NBA Free Agency: Tracy McGrady and Other Options for the Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls are looking to add one more wing player to their 11-man roster before training camp.
Among the names left in the free agency market, Tracy McGrady remains the most popular player on the Bulls’ shopping list.
Yet, there have been conflicting reports (notably between ESPN and the Chicago Tribune) about Chicago's commitment to sign McGrady.
Though he comes with a package of veteran-shooting talent at a negotiable price tag, he also comes with a package of risks that makes him a controversial decision.
But it’s not like T-Mac is the only – nor, arguably, the best – option for the Bulls.
Yes, the best have been picked. And while the remains aren’t as exciting, they can still (re)emerge as a vital contributor.
Ersan Ilyasova, Raymond Felton, Nate Robinson, and David Lee all made their decisions late in the offseason and have produced well with the teams they signed with.
The Bulls have roughly $3 million left in salary cap space, which is just enough to attract a potential role player.
Put rumors aside, for now.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Bulls have mentioned these players as the possible 12th man.
Roger Mason Jr., SG, Spurs
The former Bull might be back, and this time, he might get significant minutes.
Since the Bulls didn’t get the one deadly shooter they were hoping to land this free agency season, they’ll have to resort to filling their back-court with what they can find.
Mason isn’t exactly the sharpest shooter in the pack, but he’s proven that he can hit the clutch shots and buzzer beaters with the Spurs.
He has assumed the role as bench player and has adjusted to contributing when needed, all whlle receiving heavy minutes on a good Spurs team.
At one point in his career, he shot 12 points per game and 42 percent from beyond the arc.
Then, last season, he averaged 6.3 and 33.3 percent, respectively.
Don’t let his declined statistics fool you. He has a 41 percent field goal percentage and 38 percent from the three.
That’s not exciting, but in this league, many player’s fortune’s have changed.
Keith Bogans, SG, Spurs
At 29, Bogans is another shooting guard that the Bulls had as Plan B of their J.J. Redick chase.
The only notable attribute about Bogans that separates him from Mason (both being on the Spurs, have similar shooting statistics and have been known as bench-cloggers in San Antontio) is his defense.
The problem, then, is that the Bulls already have a shooting guard who is a better defender – Ronnie Brewer.
While swingman Kyle Korver will backup Brewer off the bench, the Bulls would be better off getting a smaller guard who is more specialized in shooting.
With Bogans being a sub-40 percent shooter, the Bulls could do better.
At this point, the Bulls should be missing Kirk Hinrich.
Ronald “Flip” Murray – If the Bulls come down to Murray, then yes, they should definitely be missing Hinrich. It’s difficult to find a guard who can play both positions solidly and still be a great defender.
Flip Murray can score, but that’s about it.
While poor defense is excusable for some guards, a poor basketball IQ isn’t.
With his size, Murray is capable of playing both guard positions, but he can’t run the floor nor take smart shots.
Nonetheless, his scoring ability is what makes the Clippers and Cavaliers also pursue him. If he stays with a contender team (Bulls), Flip will have to sacrifice minutes.
Janero Pargo – It’s hard to believe that Pargo was the Bulls’ biggest free-agent prize last season. Now, he’s back to being a forgotten name.
But he’s still a solid shooter and is very familiar with the organization.
He’d also be a great mentor to fellow Arkansas alum, Ronnie Brewer.
Give John Lucas III a Chance
The Bulls don’t have to score big with the money they have left by signing a notable name.
Whoever they land just has to be affordable. And whoever that is most likely won’t see much playing time.
So there’s no hurt in grabbing a third point guard.
Lucas might make the cut. He had a strong showing in the summer league, averaging 18.3 PPG, 2.7 APG and 2.0 SPG.
He’ll neither hurt nor add anything to the team.
Instead, he’s just a mystery box.
Shannon Brown – The signing of Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff seemed to signal the end of Brown with the Lakers. The Bulls have been rumored to be a possible destination, but he’s still leaning towards a Lakers return.
Eddie House – Dime Mag, among other sources, reported that the Bulls have talked about signing House. Now he’s a lethal threat at the three and a pure master in the art of shooting.
C.J. Watson was thrown around as a possible option, but barely anyone called Kurt Thomas. He just happened to become a Bull overnight.
Thus, these players could also be in a Bulls uniform the next day, unexpectedly:
Josh Howard –SG –Wizards
Joey Graham –SG –Nuggets
Steve Novak –SF –Clippers
Antonie Wright –SG –Raptors
Rodney Carney – SG – Sixers
Michael Finley –SG – Celtics
Tracy McGrady a Definite yes and no
The Bulls and Clipper have been working him out, making him prove that he’s worth a spot in their roster.
The once star-studded All-Star has fallen off the radar, but has emerged back into the scenes for a shot at redemption.
At 31, standing 6’8, McGrady still has stuff left in him and can shoot over the heads of his defenders.
The Bulls should only sign him if he proves healthy, is willing to accept a reduced role and is willing to accept whatever price the Bulls want.
As mentioned earlier, McGrady is a risk.
He can be an offensive punch and add depth in the Bulls roster, or he can be a cancer to the team.
But don't let T-Mac cloud the options for the Bulls.