Chicago Bulls fans witnessed a disappointing end to the season, but they can look forward to a fun offseason.
The Bulls were relatively quite last summer, signing Mike Dunleavy, retaining Nazr Mohammed and drafting the duo of Tony Snell and Erik Murphy. None of those moves were exactly earth-shattering.
Chicago doesn’t need much help in terms of defense. Led by Defensive Player of the Year Noah and guys like Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler, championship-caliber D assisted the club in reaching 48 wins despite the losses of Rose (season-ending knee injury) and Luol Deng (traded).
But the Bulls certainly need scoring added to the roster. The team finished the season last in the entire league with a horrific 93.7 points per contest.
Should they try to trade for Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Love? His addition would instantly turn the club into a legitimate title contender, that’s for sure.
Or perhaps they should attempt to bring prized European prospect Nikola Mirotic to Chicago.
What’s the perfect offseason plan for executives Gar Forman and John Paxson?
Acquire Carmelo Anthony
You knew Carmelo Anthony would make the list, not just because he’s featured in the main photo but because it makes way too much sense. It’s basically impossible to write a Bulls article these days without mentioning Melo.
The Bulls have to land an offensive machine this summer, no matter what it takes. While they’re not going to land Kevin Durant anytime soon, why not go after Anthony, the league’s second-best scorer?
Reeling in Anthony, a soon-to-be free agent, won’t be an easy task, since the Bulls do not possess any cap space at the present time.
In order to acquire the All-Star forward, they’ll have to either amnesty or trade Carlos Boozer, who’ll earn $16.8 million next season.
Bleacher Report’s D.J. Foster suggests that by going the amnesty route, the Bulls would be able to offer Anthony a contract starting at $16 million a year:
With a little bit of extra cap room to work with, the Bulls could give Anthony a deal starting around $16 million a year with annual increases by simply amnestying Boozer and clearing that space. That would certainly be a pretty big pay cut, as Anthony's option he'll decline to become a free agent would have paid him $23.3 million for this next season.
That may be too big of a pay cut for Anthony to take, so a sign-and-trade could be a more realistic option. The Bulls could send Boozer, Mike Dunleavy and one of their two first-round picks to New York, and perhaps the Knicks would accept the offer. Getting something in return for Anthony is better than nothing, right?
It’s imperative that the Bulls land Melo this summer. He would give Chicago the scorer they’ve been looking for to take pressure off Rose, who’s hopefully 100 percent healthy next season.
Re-sign D.J. Augustin
When the Bulls signed D.J. Augustin back in December, no one was necessarily ecstatic about the move. The 6'0" point guard had just been waived by the Toronto Raptors and definitely was considered a season-saving pickup.
Boy, were people wrong.
Augustin turned out to be one of the Bulls’ most valuable players, actually leading the team in scoring (14.9 points per game) and well, saving the season. Due to his speed, quickness and ability to put the ball in the hoop, he resembled a shorter Rose at times.
The Bulls have to do everything in their power to retain Augustin, as he would serve as an excellent backup for Rose next season. Plus, the two could be on the floor together sometimes, with Rose playing off the ball.
A free agent this summer, Augustin will probably receive several offers from other teams. However, the former Texas star apparently wants to stay in Chicago and could give the team a hometown discount, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
They definitely gave me an opportunity, and I owe them a lot. It's not always about the money. It's where you feel comfortable or where you fit. They told me they wanted me back. I definitely want to be here, and hopefully everything works out.
Unfortunately, we never got to see a D-Rose-Nate Robinson duo. But hopefully we’ll witness a Rose and Augustin pairing next year.
Draft Adreian Payne
If the Bulls are able to keep one of their first-round picks, selecting Michigan State’s Adreian Payne is a wise choice.
Although the Dayton, Ohio native isn’t expected to become a superstar at the next level, he can certainly emerge as a solid role player.
As a senior, Payne averaged 16.4 points and 7.3 boards per game while shooting 50.3 percent from the field and 42.3 from downtown. He can rebound, score in the post and obviously possesses a nice outside-shooting touch.
Payne dropped an unbelievable 41 points on Delaware during this year’s NCAA tournament.
In that particular game, he shot a perfect 17-of-17 from the free-throw line and knocked down four of his five three-point attempts.
Payne would fit in perfectly with the Bulls, serving as a stretch 4 and providing scoring off the bench. He would also make a great backup for Gibson, who’ll move into the starting lineup due to Boozer’s departure.
All stats are from Basketball-Reference.com and accurate as of May 6, 2014.