With a returning superstar in Derrick Rose, two first-round draft picks and enough potential cap space to acquire another star player, there are more rumors surrounding the Chicago Bulls than most NBA teams.
Assuming Rose is able to stay healthy next season, expectations for the Bulls are high in a weak Eastern Conference. The Bulls had the best defense in the league last year and went 48-34 without their best player, which means that Chicago could be a legitimate contender depending on what happens this offseason.
As the team prepares for the 2014 NBA draft on Thursday, here are a few of the most recent rumors surrounding the Bulls.
Chicago Trying to Trade for Arron Afflalo
While the Bulls dominated teams defensively last season, they struggled on offense, ranking dead last with just 93.7 points scored per game. Even with Rose returning, the Bulls are apparently looking for some shooters to take the pressure off of their point guard.
One name that has been linked to Chicago is Orlando Magic swingman Arron Afflalo. According to Adrian Wojnarowski from Yahoo Sports, the Bulls are actively pursuing a trade for Afflalo that would likely involve sending away a first-round pick.
At 28 years old, Afflalo is coming off of the best season of his career, averaging 18.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per game while shooting 45.9 percent from the floor. He was also one of the deadliest three-point shooters in the Association, shooting 42.7 percent from behind the arc.
While the Bulls could use Afflalo's services, the problem with bringing him in would be his rather large contract. According to Spotrac, he's set to make over $7.3 million each of the next two seasons, with an early termination option after next year. If the Bulls brought in his contract, it would make things harder for them to afford a superstar, unless said player was willing to accept a pay cut.
Bulls Willing to Trade Away Both First-Round Picks?
Speaking of having enough cap space, the Bulls are apparently trying to do whatever it takes to have enough room to bring in Carmelo Anthony, who recently opted out of his contract with the New York Knicks.
Alex Kennedy from Basketball Insiders tweeted that the Bulls are actually willing to trade away both of their first-round picks for future first-rounders so that they can have enough cap room to pursue Carmelo.
Source: The Bulls may trade both of their first-rounders (#16 and #19) for future firsts, to free up cap space for Carmelo Anthony pursuit.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 19, 2014
While rookie contracts aren't usually very big, especially after the first few picks, their deals could add up enough to make it harder for Anthony to be willing to move to Chicago, even if it meant that he had a chance to win an NBA title.
The trio of Rose, Carmelo and Joakim Noah would be a difficult one for teams to deal with, but the team will need to have enough cap space. One option to do that would be to amnesty Carlos Boozer so that they can avoid having his $16.8 million count against the cap. At 32 years old, Boozer had a rough season, and replacing him with Carmelo would give the Bulls a more long-term option down low.
It's still not clear where Carmelo will end up, but if the Bulls do end up trading both first-round picks, they'll likely have enough room to offer Anthony a big enough deal to convince him to come to Chicago.
Kevin Love a Potential Trade Target
With all of the rumors surrounding Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love, the Bulls are reportedly in the mix to acquire the talented 25-year-old.
Who will the Bulls acquire this offseason?
In his latest mock draft, ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required) said that the Bulls are offering both of their first-round picks along with Taj Gibson and Tony Snell for Love, saying that they are the "latest suitors" for the three-time All-Star.
If the trade were to happen, the Bulls would be getting rid of Gibson's $8 million contract to free up more cap space. Love is set to make $15.7 million this coming season, so the Bulls could afford his contract with the move.
The numbers are hard to ignore for Love. He averaged 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds per game while shooting 45.7 percent from the floor. According to Basketball-Reference, he ranked third in the NBA with 14.3 win shares and a 26.9 player efficiency rating. Only Kevin Durant and LeBron James were ahead of him in both categories.
While it would be unlikely, there would still be the possibility of signing Anthony if the team were to amnesty Boozer and Carmelo was willing to accept a pay cut. Of course, that's a huge long shot, but it would make the Bulls the instant favorite to win in the East.
All of the rumors currently involve the Bulls getting rid of one or both of their first-round picks, so the best-case scenario is that one of these happen. However, even if one of these rumors comes true, it will likely make the Bulls a much more interesting team to watch this coming season.
Note: All contract information provided by Spotrac.