Chicago Bulls: 5 Biggest Concerns Heading into Next Season

Hayden CoombsCorrespondent IIIJuly 7, 2011

Chicago Bulls: 5 Biggest Concerns Heading into Next Season

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    The best record in the NBA regular season and a berth in the Eastern Conference finals made a successful 2010-2011 season for the Chicago Bulls.

    Most teams would be thrilled to make it that far and experience that kind of success, but not the Bulls.

    The players know of the rich tradition and success that their club had in the 90's. They want that type of legacy, too.

    Heading into the 2011-2012 season (if we actually have one), here are 5 concerns for the Bulls and their fans.

1. Find a Shooting Guard

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    Everyone knows Chicago needs an upgrade at shooting guard. This is nothing new.

    Current players Keith Bogans, Ronnie Brewer, and Kyle Korver are all great backups, but none of them will take Chicago to the next level.

    The first thing Chicago needs to worry about is finding a suitable running mate for Derrick Rose. Someone who could ease Rose's scoring load and stay healthy during the playoffs, while not costing them too much.

    There are a ton of options for them as they try to find the perfect addition to the team who doesn't put them in a financial bind.

2. Manage Your Finances

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    Chicago just picked up the option on Taj Gibson's contract, which means he'll be in Chicago for at least two more years.

    Now they need to focus on making sure they can keep Derrick Rose for the long-haul. Rose, along with Omer Asik and Keith Bogans, are all in the final year of their contracts.

    I don't see Rose abandoning ship and ditching Chicago for greener pastures, but with all the uncertainty surround the new CBA, fans will continue to worry until he signs his new contract.

    As stated earlier, Chicago will look to add a few nice pieces around their four premier starters while staying in good shape fiscally.

3. Finding out the Truth About Boozer

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    Carlos Boozer was a bit of an enigma last season. One day he was hurt, the next he wasn't. One day he played like an all-star, the next he completely disappeared.

    With a full season and a healthy training camp under his belt, Carlos Boozer should show improvement in his second year as a Bull.

    While I think it is too soon to be shopping him, many fans already want him gone (see these reader comments). His play before the all-star break could dictate whether or not a trade involving Boozer would materialize.

4. Is Jimmy Butler a Better Fit Than James Johnson?

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    When James Johnson was sent to Toronto at the trade deadline last season, no one really seemed too concerned.

    The Bulls acquired Johnson with a mid-first round pick, but he failed to impress since being drafted in 2009.

    Johnson was a beloved teammate and put in considerable work last off-season to lose weight and increase his quickness and athleticism.

    The Bulls drafted Jimmy Butler with the 30th overall pick last month in the draft. While the move made sense for Chicago (they needed a backup for Luol Deng), it left many fans wondering why they simply didn't hold on to James Johnson.

5. Could They Really Land Dwight Howard?

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    It remains unclear just how available Dwight Howard is at the moment. Otis Smith and the Orlando Magic will do just about anything to keep him in town, but their current financial situation is quite a mess.

    If Orlando feels like they won't be able to retain their franchise center, they will most likely elect to sell him to the highest bidder.

    Many Chicago fans think the Bulls could put together an intriguing offer for Howard. Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah and just about every other current Chicago Bull who doesn't have the last name Rose would be discussed if Howard really becomes available.

    The willingness of Chicago's front office to take on the contract of Gilbert Arenas could be key in landing Howard.