NBA Free Agency: 5 Free Agents Who Will Get the Chicago Bulls to the NBA Finals

Max Mickey@ToTheMax_WellContributor IIIJuly 7, 2011

NBA Free Agency: 5 Free Agents Who Will Get the Chicago Bulls to the NBA Finals

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    The Chicago Bulls were the most impressive team during the 2010-11 regular season, with their NBA-best 62-20 record. The problem came when MVP Derrick Rose struggled in the postseason. He had to battle double teams and inconsistent play from teammates, not to mention the fact that he was shooting poorly.  

    The Bulls faltered in the Eastern Conference Finals, losing to the villains from South Beach. The Miami Heat made it glaringly obvious that the Bulls desperately need help at the shooting guard position. 

    Defensively, the Bulls are set with Keith Bogans and Ronnie Brewer, but they both lack scoring ability. Kyle Korver is just the opposite: instant offense, but no defense. What the Bulls really need is a 2-guard who can create his own shot, handle the ball, and play defense.

    The Bulls cannot continue to rely solely on Derrick Rose for every single bucket. Teams like Miami and the Boston Celtics are too strong defensively.

    A 2-guard who can shoot and dribble will take pressure off Rose and create more spacing on the court for the whole team to work.

    The Bulls showed they plan on getting this guard through free agency or via trade when they drafted Jimmy Butler, a forward from Marquette, with the 30th pick.

    They also passed on Marshon Brooks, a 2-guard from Providence who most people thought would be a perfect fit for the Bulls. Instead they traded up for foreign prospect Nikola Mirotic.

    There are several guards available that the Bulls can sign that would make them instant contenders for the Larry O'Brien trophy.

    *Of course, this is all contingent on the lockout ending and there being a 2011-2012 NBA season.   

5. Nick Young

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    Current Team: Washington Wizards

    Contract: Restricted Free Agent

    2010-11 Stats:

    PPG: 17.4

    APG: 1.2

    FG%: 44.1%

    Young is an obvious candidate for the Bulls because of his scoring ability. Young emerged as arguably the Wizards' best player for good stretches of last season.

    He can shoot from the outside and mid-range, and can put the ball on the floor to create his own shot. 

    One of the knocks on Young: He is a volume scorer, shooting almost 15 shots per game. If he was on the Bulls, that number would probably be in the eight to 11 range, and his scoring would likewise dip. 

    Young is a restricted free agent, so it would be difficult to pry him from the Wizards, and he would likely not be in the Bulls' price range. 

    If the Bulls can get a fair market price for Young, he would be a excellent fit for the team. 

4. Marcus Thornton

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    Current Team: Sacramento Kings

    Contract: Restricted Free Agent

    2010 Stats:

    PPG: 12.8

    APG: 1.8

    FG%: 43.4%

    Marcus Thornton is quietly one of the best scoring guards in the NBA.

    He struggled in his second year in New Orleans, averaging only 16 minutes of playing time, but upon being traded to the Kings, Thornton averaged 21.3 points and 3.4 assists per game.

    Again, it would be a struggle for the Bulls to acquire Thornton because he is a restricted free agent, and the Kings definitively want him to be a part of their young, talented core.

    Thornton is a little undersized at 6'4", but his scoring ability would take pressure off of Derrick Rose, and the Bulls would have a legitimate scoring weapon when Rose goes to the bench.  

3. Sasha Vujacic

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    Current Team: New Jersey Nets

    Contract: Unrestricted Free Agent

    2010 Stats:

    PPG: 9.8 

    APG: 2.0

    FG%: 40.2%

    Sasha Vujacic is seldom mentioned in the Bulls acquisition talks.

    He is a 6'7" guard who can score and handle the ball, and he has succeeded in pressure-filled situations.

    He is also one of those guys that you cannot stand unless he is on your team.

    Sasha would flow well with the Bulls' chemistry, as he is a hard worker and great team player. Sasha would buy into Coach Thibodeau's system, which would enable him to excel.

    Other than Carlos Boozer in 2010, the Bulls generally sign low-key players, so obtaining Vujacic would seem to be a likely possibility.     


2. Jamal Crawford

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    Current Team: Atlanta Hawks

    Contract: Unrestricted Free Agent

    2010 Stats:

    PPG: 14.2 

    APG: 3.2 

    FG%: 42.1%

    Jamal Crawford is all offense, as most Bulls fans remember from his years in Chicago.

    Crawford can easily play whatever offensive role his team needs. He can lead the team with 25 points a game, or he can be the second or third option and score 15.

    The only problem with Crawford is his poor defense, which could be an issue for the best defensive team in the NBA. Though he is a defensive liability, his offense skills far outweigh his inability to play defense. 

    Crawford has three 50-point games in his career, can shoot from anywhere on the court and can drive and dish. If need be, Crawford also has the ability to run the team as the point guard.

    Jamal Crawford would be a perfect fit for the Bulls, and it wouldn't be surprising if he wants to return to the city where he began his career.  

1. Jason Richardson

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    Current Team: Orlando Magic

    Contract: Unrestricted Free Agent

    2010 Stats:

    PPG: 15.6 

    APG: 1.8 

    FG%: 44.7%

    Jason Richardson is one of the best free agents available, and he is very frequently discussed in conjunction with the Bulls' quest to add a shooting guard to their roster.

    Richardson is a proven scorer and veteran who has been in the league for 10 years.

    The Bulls are a very young team, and adding Richardson would be like signing a "good" Brian Scalabrine, in the sense that he would be able to help coach some of the younger players on the court and help them grow while also putting up great numbers.

    Although Richardson has been in the league for a decade, he is still relatively young at 30 years old and would be able to start for the Bulls for at least four more years. 

    Richardson is going to have a lot of offers, but being able to play in one of the biggest markets on the planet with the reigning MVP and a shot at a ring should be enough to entice this superstar.


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    All of this speculation is contingent on hopes that there will be a 2011-12 NBA season.

    This lockout looks like it will be long, and could eat away at part or all of the season.

    If this is the case, the Bulls might just sit tight for a partial season, and go after free agents or make a trade in 2012.

    There are a few options available in the free agent shooting guard market in 2012. Former Bull and current Atlanta Hawk Kirk Hinrich will be available, as will the Houston Rockets' guard Courtney Lee and others.

    Hopefully for the sake of the Bulls and the NBA, the owners and players will be able to come to an agreement and play basketball for all of the fans, who fuel the league.

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