Chicago Bulls Rumors: Latest Updates on Free Agent Targets

Kelly ScalettaFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2011

Chicago Bulls Rumors: Latest Updates on Free Agent Targets

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    Exactly what the Bulls are planning on doing in free agency is hard to make out and leaving a lot of room for interpretation. Pretty much you can make a case for anything you want. It seems they've reached out to virtually ever free agent wing there is. 

    Generally, what they are planning on doing is pretty clear (i.e. they are intent on landing a starting caliber free agent wing), though which one and in what order they prefer them is a mystery.

    As KC Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes, 

    The Bulls have not revealed their top target in preliminary conversations with the free agents they are pursuing, according to league sources. But one dominant impression can be formed thus far: The Bulls seem intent on landing a starting-caliber player, preferably one who can handle the ball and allow Derrick Rose to play more off the ball.

    Here is the latest on the top names in free agency. 

Josh Howard

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    Josh Howard is a player that has really dropped in value in the last two years. It doesn't help that he's only played 105 games since 2008 either. He has had one problem after another, and he's trying to prove to teams that he still has something left to show. 

    The Bulls have given him an ear. Michael Lee of the Washington Post tweeted today,

    Josh Howard could play for SA, WAS, CHI or NJ: "Pretty much any team that tells me they want me to come in & play, that makes sense to me."

    If Howard does come to the Bulls, though, it won't be as a starter; it will be to back up Luol Deng, and hopefully, he won't have to play so many minutes this year. 

     

Caron Butler

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    Caron Butler was looking a lot more promising before he went to visit the Clippers. According to ESPN, the trip went like this.   

    "For the second day in a row free-agent small forward Caron Butler met with the Los Angeles Clippers as he spent Tuesday morning and afternoon at the team's training facility, talking to coaches and front office officials.

     Butler was not only getting a sales pitch from Clippers general manager Neil Olshey, but from some of the players who were at the facility to workout." 

    Not long afterwards, Hoopsworld's Steve Kyler tweeted, "LA Clippers look like they'll get Caron Butler -- has other meeting scheduled but hearing he was wow'd by Clips situation and offer."

    At first brush, that doesn't look good, and honestly, it's looking like he's leaning towards LA. Having said that, he was just as positive about Chicago one day before, so it could just be his personality. While he might be leaning Clips, he didn't cancel the rest of his trip. 

Jason Richardson

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    Jason Richardson rumors are hard to come by. Putting pieces together it's possible that the Bulls could land Richardson. KC Johnson writes

    This is for sure, though: The Bulls' full midlevel exception of four years and roughly $20.5 million is an attractive destination. In talks with players such asCaron Butler, Jason Richardson and Jamal Crawford, the Bulls have received positive feedback, sources said.

    Elsewhere mlvie.com reports,

    Richardson does like the idea of joining Chicago, joining players such as Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer. Richardson insists that any animosity Boozer may feel is in the past.

     So the upshot is this. It looks like the Bulls can get him for the MLE if they want want him, though that's far from a final verdict. The problem is that there's just not a lot of rumor out there with J-Rich. 

Jamal Crawford

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    There are rumors coming out today that the Bulls have landed Jamal Crawford in a sign and trade arrangement. Steve Kyler of hoopsworld tweeted today, 

    Jamal Crawford is likely headed to Chicago in a sign and trade built around Ronnie Brewer.. if Atlanta backs away New Orleans in driver seat

    I'm skeptical for a couple of reasons. First, I'm not seeing any confirmation from the Bulls media in this, and they would normally be up on these things, and secondly, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The only way this gets rational is that they plan on using their MLE elsewhere. 

    It also remains to be seen who that "other" player is, but I doubt that it's one of the two coveted bigs the Bulls have. If they aren't going to give them up for Mayo, they sure as heck aren't going to give them up for Crawford in a sign and trade when there are other options available that are going to give a greater net return. 

    There may be some truth here, but read with heavy skepticism glasses on. 

Arron Afflalo

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    The player every Bulls fan seems to have fallen in love with is Arron Afflalo. There have also been talks of a sign and trade for him.

    Chicago has been in contact with representatives for Crawford and Afflalo since Wednesday morning, and now the team is “getting creative” as they try to land one of the highly coveted guards. The Bulls will contact the Atlanta Hawks and Denver Nuggets to see if either team is interested in a sign-and-trade deal, and sources believe Chicago will offer a package that includes Ronnie Brewer among others. 

    Now in this case, there is a very good chance they could and would work a sign and trade, and they would be willing to give up one of their bigs to get him. 

    Unfortunately, other than this blurb, there hasn't been any other mention, and apart from hoopsworld, there has not been any discussion of sign and trade for either Crawford or Afflalo. Just another reason I'm skeptical about the hoopsworld rumors.