Ranking Ideal 2013 Free-Agent Targets for Chicago Bulls
If the Chicago Bulls are fully healthy, they are just a piece or two away from title contention.
Quite frankly, a few sensible offseason additions could be just enough to vault them past the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls already possess a stellar assemblage of marquee players—namely Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng—so they shouldn't proceed with any major moves over the summer. Nothing glamorous is necessary.
Truthfully, any bold moves would actually create more harm than good, because the free-agency class is limited and a significant signing would strain their financial flexibility for next summer (when the class is loaded with talent).
They should thus pursue a few complementary players who will mesh effectively with Chicago's core and style of play.
The free-agency period is approaching fast, and it's fitting to rank their ideal targets. If numerous players listed here are playing in the Windy City in 2013-14, then the Bulls might find the exact chemistry they need for a deep playoff push.
5. Kyle Korver
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A Kyle Korver return to Chi-town is very realistic.
The Bulls are in dire need of three-point shooting, and Korver certainly provides this. Plus, he's already familiar with Chicago's schemes from his previous two-year stint (2010-12) with the Bulls.
Specifically, he would give the Bulls' second unit scoring punch. He would likely play less than 15 minutes a game, but he's the type of player who can be a difference-maker on any given night. His shooting ability is what the Bulls need to stretch defenses and create more accessible scoring opportunities.
What's more, the Bulls could also likely nab him at a manageable price.
Last year, he played for $5 million, but he's unlikely to garner such figures in his next deal. He is now 32 years old and is a defensive liability.
Therefore, if the Bulls can ink him in the $2-3 million range for a year or two, then such a maneuver would feature legitimate logic.
One thing is for sure: Bulls TV commentator Stacey King would surely be thrilled to once again scream, "Give me the hot sauce!"
4. Samuel Dalembert
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Samuel Dalembert would give the Bulls a needed upgrade at center off the bench.
Since Omer Asik departed for the Houston Rockets last summer, the Bulls have scraped by with Nazr Mohammed, but they shouldn't attempt this again.
Dalembert is younger and more versatile than Mohammed, and his per-36 numbers (according to Basketball-Reference) from 2012-13 are eye-opening: 14.7 points per game, 13.0 rebounds per game and 2.5 blocks per game.
He would help solidify Chicago's "Bench Mob" and gives them insurance if Noah suffers a notable injury. Dalembert is accustomed to playing regular minutes and could fill in as a starter in productive fashion.
The key question regarding Dalembert is money. He's coming off of a year in which he made more than $6 million. It's doubtful that any team will throw that much at him, but how much will the 32-year-old's asking price decrease?
If it comes down to around $2-3 million, then the Bulls and Dalembert should strike a deal promptly.
3. Tony Allen
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Tony Allen will be difficult to lure away from the Memphis Grizzlies, but he would certainly mesh wondrously with Chicago's defensive identity.
The Bulls should specifically seek Allen's services if they trade Deng in the coming months. Then, the Bulls will need another perimeter defender, and Allen has proven he can efficiently contain the league's elite.
The bottom line with Allen is that he's a winner. He's a feisty competitor who has already won a championship with the Boston Celtics, and he's currently helping the Grizzlies overachieve in their 2013 playoff run.
Good things happen when Allen is in your corner. That's why the Bulls should wisely consider bringing the veteran guard to Chicago, which is conveniently where he's from.
He will certainly be sought after during the offseason, so his price could be too high, but the Bulls should definitely inquire because he would be an invaluable asset to have against the star-studded Miami Heat.
2. Jermaine O'Neal
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The Bulls have made a habit of finding aging big men and generating production out of them. Brad Miller, Kurt Thomas and most recently Mohammed have established this trend in recent campaigns.
Jermaine O'Neal could effectively keep this pattern going.
O'Neal will be 35 years old in 2013-14, but he's coming off of a surprisingly impressive season. Consider his per-36 numbers for 2012-13, according to Basketball-Reference: 15.9 points per game, 10.3 rebounds per game and 2.7 blocks per outing.
If he can stay healthy, he clearly has something left in the tank.
O'Neal would provide Chicago's bench with a more adept offensive and defensive big man than Mohammed, who was serviceable but heavily limited.
A major positive to adding O'Neal is that he would be a bargain. He played for less than $1 million last season, and while his quality 2012-13 could increase his value on the market, it won't skyrocket due to his age and history of injuries.
Therefore, the Bulls should call him immediately and insert him into their frontcourt rotation behind Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer.
1. Marco Belinelli
The Bulls' No. 1 free-agent target wore red and white last year. Their main free-agency objective should be to re-sign Marco Belinelli to a three-year deal.
This could be a challenge, however. The Bulls are strained financially and can't afford a pricey contract. Therefore, they need Belinelli's offer to be logical.
They should go after him again this summer due to the steady contributions he made during the season and playoffs. He gives them a respectable three-point shooter, and he also has a savvy way of creating off the dribble.
While the Bulls will likely lose Nate Robinson, it would be unfortunate if they also lost Belinelli. These core members of Chicago's bench were superb contributors, and it would be disappointing if they both landed elsewhere over the summer.
Belinelli, in particular, should return to the Windy City in the forthcoming ventures. He's just 27 years old and could remain a featured bench player as the Bulls chase a title the next few springs.