The NBA lockout is finally over, which means we can finally start looking forward to the start of the regular season.
With free agency set for December 9th and the season set to start just two weeks later, it will be a fast and furious free-agency period.
The Chicago Bulls don't have to worry about bringing any of their own players back. They have no restricted free agents and only three unrestricted free agents: Kurt Thomas, Rasual Butler and Brian Scalabrine, and none are expected to be re-signed.
With the MVP and the Coach of the Year, the team who had the best record in the league doesn't have a lot of holes. However, that doesn't mean they can't improve.
The one spot Gar Forman is expected to try and improve is the starting shooting guard spot which was occupied by Keith Bogans last season.
Here are some restricted free agents that may interest the Bulls and help them get past the Heat. Under the new CBA, teams will have three days to decide if they will match the offer given (under the old CBA, the team had seven days to match).
If you want to see the unrestricted guys that might interest the Bulls, just look here.
If I was Portland, I don't think I would even make the qualifying offer to Greg Oden. His offer is worth $8.8 million for one season. I just had to include him in this list anyway.
Since being drafted first overall in 2007 he has missed two entire seasons and has only appeared in 82 games. That means in four years, he has played in a season's worth of games.
The Bulls don't need him with Joakim Noah and Omer Asik manning the middle, but there is no denying the appeal of Oden.
I can't imagine anyone trying to sign Oden away unless Portland doesn't offer him a contract and he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
The biggest thing that might intrigue any team is that even though he looks like he is 40, he is only 23.
A lot of people are very high on Arron Afflalo, however, I'm just not one of those guys.
Afflalo is a nice player but I find it very unlikely that he will leave the Nuggets.
Denver has a lot of cap space, and with JR Smith and Wilson Chandler overseas in China they need to keep Afflalo. Someone including the Bulls may sign him to an offer sheet, but I would expect Denver to match any reasonable offer.
The Bulls can't afford to overbid for a restricted free agent and that would be required to sign Afflalo.
Perhaps the Bulls could interest Denver in a trade centered around Ronnie Brewer and a draft pick for Afflalo.
It would be very surprising if Joe Dumars gave up on Rodney Stuckey, but it might happen.
Once the centerpiece for the Pistons, some have begun to wonder if Stuckey is really the answer. Remember when they traded Chauncey Billups to open up a spot for Stuckey? What a mistake that was.
The Pistons have a crowded backcourt with Stuckey, former Bull Ben Gordon, Richard "Rip" Hamilton plus rookie Brandon Knight. They also have Will Bynum, Terrico White and free agent Tracy McGrady who could be re-signed.
Maybe it isn't so crazy that the Pistons wouldn't match if Stuckey got an offer. At 6'5" he would be an ideal slasher to play alongside point guard Derrick Rose, but he is not a good outside shooter. However, he could handle the ball and allow Rose to play off the ball a little bit.
With all that said, it would take Dumars admitting a huge mistake allowing Stuckey to walk. I would expect them to allow McGrady to walk and release either Hamilton or Gordon with the new amnesty clause and start Knight alongside Stuckey.
If I were the Washington Wizards, I don't know if I could let Nick Young go.
Young seemed to excel last season playing alongside John Wall, and if they let him walk they might regret it, but the Bulls have been searching for someone to put alongside Rose since Ben Gordon left town.
Young averaged over 17 points per game last season and is a 38.3 percent three point shooter. Sounds just like what the Bulls are looking for.
However, with the amnesty clause allowing the Wizards to release Rashard Lewis and the news rules on the salary cap, it will make it very hard for a team to steal Young.
Young reminds me a lot of Jamal Crawford and would be a nice compliment to Ronnie Brewer.
I would think that the chances are better for the Bulls to land Young rather then Affalo and Stuckey, but the chance could still be a slim one.
You might be wondering why I've been writing about all these guys who probably won't end up with the Bulls. Well, here's the reason: Marcus Thornton.
There is a good chance that Marcus Thornton will no longer be playing for the Kings in a few weeks.
With the Kings drafting Jimmer Fredette and Tyler Honeycutt as well as already having Tyreke Evans, John Salmons and Francisco Garcia on the roster, I'm not sure where Thornton fits in.
After a year and a half with the Hornets, Thornton exploded after being traded to the Kings. He averaged over 21 points per game in 27 games in which he started at the age of 23.
For those of you out there who want the 6'4'' Shannon Brown, I'm here to tell you that Marcus Thornton, who is the same height, is a much better choice.
With all the unrestricted free agents available, I would choose Jason Richardson, but if I include the restricted free agents I think I would put Thornton ahead of him. At 24, he might be the perfect fit for a guy to play for the Bulls alongside Derrick Rose for years to come.