Through out my column on Lance Stephenson. It would simply appear the Bulls weren't interested (or at least not interested enough to dump Mike Dunleavy). Lance will sign with the Bobcats on a three year 27 million dollar deal with a team option for the third year. Quite frankly, it's a much better deal than we signed Gasol to.
Even if Lance goes nutso on you, you're only committed for two seasons at a relatively cheap price before you could part ways. That'd be a pretty sweet deal for Chicago as it'd leave cap room open in 2016 when Kevin Durant will be a free agent and Chicago will now still have Pau Gasol on its books.
It certainly feels like the Bulls could have used Lance's skillset much more than Gasol's. This Bulls team is built very similarly to the 2010/11 team which was shut down in the playoffs by the Miami Heat by simply doubling down on Rose. Gasol's probably no better equipped to take the offensive load than Boozer was that season.
McDermott may replace Korver's offensive role, and then we've got no one else who's really better than Deng was on offense unless Mirotic has a really strong season, but given the Bulls have four big men, it's unlikely he'll have that large a role on the team.
Lance Stephenson would have given us the safety valve who could create off the dribble when the ball got thrown out of Derrick Rose's hands. The thing we felt we needed in that 2011 playoffs that we didn't have.
Bringing him in would have meant Nikola Mirotic would need to play a major role immediately. After dumping Dunleavy, they probably could have kept Smith and Randolph for extra big man depth [won't know for sure until we see the actual numbers guys signed at]. It seems they could have made it work but clearly choose to go down the path more traveled.
The competition will be different in the East this year, they won't be trying to get through a juggernaut Miami team, Indiana likely seems diminished as they lost the one of two players on the squad who was likely to improve rather than decline. The other teams on the rise aren't that much on the rise.
If Derrick Rose stays healthy then it really feels like it will come down to the Bulls and Cavs in the ECF this season. Perhaps the Bulls extra big man depth will play a bigger role against the Cavs than Lance would, especially given the Cavaliers will have similar front court challenges to Miami.
Maybe the Gasol move works out. There's reasons to choose him for sure. However, I'd have taken the flyer on Lance when only a two year commitment was needed. Maybe when the Bulls discussed with him he was still dreaming about 5/60 and only lowered his deal (effectively betting on himself) when there were no suitors left.
It's like airline tickets, the price changes as time goes on, and the price may have only changed down to this level because the Bulls (and other teams) left the table.
Missing on Stuckey at the minimum is similarly frustrating
Rodney Stuckey was then signed by Indiana at the minimum. Three seasons ago, this guy was in the midst of a very solid season. He'd had a PER in the 15-18 range for three years. However, the past two seasons he kind of fell off the map a bit. Perhaps the lane clogged a bit too much with Drummond and Monroe down there, and his drives no longer worked.
Perhaps he just had grown tired of the losing in Detroit. Perhaps he got lazy, worked out a bit less hard and lost a quarter step. Who knows. He was a combo guard version of Lance Stephenson at his peak though, a bit smaller, but a guy who'd bull his way into the lane and create havoc off the dribble.
He was also kind of selfish and had a reputation of not sharing the ball so well. However, for the minimum he'd have been a great fit for the Bulls to come in and be that secondary creator. I didn't think Stuckey would sign so cheap either, and he likely prefers the Pacers to the Bulls at the minimum anyway.
In Indiana, he likely has a clear role defined for him, and in Chicago he might not be in the rotation immediately. He needs to rebuild his value in the NBA if he's to get a non minimum contract next season, something I feel he can likely do, especially on an offensively inept Indiana team that might be more than content to get him the ball.
Perhaps the Bulls made a play on Stuckey and missed, but he sure would have been a nice fit for us if we could have gotten him. There's some decent players left for the minimum, but the important thing for Bulls fans to remember at this point is that Chicago's probably not a great destination for any minimum salary player who wants to play minutes.
The Bulls probably have 10 rotation players on the team right now, so anyone who comes in at the minimum is only getting burn if there's an injury. This will likely put the Bulls near the end of the line for the quality minimum players.
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