The biggest question that the Chicago Bulls have faced over the last couple of years is which star can they add to compliment Derrick Rose, take some of the offensive pressure off of him and help the Bulls to win a title.
Adding proven superstars to your team isn't as easy as it looks, though, especially in their prime. There's a reason that what the Miami Heat did was newsworthy.
There are a few ways that the Bulls could do this. They could add a proven superstar and give up more to get him. They could give up less and get a younger star who has had troubles with his current team. They could sign a free-agent superstar looking to pad his ring resume.
Not all of these are possible in the immediate future. In fact, the summer of 2014 might be the best time for the Bulls to make any major moves.
Derrick Rose is only 24, though. It's not like his window is about to close or that the team is struggling to win while he's on the court. Whatever moves they make need to be precise, not giving up too much to gain too little.
At the same time, they can't keep the whole they have intact and just add a superstar.
Here are some ideas of how they could add someone to play with Rose and win a title.
Tyreke Evans is falling out of favor with the Sacramento Kings. There's all kinds of speculation about different teams who might be interested in him, such as Orlando or Boston. This gets fueled by the fact that the Kings did not extend Evans before the trade deadline.
Now granted, the Kings could just match any offer, but normally, a player who has won Rookie of the Year doesn't need to wait to get extended. Evans, though, has regressed in each season since wining the award in 2010.
So why would the Bulls want him? Because he still has tremendous ability and potential. The Kings are right now not a good situation. When you take into account all the internal strife, i.e. DeMarcus Cousins, the starter-status of Isiah Thomas (not by his doing), the mess between the city, the team and the ownership and so on, it's arguable that this is the single most acrimonious situation in the NBA right now.
Who in Sacramento is fulfilling their talent?
What would it take to get him? Probably young assets at this point. The Bulls could send over Richard Hamilton to make the money work and add the Charlotte pick, the rights to Nikola Mirotic or both to get him. Other teams will be bidding, so it won't be free.
The delay in realizing those assets could actually be attractive as the ownership may be in flux. The new owners would like to have those assets at their disposal.
The other caution here is that Evans only makes 28 percent of his jumpers. A shooting guard who can't shoot might not compliment Rose that well. He does have fantastic ability to get the ball on the court, but especially if Rose's jumper isn't as improved when he comes back as we hope, the Bulls could have a backcourt that scores in the paint, but can't stretch the court.
Evans could solve some problems, but not all. He's worth considering, but caution needs to be exercised.
One of the reasons that the Bulls have had trouble finding a shooting guard is that there aren't that many truly high-quality shooting guards in the league. The number who can shoot from deep, drive the ball to the rim and defend you can virtually count on one hand.
There are the old warriors, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade. They aren't going anywhere. There are the ones who aren't really superstars, but get paid like it because the position is so shallow, such as Joe Johnson. Then there are a few young, up-and-coming players in O.J. Mayo, James Harden and Eric Gordon.
Harden just inked a massive deal. He's out of reach. Mayo has a player option for $4 million next year. He's not going to exercise that. He's going to be a free agent next year and make a lot more than that.
Only one of those players is even remotely obtainable, Eric Gordon, and even that is remote.
The Bulls would have to part with something serious to get him. A possible scenario would be sending Luol Deng, Marco Belinelli and Nate Robinson in return for Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu.
Aminou, who would serve as a replacement for Deng, has the potential to develop into a Deng-like workman, and Gordon would be far and away the best shooting guard that Rose would have played with, including his namesake, Ben Gordon.
Eric Gordon has a true jump shot and the ability to drive the lane and finish.
There are issues though. Gordon has a knee injury which hasn't stabilized yet, foremost among them. The Bulls would reluctant to have two questionable knees in their backcourt. On the other hand, the Bulls aren't likely to get a potential superstar shooting guard for cheaper than that.
Another option would be waiting until he becomes a free agent again in the 2014-15 season (supposing he doesn't exercise his player option) and make a run for him in free agency.
Andrew Bynum would be another huge gamble. Philadelphia already took that gamble and lost. It's a very risky play, but if it paid off the Bulls would come up huge.
An inside-out tandem of Bynum and Rose would be unquestionably one to fear. The Bulls could have in Bynum what they'd hoped to have in Carlos Boozer, a truly dominant low-post scorer who can also be a monster on the boards.
So the question then becomes, how do they get him? Well, Bynum's value is unquestionably at a low right now. That doesn't mean it can't get lower. In fact, it's the possibility of it getting lowered that causes concern. The fear is that no one knows just how many minutes are left on Bynum's knees.
So how could they get him? With a huge roll of the dice and sending Joakim Noah to Philadelphia this summer in a sign-and-trade. Of course, this is also hoping that no one offers Bynum a huge amount of money, risks notwithstanding.
While the risk is great, and the chances of a deal actually working out are slim, it's a possibility the Bulls should at least consider.
This one might seem ridiculous on the surface, and completely hopeless. And for right now it absolutely is, but in a couple of years, there's actually a possibility that it could work.
Second, Love and Derrick Rose are close friends who work out in the offseason together.
Third, Love wants to play for a contender, and the Bulls are definitely that.
Fourth, because of the prior reasons stated, it is not at all unlikely that if Love had a "Dwight Howard-like" wish list, that the Bulls could be on it.
Fifth, believe it or not, Carlos Boozer's contract, if he's still a Bull, would have value at this point because it would be a $16.8 million expiring contract.
That coupled with a player like Marquis Teague, and the rights to Nikola Mirotic and/or the Bobcats pick—both of which would then be eminently arriving—would be a trade package most teams wouldn't be able to match. It would give the 'Wolves cap relief and young assets, typically what teams in that situation are looking for.
Kevin Love in a Bulls uniform in a couple of years would be a reasonable possibility. And with his three-point shooting, he would be a fantastic compliment to Derrick Rose, as he could step out and open up the paint for Rose's drives.
Uh oh! Here we go again. Butt yes, another possibility is LeBron James. Here's why.
The Miami Heat right now are projected to have massive taxes due in the 2014-15 season, as they will start facing the repeater tax, and that's on top of having three consecutive years of salaries in the range of $85 million.
That means that the Heat would be facing a tax burden of $60 million (based on the 4.25 repeater rate) in 2014-15, meaning they'd have to pay out $145 million in taxes and salaries, a massive sum of money for what really is a mid-market team. They might be "Hollywood," but they aren't in Hollywood.
This has caused some to speculate that the Heat might have to break up the "Big Three" that year. But what if the Big Three, rather than put themselves at the mercy of the Heat, don't exercise their options and go where they want?
Would LeBron James betray his fans and go to greener pastures to chase more rings? He has a history of doing so. He even has a history of taking less pay to do so. And in Chicago, where Derrick Rose and Michael Jordan have made literally hundreds of millions in endorsement deals, salary is secondary anyway.