Chicago Bulls Offseason Tracker: Latest Trade Rumors, Free-Agency News

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 2, 2013

Chicago Bulls Offseason Tracker: Latest Trade Rumors, Free-Agency News

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    For the Chicago Bulls, the 2013 offseason isn't about fine-tuning their championship-pedigree roster or scouring for budget acquisitions through free agency and trades.

    Well, not at first at least.

    Chicago's priority No. 1 (and 1A, A, AA, etc.) is returning a healthy Derrick Rose to the NBA hardwood. The 2011 MVP missed the entire 2012-13 season while recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in the previous postseason.

    Although he stayed not too far out of sight and never out of mind, speculative return dates and key rehab steps came and went without a single minute of game action ever coming to fruition.

    Assuming he'll be ready for next season—early reports sound very encouraging—then the Bulls can hit the free-agent trail and/or trade market in search of a perimeter marksman and another revamped "Bench Mob." Cash-strapped Chicago still has its taxpayer mid-level exception in hand and is already examining several ways to use that money.

    So who's in and who's out for the Rose-led Bulls? Here's a look at everything that's breezing through the Windy City this summer.

Luol Deng and Bulls Still Talking Extension

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    The Buzz

    UPDATE: Wednesday, July 17, at 9:07 a.m. ET by Dan Favale

    General manager Gar Forman told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times that the Bulls and Luol Deng continue to have discussions about an extension.

    Forman says that the "window" is certainly open, but he has no idea if something will be ironed out any time soon. He also denied that Chicago was interested in trading the All-Star small forward.

    ---End of update---


    According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Bulls are continuing extension talks with All-Star forward Luol Deng.

    Several league executives told Woj that they believe Deng's value is somewhere between four years and $48 million, and five years and $56 million.


    Buying or Selling?

    Locking up Deng now could be a smart move for the Bulls. It ensures they won't be outbid next summer to the point where they're forced to let him go or overpay for his services.

    One has to assume they're pretty confident he'll be able to stay healthy moving forward, otherwise signing him to a long-term extension wouldn't work.

    Some will want the Bulls to keep their options open, but even without Deng on the books next summer, they have more than $56 million owed in payroll. They're not going to find a better combination perimeter defender and scorer for the money they'd be able to spend.

Richard Hamilton Is on His Way out of Chicago

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    The Buzz

    UPDATE: Thursday, July 11, at 9:49 a.m. ET by Dan Favale

    Chicago has officially waived Richard Hamilton, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

    ---End of update---


    According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, the Chicago Bulls will waive Richard Hamilton prior to guaranteeing his $5 million salary.

    Per Berger, by waiving him before July 10, the team doesn't have to pay him the full $5 million.


    Buying or Selling?

    This was always an easy decision for the Bulls, so we're buying it.

    With the emergence of Jimmy Butler as well as the way Hamilton fell out of favor under Tom Thibodeau, Hamilton was never going to start the 2013-14 season on the roster.

Bulls Lowball Nate Robinson

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    The Buzz

    According to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld, the Bulls offered Nate Robinson the veteran's minimum to return to Chicago.

    Kennedy writes that Robinson is known to be looking for a more lucrative, multi-year deal.


    Buying or Selling?

    Buy the Bulls' interest, sell Robinson accepting that deal.

    While Robinson can be a bit of a loose cannon on offense, he provided the Bulls with explosion and endless heaps of energy off the pine last season. They don't win their first-round series against the Nets without him.

    In all fairness to Chicago, they don't have more to offer. After signing Mike Dunleavy, the veteran's minimum is all they're good for. Robinson is worth more than that at this point.

    I point you toward Kevin Martin, now of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    Last year, he averaged 18.2 points, three rebounds and 1.8 assists per 36 minutes for the Thunder on 45 percent shooting overall and 42.6 percent shooting from deep. Robinson, by comparison, put up 18.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists per 36 minutes with a 43.3 and 40.5 percent clips, respectively.

    Martin, 30, signed a four-year deal with Minny worth nearly $30 million. Robinson, 29, won't get that much because of how undersized he is, but given how much he can do, he certainly deserves more than the Bulls can offer.

Nazr Mohammed Returning to Chicago

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    The Buzz

    Nazr Mohammed has re-signed with the Bulls, according to Aggrey Sam of

    The one-year deal will pay Mohammed the veteran's minimum.


    Buying or Selling?

    Not much else to do other than buy here.

    Mohammed can provide solid minutes as a backup center and with the Bulls' payroll exceeding $73 million next season, they didn't have many other options.

    With the amount of injuries Chicago's front court tends to incur, Mohammed provides some much-needed insurance.

    Not to mention he's the Bulls' residential LeBron James enforcer.

Mike Dunleavy Agrees to 2-Year Deal

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    The Buzz's Marc Stein reports that free agent shooter Mike Dunleavy has verbally committed to a two-year, $6 million contract with the Chicago Bulls.

    A source told K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune that Dunleavy turned down a "slightly higher" offer from another team to sign with Chicago.


    Buying or Selling?

    Can't buy this move enough.

    He's not the sexiest signing, but Dunleavy immediately addresses Chicago's pressing need for a floor spacer. The career 37.2 percent three-point shooter is fresh off a career-best 42.8 percent long-range success rate with the Milwaukee Bucks last season.

    Bulls fans won't be the only ones excited by this acquisition, either. Although Dunleavy isn't what one would call a defensive stopper, he still knows his way around that end of the floor well enough to earn respect (and subsequent playing time) from Tom Thibodeau.

    Dunleavy's 32 years old, so there's no real room for improvement here. But that helped keep Chicago out of the bidding wars that may test the financial depths of J.J. Redick's suitors.

Mo Williams, Will Bynum on Chicago's Radar

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    The Buzz

    Shams Charania of reports that the Chicago Bulls have "significant interest" in free agents Mo Williams and Will Bynum.


    Buying or Selling?

    There's an obvious need for either Williams or Bynum even with a healthy Derrick Rose back in the rotation.

    Kirk Hinrich battled various injuries last season that kept him out of 22 regular-season games. Sophomore-to-be Marquis Teague remains incredibly raw after averaging just 8.2 minutes in 48 games during his rookie year.

    But simply having a need and having that need reach the transactions page are two completely different things.

    Neither Williams nor Bynum is an ideal fit for Chicago; Williams doesn't play defense, and Bynum is a career 26.9 three-point shooter. But the Bulls don't have the money to lure ideal candidates anyway.

    Chicago might not even have sufficient funds to draw in second-tier players like these two. That combined with a murky path to consistent playing time makes this a pretty easy sell.