Chicago Bulls: The Best Replacements for Derrick Rose and Luol Deng
No, Derrick Rose and Luol Deng are not gone forever! However, both Rose and Deng will be out with injuries for most of the 2012-2013 NBA season and the Bulls will need to find capable replacements to stay in the playoff hunt.
If Chicago can find two players who can keep them in a No. 4 seed or higher towards the end of the year—when both stars will return—the Bulls will have a fighting chance to make a deep playoff run. Here is a breakdown of Chicago's options and this video has even more detail on what the Bulls can do to contend for a title.
So, who can Chicago employ to replace Rose?
C.J. Watson and John Lucas, the team's two point guards on the roster, are not viable starting options. Instead, Chicago should look to bring in a veteran free agent who is willing to sign for less money to play for a contending team. The obvious name names are Steve Nash and Jason Kidd, but neither future Hall of Famer is a perfect fit: Nash wants to sign a multi-year deal and start, while Kidd has nothing left in the tank.
Chicago's lesser known but more viable options include: Andre Miller, Kirk Hinrich and Chauncey Billups. Miller is a very capable backup, as he proved in Denver last season and could keep the Bulls in the game until Rose returns.
Hinrich, an old fan favorite in Chicago, is coming off injuries and a down season but is still young enough that he is a decent starter when healthy. And Billups, himself coming off a bad injury, is still a starting-level player because his game is all about passing and pinpoint range shooting, which are the two skills that older players hold onto for the longest amount of time.
And who will replace Deng?
The Bulls have a few capable in-house options, including Richard Hamilton, the sharpshooting Kyle Korver and young Jimmy Butler.
But bringing in another player from outside will provide needed depth. Grant Hill, the former all-star, is the best free-agency option and he could be an X-factor bench player when Deng returns healthy. Alternatively, if Chicago spends its money elsewhere, the team can draft Jeffrey Taylor or Moe Harkless.
Chicago also has several other free agency or draft needs to address in tandem with replacing Rose and Deng.
The Bulls desperately need a 2-guard who can shoot the ball and create his own offense. That could push the team to make a trade for a player like Courtney Lee or J.J. Redick. Additionally, Chicago needs a tougher, more offensive post player than Carlos Boozer to create more points in the paint.
Ultimately, it is difficult to replace a defensive star and team captain like Deng and almost impossible to replace Rose, the team's franchise star. But Chicago does have options and, if it strikes gold, can hold on until the Bulls' stars return to health late next season.
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