After the first few days of NBA free agency 2 things are clear:
- there is a lack of quality talent in the free agency pool
- the Bulls will look basically the same (sans Ben Gordan) in October 2009 as they did in May 2009
When Ben Gordan is receiving heavy recruitment from one of the teams with the most cap space, you know your free agent options are limited. I’m fine with the Bulls not re-signing Gordan because his lack of defense during the span of a game often lead the Bulls to need his game-ending shots many times throughout a season. While several good teams in the East get better (Carter to Orlando, Shaq to Cleveland), the Bulls (and many other teams) are content preparing for the 2010 class of All-Star free agents. The question is can the Bulls put their checkbook on a hook and reel in a big fish like LeBron, Wade, Stoudemire or Bosh or will they end up with a guppy (Eddy Curry anyone…)? Can the Bulls convince a top free agent that he and Rose can lead Chicago back to the top? And will one top free agent be enough to bring Chicago back to the Finals?
With new GM Gar Forman handling day to day operations and Paxon likely holding final say in personnel moves, I’m confident they’ll handle this better than Jerry Krause who sent Benny the Bull to meet Tracy McGrady at O’hare in the Year 2000 (I’m not kidding). I anticipate a top tier free agent in Chicago before the 2010-2011 season and I’ll deal with 1 more year of mediocrity if that happens. As we saw with the pursuit of Ben Wallace a few years ago, the new Bulls regime knows how to properly (and professionally) recruit a free agent.
It seems likely LBJ will stay in Cleveland as team management continues to put different pieces around him. If not, he’ll head east to New York (or maybe the Nets if they move to Brooklyn). He is a dream, not reality for Bulls fans.
I’m sure Wade will give Chicago some consideration but the team has re-built quickly after a poor season and it might be hard to convince him to return to Chicago winters after enjoying the South Beach heat.
The Bulls will pursue this option , especially if Del Negro sticks around past this year since they both enjoy fast-paced teams with minimal defensive effort. He seems injury-prone and lacks a defensive prowess but is better than the current option, Tyrus Thomas.
My favorite option is Bosh. He is a low-post, athletic power forward that can score, rebound and defend. He isn’t undersized and doesn’t have an injury history. Bosh and Rose could team up for a lot of wins in Chicago.
I realize we have the 09-10 season to still watch and I hope to see continued progress from players like Rose, Noah, Tyrus (not likely) and Deng (just don’t get hurt) but a real change is on the horizon as long as Reinsdorf keeps Benny the Bull away from the United Airlines terminal in July 2010.