Chicago Bulls’ fans are getting anxious wondering how good the team will be without an injured Derrick Rose for at least the first few months of the season. After having the best record in the NBA for the second consecutive season, the Bulls went into the playoffs with championship intentions. The injury to Rose changed the team’s fortunes.
In the early stages of the offseason, many believed that the talent was not there for the Bulls to make another run at the NBA title. A trade or a splash in free agency would have to be made in order for them to compete with the likes of the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics.
This offseason fans have witnessed the retooling of the bench, and they have raised concerns about Luol Deng’s wrist injury. As of now, the Bulls are not the favorites to win the NBA Central.
With the uncertainty surrounding the team, Bulls fans are daydreaming—daydreaming about what player can place them back into the NBA championship picture and a healthy Deng and Rose.
One of the players that can place the Bulls back into contention is the Oklahoma City Thunder's James Harden. He is one of six players that Bulls fans would love to see playing alongside Rose once he returns.
Atlanta Hawks’ Josh Smith is a perplexing talent who is in the last year of his contract. He is a high flyer on both ends of the basketball court. For one reason or another he is a square peg trying to fit in to a round hole.
The Bulls have not had a defender in the mold of Smith in a very long time. The activity around the basket has been a void for them ever since they traded Tyson Chandler to the New Orleans Hornets several seasons ago.
Smith would make the Bulls a stronger defensive team with his shot-blocking prowess.
Offensively, Rose would finally have a lob partner that has the athleticism to catch a pass and throw it down.
Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves is the perfect player who suits the Bulls’ needs. He can score, rebound and pass, and the Bulls could use help in each of those areas.
With Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer, the team has one of the best rebounding duos in the NBA. The Bulls would have to part with one of them to acquire Love, but his addition makes them stronger.
Love’s outside shooting touch is a luxury for any team, and it is something that the Bulls could use. The talk is that he and Rose are good friends and offseason workout partners.
Here is hoping that Love finds his way as Rose’s teammate on the Bulls.
Bulls fans recall Philadelphia 76ers guard Evan Turner for his brash declaration of wanting to face Rose and company in last season's playoffs. He became public enemy number one with his comments leading up to the first-round series. I developed a respect for him after he tried to back his comments up with his play.
In the playoff matchup, Turner was aggressive throughout. His aggression would look great in a Bulls uniform.
At 6’7”, he has the size, and he knows how to use it to get rebounds and defend.
I am not sure how he will fit in to the 76ers’ future, but if he becomes available, the Bulls must pounce.
James Harden has an old-school basketball game that needs room to grow. Playing as a background singer in Oklahoma City to the duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, growing will never happen for him.
Sure, he has become a good player with an Olympic gold medal to his credit, but Harden will always be the third option for the Thunder. That could open up the possibility for his free-agency departure at the end of next season or a trade during the season.
Harden could mesh well with Rose and Deng, also completing what would be a formidable starting lineup with Boozer and Noah in the mix.
Houston Rockets’ rookie Royce White would have been the player I wanted the Bulls to take back if they had orchestrated a complicated sign-and-trade for Omer Asik. He can shoot, rebound and handle the basketball and has star potential.
If White can get over his fear of flying in an airplane and translate that into flying on the basketball court, he will be a good pro. The flaw with my belief is that he has not played against pure NBA talent. If underutilized, White could turn out to be the second coming of former Bull James Johnson.
Johnson, had he been developed better, would have had better NBA success by now. White has the potential to do great things.
Brandon Jennings is the point guard of the Milwaukee Bucks, but that does not mean he would not look great in a backcourt with Rose moving to shooting guard.
Hearing the words of “Rose moving to shooting guard” is certain to get under the skin of Bulls fans. However, Rose may be better suited at shooting guard going forward given his ACL tear.
If that is the case, the Bulls will have to look for point guards. What better place to find one than 90 miles north of Chicago.
Jennings has the speed and court vision to fill the need. His addition also would give the Bulls a small, yet dynamic backcourt.