Ranking the Chicago Bulls' Most Likely NBA Free Agency Moves

Andres MonteroContributor IMay 22, 2013

Ranking the Chicago Bulls' Most Likely NBA Free Agency Moves

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    The Chicago Bulls don't have a lot of cap room to make a big splash this offseason, but that doesn't mean there won't be a few changes.

    Upcoming free agents like Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli increased their value with their great performances during the regular season and playoffs, so it might not be possible to re-sign both players.

    There's also the possibility of bringing in some new faces. The Bulls need a big man on their bench, and they'll need some backup 2-guards and someone to spell Luol Deng.

    Chicago might not make a ton of noise, but there are more than a few moves—both in-house and on the market—they could make.

    Rankings will be based on the likelihood of the signing.

5. Re-Signing Nate Robinson

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    Little Nate's heroics carried the Bulls for a majority of the postseason, so an attempt to re-sign him should be expected.

    It will be tough to do so, though, because his stock is higher than ever. Teams will go after him to try to add some scoring off the bench and will be able to pay more than Chicago might be willing to.

    Ultimately, the decision will be up to Robinson. The Bulls will be a title contender next season with Derrick Rose back, but that also means Chicago will have four point guards on the roster.

    Robinson gives the Bulls a big scoring boost off the bench (13 points per game), something they won't have if they let him go. He also served as one of the Bulls' go-to players in tight games.

    There will likely be more lucrative offers for Robinson, so the Bulls' chances are slim. Don't get your hopes up on seeing Nate back in Bulls red.

4. Re-Signing Marco Belinelli

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    Belinelli proved that he was much more than just a spot-up shooter. His ability to run an offense and create for himself and those around him is rare to find at his position.

    Unfortunately for the Bulls, that means a lot of teams will go after him during free agency.

    Chicago should still look to re-sign him if possible. His price tag is definitely higher than it was this season and could be the reason the Bulls can't bring him back.

    The other problem is that Jimmy Butler makes just over $1 million and could retain the starting job, making him a much cheaper option. Belinelli could command somewhere between $4-5 million and he'd be a bench player.

    However, Belinelli would fit in perfectly with Rose; he takes pressure off of him by being able to create for himself. He'd also allow Rose to play off-ball during certain plays, adding some diversity to the Bulls' offense.

    It will be difficult, but there is a small chance that Belinelli returns to Chicago next season.

3. Signing a Three-Point Shooter

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    The Bulls were in the bottom 10 in three-point shooting percentage, so adding a three-point shooter could help spread out their offense.

    Daequan Cook is a good option because he's been with the team for a while and knows the system. However, he only shot 24.6 percent from downtown with the Bulls.

    There are several other players that could come for a good price, though.

    Roger Mason, Leandro Barbosa, James Anderson, Matt Barnes and Chase Budinger are all options the Bulls could look at to improve their three-point shooting.

    With Rose coming back next season, there will be more opportunities for open shots because he constantly draws in extra defenders.

    Chances are the Bulls will bring back Cook because he's familiar with the system, but they could choose to sign another player along with Cook.

    Expect the Bulls to sign a three-point specialist or two.

2. Re-Signing Nazr Mohammed

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    Chicago could choose to draft a center late in June, but it never hurts to have an experienced player who knows the system.

    Tom Thibodeau isn't known for playing rookies, but the Bulls' thin frontcourt might change that should they acquire a young center in this year's draft. This gives Mohammed a chance to have that mentor role and also serves as insurance policy in case of injuries.

    Mohammed should once again come at the veteran's minimum, so it won't be a problem for the Bulls to re-sign him.

    Mohammed proved his worth late in the season filling in for Joakim Noah, averaging seven points and seven rebounds per game during the month of April.

    He also gave the Bulls quality minutes in their first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets, averaging seven points and more than four boards in games where he played at least 13 minutes.

    Mohammed should remain in Chicago.

1. Buying out Rip Hamilton

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    Rip Hamilton's $5 million contract will probably be coming off the books this summer. The Bulls have an option to buy out his contract for $1 million and will most likely exercise that option.

    Hamilton missed 32 games this season, and once he returned, he was out of the rotation, only playing due to the overwhelming amount of injuries the Bulls incurred.

    Hamilton's injury history and lackluster performance over the past two seasons make him expendable

    He was brought in to be the scoring guard the Bulls needed, but instead, he averaged just 10.7 points over the past two years while missing 70 games in that same span.

    With Butler expected to take over the starting 2-guard role, there isn't much of a need for Hamilton.

    Unless both parties come to an agreement on a smaller contract, Hamilton should be hitting the free-agent market this summer.