Surprising Roster Moves Chicago Bulls Could Make Before Season Starts
Before the regular season tips off, the Chicago Bulls could very well make a few unexpected decisions.
Chicago's roster consists of 12 players who have guaranteed or partially guaranteed contracts. At least one additional player must be added to meet the NBA's minimum requirement. Currently, there are three free agents—Mike James, Dexter Pittman and D.J. White—competing in training camp for a spot. Will management choose to sign just one more player to a guaranteed deal, or will the team go with two?
Recently waived by Chicago, Dahntay Jones was actually a good fit. He could've became a favorite of head coach Tom Thibodeau due to his defensive skills and plus he went to Duke. Everybody knows how much the Bulls love former Blue Devils.
Don't expect a trade anytime soon unless somebody offers an unprotected 2014 draft pick for Carlos Boozer. And we know that's not happening.
Waiving Dexter Pittman
Why would it be surprising if Dexter Pittman gets cut? He's not exactly a larger-than-life megastar or the final piece to Chicago's championship puzzle. True, but he's a much-needed center who can play behind Joakim Noah and primary backup Nazr Mohammed.
The Bulls passed up centers in the draft like Gorgui Dieng, Mason Plumlee and Rudy Gobert. Perhaps Pittman can make fans forget about those three rookies, well maybe a tad bit. At 6'11", he has ideal size and a soft touch around the basket.
Pittman is one of only two training camp invitees (Mike James is the other) to play in a preseason game this season so far. After not making an appearance during the opener versus the Indiana Pacers, he logged five minutes against the Memphis Grizzlies, recording four points and four rebounds. That's not a bad evening at all, especially while only playing a handful of minutes.
Noah, who averaged nearly 37 minutes per game last season, is expected to play a lot less this year. If Pittman makes the regular-season roster, he can team with Mohammed to help Noah rest and stay fresh for the playoffs. That's why it would be surprising to see "Pitbull" (a nickname he could pick up down the road) let go.
Keeping D.J. White
It's unlikely that D.J. White makes the Bulls' "real" roster. The team already has three power forwards in starter Boozer and backups Taj Gibson and Erik Murphy. There's really no point to carry four players at the position.
While White is a solid big man, he just doesn't provide anything that the Bulls lack at power forward. Boozer is one of the team's top scorers and rebounders, Gibson serves as a valuable defender off the bench and Murphy can fill it up from downtown.
The Bulls could use another center, and White has played there a little in the past. However, at 6'9", he may be a bit undersized for the position, making him more of a power forward.
Although he probably won't earn a regular-season roster spot, the former Indiana University star does have game. Here are some of his highlights from his Charlotte Bobcats tenure:
As you can see from the video, White can block shots, hit the jumper and looks like a pro when it comes to tip-ins. He's the type of player several teams would want on the end of their bench. It would be somewhat surprising, though, if he's still a Bull when the season begins.
Waiving Mike James
Chicago's roster includes three point guards: starter Derrick Rose as well as backups Kirk Hinrich and Marquis Teague. So why would Mike James have a realistic shot of making the team?
It's simple: He's familiar with Thibodeau's system. James played 11 games for the Bulls during the 2011-12 season, as Rose was sidelined due to injury. He did a fine job, averaging 4.8 points and 2.6 assists per game while shooting a red-hot 60 percent from beyond the arc.
James could serve as the team's third point guard behind Rose and Teague with Hinrich moving over to shooting guard. With 11 seasons under his belt, James would be a great mentor for the 20-year-old Teague, teaching him how to be an NBA floor general.
Although James is 38, which is basically ancient for a professional basketball player, he's not your typical nearly 40-year-old. Just last season, he started 23 games for the Dallas Mavericks. putting up 6.1 points and 3.1 assists per contest. Back in March, he was stellar versus the Utah Jazz with 19 points and five assists.
James provides veteran leadership, and every championship-caliber team needs that. He, of course, could be waived, a decision that just really wouldn't be a wise one.
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