2010 NBA Free Agency: Who Will Fill Chicago Bulls' Roster?
The summer of 2010 may have not lived up to what most fans were dreaming of when John Salmons got sent to Milwaukee at the trading deadline, and Kirk Hinrich, the longest tenured Bull, was traded away on draft night, but it still has been one hell of a summer. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/411149-the-end-of-an-era-chicago-bulls-trade-hinrich-to-clear-cap-space
The Bulls hired there new coach who has championship experience with the Boston Celtics. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/401863-chicago-bulls-hire-hall-of-famer
They signed an All-Star power forward who will be the best post presence the team has had since Elton Brand. Interestingly enough, he followed Brand at Duke.
Also, they added a sharpshooter and a young, tall, and athletic defensive specialist.
So yes they may have missed out on the big three of Lebron, Wade and Bosh but they are building a very good team that may just give the Miami three a run for their money. But the question now with nine players under contract who will help fill out the roster.
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Who we have
Before we fill out the roster let's take a look at who they have already.
Bulls currently have nine players under contract for next season.
The old: All-Star point guard Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, and James Johnson. Best part about this group they are young, talented, and four of them were starters last season. Taj will be taking his talents to the bench this season, which will just make this team that much deeper.
The new: Some have joked that the Bulls should change their name to the Jazz with all the former Utah players they are signing. They have added forward Carlos Boozer, guard Ronnie Brewer and sharpshooter Kyle Korver. Also they added 2008 draft pick seven-foot Omer Asik. Best part of this group besides being under 30, in Korver and Boozer's, and 25, in Brewer and Asik's, they all fill needs that this team has needed to fill for some time now.
Fun facts: Besides Rose no player on the roster is under 6'7" and no player is over 30 years of age. Korver is a former three-point champion, Boozer a former All-Star, and Brewer used to run some point in college.
New player numbers: Boozer, 5. Korver, 26. Asik, 3. Brewer will be announced Monday at his press conference.
Is there a former Jazz player Brewer will openly recruit during his presser like Boozer and Korver did?
Bring back some role players
The Bulls had some nice role players on their roster last year who might be very valuable this upcoming season.
Brad Miller: If I'm John Paxson or Gar Foreman, whoever is making the choice, resigning Brad Miller is my top priority. Surrounding Derrick Rose with shooters is a must, and having a big man who can shoot from outside is something championship teams desire. Miller would help round out a nice top four big man rotation with Noah, Boozer, and Gibson and would add insurance incase of injuries.
Flip Murray: Flip gets around, eight teams in eight seasons, but he has very useful skills. He would be a nice combo third guard. He can score in bunches; while not being a great shooter from outside, he can score and when he gets hot he can be extremely dangerous. If the price is right he might be a nice piece to bring back.
The rest: If you don't bring back Flip there is always Pargo. He doesn't play much defense and you may not trust him bringing the ball up all the time, but giving him 10-15 minutes a night could pay off most nights.
If you are looking for more of a replacement for Rose and more of a real point guard there is Acie Law, who had a couple nice games in March while filling in for the injuried Rose. Law is one of those guys who hasn't gotten much of a chance, playing for four teams during his three seasons.
Ready to talk about a guy who never got a chance. Let's take a look a Joe Alexander. Two years in the league, two teams, a total of 67 games. He fell out of favor with Scott Skiles in Milwaukee and never got anything more then garbage time here in Chicago. He was supposed to be on the Bulls Summer League team but an injury prevented that from happening. I would really like to see this kid get a chance.
If they feel they need a little more defense or a nice veteran, there is Devin Brown. I never heard why Brown wasn't used more last season. When he came over in the Aaron Gray trade with the Hornets, he was viewed as a replacement in case John Salmons got traded. Well we all know Salmons went north to Milwaukee and Brown only saw time in 11 games averaging eight minutes per.
I would expect at least two of these guys to help fill out the roster, with Miller being one and one of the three (Flip, Pargo, Law) guards to be brought back.
Depending on how full the Bulls decide to make their roster might effect who they sign. Like I said, it currently stands at nine players, and they must have 13 and a max of 15. If they are looking for cheap young players to round out those last two or three spots, then I would expect them to invite some of these guys to camp and then they might have a chance to make the team.
Familiar Faces: Chris Richard and Derick Bryars have been here before. Bryars was the last cut last season, while Richard was brought back last season and played fairly well backing up Brad Miller and Joakim Noah. Both would top the list with the best chance of making the team.
Been around the Block before: Someone who is doing very well currently in Summer League play is poing guard John Lucas III. Lucas is much older then most of the summer guys being 27. Biggest knock on Lucas is his size being only six feet tall and is probably really smaller then that. Might be a nice third point guard.
Morris Almond, 6'5" guard/forward, has to like his chances of making the team for no other reason then the fact that he is a former member of the Utah Jazz. Almond spent two season going back and forth between the Jazz and their D-league team while spending last season in Europe.
Rookies: The Bulls traded away their only draft pick this past year as part of the Kirk Hinrich trade, so if they are going to have any rookies on their team this year it will probably come from their summer league team. The Bulls have two rooks who are playing well currently: Matt Bouldin, 6'5" guard from Gonzaga, and Samardo Samuels, 6'8" power forward from Loiusville.
Bouldin, who spent four years at Gonzaga was a starter for three seasons, was a preseason pick for many top awards but only ended up with Conference Player of the Year for the West Coast Conference. He might be a descent combo guard and would be a younger option instead of Lucas for the third point guard role.
Samuels, unlike Bouldin, only spent two seasons at Louisville. He was a starter for both season. The biggest knock on him is his size might not translate to the NBA. Being a 6'8" power forward might make it very difficult for him, but if he needs some pointers he only has to ask new Bull Carlos Boozer who stands at 6'9". He might be a nice sleeper and someone to keep an eye on. He might have a better chance to make the team over Richard because of his upside.
I have written two other pieces about veterans the Bulls may look at either one the cheap (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/411573-vets-who-might-sign-for-cheap) or guys who might come a little more expensive (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/416790-where-do-the-bulls-go-from-here) to help fill out their cap space. Surprisingly, there are still some free agents I didn't mention in either on of those pieces.
Probably the best backup point guard on the market is Earl Watson. At 31, he might be a nice guy to give Derrick Rose a rest for 13 minutes a night. Not the best shooter but a very good ball handler.
Josh Howard may have the most upside of any player on the market. At 30, coming off a torn ACL, he might be someone the Bulls look at to bring in that could push Luol Deng for time, that is if he is healthy. Howard put up very similar numbers to Deng during his time in Dallas.
The Magic prevented the Bulls from adding JJ Redick to the group so maybe now they will focus on someone who might be a better fit. Matt Barnes may seem like someone they really don't need because they added Brewer, but when going against Wade and LeBron can you really have too many guys who play defense.
A couple other guys they may be interested in are: Sean May (local kid), Brian Cardinal(rumor is Paxson is a fan), Adam Morrison (reportedly came in for a workout this past week), Rodney Carney (Bulls drafted him before trading him for Thabo), and Roger Mason Jr. (former Bull who had a career year for Spurs two seasons ago)
All the talk around the league is of teams trying to go out and form their own Big three.
Carmelo Anthony is the most talked about guy who might be on the market. Probably would be a great fit with Derrick Rose, but odds are he stays in Denver or goes to Knicks.
Here is the hottest rumor among Bulls fans: Andre Iguodala. It might be because he is a local kid, but I see very little difference between him and Luol Deng. Both are overpaid, and while Iguodala is the man for 76ers, Deng has always been a second option.
For all those people who miss Ben Gordon, here is your chance to get someone like him back. Monta Ellis might be on the market with an ownership change in Golden State. Shockingly, Ellis is not a good three point shooter, only hitting 30.9 percent of his shots but he can score.
Speaking of Gordon, if the Bulls would like to free up some shots for him in Detroit they may look into adding Rip Hamilton. Back in the day, Rip was probably the closest thing to Reggie Miller, running through endless screens to get an open shot. Might be a nice guy to add with championship experience.