The Chicago Bulls are a few weeks away from one of the biggest offseasons in franchise history.
The moves made over the next few weeks could impact whether or not the Bulls become a potential championship contender for years to come.
Before the front office makes a rushed decision and nabs the best free agent to walk through their doors, Gar Forman, Jon Paxson, and Jerry Reinsdorf would be wise to look at the two teams vying for the NBA Championship right now.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are the NBA's cream of the crop. Both have strengths and weaknesses. But there's a reason why the Celtics are winning the Finals 3-2 and look poised to beat the Lakers at the Staples Center.
They have a team-first mentality and a bench that can step in and perform just as well as the starters.
Sounds a lot like the Bulls from a few years ago. Remember?
It wasn't too long ago, before Derrick Rose, that the Bulls had Kirk Hinrich and Chris Duhon as their point guard duo.
Luol Deng and Andres Nocioni shared time at the small forward position.
Ben Gordon was the offensive shooting guard, and Thabo Sefolosha would step in to cover the larger players. Adrian Griffin also factored into the rotation.
Tyrus Thomas provided electric plays, relieving P.J. Brown. Ben Wallace couldn't put many points on the board but managed to rebound and play strong defense.
That team was arguably the deepest in the league, and they knocked out the defending champion Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs to prove it. That squad was built on team play, which is what the Celtics used to edge the Lakers in Game Five of this year's NBA Finals.
But that Bulls team lost in the second round of the playoffs in 2007. And that's where a lesson from the Lakers comes in:
The NBA is a star-driven league.
Kobe Bryant took over Game Five single-handedly for the Lakers, and even though his team ultimately fell short, the best squads have that type of go-to player who can take over a game when the rest of the team is struggling.
People will say Gordon was that player for the Bulls, but I don't buy that. He needed screens to free himself for a shot. He was never good enough to create shots for himself. When he tried, he usually dribbled the ball off his foot.
So here's what the Bulls need to take away from the NBA Finals: Add a superstar in the offseason, but don't sacrifice team unity and chemistry in the process.
It may sound like the best of both worlds, but it's not uncommon in the NBA. The Celtics have four All-Star quality players and still have a deep bench. The Orlando Magic boast several quality players and suitable reserves.
It's not surprising that those two teams made it to the Eastern Conference Finals while the Cleveland Cavaliers, otherwise known as LeBron and Co., were sent packing after the second round.
James, Chris Bosh, or any other free agent is not worth an entire team. The Bulls have to make sure they don't panic and overpay for a second-tier free agent. A superstar is necessary to win in the NBA, but don't forget the team is already cultivating one such player in Rose.
So when free agency hits, the Bulls have to strike a balance between quantity and quality. Acquiring a big-time player could certainly take this team to new heights, but not if it means depleting the essential reserve players.
It requires a team effort to reach the pinnacle of NBA success.