With financial constraints limiting Chicago's 2012-13 offseason moves, the Bulls have been a very quiet player in what has been a very busy free-agent market. In fact, Chicago has been more active in player subtraction than addition.
In an apparent effort to avoid paying more luxury tax, the Bulls' front office has declined team options on guards C.J. Watson and Ronnie Brewer, making them unrestricted free agents.
It should be noted that not exercising team options on Brewer and Watson and trading Korver will not create any cap space to to sign other free-agent targets. These moves were made for the sole purpose of shedding salary and saving luxury tax dollars.
Therefore, John Paxon, Gar Forman and Jerry Reinsdorf must do something to improve Chicago's roster before next season begins. It is very unlikely that the Bulls' front office makes any big trades or bold moves (or even the logical move of amnestying Carlos Boozer), so all fans can hope for is that they try something.
I suggest that Chicago make the following small-time personnel moves to salvage the remaining offseason and help Chicago earn an unimpressive "C" grade for handling the post-Derrick Rose injury period.
Move 1: Don't match Omer Asik's free-agent tender from the Houston Rockets
While Asik is a very good defender, he is one of the worst offensive players in the NBA (probably in the top five).
He can only score by dunking the basketball and catches merely half of the passes thrown his way. Asik is a good player, but not worth $25 million over three years.
That money is better earmarked for next season when Taj Gibson's contract is up and needs to be extended.
What Chicago needs to do is work out a sign-and-trade deal with Houston for Courtney Lee. The Bulls could send Asik to Houston and bring back Lee as the starting shooting guard of the future.
Lee plays defense and hits three-pointers at a very respectable clip. Without the assistance of a sign-and-trade arrangement, Chicago cannot afford to sign Lee as a free agent and would have no chance of acquiring his services.
Move 2: Trade Kyle Korver to the Atlanta Hawks for Kirk Hinrich
Although Chicago has reportedly agreed to sign Hinrich, the signing is not final. A sign-and-trade swap with Atlanta would allow Chicago to keep its mini mid-level exception (around three million dollars) to use on signing another free-agent target.
Atlanta has interest in acquiring Korver, which means this deal would be a win-win situation for both teams. Chicago could move Korver for a player it already has interest in obtaining and save some money in the process. Atlanta could acquire Kover without having to send a draft pick to Chicago by simply re-signing and trading an unrestricted free agent it has no interest in keeping.
Move 3: Sign Jordon Hill
Use the mini mid-level exception originally offered to Hinrich and saved through the sign-and-trade deal with Atlanta to sign former Houston Rocket and Los Angeles Laker center Jordan Hill.
Chicago could sign the offensive-minded big man using the $3 million mini mid-level exception. Hill would be a solid backup to Joakim Noah at center and could be a contributing member of the bench mob for the next few years.
Move 4: Sign Michael Redd
The Bulls' front office must find a way to sell Michael Redd on why he needs to be in a Chicago uniform next season. Redd is nowhere near the player he used to be, but he can still shoot lights-out and can still score.
Redd would act as a Korver replacement in the shooting department and would fill that role at a fraction of the price.
Move 5A: Get a veteran center or power forward
Sign a veteran center or veteran power forward to a minimum contract to be the fifth big.
When I say that Chicago needs to bring in another big, I am talking about a bruiser, an enforcer. The Bulls need a veteran big man with some toughness to do the dirty work, like Kurt Thomas provided two years ago or like Brad Miller provided before him.
Think of a Ronny Turiaf or Jason Collins-type player. Maybe even Darko Milicic, since he cleared waivers today.
Move 5B: Re-sign Ronnie Brewer
Re-sign Ronnie Brewer to a veteran minimum contract.
Brewer said that he would be open to a return to the Bulls at a reduced salary if he cannot find more money in the open market. The Knicks reportedly have interest in Brewer, but they can only offer a veteran minimum contract.
Hopefully, Ronnie will elect to sign with Chicago for a veteran minimum deal before agreeing to play elsewhere for the same amount. If he is willing to accept what Chicago can pay, he is no-brain player to bring back.
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