His Adidas commercial portrays the scene pretty darn accurately as all of Chicago went silent when Derrick Rose clutched his knee in the first game of the Bulls’ opening round playoff series against the 76ers with the worst coming true; a torn ACL. With Rose’s return questionable for this season, the Bulls must simply survive in hopes that their superstar can get back on the floor before the postseason begins.
2011-12: 50-16, 1st in Eastern Conference
Predicted EC Finish: 7th
Projected Depth Chart:
C: Joakim Noah/Nazr Mohammed/Kyrylo Fesenko
PF: Carl Boozer/Taj Gibson/Vladimir Radmanovic
SF: Luol Deng/Jimmy Butler/Marko Jaric
SG: Richard Hamilton/Marco Belinelli
PG: Kirk Hinrich/Nate Robinson/Marquis Teague
Chicago’s off-season was: an attempt to keep the boat afloat. The Bulls scraped together some bodies to try and replace Rose at the point bringing back Kirk Hinrich, signing the well-traveled Nate Robinson, and using a late first round pick on Kentucky’s Marquis Teague. In fact, Chicago ultimately played a game of Extreme Makeover: NBA Bench Edition.
The Bulls decided to let Omer Asik walk, wisely refusing to match the three-year, $25 million offer sheet the Rockets insanely through his way (dude is scheduled to make almost $15 million during the 2014-15 season. WHAAAAAAAAT?) Nazr Mohammed, Kyrylo Fesenko, and Vladimir Radmanovic were all signed to one-year, league minimum deals. They dealt Kyle Korver and bid adieu to Ronnie Brewer, replacing them with Marco Belinelli and digging up Marko Jaric from somewhere. All in all, Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler are the only returning reserves from a year ago.
2012-2013 will be a success if: Rose is fully healed and able to return before the postseason. Realistically, the Bulls will have to fight and claw their way into the Eastern Conference playoffs without Rose so a best case scenario sees Rose making a complete recovery, getting his legs under him late in the season, and reaching full strength once the playoffs begin.
To even have a chance, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, and Rip Hamilton must stay healthy while Carlos Boozer has to start living up to the massive contract he signed a couple of offseasons ago. Kirk Hinrich needs to be more than just serviceable at the point while Taj Gibson’s development needs to continue.
2012-2013 will be a disappointment if: Rose suffers a setback. It would be surprising but not shocking if the Bulls didn’t make the playoffs. However, it would utterly disheartening if Rose forced the issue and tried to come back too soon, risking even more damage to his knee. Making it back by March is the unconfirmed goal for D-Rose, but maybe taking his time and just sitting out the entire season is in the best interest of both he and the franchise.
Looking ahead to next summer: With Rose, Boozer, Noah, and Deng eating up $59 million in cap space, there isn’t a ton of flexibility. Taj Gibson will become a restricted free agent so the Bulls have a decision to make in terms of how much they want to spend on him. Using the amnesty clause on Boozer will certainly be a possibility if he remains to be less than stellar and would free up needed cap space. Richard Hamilton has a five million dollar team option on his contract which will likely not be exercised since Rip is well past his prime.
OTHER NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE PREVIEWS:
#8 Toronto Raptors
#9 Milwaukee Bucks
#10 Detroit Pistons
#11 Atlanta Hawks
#12 Cleveland Cavaliers
#13 Orlando Magic
#14 Washington Wizards
#15 Charlotte Bobcats
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik
Filed under: Chicago Bulls
Tags: bulls cap space, bulls free agents, Bulls preview, bulls roster, bulls rumors, bulls salary cap, Carlos Boozer, carlos boozer amnesty, Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose, derrick rose adidas, derrick rose injury, derrick rose rehab, derrick rose return, derrick rose torn acl, jimmy butler, joakim noah, luol deng, nba power rankings, NBA predictions, nba season previews