Ranking Chicago Bulls' Most Believable 2014 NBA Free Agency Rumors

Andres MonteroContributor IJuly 3, 2014

Ranking Chicago Bulls' Most Believable 2014 NBA Free Agency Rumors

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Free agency is a time filled with rumors, and the Chicago Bulls have been right in the middle of it.

    From everything Carmelo Anthony to trades to other free-agent targets, the Bulls have been a regular when it comes to speculation.

    There's no surprise the Bulls' summer has revolved around Anthony, one of the league’s best scorers over the last few years. His impact would be felt instantly, and he would definitely make the Bulls one of the favorites to make the NBA Finals, if not win it.

    In order to acquire the 2013 scoring champion, though, players will likely have to be moved, and a few guys have been involved in rumored trades already.

    Aside from the Anthony saga, the Bulls also have a roster to fill out, and there have been a couple of names thrown out as to who else Chicago could acquire.

    So what should we believe? Ranking will be based on the likelihood that each story happened (or will happen) and whether the move would even make sense for the Bulls.

Nikola Mirotic Is Coming This Year

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    Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press

    Mirotic's status was up in the air the entire 2013-14 season. Would he come for the 2014-15 campaign? The following year is the more likely scenario, you say?

    Well, it appears there was a sudden change.

    Over the last month, Real Madrid coach Pablo Laso and Mirotic haven't exactly seen eye to eye, per Fernando Ruiz, a writer for Yahoo's Eurosports section (article in Spanish).

    After Mirotic initially said he'd like to return to Real Madrid for a chance to win a Euroleague title, it appears that wish has ended. If true, Mirotic is likely in the United States by now and plans to meet with the Bulls to try to work out a deal, per Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.

    Unfortunately for the 23-year-old, he's probably not a priority. At least not yet.

    Not only does Mirotic have to buy out of his own contract—to which Chicago can contribute $600,000, per Cowley—but the Bulls are clearly going after Anthony as their No. 1 option this summer.

    Mirotic may plan to be a Bull next season, but if the Bulls land 'Melo, he'll unfortunately be the one waiting now.

Chicago Made a Move for Kevin Love

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    Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press

    Chicago is all-in on improving its roster and making sure the championship window doesn't close. That's why the Kevin Love rumor is more than likely true.

    According to ESPN insider Chad Ford (subscription required), the Bulls offered Taj Gibson, Tony Snell and their two first-round picks for the two-time All-Star. With the draft over, though, that deal is presumably dead.

    The Minnesota Timberwolves don't actually have to trade him this year since he's still under contract. The Bulls aren't going to wait around, either, especially when there's another star that can be brought in.

    This does, however, bring up another rumor.

    A few weeks ago, sources close to Love said Derrick Rose preferred if the Bulls could work out a deal for the star forward, per Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News.

    There could be some truth to it; after all, Rose and Love came up together through the high school circuit and were workout partners in Los Angeles along with Russell Westbrook during various summers, as CSN Chicago’s Aggrey Sam notes.

    It's also a move that would be a great fit for Chicago, giving them one of the strongest frontcourts in the league as well as a pick-and-pop partner for Rose.

    However, there are a few teams that could put forth better offers, like the Golden State Warriors with Klay Thompson (if they really want Love) or the Houston Rockets with Chandler Parsons, both young players the T-Wolves could build around.

    It's possible Chicago could make a move for Love, but there could be a few teams with more enticing offers.

Bulls' Interest in Ramon Sessions

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    This one is definitely one of the more likely scenarios. As Basketball Insiders' Alex Kennedy reported, Chicago has some interest in Ramon Session, who most recently played with the Milwaukee Bucks.

    The Bulls have had different backup point guards the last three seasons, and with D.J. Augustin's stock up after his breakout season in Chicago, they may look for a cheaper option.

    Kirk Hinrich could return for the minimum, but given Rose's health over the last two years, having a third point man on the depth chart is necessary. While Sessions is not the shooter Augustin is, he does excel at getting to the rim and is a solid playmaker out of the pick-and-roll.

    It will be interesting to see what other players Chicago will target this offseason. With players possibly on their way out via trades to clear cap space, the Bulls will have to look at other minimum-salary veterans in order to fill out the roster.

    Sessions seems like a good place to start.

Bulls Are Front-Runners to Land Carmelo Anthony

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Whether or not the Bulls are front-runners has been the topic of conversation since the season ended.

    The favorites, along with Chicago, are the Houston Rockets and the New York Knicks. After Anthony's July 1 meeting with the Bulls, many believed they had won over the seven-time All-Star and that he'd be willing to take less money if it meant keeping a full roster, per ESPN Chicago's Nick Friedell.

    If that's the case, there's no denying Chicago is the best option, as they'll have a championship-ready roster with one of the league's top coaches in Tom Thibodeau.

    Still, some believe the Knicks are front-runners, even after the meeting in Chicago. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweets that while the Bulls were able to connect with Anthony, the Knicks are still favorites.

    Chances are Anthony will have to take a pay cut to play with the Bulls, and that's where New York holds a major advantage over any other suitors. It can offer a five-year deal worth $129 million, whereas other teams can offer only four years with a max salary of $96 million.

    It's a lot of money to leave on the table, especially when this could be Anthony's last max deal.

    However, the 30-year-old forward has stated he is willing to take less money when he spoke during the All-Star break in February, per ESPNNewYork.com:

    As far as the money, it don't really matter to me, if I go somewhere else, I get paid. If I stay in New York, I get paid. As far as the money goes, it's not my concern. My concern is to be able to compete on a high level, a championship level, coming in this last stretch of my career. I want to compete at that level.

    So are the Bulls front-runners? It depends on how patient Anthony is.

    If 'Melo is as serious as he said he is about winning, Chicago is the place to go. If the extra year and $33 million is more enticing, then New York is the only destination, but he'll have to wait a year before the Knicks can make any serious moves to contend.

Carlos Boozer's Departure

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Everyone knows Carlos Boozer's Bulls career is coming to an end.

    Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Chicago has informed Boozer's camp that he will be amnestied.

    This is the first step in clearing cap space for a big free agent. ESPN's Brian Windhorst noted shortly after Cowley's report that Boozer would be either amnestied or used in a sign-and-trade situation, but no final decision had been made.

    Whatever way you write the equation, the answer seems to be the same.

    Still, until Bulls officials release a statement, nothing is certain. This does remain the most likely scenario, though, as the 12-year vet has failed to live up to his contract and performance that landed him in the Windy City to begin with.

    From Boozer's declining production to Gibson's improvement, there was little to no chance he would stay on the roster past this summer.

    The Bulls will probably wait until the amnesty deadline as they try to find teams willing to take on his expiring contract. Despite the huge payday, rebuilding teams could take on his contract as a way to clear cap space.

    However, chances are he'll have to be amnestied.