The Chicago Bulls made their first acquisition of the off-season on draft night, taking the once highly-touted recruit in Kentucky point guard Marquis Teague with the 29th overall pick. Most fans, including myself, were pretty satisfied with this pick. Since then, C.J. Watson, Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver have all been cut loose, and time will tell if Omer Asik and John Lucas III will share the same fate. With Asik prepared to sign a three-year, $25 million deal with the Houston Rockets (which is back loaded about $14-15 million in the final season) the Bulls will have their hands full. The only splash the Bulls have made thus far in free agency was agreeing to a two-year deal with Kirk Hinrich, to the dismay of most hardcore Bulls fans. As the Bulls options continue to dwindle, let's take a look at the trade and free agent options Chicago could explore to revamp its roster.
Omer Asik, C (Matching Houston’s offer of three-years, $25 million)
3.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game; that doesn’t exactly scream All-Star center. In this new age of basketball analytics, you always have to look deeper. According to Synergy, Asik ranks as the 24th best player in points per play overall defensively and fifth best in points per play on spot up attempts on the defensive end. It isn’t typical to spend starter money on a backup center, but in Asik’s case it’s worth it. There was several times last season where Asik outplayed Noah and ended up terrorizing on the defensive end in the fourth quarter while Noah watched from the bench. It’s unfortunate the Bulls will have to pay him $15 million is his final season of this deal, almost certainly leading to an amnesty of Carlos Boozer before that season, but it’s a cost the Bulls will have to deal with. They’ve already let three members of the Bench Mob go, let’s not make Asik a fourth casualty.
Kevin Martin, SG (Sign-and-trade Omer Asik and Richard Hamilton for Kevin Martin)
If the Bulls are forced to part ways with Asik, it would be smart to avoid letting him leave for nothing. If Chicago threatens to match the Rockets offer, Houston may be willing to give up one of its big salaries to assure they can sign Asik. Also with Jeremy Lin almost certainly headed to Houston, the Rockets may want to free up money in case of a Dwight Howard deal. Enter Kevin Martin. K-Mart may not be the most realistic option, but Bulls fans all over forums are hoping Chicago can swing this deal. He gets paid $12.5 million next season in the final year of his contract, so the Bulls would need to get creative to free up cap space for him. K-Mart is injury prone and coming off one of his worst seasons as a pro, but if he returns to form and can average 15 to 20 points per game while shooting 40 percent for threes, he’ll be a steal.
Courtney Lee, SG (Sign as Unrestricted Free Agent or sign-and-trade $5.1 million TPE from Korver trade)
With the Rockets withdrawing his qualifying offer, Courtney Lee is officially an unrestricted free agent. His game isn’t flashy, but he’s a combo guard, plays hard and made a career-high 87 three-pointers (in a lockout season mind you) at a 40 percent clip last season. Lee has been on the Bulls radar for a couple of years and he’d be a perfect fit in Coach Thib’s system. Unfortunately, the Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics appear to be front-runners for his services.
Brandon Rush, SG (Sign-and-trade $5.1 million TPE from Korver trade and 2nd round pick)
This might be another tricky move for the Bulls to make, but if it works, man would it pay off. Rush is a big 6’6” shooting guard who can play on both ends and is a stellar three-point threat (shot 45 percent from downtown last season). In addition to his incredible three-point accuracy, Rush shot 50 percent from the field, which is unheard of for a guard who shoots so many three's. Despite his shooting prowess, Rush gets some slack for his lack of a driving game. He also tends to fall asleep during games and is too passive at times. Rush fits several needs for the Bulls and would be a nice addition.
Kirk Hinrich, PG/SG
The only thing separating Hinrich from being a Bull is signing his name on the dotted line. He’s a player that I used to love, but is far from the man he once was. I wouldn’t be so against this acquisition if he were to be a backup combo guard and defensive specialist, but it’s looking like he will be Chicago's starting point guard until Rose returns. Hinrich averaged 10.2 points and 4.3 assists per game in 48 games last season... per 40 minutes. Yeah, pretty ugly numbers. I’d rather see Watson return as our starting point guard, and don’t get me started with that guy.
Michael Redd, SG
200. That’s the total amount of games Redd has sat out the last four years. Considering the Bulls are reluctant to pick up another shooting guard, adding Redd would put a lot of weight on the shoulders of him and Richard Hamilton, two guys that can’t support it. Redd is far from the 20 points per game, 40% three-point shooter that he once was. After several knee surgeries, he’s essentially diminished to a solid scorer and post-up player for a guard. The Bulls can do without his 32% three-point shooting and DNP’s.
Derek Fisher, PG
When reports surfaced that the Bulls have shown interest in Derek Fisher, I threw up in my mouth a bit. Don’t get me wrong, he has five titles for good reason, he’s the ultimate role player and floor leader. He’ll also be 38 years old next season and coming off a campaign where he put up a measly 8.02 player efficiency rating. I don’t think he provides enough instant offense for the Bulls and he definitely wouldn’t make it as a starter. I’d rather see the Bulls take their chances with John Lucas III or Marquis Teague at the backup point guard spot.
This one is a major stretch, but it’s the dream of every Bulls fan, so it’s at least worth mentioning. It might be even more doubtful then thought of previously since J.A. Adande reported that Howard specifically listed two teams that he did NOT want to play for; the Atlanta Hawks and the Chicago Bulls. Not only are the Bulls off his short list of teams, but they’re on his list of teams that he wants to stay far away from. By some miracle chance that he could be had and would agree to a sign-and-extend, the Bulls could have the best offer. The offer listed above would trump any other offer and would probably keep the Magic in playoff contention. The Bulls will wait and see how the Howard situation works out and will hope that he would lighten up to the idea of becoming a Bull.
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Tags: Brandon Rush, C.J. Watson, Chicago Bulls, Courtney Lee, Derek Fisher, Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu, Houston Rockets, Joakim Noah, Kevin Martin, Kirk Hinrich, Kyle Korver, Luol Deng, Marquis Teague, Michael Redd, Omer Asik, Orlando Magic, Richard Hamilton, Ronnie Brewer, Taj Gibson