Heat organization, and while I've felt (and still feel) the most likely scenario is for them to all get back together due to lack of other quality choices, there's definitely a chance that they won't.

The brief overview is this:

LeBron wants max money and assurance the team will be good.

Chris Bosh will take a discount, but he likely wants LeBron to commit for as long as he does while taking the discount. An ETO and reup in three years doesn't help Bosh the way it helps LeBron because there's a big risk he won't be worth the max in three years. Thus, his willingness to take a discount is shaky.

Who the hell knows what Wade's value is now. He doesn't look like a guy who'd hold up for five years, but it's not hard for me to see a team like Phoenix giving him a max four year deal given they need a star, can't swing anyone else, and have the miracle medical staff that can keep anyone together.

So with Bosh likely only circumstantially willing to take a discount, the Heat unable to bring in players to improve the cast and make the team good enough for LeBron to commit (As well as the question for how long he commits for), the Heat are now in a state of uncertainty.

Meanwhile, LA has moved into the drivers seat for Carmelo (reportedly) or it's simply a smokescreen to get the Knicks to buy into a S&T with Chicago, or in reality, no one knows anything about what's going on with Melo except Melo who's just spreading random rumors about liking everywhere. Quite simply put, everything is still on hold.

What's the most likely outcome of all of this? My opinion is that everyone stays where they are. After two weeks of talk, the big three will stay in Miami and Melo will stay in NY, but we'll see. If things do break in another way, then it becomes mighty interesting.

Cleveland seems to feel it has a legit chance to get LeBron and is clearing contracts to create maximum cap space. I don't know LeBron, but this strikes me as completely ridiculous. I wouldn't even consider Cleveland if I'm LeBron. Their core is a group of guys who's not ready to win now and didn't make the playoffs last year.

In fact, if everyone moves, I think it should be a fight to see who can take Houston's money first. The Rockets, meanwhile, seem content to grab Chris Bosh if the Miami Heat trio fall apart, and if I'm the Bulls I'm quite happy with that scenario.

Compare Chris Bosh to Carlos Boozer the year the Bulls signed Boozer. Same age, worse stats, doesn't do anything on the interior anymore despite a team needing someone there. Awesome guy, but he's a bad contract waiting to happen IMO. If Bosh goes to Houston, Chicago becomes the best destination left IMO.

That said, Chicago is limited by the fact it doesn't immediately have max money, but a Taj Gibson trade could solve that, as could a S&T. Would Riley sign and trade LeBron to Chicago if LeBron sat down with him and said "Look I got you two rings, I'm not staying here regardless, help me out, and you'll at least get something back?". You never know.

However, there's never been even a whiff of LeBron to Chicago, so it's hard to see that situation panning out even if somehow all the obstacles in the way were cleared. If somehow it did, I can't even begin to imagine what a terror the Bulls defense would be with Rose, Butler, LeBron, Taj, and Noah playing.

If they won't full force for a game, I think they could hold teams to under 70 with regularity, particularly since the team would likely set up in the half court frequently as well. Enough daydreaming though, LeBron's not coming.

So the question then becomes would you want Dwyane Wade? He's got bad knees, probably doesn't have so many quality years left, and he duplicates Rose in many ways. However, he plays the position the Bulls really need to fill, would likely come here if Miami's trio fell apart, and solves plenty of our problems if healthy.

It'd be interesting to see how Thibodeau handled a guy with chronic knee problems. Either Wade would be ground into dust, or Tom would have to re-evaluate the way he manages a lot of things. I think he latter is far more likely than the former. People rip on him for his stubbornness, but he's not an idiot, he's a brilliant coach and would likely change given a player like Wade.

Miami may also simply re-up on its start with a better deal than Chicago offers due to whatever backroom deal they likely had when Wade opted out. We'll see.

In the end, the Heat breaking up most likely would help the Bulls by simply shifting more talent out West and weakening the East. The only way to really win in the fall of the Heat empire is to get James, and even if it makes a lot of sense, it just doesn't feel particularly likely for the Bulls.

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  • People once upon a time were saying Carmelo to Chicago almost makes too much sense to not happen, I feel the same way about Bosh to Houston. I don't understand why Bosh would resign with the Heat even if LeBron stays. A stacked team from his home state is willing to offer him the max. How the hell can anyone in the world convince him to resign with the Heat at a discount? I have a few thoughts on the Bosh/Boozer comparison, but I'll limit it to only one, Bosh is much better defensively. I think in the right situation, him on a max contract wouldn't look bad in a few years. That right situation is definitely Houston.

    Last thought: No way LeBron comes to Chicago. I'd be convinced he's going back to Cleveland if not for Dan Gilbert's letter.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    According to Brian Windhorst this morning, LeBron ia meeting with Dan Gilbert in Florida. Either he is kicking the Cleveland fans in the junk again, or this may happen. He also said the Bulls presented to James' agent this weekend and got peed on. Not interested.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    Bosh is close friends with Wade/LeBron, I'd imagine that's what stops bosh from moving on, but we'll see Houston/Bosh makes a lot of sense.

  • Yes, who can Miami really add at this point to make the big 3 viable moving forward? Ariza would help. A shooting PG and a big would still be required.

    But, this is contingent on Bosh taking like $11-13 million when he knows he has a max deal on a stacked team in Houston....

    I think LeBron tried to power play Bosh and Wade with a max deal, but Bosh has his own hand to play now and how can he not seriously entertain moving on to Houston.

    In the end, I hope the big 3 stays together in Miami and that they suck and end up being just a bit over .500 with terrible reserve players. Unless Wade turns back the clock, that is a likely scenario.

  • In reply to Granby:

    According to the Miami beat guys, there was a handshake deal that Wade will re-sign 4 years/55 to 60 million and Bosh 5 years/80-90 million. They understood that LeBron was also taking a discount. It almost sounds like LeBron is considering a Boozerish backstab where he goes back on his deal, demanding a max while they still take cuts. Could he really back out and then try to blame the others. I agree that Bosh will still make out fine in Houston. And Wade's handshake would still be honored. But Riley and the Heat would be screwed.

  • In reply to sfpaper:

    Gasol will play for Phil or stay in LA.

    Decent FAs left like Deng and Ariza will get more elsewhere.

    Pierce hates Allen and the Big 3.

    Who's left?

    They should consider Stephenson if they can get $10-11 mil freed up. He can allow Wade to rest and play some PG. Probably not enough cap space and they don't really like each other.

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    In reply to Granby:

    Moving on?!?! You guys talk about the big 3 like they are done. The three of them have made the finals every year they have been together. They are not about to leave.

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    "So the question then becomes would you want Dwyane Wade?" ~ Um, no, thanks though.

  • In reply to Steve Merritt:

    1) I predict the Bulls front office would offer him a Boozer deal...

    2) and most of the posters here would sell themselves that it is a major free agency score.

  • In reply to sfpaper:

    Even though a majority of people here bash the Bulls incessantly, what we really need is another cynic who fancies himself as an original thinker in a sea of homers, even though that sea of homers doesn't really exist, there are maybe one or two optimists here.

  • In reply to sfpaper:

    Wade on the right deal would be a great fit for Chicago. However, I don't see Wade coming here on "the right deal".

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    If what we saw of Wade in the finals is all he has left, the "right deal" for Wade is no deal. don't have the exact stats handy but I saw some that suggested that the Heat sucked with him on the court and competed when he wasn't.

  • In reply to Steve Merritt:

    Hell no. I can't stand that guy. Besides, out backcourt would miss over 100 games next season!

  • Doug, you saw a greatly diminished Dwyane Wade in the NBA Finals, in addition to the 28 games he missed this past season. Why in the world would you even suggest Phoenix or Chicago might be interested? As a Miami Heat fan and Wade supporter, I just want his contract off the books as quickly as possible. He’s not the same player.

  • In reply to RichG:

    It's about the cost and years. I think he's still a really good player, but yeah, I don't see the cost/years working out to something that the Bulls would do.

  • I agree with Doug, LeBron to Cleveland is absurd. If the media hadn't spat this out for months, people wouldn't even be mentioning it(not seriously anyway).

    People can bag on a Gasol, but if he would for some crazy reason take a discount and go to Miami, I think the bagging would mysteriously stop. Personally, I would be interested in Gasol, but not on a deal beyond three years which someone will offer him four or five likely.

    What if Riley decides San Antonio's "team" game is what he needs? The money comes from losing the Big Three. Let Bosh walk or better yet do a sign and trade for..? Surely nobody would be that big of a sap to give Riley back excellent in their prime scoring pieces for primal scream Chris, or would they..? Lot of suckers out there.

    If Miami does lose Bosh, that would free up some serious funds for a "real" team for LeBron and Wade. Plus there'd be money left over for a weight watchers account for the Fat er the Flash. As long as the Heat have a empty payroll(minus Norris Cole) anything's possible though admittedly a lot of desirable FA's are now off the table.

    I still think James stays in Miami as Riles stud for hire, and whatever else moves they make it's likely something people will never see coming just like 2010. Though I'd be glad to be wrong and see LeBron abandon ship. If you buy Windhorst's "insider" report, It's hard to believe James still scoffs at Chicago when Rose is "healthy" and Thibs is a "brilliant" coach in waiting. Or is Gar/Pax or Reinsdorf to blame? Hmmm.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    If James wants max, Gibson, Butler, Dunleavy, etc... are all gone and there must be a S&T to get James the max and get Mirotic over at the MLE. Rose-James-Mirotic-Noah-McBuckets is decent, but no depth and if Rose goes down that team cannot contend with elite teams.

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    In reply to Granby:

    Still contends in the east. I would take a trip to the finals next year even if we get swept or lose in 5

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Gasol can only sign for four years with a team other than LA. 5 years can only be done with your current team (even in S&Ts now).

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    If we go for him at all, it needs to be a 2 year deal to align with the rest of the Bulls salary structure and the soon to be infamous 2016 plan.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Agreed.

  • Wade's knees are gone. It would be silly to sign him.

  • In reply to Helpitch:

    Yes, you would think so but John Paxson will make this decision not you or I. I hope you like history as I do.

    In 2003, Paxson stated that it was "a priority" for the Bulls to sign FA Scottie Pippen. Pippen had bad knees and a history of back problems including surgery for herniated discs. Pippen had not played more than 64 games in the three previous years. Nonetheless, Paxson signed Pippen to a two year guaranteed deal worth about $10M. Pippen, of course, was totally useless and played just a handful of games thereafter and had to retire.

    There is no question in my mind that Paxson would salivate at the opportunity to sign Wade. As we speak he is trying to sign Pau Gasol to a deal. Gasol has bad wheels and is not needed on this team as the Bulls have Gibson and Mirotic available to play the four position. What makes people so sure Paxson won't make a silly deal for Wade?

  • Now Stephen A Smith, the guy who had it right on LeBron to the Heat, says if Bosh heads to Houston, Miami will target Carmelo Anthony. I'm not sure even with Anthony they will be successful in winning a championship together, but if he does become part of a new Big Three, it will be interesting to see if Riley can use that "drama" as momentum to get new ring chasers ala Gasol, Ariza etc.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Gasol and Ariza would have to take SUBSTANTIALLY less money. I just don't see the big 3 working out anymore. Everyone but LeBron must take huge pay cuts. Wade is the only guy who should take a cut given he missed so many games last year. Bosh is going to take $4-6 million less per year for 4 or 5 years? After taking less the last 4 years? Really?

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Will be interesting on timing though to see if Melo waits on Bosh.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    It would be funny if Bosh sat in a holding pattern waiting out Melo.. and then Melo did the same to him(tick, tock, tick, tock,). Of course NBA FA being held in suspended animation would probably make for great drama and ratings for ESPN, internet media etc. Even LeBron might find himself part of the waiting game for a change. Take that! Kingy old boy.

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    Sure, the Bulls can take advantage of a teetering Heat team but first free agency has to play out to see who gets who and who goes where. Then Derrick has to come back like a raging bull and we know that's iffy, then all the rookies and new additions have to stay healthy as the core players continue to improve. Will all that happen? Hope so.

  • I think Bosh is the most underrated player in the league and would be a much better fit on Houston than Melo. Melo makes them defensively worse. Bosh is a great p&r defender (coach K raved about him on olympic team). Bosh can spread the floor for Dwight, and clearly will defer to high usage players. Melo should go to Chicago. He has to realize that he probably has 1-2 years left at his physical prime and it makes no sense to be on a rebuilding team in NY or an old team in LA. I still might prefer Stephenson to Melo, especially after adding McDermott and potentially Mirotic. Stephenson is a willing passer, shot creator and aggressive defender. Rose, Stephenson, Butler, Taj and Noah would be an insane defensive team and transition team. He is a knuckle head, but the Bulls have always put character first and have the team culture to absorb a knuckle head or two. I want LeBron back in cleveland

  • In reply to piggy7:

    You know, Piggy, you might be on to something and after the Bulls fail on Melo and Gasol, they need to consider going all-in on Stephenson. If he weren't such a knucklehead, there not much not to like outside of occasional shot selection and control issues. That starting 5 would be the NBAs best if Rose is healthy and Mirotic and McDermott leading the 2nd unit would be pretty good depth.

    IF Mirotic signs for $4 mil (with another $600k to pay off his team that is off the cap), you only have about $6 mil left in cap space, right? Moving Dunleavy, Butler and Snell would get you to between $12 and $13 mil, I think. Those guys shouldn't be that hard to move. Anthony Randolf is another guy to move or waive to free up a bit more space.

    Stephenson turned down $44 mil over 5 years. What about 4/48 or 4/52?

    I am not a Stephenson fan, but he is good at everything - ball handling, shooting, passing, rebounding, defense, he's young...

  • In reply to piggy7:

    The Stephenson plan has some appeal if Lance will come at a reasonable price. My guess is that if Indy's offer is 5/44 then then it will be tough to top that. I don't know that I'd want to go 11 mil a year on Lance, and it depends how much value Lance places on the total guaranteed money vs the money per year. (ie is 4/40 worth more to him than 5/44?)

  • In reply to piggy7:

    But if Bulls amnesty Boozer to create cap space and sign FA Lance, they have no cap space or MLE for Mirotic this season.

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    In a perfect world yes they can. But somehow I just don't have the faith that Jerry Reinsdorf/Forman/Paxson will take advantage of Miami's situation. Something tells me Carmelo isn't coming to Chicago, and the Bulls are going to be left high and dry in free agency again. At this point their best option is Mirotic. And that's kind of up in the air. Gasol will rejoin the Lakers, Melo will be in NYC, Lebron will be back in Miami, and Love will be in Minnesota. That means that Carlos Boozer will likely still be on this roster come September. Because Reinsdorf doesn't pay anyone to play elsewhere.

  • In reply to Monster34:

    I agree that it doesn't appear the Bulls will be doing anything to take advantage of the situation.

    As for the Boozer stuff, everyone loves the "Reinsdorf will never pay someone to not play" sound bite but everyone equally loved the "Reinsdorf will never pay the luxury tax" sound bite until he did it. And in this case, Bulls have historically paid guys to go away before so there's evidence that they will do the same here, and no real evidence that they won't, just a tired old misperception that Reinsdorf's cheapness is the problem with the Bulls.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Right, they say that Boozer has been told that he'll be amnestied or traded. Sounds like a done deal unless Gibson dies.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I agree. With Gibson, Mirotic, Bairstow, Smith, and maybe even Randolph on the roster I don't see why they would even consider bringing Boozer back.

  • In reply to Monster34:

    Reinsdorf has paid lots of guys to play elsewhere. The Bulls waived Tim Thomas (twice) rather than play him. Chicago also already told Boozer he's gone whether it be amnesty or trade.

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    In reply to DougThonus:

    Bulls ticket prices increased dramatically this year as they have promised to put winning as the only priority this offseason.

  • In reply to Calvo:

    Not sure if that's a joke or not, but Bulls ticket prices always increase, and they were second in the NBA last year in profits at 61 million without even a deep playoff drive. Ticket prices aren't related to paying players. They're related to whether or not people will pay more.

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    First domino has landed

    Heat have signed Josh McRoberts to a 23 million dollar deal !!!

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Granger also! Who's next? Ramon Sessions? The Heat's new big three.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Yeah. This doesn't impress me at all. I would jump ship if I were LeBron and Bosh.

  • Pierce's agents are telling telling teams he wants 2 years, at 9 or 10 mil per season, for what it's worth.

  • This is the definitive Melo plan by Mark Deeks:

    http://www.hoop365.com/nba/eastern-conference/atlantic-division/new-york-knicks/how-chicago-can-get-carmelo/

    Boom!

  • In reply to nolebron:

    Boom - an 8 for 1 player trade that ignores one small detail: Melo has never had any desire to leave NY.

  • In reply to sfpaper:

    This has to give some team that wants Melo hope, since you been wrong on almost all of your other definitive proclamations. I surprise that you don't use all caps, that would make you seem even more all knowing.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    LOL. Then again, you're just a homer who thinks getting Dwyane Wade would be a great off season.

  • In reply to nolebron:

    This was an awesome read. Thanks.

  • I am definitely surprised at Miami singing these "role players," if you want to call them that, at this time. Unless Riley has commitments from LeBron and Bosh(and Wade) i.e their approval that they're back on board. If so, then good luck to the three of them as neither of these players seems like much of an answer.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    These seem like desperation signings. I think Riley is trying to find something to show LeBron at their final meeting this week. I say final because I think LeBron is going back to Cleveland.

  • Side note: Killing time this evening, for the hell of it checked out Cameron Bairstow stats, highlights, interviews etc. This kid if he doesn't make it in the NBA is going to make it in life if you're to judge from his stellar performance on the court(including scoring big against major program after program Kansas etc.) and great persona off it. A great kid/personality that stands out with skills and a knack for scoring the ball. He's out of the Australian Institute of Sports(Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, Dante Exum, Luc Longley).

    A few people have questioned this year's draft as hyped, but what is not hyped is that this class, at least from what I can discern, in character stand out guys was the most loaded probably since I started in 2007. This as much as anything when you add in the high talent level leads me to think there are going to be a lot of solid to good players from this draft as in way more then usual i.e deep.

    Regardless, Bairstow despite being a late bloomer and only scoring prolifically in his senior season which is normally a big red flag, this kid is skilled and I think either here or in Europe if he gets any kind of right fit/situation he's going to score the ball for somebody efficiently as a big. Not to mention be a great add as a team player. Have to concur with Gar/Pax on this one. Second round always a gamble, but this guys worth rolling the dice on IMO. Look forward to seeing he and McDoug in the summer league though most games are like watching a bad rec league game at the Y. Speaking of which Jordan Adams you magnificent bastard!

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Word is Jordan Adams dropped 20 pounds to improve his mobility. Already had very long arms and standing reach.

  • The "elephant-in-the-room" for Bulls remains the contract of Boozer. If Bulls amnesty Boozer they lose the MLE so:

    1) To sign Mirotic they must use a good portion of the amnesty created cap space, and will have nowhere near enough cap space remaining to sign a significant FA, not even Lance.
    2) Conversely, if Lance is signed, for example, they won't have enough cap space for Mirotic and must wait 1 more year for him.

    To truly create a contender, Bulls need Mirotic plus a significant free agent signing, imo.

    Houston traded Asik, and have stated they have a trade in place for Jeremy Lin. Cleveland is working to trade Jarret Jack/Marcus Thornton.

    Bulls must somehow work Boozer's contract into a trade or one of this off-seasons big additions may end up being Anthony Randolph. It won't be easy....

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    In reply to Edward:

    Trade instead of amnesty? Holy shitamunga, why didn't someone think of that before? There's a place for you in da Bulls' front office, Edward.

  • LBJ......He wants his $$$$$.....but he should not tease Cleveland with his visits.......if he leaves Miami, it will be to become a Laker.
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    Melo.....He wants his $$$$ also.....and to keep LaLa happy......if LaLa could be an actress in Hollywood....then Melo will tell LBJ to meet him in Hollywood, and then Kobe will have two new guys to win with.....no acting gig for LALA, then Melo stays in NYC
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    Bosh.......who cares...he is a non factor.....LBJ played him.
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    Wade......the guy who is the biggest back stabber....will soon find out that LBJ back stabbed him.......all alone in Miami.

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