The Chicago Bulls missed out on Carmelo Anthony, but the offseason has not been a failure.
They brought in Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic to shore up the frontcourt, amnestied Carlos Boozer, and saw LeBron James leave the Miami Heat for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sure, James’ decision may not directly involve the Bulls, but it does put Chicago into position as one of the front-runners in the wide-open Eastern Conference.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau discussed the offseason, via Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com:
At this time of the year, [executive VP of basketball operations] John [Paxson] and [general manager] Gar [Forman] have talked to a number of players. You make your presentation, we think we have a lot to offer. We feel we have some good options, and we're looking forward to the challenge of next year.
Chicago may not be done yet. With that in mind, let’s dig into the latest rumors from the Windy City.
Sean Deveney of Sporting News provided fans with the latest regarding Lance Stephenson: "Several teams mentioned in connection with Stephenson, including Boston, Chicago and the Lakers, have not been serious in their pursuit, the source said, while others could register late interest."
Unfortunately for Bulls supporters, Chicago probably can’t afford to bring in the multitalented Stephenson after landing Gasol and Mirotic and re-signing Kirk Hinrich. It is still a really enticing thought for Bulls fans, though, because Stephenson could handle some point guard duties to keep Derrick Rose’s knees fresh or serve as a lockdown defender on the perimeter.
Stephenson’s skill set would fit nicely in the Bulls’ defense-first culture, and he is a triple-double threat who would immediately improve the stagnant offense.
That is all great in theory, but due to the economics of the situation, Chicago fans will likely have to watch Stephenson play elsewhere in 2014-15.
Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders provided an update regarding the possibility of Ramon Sessions playing in Chicago next year:
Charlotte Hornets have expressed interest in re-signing Ramon Sessions, per source. Chicago Bulls and several other teams also reached out.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 4, 2014
The Bulls have Rose and Hinrich in the point guard slots, but they could really use a third option. Rose’s health concerns are well-documented, but Hinrich also missed some time last season with injury. D.J. Augustin will not be in Chicago next year either, so someone has to take his spot.
Who will have a better 2014-15 season?
Sessions posted nightly averages of 10.5 points, 3.7 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 1.7 turnovers in 55 games for the Charlotte Bobcats last year, but he also saw his three-point shooting dip to a 22 percent clip.
This would be an interesting pairing. Thibodeau has revived point guard careers in the recent past, a la Augustin and Nate Robinson. Perhaps Sessions could be next in line?
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports updated fans on the status of Jordan Crawford:
Warriors free agent guard Jordan Crawford is receiving interest from Bulls, Mavs, Lakers, Knicks & Nets, the source said.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 9, 2014
Chicago needs scoring, and Crawford is more than capable of providing an immediate burst off the bench. What’s more, if the Bulls landed Crawford, Jimmy Butler could actually receive a rest during the regular season so he would be fresher come playoff time.
Crawford’s best season scoring-wise was 16.3 points a night for the Washington Wizards in 2010-11 (in only 26 games), but he posted 8.4 points a night for the Golden State Warriors last year in 42 games. However, the Warriors brought a loaded backcourt to the table every night, so the dip in scoring came from less playing time.
Crawford wouldn’t post 16 points a night for the Bulls, but he would certainly have a chance to challenge for an Eastern Conference title. That has to at least be intriguing.
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