Even though the Bulls 2012 playoff run ended when the reigning MVP crumbled to the United Center court once the game was decided vs the abysmal Sixers, fans, media members & the organization refused to openly acknowledge what was reality…This is the end of this Current Bulls team as we’ve known them for two seasons.
It’s depressing to admit when you win 112 games out of 148 played in regular season ball, but that’s the problem. The Bulls are an ideally built team to stack up regular season wins by out working, out trying & out willing the rag tag outfits that parade throughout Gestapo Stern’s NBA. Piling up regular season wins is nice, but the Bulls are lacking diversity, individual scoring talent & two way players to seriously contend for a championship that seems destined to be battled between the Heat and Thunder for the foreseeable future. There are too many one way specialists on this squad that are being exposed & outworked by an NBA also ran.
Granted, I thought a healthy Bulls team this year would give the Heat everything they could handle, but it still had the ’02 Kings vs the ’02 Lakers feel to it. The deep, cohesive, close knit regular season team trying out duel the two megastars. The Kings should have won that series in 6, but they lost game 7 at home to the two best players.
But even though a healthy Bulls team could have pushed this Heat squad to a 7th game at the U.C., the future beyond this season is in doubt. Let’s look ahead, shall we?
What to do with Carlos Loozer? I’ve been on my soap box for nearly a year saying amnesty his dead weight, but word is the Bulls are still too proud to admit another free agent failure. Sorry Jerry, Pax & Gar, the time has come to rid yourselves of a guy who lives for fadeaway jumpers and air balling baseline jumpers in playoff games. If you have to eat the remaining 3 years and $47.1 million remaining on this albatross contract, so be it for the betterment of your franchise. You’re the Chicago Bulls, you piss money. And if the talk about hanging a 7th banner is so imperative, then there’s zero chance that the necessary moves can be made to upgrade the skill and athleticism on the roster with Mr. Gimme That weighing down the salary cap.
It’s no secret that Joakim Noah’s game and energy is taken to another level when Taj Gibson is in the lineup, so why shouldn’t he be given the starting four spot next October? Gibson is slated to make $2.15 million in ’12 and $3.18 in ’13, so time is on the Bulls side before they have to worry about another team trying to steal him away.
And what about Omer Asik? As we saw with Noah’s nasty ankle sprain in game 3 in Philly, having Asik around is imperative. He is a hot commodity around the league, and is only locked up through next season at $2.32 million. By amnestying Boozer this summer, you give yourself freedom to match a potential offer sheet the big Turk is inevitably going to get from a big man starved bum squad. They’d also avoid the luxury tax aka Reinsdorf cancer if Boozer’s deal is no longer on the books and you don’t make a big move at the 2-guard spot. Asik’s offensive game and hands are putrid, but he is one of the best rim protectors in basketball. He changes games on the defensive end, and the Bulls cannot afford to lose him.
As for C.J. Watson, Kyle Korver & Ronnie Brewer…They can all pack their bags now. Hell, stay in that shit town after game 4 vs the Sixers for all I care. The Bulls have team options on Watson ($3.7 million) Brewer ($4.37 million) & Korver ($5 million) for next season.
By telling those three playoff no-shows to get lost, the Bulls can open up slightly over $13 million in cap space. Now, that number shrinks drastically because of D Rose’s max contract that kicks in next season ($15.5 million). Again, amnestying Boozer is a must to create as much flexibility as possible. If I’m banging the amnesty clause idea ad nauseam, it’s because the Bulls aren’t considering it like they should. They are putting money over rings, it’s that simple. And a dedicated fan base that sat through a decade of decrepit basketball doesn’t deserve to see this stumbling bum continue to shit himself every playoff run.
Are you telling me the Bulls wouldn’t benefit from opening up Boozer’s $15.3 million cap number? Come on, what has that clueless fool done to deserve to be a part of this team’s future? Nothing, I know.
With Rip Hamilton entering the final year of his contract, the Bulls are again in desperate need of a 2 guard. How nice would it be if the Bulls were in a position to make a play for O.J. Mayo (who is a restricted free agent this summer) again around draft time? Mayo’s been underutilized in Memphis, is close with Rose, is young, has the ability to play point in stretches & get this…He can create his own shot. What a concept, right? By amnestying the bum, they’d have the money to throw an offer at Mayo which could make the capped out Grizzlies either agree to a sign and trade, or let him walk.
Ooh, what about fellow Adidas boy, Eric Gordon? He is a restricted FA this summer, and can unquestionably be had before then in a sign and trade. The ever money conscience Hornets wouldn’t say no to a sign and trade before July. If not then, the Bulls could use the Boozer money to make a restricted offer. Would you rather have Boozer or Gordon (baring if he’s healthy, of course) going forward? I thought so. Moving right along…
And what about Thunder guard, James Harden? Harden will be playing on a restricted deal next year at $7.63 million, and the Thunder will have to determine whether to keep the slick shooting Harden, or developing stud, Serge Ibaka. They won’t be able to keep both. Why not get aggressive and see if Sam Presti will talk trade in July? It’s unlikely, but the Thunder will not be able to have 4 $10+ million a year players going forward. Again, by freeing up Boozer’s money, the Bulls could make an offer that the Thunder would be hard pressed to match. The tougher punitive penalties for entering the luxury tax in the new CBA kills small market teams like OKC.
All possibilities have to be examined, and that includes the possibility of including Luol Deng into a trade package if need be. Deng is slated to make $13.3 million and $14.3 million over the next two years, which isn’t the nightmare it was once thought to be. I love Luol’s game, but he isn’t a shot creator and can’t do a thing off the dribble. Everything he does is predicated off of D Rose, and the goal is to ease the burden on the franchise. I wouldn’t just give Deng away and you have to love his grit and heart, but if flexibility is needed, you have to look at it.
For instance, would I trade Deng for Rudy Gay? In a heartbeat. I’d say yes to that deal quicker than it takes to memorize Vinny Del Negro’s offensive playbook.
It’s open season, but don’t you dare utter the words Jamal Crawford. I’ve seen enough of the Jamal Show jacking up contested 27 footers on a 3 on 1 for a lifetime. Thank you for the suggestion, however.
I’m still not giving up on the Dwight Howard dream either. Perhaps after the post trade deadline fiasco in Orlando, (and Deron Williams’ locked in move to the Mavs) Howard is now more open to teaming up with D Rose. And now knowing he isn’t immortal, maybe Rose is down with the idea that he needs another beast here to win come playoff time?
Yes, GarPax, add point guard to the list this summer too. I’ve thrown out Steve Nash’s name, and it could be ideal. He could sign with a big market team (the Knicks are out with Lin there), start for two months while Rose recovers, play with Rose in spurts when Mr. Everything comes back, not kill his body playing 35-40 minutes a night somewhere & play for a title. What’s not to like about that situation for Nash? After being stuck in the basketball abyss for the last two years, why not sign for low money to finally have a chance at a ring? Doesn’t that make more sense than going to Miami and sit on the perimeter and watch Bron and Wade dribble the clock out? It makes a ton of sense and I’d pay to see this happen.
Options will present themselves for the Bulls this summer, it’s just all reliant on them biting the bullet and saying adios to Boozer’s corpse. There is the Badcats pick down the road, and Nikola Mirotic’s arrival in a couple of years. But the Bulls are in a tick bag with Rose and his knee. We don’t know if he’ll ever regain his insane athletic ability, fearlessness & 40 inch vertical leap.
The pressure’s on GarPax to add another legit wing player who can relieve the Bulls of their repulsive scoring droughts. This isn’t news, but it’s also still a dilemma. When you construct a roster with one guy who can get you shots, this question will continue to pop up every spring like a bad case of the herp.
That’s a lot of questions for a title contending team, but it’s the sad reality. No matter how this going nowhere playoff run works it’s way out, the Bulls have a summer of re-tooling ahead of them. Nobody thought we’d be thinking like this a few weeks ago, but then again, nobody with a brain would have had an oft injured franchise player in a decided game with just over a minute left, either. No, I’m still not over it.