ESPN and Grantlander, Jalen Rose, with his bat mind you, believes Wesley Matthews could join the Bulls this summer as a free agent.
On the surface, Matthews on the Bulls makes a ton of sense. He's a Marquette guy who played one season with Jimmy Butler, he's a highly effective shooter who drains the three-ball at 38.9% on a ridiculous high volume (7.4 attempts per game), and his defense is frankly underrated.
What doesn't make sense however, is how the Bulls should acquire him. They have no raw cap space, meaning they'd have to pull off a sign-and-trade, which is no easy task when we're talking about a player who will demand at a minimum $12 million a year, even after suffering a torn achilles this season.
(Additionally, even if Matthews make sense on the court, you have to wonder if it's a good idea for the Bulls to pick up a player who's suffered that sort of injury. The Bulls aren't exactly lacking in the injury department, so bringing in someone who just suffered a wildly devastating injury might not be a tremendous good idea, regardless of how well Matthews fits on paper.)
One could argue that Mattews won't get $12 million from anyone considering his injury, but this is the NBA. There's always
the Knicks some team willing to take a gamble involving millions upon millions of dollars, so by all accounts this is the ballpark figure the Bulls will be looking at. And to make matters even more complicated, Portland might be going into a small rebuilding process if LaMarcus Aldridge leaves, meaning the Bulls won't exactly be able to impress the Blazers with offers of Pau Gasol and Tony Snell in compensation.
It'd make some sense for Portland if Robin Lopez leaves, but they retain Aldridge. Then they'd need a center, and Gasol would fit that bill nicely, even if his defensive skills are somewhat lacking when leaving the rim area. Offensively, however, Portland would instantly be looking at one of the best 4/5 duos in the league, which might help ease the loss of Matthews going to Chicago.
But if Aldridge leaves, Portland would insist on a package that included picks and young players for Matthews, and that's a mighty big gamble for the Bulls even if you ignore the achilles tear.
This brings me to Virginia swingman Justin Anderson who, according to DraftExpress, should be available when the Bulls pick in this month's draft at 22.
There is no way the 22nd pick in the draft will come in and produce at a Wesley Matthews level, which is for all intents and purposes near All-Star production, but Anderson is the type of guy who can at least mimic the role of Matthews in some capacity. He's not one you leave open from downtown, he's active defensively, he's got a wide frame, and he even has some midrange game. What separates him from Matthews is naturally the lack of high-volume and experience, but it might still be preferable to invest $5,712,922 over four years in Anderson, than $48 - 50 million in Matthews, especially considering that Matthews will be 29 by the time the season starts, and thus be in his 30's for 75% of his contract time. Anderson could be a very similar player to Matthews production wise by year three, but at a fraction of the price, and possibly without injury concerns.
To be clear; as a player, Anderson is less preferable to Matthews right now. As a contract however, this might not be the case, especially if Fred Hoiberg is willing to give young players a chance to earn minutes right off the bat. Plus, you get to avoid any potential achilles complications.