Few things are more important right now to the Chicago Bulls than getting star point guard Derrick Rose healthy. But a team's success isn't dependent on one player, and there are still a few cost-effective free agents the team could sign in order to solidify the depth of its roster.
Already being a tax team, it's unlikely the Bulls will want to bury themselves any deeper than they already are. That means their options are limited.
But that doesn't mean they're helpless.
The situation that Rose has found himself in is no secret to Bulls fans or anyone else who follows the NBA.
And considering Rose's injury history, the team would be wise to bring in an experienced point guard in case it's an ongoing issue in 2013-14.
While Nate Robinson filled in admirably this past season, as Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy recently tweeted, the veteran turned down Chicago's minimum offer:
Chicago contacted Nate Robinson and offered the minimum, per a source. He's searching for a more lucrative multi-year deal after big season.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 4, 2013
Robinson landing elsewhere would leave the Bulls slightly thin at point guard, only having Kirk Hinrich and Marquis Teague left.
Enter Derek Fisher.
The 38-year-old veteran is still one of the most experienced players when it comes to the playoffs, and he could lend his value to the Bulls if they're anticipating being championship contenders.
While Hinrich is a great second option behind Rose, he's had injury trouble himself throughout his career and, for that reason, can't be considered reliable.
Meanwhile, Teague will be in his second year and didn't log too many minutes in 2012-13.
Really, the Bulls couldn't go wrong offering Fisher the veteran minimum and hoping he wouldn't mind a change in scenery.
While he doesn't add much defensively—and is potentially a liability—he still provides leadership and a decent offensive arsenal.
If there's one position the Bulls could use some help—and depth—it's shooting guard.
Jimmy Butler made huge strides during the season, and in the games he played, Richard Hamilton was still fairly effective from an offensive standpoint.
But according to Berger, the Bulls will release Hamilton before July 10:
Rip Hamilton will soon be a free agent as the Bulls will waive him rather than guarantee his $5 million salary for next season, source says.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) July 2, 2013
Only $1 million of his $5 million contract for next season is guaranteed, so the team will save money by parting ways with the veteran.
While Ellington likely won't be the cheapest player the Bulls could pursue, he's young and would help form a solid duo of 2-guards with Butler moving forward.
Despite not posting great numbers, he has improved in each of his first four seasons and is clearly proving he can contribute, at the very least, off the bench in the NBA.
Much like potentially adding Fisher, it wouldn't be the most "sexy" addition, but Ellington could immediately provide offense for the Bulls at a position where they desperately need it.
Compared to his previous two seasons, Jermaine O'Neal experienced a revitalization when he dipped himself into the seemingly magic waters of the infamous Phoenix Suns training room.
In 55 appearances, O'Neal averaged 8.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting 48.2 percent from the field.
Given that he played just 18.3 minutes per game, those numbers are pretty impressive for the 34-year-old veteran. In fact, they translate to 15.9 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game when converted per 36 minutes.
And while he probably won't ever return to his old form, he proved this past season that he can still be a relatively important piece to someone's puzzle.
The Bulls aren't necessarily lacking frontcourt depth with Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson and Nazr Mohammad all filling spots on the roster, but given the frailty of Noah—Boozer isn't exactly a man of steel either—more depth never hurts.
And that becomes especially true during deep playoff runs, which Bulls fans and management alike probably hope to accomplish in 2013-14.
Regardless of his recent history, paying O'Neal the veteran minimum and hoping he can provide minutes in case of injury or foul trouble is less of a risk than not having an extra body when it's needed.
It's true that the Bulls could decide to sign a bigger name and simply pay more tax, but that's probably not the best idea.
Being financially responsible is important, and the aforementioned players can provide immense value, if only for one season.