Bulls Rumors: Ranking Bulls Priorities Before Official Free Agency Period Begins
The Chicago Bulls have been one of the quietest teams so far during the 2012 offseason, but that's bound to change.
The Bulls have difficult decisions to make regarding whether to pick up the final years of Kyle Korver and C.J. Watson's contracts and they need to figure out if they want to match the massive $25.1 million offer the Houston Rockets made for center Omer Asik.
In addition to all of that, the Bulls need to figure out what they are going to do if Derrick Rose isn't ready to return at the start of the season. Needless to say, the Bulls have a lot of things to focus on this offseason.
Ahead is a ranking of the Bulls' priorities before the official fre agency period begins.
5. Acquire a Veteran Center to Replace Omer Asik
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Chicago Bulls' backup center, Omer Asik, has reportedly agreed with the Houston Rockets on a three-year, $25.1 million deal.
That's great news for Asik, who is finally getting his chance to be a big-time center in the NBA. But it's bad news for the Bulls who now have a gaping hole in their second unit at the center position.
The Bulls could decide to go with a smaller frontcourt and just insert Taj Gibson at both the power forward and center positions behind Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, but that would be a risky move to make.
The best move the Bulls can make is to pursue a low-cost free agent like Greg Stiemsma, Daniel Orton or Ryan Hollins so that they can have a big body in the paint to give Noah some rest. This isn't an ideal solution for the Bulls lack of frontcourt depth on the bench, but it is at least a step in the right direction.
4. Pick Up the Final Year of Kyle Korver's $5 Million Contract
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The Chicago Bulls are reportedly on the fence about picking up the final year of Kyle Korver's $5 million contract.
$5 million is a lot to commit to a player who's older and often held back by injuries, like he was against the Philadelphia 76ers this past postseason with nagging hip and knee injuries. But it's a move the Bulls absolutely must make.
Korver is more than a streaky three-point specialist. He's a player who brings a lot of heart, hustle and determination to the court for a Bulls team that will be lacking it without Derrick Rose for a few months to start the season.
Re-signing Korver is a must for the Bulls if they want to survive until Rose returns next season.
Korver can be the veteran leader in the locker room and on the court that the Bulls will need throughout the early stretch of the 2012-'13 season.
3. Don't Pick Up the Final Year on C.J. Watson's $3.7 Million Contract
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In addition to figuring out whether to pick up the final year of Kyle Korver's contract, the Bulls also need to make that decision regarding their backup point guard, C.J. Watson.
Watson's $3.7 million contract is less than Korver's $5 million, but the Bulls need to cut ties with Watson. He isn't the point guard who can help the Bulls as they wait for Rose's return.
If the Bulls fail to let Watson loose, they'll have an inefficient point guard with poor shot selection, and that could seriously hold them back during the early parts of the 2012-13 season.
Not picking up the team option on Watson's contract would clear space for the Bulls to pursue a veteran point guard this offseason who could help them remain competitive without Rose, then transition into a backup role once Rose returns.
If the Bulls start the 2012-13 season with Watson as their starting point guard, they could be in for a very long start to the season.
2. Sign Kirk Hinrich to a Two or Three-Year Deal
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With questions surrounding the timeline for Derrick Rose's return next season, the Bulls need to sign a veteran point guard who can lead them within their physical and tough approach to the game.
That player is undoubtedly Kirk Hinrich. According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, the Bulls are emerging as Hinrich's top target.
Not only did Hinrich play his first seven NBA seasons with the Bulls, but he's the kind of point guard the Bulls need in the starting lineup while Rose is out. Hinrich would also be useful coming off the bench once Rose returns.
Hinrich embodies the toughness that defined the Bulls on the defensive side of the ball last season, and he can help them transition that toughness to the offensive side of the ball.
While the Bulls will most likely have to offer Hinrich more than the veteran minimum to come to Chicago, they should be willing to overpay to land Hinrich.
Hinrich would not only add offensive production to the Bulls, he would, more importantly, add the ability to create offense for his teammates. That's exactly what the Bulls need until Rose returns.
1. Decide Not to Match Omer Asik's Three-Year, $25.1 Million Offer
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Once July 11th rolls around and free agents are actually allowed to sign new contracts with teams, the Bulls will then have three days to match the three-year, $25.1 million offer the Houston Rockets made to Omer Asik.
The Bulls need to make sure they've decided not to offer Asik that contract before July 11th.
The Bulls' top priority this offseason is to not match that offer, because while Asik is a solid second-unit center, he's not worth that financial commitment—especially for a Bulls team with a lot of money tied up in Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.
Matching the Rockets' massive offer for Asik would mean that the Bulls would almost certainly have to amnesty Boozer at the end of the 2013-14 season, and that's not a move the Bulls should make.
If the Bulls match the Rockets offer, they will be holding themselves back when it comes to the future of the Bulls franchise, and that's not a move the Bulls should even consider making.