Source confirms Marco Bellinelli's deal with the Bulls is done. Also: Bulls attempting to sign summer-leaguer Malcolm Thomas to 1-year deal.— Aggrey Sam (@CSNBullsInsider) July 23, 2012
Ignore the second part of that tweet for now. Well, if you're a Chicago fan, don't ignore it, but let's focus on Belinelli.
ESPN Chicago reported before the deal that Belinelli was expected to sign for the bi-annual exception. That comes to just less than $2 million. The report then defers to ESPN salary cap expert Larry Coon, and he sheds some light on Chicago's overall situation.
By using the bi-annual exception, the Bulls hard cap themselves at $74 million for the season. As ESPN salary cap expert Larry Coon has stated, the hard cap may preclude the Bulls from making any major in-season acquisitions. They will have to add minimum salaried players to fill out the roster.
That may seem scary to Chicago faithful, but Belinelli is a very good option at this point. The free agent market is mostly dried up, and the Bulls desperately need to add firepower to their rotation. Granted, as the report says, they did officially bring Kirk Hinrich into the fold, but a real contender can never have enough perimeter shooters.
The Bulls already moved their most pure shooter from last season when they sent Kyle Korver to Atlanta in a three-way deal that also included Minnesota. For a team without their best offensive player (Derrick Rose) for at least a portion of the season, signing a capable scorer in the backcourt is absolutely necessary to their success next season.
Belinelli has played for three different teams in his five-year NBA career. He averaged 8.9 points per game for his career, and he shoots 39 percent from beyond the arc.
Neither one of those figures will change games, but he can spread the floor. This will allow Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah to work on the interior.
The Bulls are still going to win games on the defensive end of the floor. Outside of Rose, they simply don't have a go-to option on offense, and that includes Rip Hamilton as their starting shooting guard. Belinelli won't change what we already know about Chicago, but he could make the harsh truth about their offense easier to face.
If the Bulls want to contend with Miami next season, they will have to find a way to put the ball in the basket. It's going to require a team effort, and that means Tom Thibodeau will need plenty of dangerous shooters.
No one will ever mistake Belinelli for a star, but he's Chicago's best possible option at this point in the rat race that we like to call NBA free agency.
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