New Chicago Bulls Could Be Playing for a Future with the Team

Josh HermanCorrespondent IFebruary 25, 2010

When the Chicago Bulls parted ways with John Salmons and Tyrus Thomas last week, many fans saw the players that were received in return as nothing more than expiring contracts, and who could really blame them? Guys like Hakim Warrick, Acie Law, and Joe Alexander aren't household names unless you're a college basketball junkie.

Add in a guy with a nickname (Flip) more universally known than his real name (Ronald), and it became apparent that the Bulls were already looking forward to July (and with the current weather plaguing this nation, who could blame them).

But now four games into having a new roster, the Bulls are 3-1 and currently occupying the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference, a mere game-and-a-half behind fifth place Toronto.  Their new players have allowed for a faster style of play, which has seen one of the worst offenses in the league during the first half score 100, 122, 95, and 120 points respectively in the past four games.

And not to be lost in the effort are the new guys, especially Hakim Warrick and Flip Murray. Warrick, once the Big East Player of the Year, has averaged 10.5 points and six boards since joining his new team.  Murray, a true NBA journeyman, has averaged 13.0 points while shooting 41.5 percent from the field in his short stint with his now eighth separate NBA franchise.

Both players serve as great role players.  Surrounded by young talents like Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and Taj Gibson, while including veterans Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng, and Brad Miller, the Bulls have created an unselfish and well-balanced team, something that's rarely seen by the league's elite teams.  And yet they're winning.

Sure they've beaten up on some of the lower-tier teams recently, but such teams were the problem for the Bulls earlier this season.  And the recent success of the team could mean new opportunities for both Warrick and Murray for the future.

Both players, pending any breakout games, could be had for cheap come this offseason.  And while neither may garner a lot of attention, they are solid role players, something that's proven to be crucial for championship winning teams.

With about $18-21 million in cap space freeing up after this season, the Bulls are definitely looking to sign a big-name free agent.  However, it's easy to overlook the fact that they only have six roster players returning.  Add one free agent and you're still looking for three to fill out a roster, and probably more for security.

Warrick and Murray could both help fill out the Bulls roster while still contributing at a cheap rate.

Granted there will be plenty of free agents available and looking past anyone this offseason could prove crucial, but I just know that Gar Forman has a couple of solid players in house that he'll be able to give a good look at the remainder of this season.