Free Agent Targets: Point Guards - Part 3

Free Agent Targets: Point Guards - Part 3

In the final installment of this three part series, I look at the remaining option for the Bulls at the point guard position, who unfortunately are only armed with the mini mid-level exception.

I’ve expressed my love for Cory Joseph and his ever developing game. Patrick Beverley would be a great defensive addition. In a reserve role, Jeremy Lin would also be a sound choice.

All of these players would round out an efficient and effective off season for the Bulls, but reality suggests attaining them is going to be extremely difficult given the bucket loads of cash being splashed around in the first two days of free agency.

Time to get serious and look at the more realistic options for the Bulls.

Sergio Rodriguez

Word filtered throughout the NBA community that the 29 year old Spanish point guard was considering a return to the league. Originally drafted by the Suns in 2006, he would never play a game for them, nor would he have the pleasure of receiving tutelage from the great Steve Nash. Instead, he would be moved to the Blazers, where he would spend his formative years in the league.

At age 20, with good size at the point guard position, it was clear that his court vision, play making and gifted passing were strengths and solid building blocks for his professional career. Never establishing himself as a defender or a reliable shooter, Sergio would only remain in the NBA for four seasons before leaving for the ACB League.

An improved shooter, carrying more poise and still with a very good floor game, the guard would need to be swayed with a good offer if he is to leave the comfort of Real Madrid, his current team in his homeland of Spain.

As a back-up point guard, his skills would suit an up-tempo, transition offense that relies on very good ball movement. Naturally, he would be a solid choice for the Bulls with Gasol & Mirotic on the roster, as the fit with our personnel would also offer an enticing and unique option.

Currently, Rodriguez has three years remaining on his current deal. Importantly, he does have an NBA-out clause, one he could exercise. Would $3.4 million be enough to leave the comfort of home?

Rodney Stuckey

Stuckey is more a combo guard than a true point guard, but he deserves a place on this list.

At 6’5, in comparison to our last three reserve iterations, he would be the guard version of Shawn Bradley. Given his stature, he can give something many other free agent guards cannot - a legitimate option to put next to Rose & Butler. This is important as he would be playable for more than 15-20 minutes a night, meaning more production and bang for the front offices buck. Players with the ability to play several roles within a rotation are valuable commodities in the modern game. Though an option, would it be wise?

Surprisingly, the former Pacer had a career year from deep, shooting 39% on 55 makes for the season. The volume does not suggest a reliable threat from three, nor do his career numbers, so that must leave all reasonable minds questioning whether 2014-15 was an outlier, not the new norm. If it was a fluke, having him in at shooting guard next to the Bulls two $90 million dollar men, it could be Clunk City.

Linked to the Wizards, who are in the market for wing help after losing Paul Pierce (and recently acquiring Jared Dudley), they own the full mid-level exception, meaning they can offer an additional $2 million annually to the microwave scorer should it become a bidding war.

The fit doesn’t excite me, nor does his efficiency. For $3.4 million, however, I could get behind this deal if it were to occur, though I wouldn’t be confident that he accepts.

Mo Williams

Did this dude do anything else but shoot jumpers last season? That’s not a knock on him. He rained in a hilariously awesome 52 points against the Pacers last season because of that ability. He had his Tony Delk moment. It didn’t stop there, though. With the Hornets requiring a mercenary after Kemba Walker going down with a knee injury, Williams was traded to the disappointing Hornets, where it didn’t take long for him to have a licence to shoot.

Quite effective in his starting role, he averaged 17.2 points and six assists on reasonable efficiency considering the volume of attempts, and more importantly, the lack of credible scoring options surrounding him.

We all know what Mo brings. As a streak shooter, he could continue the spark plug, scoring guard we’ve consistently filled the second unit with over the last three seasons, only this time, we’d actually get someone taller than six feet!

The guy is flawed. No doubt about it. All the remaining options are. No defense will be played by Williams. A propensity to fall in love with his own offense, bringing others into the game could be an issue through patches of game. With young players like McDermott & Snell requiring assists to score, a challenge could present itself for Coach Hoiberg in corralling the offensive abilities (and ego) Williams possesses.

Unlike the players mentioned prior to his inclusion in this listing, we know he is prepared to take the mini mid-level exception. How do we know this? Reports suggest he has a strong interest in returning back to Cleveland to reprise his role as LeBron’s favourite little friend.

If both options present themselves, with both Central division rivals offering the same taxpayers exception, we likely don’t have a shot.

Jameer Nelson

I don’t know what to make of Nelson. At 33, after representing three different teams in 2014-15, with mixed success and career lows across the board, it’s a likely that the nuggety guard is very close to the end, if he already hasn’t approached it.

The positives? He isn’t Kirk Hinrich. That’s the best I can do.

Frankly, I would not give him the mini mid-level exception. Why would we when he only was given the room exception from the Mavericks last season? He does not deserve a pay rise.

Nelson should be considered for a role on this team, though only as a third string point guard on the veteran minimum. Anything more, I would be disappointed.

The Former Bulls

Do I need to go on about these guys? We know their game. We know what they can bring. C.J. Watson, Nate Robinson and Aaron Brooks are all available, and more than willing to come in and launch up bad shot after bad shot.

Since leaving the Bulls, Watson’s career has not fared any better. He certainly regressed. Here is why:

No, I’m not over it. Karma.

Nate Robinson is someone I loathed when on opposing teams. It continued when he joined the 2013 Bulls. I didn’t like the signing early on. He won me over. Even with his infuriating playing style and lack of a reasonable basketball IQ, one could never question his heart, passion and intensity for the red and white jersey. Unfortunately, I don’t have any interest in adding another point guard with a reconstructed knee. I grew to love you, Nate, then love, love will tear us apart, again.

Aaron Brooks gets no love from me. I’d happily move on. It’s a harsh line to take, but unlike Watson, Robinson and Augustin, the former most improved player showed very little intention in moving the ball, something that was critical in the second unit, particularly early on when Thibodeau would play McDermott, Snell & Mirotic together within the same rotation as the new reclamation project. After his dismal playoff performance, the bargaining position for Brooks that he cultivated throughout the regular season likely dissipated quicker than the Bulls worldwide coaching search.

For the Bulls, these are fallback options that will be available to them. With the front office’s propensity to continuously bring back Mike James on ten day contracts, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see one of these guys back. Hopefully that doesn’t include Mike James!

We’re not left with many quality options, are we?

Had I known how depressing this process would have been, I would not have begun delving into the available free agent listings, seeking for a quality upgrade. Alas, here we are.

If we miss out on the better options still available to us, namely Joseph, Beverley & Lin, could our best option already be on our roster?

The underutilized E’Twaun Moore, free from the reign of Tom Thibodeau, he could provide a combo guard option, one that a more expensive guy like Stuckey would likely fill.

Would it make more sense to sign a veteran point guard to the minimum to battle it out with Moore for reserve duties, leaving Hinrich as the fourth option?

There is a player in Moore, it simply needs to be discovered. With the lack of quality options available, it may be a worthy risk to trial him in a larger role in 2015-16 whilst using the mini mid-level exception on a wing player. Gerald Green anyone?


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  • E'twaun Moore needs a shot so bad. This kid is legit at either guard spot and at both ends of the floor. I've loved his game since Purdue. Thibs liked him. Hoiberg name checked him 3x in his introductory press conference. Moore really is the best answer for the Bulls as a 3rd or 4th guard. Bringing in another guard - Gary Neal would be my choice out of the available options - is good for trade flexibility but this year should be Moore's time to shine. I'd like to see him play himself into a full Hinrich replacement at combo-guard.

  • Of all the free agent point guards available I'd actually Like to bring in Jeremy Lin if we can afford him. I think he would be a good fit and unlike all the other scrubs available he could actually move the needle. He's a much better player than people give him credit and even though he's not a great defender, he would still be a steal for the right price. There's a lot of teams with interest so he's more than likely to find a contract better than we can afford. If only we didn't have Hinrich on the books I would feel alot better about our chances. Perhaps Hinrich could retire to help the team out since he's supposedly a team player?

    Other than that we may have no choice than to just see what Etwuan is made of. Personally I felt he was our theird best guard last season behind Rose and Butler but Thibs didn't give him much of a shot. I liked Brooks at the three, but other than that I'm not a fan of his game at all. I'd be pissed if they brought him back.

  • I would love to see Sergio but don't expect it. I think he could lead the team if Rose were to go down. What if they just sign an undrafted rookie? They could let Moore be the backup and see if they can find a hidden gem. I don't know if they have a summer league roster yet, but guys like Ryan Boatright, DJ Newbill, TJ McConnell, Michael Frazier, and Travis Trice could be given a chance to make the roster. I'd rather go with one of these guys than waste money on Nelson or Robinson who have less to give than Hinrich.

  • I would like to try Moore and bring back Marco Belinelli who is an UFA. I think every point guard you mentioned other than the Bulls' retreads will want more than the mini MLE. But the Bulls should really sign the best player and not worry about whether he is a point or a wing.

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    In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Marco just signed w the Kings for 3 yrs 19 million

  • The Hinrich signing last year was a double mistake.
    1) The FO should have brought Augustine back for what they gave Hinrich. If they had to have Hinrich, which was dumb, they certainly overpaid; and
    2) Giving Hinrich the option for the second year was an even bigger error, as we now clearly see. It likely prevents the Bulls from getting Lin or Beverley or Joseph.

    FOs should know that these second tier deals can make a significant difference. Of course, if they had extended Butler last summer, even with the bad Hinrich contract they could still have gotten Lin or Beverley.

    I suppose they can get a guy before the trade deadline. They likely could even trade Hinrich if they threw in a 1st round pick. But we see that 1st round picks can land a guy like Portis or Nurkic, so that is also a risk.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Completely agree with all of this, but I wonder what Don Ellis thinks? According to him the front office doesn't make mistakes.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I wonder if there might be some kind of trade that we could work out with OKC to get Augustin back, how about for Hangdog. They just drafted a PG in Cameron Payne, so maybe they don't need Augustin.

  • Don knows they messed up with Hinrich. We all know it. The trick is to prevent doing it again! One would think they had learned from Wallace, Boozer, Hamilton.

    At least they took Portis when he fell to them. Be grateful for small favors I guess.

    Now, can Hoiberg work his magic in Chicago?

  • The question is are the Bulls even willing to use the MMLE, effectively paying somewhere between $8.5 million and $11million for a $3.4 million player. Depending on how much of that contract goes into the second tier of the tax.

    If we can't get Augustin in trade from OKC, then I would likely go with Lin first as he's more of a PG than Stuckey who is more of a scorer than PG or shooter. Not sure about Joseph, can't say that I've watched enough of him to have any idea about how his game would fit the Bulls.

    If we end up going the vet minimum scrap heap route, we have to wait to find out who ends up there, Barea perhaps, who knows.

    Maybe we can steal Tony Wroten away from Philly, although he went down with a partial ACL last year, so I don't know his status. I've always liked that guy, despite his not being a great shooter, he has excellent size and athleticism for a PG, at least he used to. A bit of a wild man on offense, but a tenacious defender, some people compared him to Gary Payton.

    Wouldn't mind trading for Jarret Jack from NJ, but he makes $6+ million this season, not sure about next.

  • Beverley off the board now as well. 4 yrs / 25 million with the Rockets. Signs the deal I expected him to take, so not major shocks here.

    Joseph and Lin still on the board. Both highly unlikely, meaning we need to go down the pecking order.

    I didn't mention guys like Will Bynum & Kendall Marshall, as they're obvious minimum guys at this point, but they're options as well.

    I'm resigned to the fact that we're likely going to end up with Stuckey as a best case scenario, or we will just sign some vet min guys.

  • In reply to Mark Karantzoulis:

    Kendall Marshall is a good sleeper option. I can envision our 2nd unit playing like that Lakers group of of 2014 where they just run and gunned with Hoiberg's offense. KM would do a great job of maximizing Snell/McDermott/Mirotic's abilities.

  • Reports that Jordan signed a max deal with the Mavs could provide an opportunity for the Bulls. I have a feeling Doc doesn't want to open the season with Big Baby or Ekpe Udoh as his starting center.

    Because the trade checkers still have Jordan listed on them they are of little use at this time. However, with the Clippers now below the cap perhaps a deal involving Noah to the Clips would work. I would definitely like to see Reddick come back as our designated shooter off the bench. And Austin Rivers, as a combo guard, could save us from the curse of Klank. A flop in NO, he made nice strides at LA last year. He is improving and may be a quality player some day. He's big and athletic. I know many of you are skeptical but I would at least look at this.

    With Lance taking minutes away from Reddick and Austin next year, perhaps something could be done. Maybe a third team (with a pure point guard) can get involved.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Clips don't have the cap space to trade for Noah. Reddick for Paul works and could be interesting, but they may be rightly concerned about Pau's age. Taj for Reddick and cap filler (they have a few guys in the Bairstow mold) is also doable cap wise. Question, would we take our old 'pal' Jamal Crawford for Pau? He'd fill the combo guard spot and is someone the Clips would be more likely to give up for Pau.

  • fb_avatar

    Great idea in theory. I def think they would def want an upgrade at center. They might prefer Pau unfortunately unless Noah proves to be healthy and back, and that wouldn't happen until the season starts. ( long shot in preseason perhaps )

    Doc gave up a lot to get his son, so I really doubt he would trade him unless it was a gross overpay. His son seems to have finally taken a step forward as you noted, so how does doc explain that trade to his wife and son ?

    Noah and Klank for reddick and a draft pick, sign us up.

    Perhaps the $$ saved gets us a real combo guard to help the 2nd unit ( and protect us from another d rose injury )

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Apparently Rivers is an RFA and is exploring options other than returning to the Clips.

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