Chicago Bulls finally have more than enough to win

Chicago Bulls finally have more than enough to win

The Chicago Bulls concluded an off-season that disappointed many. They weren't able to bring in a second star or a dynamic scorer/shot creator after a frenzied chase for Carmelo Anthony and Cleveland's willingness to give up Wiggins ended any hope of the Bulls pursuit of Kevin Love.

They were able to add a crapload of depth and significantly improve the shooting. They added two rookies and a season vet whom all look to add significant offensive skill to the table even if they aren't shot creators. According to John Schuhmann's initial power rankings, they're also the favorite to come out of the East.

He has the top 10 looking like this:
1: Spurs
2: OKC
3: Clippers
4: Mavericks
5: Golden State
6: Bulls
7: Cavs
8: Blazers
9: Rockets
10: Raptors

It's tough to write overall rankings, so I won't quibble overly much or rip on a writer for throwing his opinion out there. It's my personal belief that that the Mavs and Warriors are too high on this list, but I'd probably also put the Cavs ahead of the Bulls given the significant risk of Rose's health poses.

However if everyone's healthy? It's hard not to pick Chicago to come out of the East. An interesting result in an off-season many wanted to fire the front office over.

Sure, they backed into that role by Miami splitting apart and Indiana likely coming back weaker, but here they are, and if Derrick Rose stays healthy the Bulls are still likely on top even with a Kevin Love trade for Cleveland as Love wouldn't answer their interior defensive problems, and Miami's already proven you can't get good big men at the minimum.

The Pacers/Wizards don't look stronger to me, the other teams that improved don't seem like they did so enough to make any legitimate run at the top. Cleveland looks like it's going to need at least one year to add the pieces it needs giving the Bulls at least a one year window to take the East and make it to the NBA finals.

While I don't think it was designed to take advantage of Cleveland's time to build up the proper pieces, the Bulls off-season is still set to win now.

Pau Gasol just turned 34. He's clearly on the downside of his career. The Bulls signed him for the next three seasons, and he's likely to get notably worse in each of those given his age. This single season though, Pau still has a pretty good chance of making a major impact on this team and playing at a true secondary star type level.

It's not overly likely that he can hit that peak, but he's done it before, and he's probably better suited to do it, even at 34, than anyone else Derrick Rose has played with previously except possibly Carlos Boozer his first season with the Bulls.

Beyond Gasol, Mirotic and McDermott should add the kind of offensive firepower that Rose has never had next to him in the past. While they're both rookies, they're both heavily experienced rookies. McDermott's played four years in college and Mirotic has been playing at the highest level in Europe on one of the best teams for the past few seasons.

I've expressed my serious doubts about Derrick's ability to stay healthy, but should he return to his former self, an offensive lineup of Rose, McDermott, Dunleavy, Mirotic, and Gasol would leave Derrick with a whole crapload of driving lanes.

Jimmy Butler's offensive numbers plummeted last season, but he's got a tremendous chance to kick the NBA in the ass this season. Butler doesn't have the ball handling or shooting skills to dominate on offense in a crowd, but there are enough offensive players around him now that there won't be much crowd.

I expect Jimmy to have a resurgent offensive season as well playing alongside Rose and hopefully getting meaningful minutes next to McDermott and Mirotic at times too. The Bulls should engage in extension talks with him now if they want to keep him for the long haul, because I'd bet his pricetag goes up considerably next season.

I'd really love to see Tom Thibodeau use the flexibility he has this season. I think Tom's done a great job being flexible with his offensive and defensive sets, but he hasn't been all that flexible with switching his lineups around to play match ups. He definitely played his depth in Derrick's first two seasons when he had depth, but he was still very rigid in the lineups he used.

In those two years, the Bulls weren't running guys into the ground so much, but he still basically played only a few rotations. The starting five, the bench five, and the finishing five. Every once in awhile one guy would stay in as the hot hand a bit, but you'd rarely see him mix and match guys even when it was painfully obvious he should (like removing Bogans from the starting lineup and playing Korver alongside Rose more).

The worst thing the Bulls could do this year is to get trapped in a few set rotations, especially if there's too much offense or too much defense in either group and not a good match. The Bulls have the depth and talent at more or less every position to put an offensive or defensive threat on the floor to attack opponents at their weak points and defend their strengths.

To put it bluntly, Tom Thibodeau, this year, actually has more than enough to win. Chicago is easily the deepest team in East and is in the running for deepest team in the league. What they lack in star power they make up in quality depth, and for the first time that depth has the varied skill set to make a bigger impact.

It will take brilliant coaching by Thibodeau, as well as stepping out of his comfort zones, but if he delivers it then Chicago has a legitimate chance to win the NBA championship this season if the roster can stay healthy and are likely the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference.

That's an awfully good spot to be in for a team that many felt didn't have a very good off-season.

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  • Thibs needs to keep minutes down. Period.

    Who cares if Bulls get #1 seed in the east. #2 will do and there is no way this team is worse than that unless there are major injury problems with key components - Gasol, Rose, Noah. (Not buying Toronto, Indy lost Stephenson + West aging, DC could have been a top 3 team, IMO, but lost Ariza and he was huge for them.)

    Keep guys under 35mpg, including Rose. In big games, when guys are dominating, sure, let them play 38 or 40mpg. But, rest them accordingly thereafter. Sam Smith will say that Jordan played nearly 40mpg all the time, but not everyone is Michael Jordan.

    Why are Duncan and Ginobli still playing at a somewhat high level on the other side of 35? Minutes. They keep coming back for more because they know they will sit on the bench for around 20 mpg in the regular season. If you're Duncan, why retire under those conditions? Keep the team together and extend your career.

    This is the formula to extend the careers of all these guys, including Gasol, Noah, Gibson and Rose.

    This is why signing Butler to a team-friendly deal (if possible) this summer is key. For depth. IMO, the single best wing defender in the game and does not kill you offensively. I think his outside shooting can improve.

    As Doug stated, his value is not all that high right now. I think he likes Chicago and will appreciate the security of a 4-year $16 mil deal. Or, 4 for $20 mil... something like that. The way he played 2 years ago, he would get Ariza type money... (4/$32).

  • In reply to Granby:

    I don't think minutes will be an issue for the team this year. I think Thibs will keep them at a reasonable level due to the depth, but we'll see.

    The problem, I suspect, is that he will pull guys for defense.

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    In reply to Granby:

    This is all so wondrously exciting. Aside from a few more minor additions the 2014 Bulls are set. Now we'll really see if Thibodeau is as good as all the pundits say he is, and not just a bevy of regular season wins either. Get to the playoffs and dominate!

  • Serious question, Bulls fans: Would you rather have Taj for $8MM or Love at the max? Taj plus Gasol for $15MM, or Love at the max?

  • In reply to Roman F:

    If Gasol fits well, it could be a push given how Gibson played late last year.

    If you are talking trade, the Bulls would have to throw in other picks, too. So, it's not straight up.

    Love is great offensively, but below ave defensively.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I was just wondering with all this new found depth the bulls have and kevin love still in Minnesota will the bulls try once again make an offer for kevin love...?!! Cleveland reportedly will include Wiggins but there are some reports stating otherwise. .draft picks can't be traded in til 30 days after they have signed I think...Warriors won't include k. Thompson. ..Bulls should definitely still try to trade for him..

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    So you would rather have Love at the max than Gibson + Gasol?

    Bulls are not getting Love. They never had the assets, and now they've committed to Gasol. Unless you're willing to trade Noah.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    at this point, I think that the Bulls aren't even trying to/interested in obtain(ing) Love. The best time would have been before the draft, when they had the potential to offer 4 firsts.

    It is a tough call because 26 & 12-13 looks very enticing without any context. how much are his numbers the product of a bad team desperate for scoring? Don't know how much of a go to scorer Love really is, how bad his defense really is, if he is a rebound whore like boozer. The other biggest factor in his advantage is age, he's 26 while Taj is 29 and Gasol 34.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Agreed, too difficult to get it done now. There's no way they can top Wiggins, I think the rumors today about Love were just Minnesota trying to raise Cleveland's offer.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Taj and Gasol bring a lot more D (about 10 times more!) than Love. They should get as many RBs. I think the scoring advantage of Love is trumped by the D of Taj and Gasol, plus cheaper for 3 years!

    Since the Bulls have some potentially great pieces on O in M and M, pass on Love. On a different team, like Cleveland, maybe take Love.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Rather have love..but we won't get him...always winner up

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Love at the max in either case.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Love, and it's not even close. Quibble all you want about him never making the playoffs, if the Timberwolves were in the East last year they'd have been in the conference finals. And his supporting cast on that team is terrible - until Rubio shoots well enough to force people to guard him his assists are junk stats and Pekovic is a real crappy fit next to Love. On the other hand if you could pick one big whose game is just designed to fit with Love it'd be Noah.

    Swap Gasol and Gibson for Love and the Bulls are favourites for the East even if Rose doesn't play a game. If Rose is healthy they're favourites for the title.

  • Even with that offensive lineup you mentioned, the Rose/Doug Mc/Dunleavy/Mirotic/Gasol lineup, there's only one ballhandler there. Yes, it's a better situation than the Bulls have been in offensively in Rose healthy seasons' past, but I think the evidence still shows you can stop a team if you gameplan for them when they only have one ballhandler out on the floor. At the end of the day, even if it works out, it's still a lot of pressure to place on Derrick's shaky knees.

    Another thing I worry about is that the odds are probably one of Doug Mc or Mirotic is going to be a bust. Can we expect both guys who've never played against NBA competition to be hits? That's a little much. Now the Bulls obviously believe highly in Mirotic to give him the contract they did, but the things I've heard from his last season with Real Madrid weren't all that promising. Rudy Fernandez usurped his role as go-to-scorer. Rudy Fernandez. Honestly I'll be thrilled if either Doug Mc or Mirotic is a real, genuine homerun.

    Lastly, what the hell is Minnesota thinking with reportedly prizing Klay Thompson over Andrew Wiggins? They prefer the right to overpay Thompsons at the max, overpay David Lee, and hope Harrison Barnes looks like a rotation player again over a No. 1 overall pick with superstar potential just starting a rookie contract, another No. 1 pick and a first-rounder. Thompson is really good, we know that, but we also may know his ceiling, and we know he wants a max extension. It's an easy decision to me if the Cavs are really offering up Wiggins. That's a guy you can bring back to your fanbase and say, "We got this guy for the guy that was leaving anyway after this year."

  • In reply to Hunter:

    I don't get it, people act like McDermott and Dunleavy can't dribble the ball. You're certainly not the only one so I'm not calling you out or anything, but we have the two best ball-handling big men in the league, and McDoug and Dunleavy aren't incompetents.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Judging from his highlight packages, Mirotic appears to be quite capable of putting the ball on the floor and getting to the rim, at least for a power forward. We'll see if he can do it against NBA athletes.

    I'm fairly dubious abouts McStrokin's ability to do so against NBA athletes, but we have to wait and see on him also.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I think McDermott will struggle to create shots against NBA athletes, but I don't think he'll struggle to get around screens and shoot or knock down open shots.

    I doubt he'll be a creator or that we'll see him post up in the NBA, but I do think we'll see him become a deadly off the ball guy.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Running around a screen and getting open is creating a shot. Just because he doesn't have the ball in his hands when he does it doesn't make it any less so.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    They can dribble the ball. They could even dominate every YMCA in the country playing point guard. But can they, against NBA defenses, facilitate, drive, finish at the hoop, become a secondary ball-handler and even run an offensive set, getting the ball where it needs to go, if Derrick gets swallowed up by the defense? Here's a quibble, but a serious one in my estimation.

    If Derrick is taken out of a play and forced to give up the ball to Doug Mc or Dunleavy, do they dribble the ball for a few seconds waiting for Derrick to get free to pass it back to him and then reset the offense, or can they consistently use their abilities to make something happen themselves or for their teammates, and maybe the ball ends up back in Derrick's hands and maybe not, like a Stephenson would have the ability to do? That's a distinction. Championship-cabiler teams need a pressure release for their dominant ball-handler. They need competent shot creator(s) somewhere else on the floor. You can gameplan for one guy. You can get a stop in the playoffs when you need one with a good defensive set against one guy.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    Well, McDermott and Mirotic are not 18 and 19-year-olds with a very small sample size eval period.

    Mirotic has been a professional for years and a great all-around player in a league that is probably better than the NCAA. McDermott played 4 years of college and was his teams go-to guy with one of the highest usage rates in all of college basketball.

    Yes, they could bust. But, there is a lower chance that they are busts given their age and experience and larger sample size of solid performance. Plus, shooting is a trait that often carries over from league-to-league.

    Are they going to be superstars? Probably not. But, nobody thought Love was going to be a superstar and I think most would categorize him as just that at this point.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    I agree any good defensive team should be able to shut us down offensively. We have had shooters the year we went to the ECF and Miami shut us down by utilizing half court traps on Rose. Korver got smothered and couldn't get the ball. Deng wasn't athletic enough to get his own shot and our offense got shut down.

    McDermott's not more athletic than Deng and Butler and Kirk can't create their own shots. Who knows what Mirotic will do but he likely has a small role given the depth of the front court. Noah and Taj were both on that squad. Perhaps 34 year old Pau is an upgrade on a 29 year old Boozer but maybe not he is declining rapidly...

    Sure I agree we have a legit shot to come out of the east but that is mostly due to incompetence of the east rather than any great moves by GarPax. I disagree that we have more than enough to win the Title. Just because you get to the finals doesn't make you a legit threat to win. The top teams in the West are likely to run over whatever crap the East spits out. Heat got blown out by historic proportions and they would be the hands down favorites to come out of the east again had they stayed together. East is complete crap this season. Bulls are like the smart kid at retard camp.

  • In reply to Chad:

    I do not agree that any good defensive team will be able to shut down the Bulls this year. Why?
    1) If Mirotic had not hurt his hand, his team would have won the Euro Championship this year. He is a deadly shooter.
    2) McDermott was the consensus player of the year in the NCAA this year. One of the top scorers in NCAA history!
    How can any analyst figure these two guys will not have a huge impact on the O of the Bulls? Plus,
    3) Gasol can score inside.
    4) Rose is back, at least part way.
    5) The backups look to be an upgrade on O.

    That is at least 5 guys who make the Bulls better on O. They will be at least top 10 in scoring this year, maybe even top 5. Watch! No team will be shutting them done, unless the Bulls take a night off.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Bulls definitely have ways to put on pressure offensively that they didn't used to have. I don't think the Bulls have ever been able to put this many shooters on the floor around Rose. They can potentially put McD, Miro and Snell on the floor at the same time with Rose and either Gasol, for even more offensive pressure and/or Noah for offensive rebounds.

    Now, I don't know how well their all-around games will translate for McDermott or Mirotic, but I expect both to be able to shoot well as rookies, because both are exceptional shooters. In time, both have the potential to become elite shooters as well as develop more facets to their offensive games. We'll see about all that, but they can both shoot, right now.

    As for Snell, he still has to prove he's even a NBA player, let alone someone you can count on to hit a shot. However, even if he isn't, Bulls have options like Butler, who you can't just ignore, or putting both Gasol and Noah on the floor or maybe Taj, depending on the matchup.

    Thibs definitely has more weapons at his disposal than he's ever had as Bulls head coach. It's going to come down to how he uses them, which will be interesting. Time to find out if he's really the elite coach some think he is, or just a defensive specialist.

  • In reply to Chad:

    We effectively had one really good shooter the year we went to the ECF. One. Kyle Korver. That's it. C.J. Watson, who never played along side Rose, was the only other shooter.

    We've now, theoretically got McDermott, Mirotic, and Dunleavy, that's a much different scenario.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    I agree getting a secondary ball handler would have been nice, but you take what you can get I suppose. I was definitely a fan of Stephensen, but his price may not have dropped until the bidders dropped out of the competition.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I think, historically, it rarely works out when you add a guy who's past his prime (I tried to come up with a kinder phrase) like Gasol and say he's the big free agent acquisition that's going to get your team over the hump. Gasol's strong defense is two season's gone and his offensive skills are dwindling at 34 years old. I still like him more than Boozer, I'm just not sure what he does for the team. I don't know how much he'll play the 5, but shouldn't his minutes have been split between Taj and Mirotic instead?

    I take your point that Stephenson's market value may have only dipped when teams like the Bulls dropped out of the running. I still would have thrown 3/36 at him. The kid's 23 and was an All-Star snub last season. I think the Bulls are in more desperate need for his skills than Gasol's.

    We used the long-vaunted Charlotte pick plus our own 2014 pick on Doug Mc, signed the Euro player we've been waiting three years on and exchanged Boozer for Gasol. That was the off-season more or less. I'd be surprised, please Derrick's knees stay sound, if that isn't an ECF team. But it's a golden opportunity if only because the East fell apart. Cleveland scares me. The Bulls are a good team, but any team with LeBron has the chance to be great. Adding Love too, I can only hope they all take a year to mesh. The Bulls didn't hit that homerun they needed to this off-season to catapult themselves into every title conversation, in my opinion. It would have been nice given the assets we started out with and the years of cost-cutting measures that brought us the "2014" plan.

  • With a bunch of shooters and an elite low post, we only need Rose as a ball handler. If you dare to double Rose, you will pay for it. If you don't, Rose or Gasol will kill you either on the dribble or on the low post. That's the reason why I totally agree with Doug that the Bulls this coming season have more than enough to win with.

  • WE HAVE ENOUGH

  • After this year's less then stellar offense, I would just be happy with a fun team to watch again. After seeing Mirotic's press conf. and McDermott they seem like two quality guys, hopefully with some serious offensive talent that translates to the NBA. Gasol should be that as well.

    If Derrick is healthy and his shot returns(along with his good sense) it's "possible" the Bulls could vault into legit contenders, but even if everything falls into place I would think one year to gel and gain necessary playoff experience as a team would be realistic and hope Gasol has two good years left.

    One problem maybe(?) with the way things stand now Noah and Gasol occupying legit starter minutes that would leave a Taj like slot of 28 minutes. If you add role player Naz 7 minutes per game that's 35 minutes. Do you really parcel that out between Taj and Nikola, or does somebody have to go? Is the writing on the wall if Mirotic proves ready to be a starting caliber contributor? Is that Gar/Pax's "plan"(god forbid they should have one)? A Taj(and a first or Jimmy Butler) package for an Aaron Afflalo(potent SG/wing) would seem to be that final piece of the playoff puzzle.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Gibson is better than Afflalo - even with the crowd we have at the 4 and 5. There will be injuries and I'd rather manage minutes. I think McDermott can be Afflalo - better offensively, but not so good defensively, however. McDermott (possibly Snell, too) can hold down the 2 with Butler at the 3 guarding the better offensive player. Bulls have sufficient shooting and enough defenders - thus, Afflalo does not add as much value.

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    In reply to Granby:

    Well, we still don't have a shooting guard that can shoot. Afflalo would've been a great fit, as would Kevin Martin. Jimmy is shooting about what he always has in college and the pros, I'm not sure we can expect much more out of him offensively. Sure would be fun to watch Rose with a real 2 on the roster.

  • In reply to Steve Merritt:

    I mentioned it after Lance signed with Charlotte(and they added PJ Hairston), what about taking a shot at Gerald Henderson(a baby/poor mans Afflalo). He might be a bit overpaid @ $6 million. Don't know what the Bulls have to offer that Charlotte might want, Dunleavy and Hangdog to make the money work and/or a pick, maybe?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Bleccchh! Why would we want/need Gerald Henderson. Calling him a poor man's Aafalo is like calling Tony Snell a poor man's Stephenson (with a personality transplant)!

  • In reply to Huskerpowerforward:

    Well, all that I'm really saying is that I'd rather have Henderson than Hinrich, or Snell for that matter.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I don't like Henderson at all. Can't shoot, and isn't really much of an offensive creator. We can't trade Hinrich until December either, and he has a trade kicker as well.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    interesting that the CBA allows for a trade kicker on a room exception deal, that almost seems like cheating.

  • In reply to Steve Merritt:

    McDermott is your SG, folks. Maybe Snell and Dunleavy, too. All are plus shooters and do not have to guard a tough wing with Butler at the 3.

    He is a 2/3. McDermott is 6'7 with shoes on. His combine stats were pretty good so a decent athlete overall - not going to kill you there. As Bilas says, he can guard. Don't think that because he is white that he is only a Kover-type shooter who is useless everywhere else.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Nice to see someone else hopping on board the McBucketts is our shooting guard train.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Gasol already hinted that his minutes will need to be managed, I doubt that he is looking for more than 30 per game. Still doesn't leave much/any opportunity for Mirotic unless he gets some run at SF, which he doesn't appear suited for. Thats my biggest question for the season, where do his minutes come from.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I agree that Mirotic is probably brought on slowly. You figure he'll play more on injury games of other players, and the Bulls will have some room to make a trade if he looks good.

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    The Bulls should have a great team this season. The starting five can play with anybody. But it's the Bulls 2nd team that will win it.
    When the other team's starters are resting the Bulls 2 team will maintain leads. It's will be like having another 5 starters on the floor.
    Should be a a great season for Bulls fans.

  • From an asset perspective, I think Mike Dunleavy Jr and Jimmy Butler would be the first to go if Doug McDermott and Tony Snell are able to sufficiently fill their shoes. I think Taj becomes expendable only if you get a significantly better player like a Kevin Love or secondary shot creator/ball handler. Its not that I love Taj but I think he does things on the defensive end and athletically that no one else on the team can reproduce.

    McD can easily replace Mike D from a role perspective on this team. With an improved shot, new found confidence and the length he already has, Snell could replace Butler has a 3 & D guy. I think Butler is who he is at this point and while valuable, he has a contract coming up that will require a serious financial commitment. I dont know how Thibs will handle losing his Butler pacifier but thats another issue.

    So I'm thinking Dunleavy, Butler are expendable to get an upgrade at 2nd shot creator and with Taj available if only to get a clear superstar. I actually think that during this posturing that the Cavs and Warriors are doing, I'd love to see the Bulls offer all 3 guys and 2 first round picks, swoop in and steal Love. Getting Love would make the Bulls better (even if we lose a little depth) and it doesn't allow the Cavs to get create their Big 3 which again benefits the Bulls in the East.

    For all those who are pointing to depth and the Spurs blue print as the Bulls template, we are going to be sorely disappointed because in the playoffs, depth is only good for 8 deep. The Spurs have a multi-faceted and multi-originating offense that the Bulls do not. AND the Spurs have Pop and while Thibs is very good, he has his significant coaching warts. I would rather compile a team that has a stronger starting 5 and that goes 8 deep in the playoffs than a team that can go 10 deep. Flexibility and options are a great thing until you have a lot of similar pieces and differing egos involved. You can play only 5 at a time and there's only 1 ball. GM's objective is to get the best 8 you can get.

  • In reply to ripiceman:

    You can't trade Butler in the East without a 3 to guard LeBron. That ain't Snell, or Gibson or McDermott.

    I agree that the full bench of 10 won't see the floor in the playoffs. But injuries always take care of that problem.

  • In reply to ripiceman:

    Doubt the Bulls "dump" Butler for Snell just yet. First off, Snell is a pure 2 guard only, and Butler is more of a 3. Snell hasn't shown in real life that his offensive game is even as good a Jimmy's and he certainly isn't Butler's peer on D yet, especially physically against SFs like Lebron and Melo.

    While Dunleavy is expendable, I wouldn't just "dump" him either, as we have yet to see if McStrokin can start at all, nevermind at SF

  • In reply to BigWay:

    BigWay - When opportunities present, you have to be able to pull the trigger without having the luxury to see what we have. Are Snell and McDermott ready for prime time, dont know but if Love or some other star presents itself, pull the trigger and sort it out later.

    Also, I disagree with you on Butler-Snell comp offensively. I'd take Snell's 3pt shot today over Jimmy's. Jimmy has a more versatile offensive game in getting to the hole but this is an area that Snell could grow into.

    While Butler's loss defensively would be tough to swallow, if you have a chance to get a star, you do it.

  • In reply to ripiceman:

    Bulls cannot obtain Love so everyone needs to move on. Golden State and Cleveland have the inside track and I would put the aggressive Ainge ahead of the conservative GarPax even though they don't have much in terms of assets although they do have more picks than anyone.

    Also, Butler is possibly THE best wing defender in today's NBA and Bulls will have no other wing defenders.

    I'm telling you all (and Doug has said this, too...) that Butler at the 3, guarding the tougher opponent, allows McDermott to play the 2. Butler is coming off a down year, but he's capable of more as we saw two years ago. Bulls need to lock up Butler, who is a good enough shooter to start at the wing - Especially if you put McDermott at the 2 and Mirotic at the 4. And/or Gasol at the 5.

    Bulls next move will be to try to lock Butler up. I don't see why not since Bulls are far from Luxury taxes as it stands now and no big extensions on the horizon after Butler unless you are looking ahead to Noah, but he already has the 2nd highest salary on the team. And, new CBA coming up in two years and cap and luxury tax to increase substantially.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Im confused. Is Butler too good to trade or do we trade Taj, Butler and picks for Love? The one thing we have with the depth is the ability to expand the deal and possibly get back someone they'd like to dump like Martin. Again history says we'll be runner up to whoever Minny does trade with and we'll servive and perservere. But looking at what Wiggins did and didn't do either at Kansas or in the summer league, not sure his inclusion in the deal should be looked at as trading MJ or Kobe early in their careers.

  • In reply to ripiceman:

    I think you'd need to find an awfully good upgrade to move Butler simply because the Bulls don't have a ton of perimeter defenders.

    Tony Snell is no where near Butler on either end of the court right now. He's probably a better three point shooter, but that's it. He's a worse offensive player overall, way worse defensive, way worse on the glass.

  • No mention of signing Brooks as 3rd PG for quite a few days now. Maybe a snag..,maybe they got someone in mind who is better?

    Just so we get someone DECENT Because we need someone to get our New Shooters/Scorers the ball. If Rose is reinjured, Heinrick starts. Yikes.., and how long before he gets hurt.

    With little cap room left, Bulls gotta squeeze out a Very Decent 3rd PG. You can bet he will start somewhere during this season!!

    Comments?????

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    In reply to rakmessiah:

    No snag. Per ESPN yesterday: "...later this week they likely will sign first-round pick Doug McDermott and free-agent guard Aaron Brooks."

  • In reply to rakmessiah:

    Now reported its official. Brooks and McD signed this afternoon.

  • Just saw on ESPN that the Bulls are back in on the Love trade talks. They said that it may include Taj and Butler. Right now, I'm ready for this to end. I'd be fine with the team the Bulls put together. I like the depth of the team. I'm not sure I want them to change that so they could get Love. If Butler goes, who is playing SG? Snell? I think he will be improved, but I'm not ready to start him.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    I've been an advocate of getting Love or any second superstar, but I'm questioning that now. Is Love for $20MM really better than Taj + Gasol for $15MM? T-Wolves fans insist Love doesn't play defense.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    and they think that he is a rebound whore, ala boozer.

    Just can't see the Wolves selling Taj and Jimmy as better than either the GS or Cleveland deals.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Yes, no way Bulls get Love for Butler and Gibson - and you can throw in Dunleavy and Snell, too. Bulls don't have many picks to offer that would be attractive outside of the Kings pick and that is no given and only in the teens if it hits.

    If Love is not traded by the deadline and Cleveland withholds Wiggins and GS withholds Thompson, then maybe.

    I just don't see how Minnesota has leverage in this situation at all. They guy is going to leave. No way I trade Wiggins. If Love wants to play in Cleveland, just wait a year. Love can decline to extend in GS. Minnesota will take all 3 of Cleveland's 2015 1st rounders and a player or two (Bennet/Waiters/etc...) next July. Then, you'd have Love, LeBron, Irving, Wiggins and a few other young parts to build around. Wow.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Your on fire today, however, the problem is we don't want Love and Wiggins in Cleveland. We almost have to be proactive and hope that Minny panicks just to keep that from happening. However, if everyone behaves rationally, I don't see any way that Love ends up with the Bulls nor any way that he doesn't end up in Cleveland.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    As long as Wiggins goes to Minny in the deal, it will work out fine. I don't know if LeBron-Love-Irving is really all that great. If Rose is healthy, I'd take my chances going against that team.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    IMO the Bulls don't expect to get Love, they're just trying to scare the Cavs into giving up as much as possible.

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    In reply to PaBullfan:

    If Butler stays, who will play SG?

  • In reply to Steve Merritt:

    My opinion is by mid season or sooner Snell/Hinrich are getting most of the SG minutes with Butler at SF along with McD in a yin/yang O/D tandem. Dunlevey gets squeezed into an injury fill in role as 11th man. Brooks becomes a fan fave and gets most of the PG#2 minutes. Noah, Pau, Taj and Mirotic combine to average more than 96 minutes between them because Thibbs will shock his critics as Pau and Jo (as well as Derrick) get to sit out games occasionally like Duncan/Parker/Manu do. Bulls over the Cavs in an exciting 7 game series. Bulls will be underdogs in the finals - and I'm making no predictions there - but ANY team that gets to the finals and is still healthy has a "legitimate chance". (Bulles "homer" since 1966.)

  • In reply to Steve Merritt:

    Although I think Butler's best position is likely SF, I think the Bulls start the season with him at SG, like it or not.

  • Doug I fully agree with you that Thibs needs to step out of his comfort zone. I think that Thibs decision to continually start Bogans with Rose actually contributed to hurting Rose. Bogans was a trash player and didn't benefit Rose at all. Korver might have not been that great on defense but he sure as hell stretched the offense and made life easier for Rose whenever he was in the game at the same time. Now with the team we have there is no excuse. I believe this season how Thibs runs the team will determine his future with the Bulls.

    I like Jimmy Buckets, he's a big strong shooting guard, plays good defense, and I think on a more offensive oriented team ( like we now have ) he can also shine more offensively. He's not the guy you want to take the game winning shot or even to make plays in the 4th quarter, but I think he's a guy that will get his points for 3 quarters as a starter and finish the game in double digits. He's the kind of player that's easy to forget about on offense.

    As for Rose unfortunately it's reached a point with him where it's more of a gamble than anything. You here he's healthy and then he goes down again. Honestly it's gotten to a point where I just picture the Bulls upcoming season without Rose. I'm tired of getting my hopes up for nothing and those knees of his is just too unpredictable to think about. Hopefully he can play an 82 game season but if not we made need to start considering his future with the Bulls.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    Sadly, I agree. The Bulls future will be without D Rose. That's why they should've moved hell and high water to get Elfrid Payton in the draft.

  • In reply to sfpaper:

    The Bulls fan in me wants more than anything to believe Rose will come back healthy and we have a legitimate shot at the title, but common sense tells me not to get my hopes too high. I'm not ready to give up on him just yet, but in my mind this will be the deciding season for me. Right now he's reminding me a lot of Gilbert Arenas back in 2007 when he tore his MCL. Even now Arenas still isn't no where near the caliber player he was. However I still got my fingers crossed that Rose can bounce back but I'm taking it with a grain of salt.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    That's the smart mindset -- Don't give up on him yet, but don't get your hopes up either. Rose definitely has something to prove, not only that he can stay healthy, but the last couple of years have raised some questions about his mental makeup as well.

    However, the Bulls have little choice but to gamble on Rose at this point while the rest of us hold our breath.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Yes, I understand perfectly where the Bulls stand in all this and can't blame them one bit. They're in a difficult situation. They have this one player taking up all the teams cap, yet this one player could be the key to a championship, however this one player has been MIA for almost 3 years now and wouldn't be a shock if he went down again. Talking about moving Derrick Rose is a hard topic for any Bulls fan to stomach, but if he goes down this year then I say it's about time we start exploring options. This is coming from one of D Rose's biggest fans, but I'm a Bulls Fan 1st and foremost, and have to take in consideration whats best for the team.

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    The Bulls should bring Scottie Pippen out of retirement so we will have another shot creater and ball handler.
    Then we will have enough to win.
    :-)

  • One final comment. The upside of trying for love and inevitably losing out to the Cavs is Minny may be able to use us to extract more from the Cavs for him. It they end up with their version of the Big 3 and 7 dwarfs -capped out and with no draft picks on the horizon - the window to surpass them in the East might just last more than one year!

  • Brooks signed.., so that's one worry gone. I bet ya'll right now he'll get lots of minutes.

  • Lets not trade away half the team for Love......lets keep what we have......one guy cannot win it all......but five existing guys could.

  • Enough of this trade talk, trading Taj and Butler would be a big defensive mistake--they are so effective against whomever they play against--LaBron, Carmelo,--you name the player, they defend against anyone. So trading them is out of the question. We have a potential championship team--why, tamper with it's potential.

  • Kevin Love to Cavs when Cavs give up a potential future super star and dump the rest of the roster sounds like a good deal for the Bulls. We are going Spurs way and the Cavs are going Heat way, with no depth and adding a guy that has inferior defense than Chris Bosh on the big 3 era, never made the playoffs and does not appear to be ready to be a role player. I still think the Bulls will still be a better team and with this trade, Cavs may be end being worst off than the would be with Wiggins.

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