Offseason Moves the Chicago Bulls Should Have Made
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Now that the offseason is in the rear-view mirror, did the Chicago Bulls make the best moves possible?
Going into the summer, the Bulls had little cap space to work with since they found themselves over the tax threshold. They were allowed to offer one player the tax-payer exception—a contract exceeding no more than $3.18 million for a maximum of three years.
Any other free agents would have to sign for the veteran's minimum.
In an effort to improve its three-point shooting, Chicago used the exception on sharpshooter and former Buck Mike Dunleavy, inking him to a two-year, $6.5 million deal. It also re-signed Nazr Mohammed to a one-year deal.
Jimmy Butler is set to be the starting shooting guard, and Derrick Rose's return will give the offense an immense boost. So, even though the Dunleavy and Mohammed signings were the only moves the Bulls made, they didn't need much else.
But did Chicago miss out on other opportunities? Let's look at some other moves and perhaps some alternative signings Chicago should have made.
Signing Michael Beasley
At $6 million, Michael Beasley was too expensive for the Bulls. However, the Phoenix Suns released him on Sep. 3, per ESPN. This led to Beasley signing a minimum, non-guaranteed contract nine days later with the team that originally drafted him: the Miami Heat, per ESPN.
Beasley hasn't exactly been a model player or teammate, as his lackadaisical efforts and off-court troubles left much more to be desired, but that doesn't mean the talent isn't there.
The former No. 2 overall pick was only a full-time starter in two of his five years. In those two years, he averaged 17 points on 45-percent shooting along with six rebounds. It's also worth noting that his scoring improved by five points upon his arrival in Minnesota—his second year as a starter—showing that Beasley was still developing.
A logjam situation in Minnesota saw him getting inconsistent minutes, though, and Beasley would average fewer than 12 points his second year with the team. Phoenix wasn't much better as he only played 20 minutes per game.
So, why should the Bulls have taken a chance on him?
It would have been a low-risk, possibly high-reward move. Chicago could have signed him to a non-guaranteed contract like Miami did. That way if Beasley didn't work out, it wouldn't lose much. If he had a successful training camp, though, the Bulls would have acquired a great spark off the bench at great value.
Beasley has all the tools to be an All-Star in the league, and if the Bulls had taken a chance on him, they could have wound up with a big second-unit asset.
Signing a Younger Backup Center
At 36 years of age, Mohammed might not be the best player to be backing up an All-Star center, especially when said center has a plantar fasciitis issue.
Joakim Noah's minutes are decreasing this upcoming season, meaning the Bulls will need a reliable backup who can play consistently during various stretches. Mohammed only averaged 11 minutes in 63 regular-season games.
To be fair, there weren't many options on the market this offseason, and it was smart to stick with a savvy veteran who's had one year under Tom Thibodeau's system. The concern is whether or not Mohammed can play 15 to 20 minutes per game for a full season.
One player the Bulls could have considered is Cole Aldrich, who is actually still a free agent. He's 12 years younger than Mohammed, and given his size he could be molded into a solid low-post defender.
What grade would you give the Bulls' offseason?
Ryan Hollins was another viable option. His athleticism would give Chicago's second unit a different look, allowing it to run even though Noah is on the bench. Hollins' length also makes him a very capable rim protector if he could learn the right timing and discipline.
The Bulls could have also addressed this issue via the draft, taking Gorgui Dieng who comes into the league as a good defender and rim protector.
While Mohammed may not be the worst choice—or even a bad one—there were better options out there that could have brought something different to the table.
It's hard to say Chicago missed out on anything, though. Their biggest addition for 2013-14 won't be a draft pick or free-agent acquisition; it will be the return of the 2011 league MVP, Derrick Rose.
At the end of the day, the Mohammed and Dunleavy signings weren't bad. They both add significant depth to the team, and the latter allows the Bulls to try out a lot of different lineups and strategies offensively.
Still, there is always a possibility they missed out on something by playing it a bit conservative.
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