So, who’s ready for two more years of NBA hell? If you haven’t gotten Stacey King’s memo yet, prepare yourself because you’re about to witness the Bulls sink deeper into the worst possible place you be in the NBA. GarPax has admitted as much saying they’ll take a step back initially with the D Rose injury, but they want to be able to have sustained success once he fully recovers from the ACL tear. It’s not a coincidence that Dr. Brian Cole said it could be 12 months before Rose is back on the court, which would mean he could miss the entire season if this squad doesn’t stupidly sneak in the playoffs as a 7 or 8 seed.
It’s easy to see the Bulls wanting to sit Rose all year in hopes of replicating the ’97 Spurs when David Robinson was out with a back injury. I don’t know about you, but Shabazz Muhammad or Nerlens Noel would look good in red and black.
With a minor upgrade at the point guard spot (they won’t sign Steve Nash even though that would be fantastic to watch) like Andre Miller, Ray Felton or Kirk Hinrich, this team should be just good enough to piss you off next season. What do I mean? Well, unless they were to trade Luol Deng to move into the lottery, they probably won’t suck enough to get a high lottery pick. They’ll most likely be a fringe playoff team that will pick between 12 and 14. If Rose does come back, you could envision them sneaking in like they did in ’09 & ’10 and doing nothing but delaying the inevitable.
But who knows, perhaps they’ll get off to a slow start and pack it in early like so many other teams do in this league. One can dream.
What is their plan exactly? It doesn’t involve amnestying Carlos Boozer yet because the thought of paying someone $47 million not to play for you has Reinsdorf choking on his Matzo. In the immediate aftermath of the season and another Boozer playoff gag fest, it was easy to want them to cut ties with their biggest free agent disaster ever (Yes, I put him ahead of Ron Mercer, Eddie Robinson & Ben Wallace on the free agent suck fest list). But it’s not happening now, so it’s on to 2014.
That’s the next opportunity to land the superstar they’re so desperate to attract. And since D Rose refuses to recruit anyone, it’s my job to plant the seeds for free agent fairy tales. Sure, perhaps LaMarcus Aldridge could be dealt before he’s a free agent in ’15, but it’s impossible to imagine the Blazers trading away a star when you consider the debacle that was Greg Oden and Brandon Roy.
Who else is there to get via trade? The Wolves and David Kahn would seriously have to piss off Kevin Love to get him to want to leave Ricky Rubio. And I guess Blake Griffin could be a possibility if Sterling pulls his usual Clippers bullshit between now and ’14 when he’ll be a restricted free agent. But that’s not likely, even for the worst owner in sports.
So free agency it is. Again.
The summer of 2014 features the likes of LeBron James (who will be 29 and still in his prime), Dwyane Wade (he’ll be 32 and I wouldn’t go near him despite his virtuoso 41 point masterpiece in game 6 vs the Pacers), Chris Bosh (he’ll be 30 then, but more on him in a minute), Kobe Bryant (who knows what kind of shape those knees will be in by then), Dirk Nowitzki (never leaving Dallas), Paul Pierce (no) & Evan Turner (sign me up! I’m joking, chill).
After looking at that list, isn’t targeting LeBron and Bosh the most logical choice? It would be so Chicago to get a washed up Wade as he looks to recapture his home town’s love, but I’d never give him the kind of money he’d want at that point. You can stay in Miami with your pink pants, Dwyane.
How could the Bulls afford two max level contracts? Simple, really.
Deng’s contract ($14.3 million in ’13-’14) comes off the books that summer and that could be the perfect time to amnesty Boozer and the $16.8 million he’ll have due to him for one more year. That will be easier for Reinsdorf to stomach, and could give the Bulls a ton of flexibility while Rose will still have 3 more years left on his deal. And as long as they don’t overpay to keep stone hands Asik, they should be sitting pretty cap wise.
I know, two more years of Boozer’s yapping will drive me nuts too. However, I’m looking into seeing if we can get him to play with a muzzle from now on.
Who knows how this Heat thing will turn out between now and then. It’s hard to imagine them beating the Spurs or Thunder with Bosh ailing, and the pressure will only amp up as Wade’ body continues to abandon him. If James doesn’t have a title by the time he’s 29, won’t he give the Bulls another long look? By all accounts, he was impressed with the Bulls during their meeting in July of ’10, and liked Thibodeau because he’s a real ass coach. You know Bosh would be in for the ride because he’s incapable of making a decision for himself, and the Bulls may need a 4 man anyway once some team throws an insane amount of cash at Taj Gibson. Also, Rose will be two years removed for surgery and should be as close to his pre-injury level as he’ll ever be. If the Heat don’t win a ring by then, there’s no chance James stays on South Beach. A return to Cleveland is possible, but with Kyrie Irving already a star, they may not wait for the chance for Bron to break their heart again.
It’s intriguing, despite the arduous wait and two throw away seasons that are staring them in the face. But unless they miraculously convince Dwight Howard to sign an extension if a trade was consummated, what other options are there? As the Heat, Spurs and Thunder are proving for the 6,849th time, stars win in the playoffs, not a collection of depth and try hard grinders. The Bulls know this and have to be planning ahead. It’s a risky gamble and they can again come up empty, but it’s the only plan to get Rose the help he refuses to acknowledge that he needs. And nobody sells false free agent hope like the Chicago Bulls.