Blog Entry

If I Were GM of the Bulls I Would...

Posted on: June 3, 2010 5:22 pm
         Okay, here we go. The offseason is almost here and if you are not the Celtics or the Lakers then you have been busy at work trying to figure out your moves for the offseason. Every fan of the game likes to play GM for their favorite team and I have a nice long history of doing just that on these boards for the Chicago Bulls. Of all the teams going into this summer some could say that the Bulls have the most on their plate. They have to hire a new Head Coach for their playoff caliber team. They have to spend 24+ million in cap money on free agents. They have the 17th pick in the draft to consider. The Bulls have a ton of options and this makes this offseason a wet dream for a fan playing the part of a GM. So what moves would I make? Let us take a look.
          You will quickly find that my idea of a great offseason is not that sexy in most eyes. I have a certain love for smaller moves that adds chemistry and depth. I favor a strong 7 man rotation over 1 or 2 superstars and a bunch of crap. It is a balancing act. You want to have a couple of go to guys. You want energy players and strong defenders. You want that guy that can light it up for 40 points. I think the Bulls are a solid team as it stands. They were in the 5th seed this season before the Noah injury and were playing their best basketball of the season right then. I truly believe the Bulls had a real shot at 48-50 wins this season had they not got hit with injuries to Hinrich, Noah, Gibson, and Deng down the stretch. But injuries are part of the game and they can dash any teams dreams.
          Building a contender can be done in two ways. The easy way is to get lucky and sign a megastar like LeBron James or the hard way by making multiple smaller moves that builds a more balanced team with depth and rotation options. However, before we attack which players to target we need to sign a Head Coach.
          In a perfect world the Bulls would lure Phil Jackson back to Chicago but that is not happening. Byron Scott and Avery Johnson seem like good choices on the surface but both have had issues with the players they coach and in my eyes are not the best options. Besides Scott is looking to take over the Lakers and Avery might sign with the Nets. Jeff Van Gundy would be a great fit, but I do not think he is leaving the broadcast booth anytime soon. The Bulls said they are looking for a Head Coach with Head Coaching experience and that leaves them with a short list of below .500 head coaches that I think we should stay away from. Maurice Cheeks is from Chicago but I am not sold on him being a longterm solution for any team. This leaves one option in my mind. Tom Thibodeau.
          Thibodeau is the defensive mastermind behind the Boston Celtics and is said to be very interested in the Chicago job. If Paxson has an ounce of brains in his skull he would go out and lock him up now. Thibodeau is not just a great basketball mind but his players love him and respect him. he would demend the respect of the Bulls players not just because he has a Championship ring but because he is one of those rare minds in basketball that can outcoach another teams coach. he is younger and has a long future ahead of him. The Bulls also have the players on their roster right now that would feed into his system. Kirk Hinrich, a favorite of once Bulls head Coach Scott Skiles, quickly comes to mind, as does Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, and Taj Gibson. He might also be just the coach that pushes Derrick Rose's defensive game from average to good. Speaking of Scott Skiles, I think that is good comparison to Tom Thibodeau except Thibodeau might be even a better defensive coach and still have the ability to relate to players. Scott Skiles gets the nod for his play calling which I still feel he is stellar at. So there we have it, a new Head Coach. Was that too hard?
          Now we move to building a roster. Sure I could simply say the Bulls should just sign LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, or Chris Bosh and call it a day, but to be honest the odds are against Chicago landing any of those three. There is still a chance LeBron stays in Cleveland with the Cavaliers. There also is an equal chance that he signs with the Knicks and still yet an outside chance he goes to the Nets, Clippers, or Heat. I say the Bulls have a 20% chance to land him and I am not liking those odds. Wade will likely resign in Miami. Bosh will either sign with Wade in Miami or follow leBron to the Knicks. This is just how a see the summer going. If Lebron goes to New York with Bosh then I see Amar'e moving to Miami with Wade. BAM! The four biggest free agents are off the table. that leaves Joe Johnson, Carlos Boozer, and Dirk Nowitzki. I think the Bulls will then have to fight for one of those three and perhaps even offer a max contract which none diserve except for Dirk and I think he will head to the Suns if Amar'e is gone. Johnson is a nice player and would work well with Derrick Rose but why pay him a max contract. Let another team make that mistake like the Clippers or Nets. The same goes for the often injured Carlos Boozer. Let him sign elsewhere. You must now be in shock. Who is ChiTownCliff angling for. A cheaper option, David Lee. If I were John Paxson I would of course try for LeBron, Bosh, and Wade but if that does not pan out quickly then I would target David Lee with a 5 year contract for 13-14 million per.
          David Lee give the Bulls a cheaper version of Chris Bosh. Not bad if you ask me. Lee is a gritty player that cannot only grab rebounds, but can nail the open jumper and this gives the Bulls the perfect scoring bigman. He may not have a great back to the basket game but I think his scoring abilities fit perectly with the Bulls. The Bulls would surely lead the league in rebounds again but the real deal with signing Lee is pairing him with Rose. I think this is a great 1-2 punch. Imagine the PnP and PnR game these two could put on. Also, Lee's ability to hit long jumpers would draw defenders out of the paint and allow Derrick Rose to drive to the bucket and create. This signing also gives the Bulls room to sign yet another player that can have an impact. Enter Ray Allen.
          Say what you want I think this could happen. With Tom Thibodeau as the Head Coach Allen would at least consider it and there is a chance that the Celtics will let Ray go anyways even if they win another Championship. I understand that Ray is getting older, but he is one of those few athletes in the NBA that keeps himself in great shape. I bet he has 3+ good effective years left in him. He is a savvy veteran that fills one of the Bulls biggest needs, a deadly three point shooter. The Bulls lost Ben Gordon last season and his shooting was missed dearly. I think the Bulls could offer a 3 year deal at 8 million per and snag Allen as their new starting shooting guard. Now when Rose drives he will have a player out there that he can kick the ball to for 3. This makes the Bulls offense more complex and difficult to defend against.
          This leaves the Bulls with about 2 million in cap and I say they either resign Brad Miller to a one or two year deal or look for a backup point guard like perhaps Rafer Alston. I would rather resign Miller as he has stated he is very happy in Chicago and has made good friends with players on the team like Joakim Noah.
          When it come to the idea of making a trade I just do not see it happening unless it happens in a sign and trade for a superstar like Bosh or LeBron. I just do not see the Bulls being able t move Hinrich and his contract or Luol Deng and his massive contract. i think both remain Bulls for at least another season. The Bulls have no other players to trade aftre those two. they are not moving Rose and Noah and Gibson are cheap and quite good so you know they are staying.
          In the draft the Bulls will have only one position to fill. Either a backup center or a backup point guard depending on if they resign Miller or sign a veteran point guard. If they resign Miller then I think they should draft Eric Bledsoe. He is explosive and a solid shooter and could step right in and play a solid 10+ minutes behind Rose. If they sign a PG then they should draft Daniel Orton or Hassan Whiteside. I think Orton is the better fit of the two. The Bulls could also go the route of picking up another wing player to back up Deng. I understand the Bulls have James Johnson but they could use another option as Johnson can also play the PF role so perhaps a rookie that can play a little shooting guard and a little small forward would be wise. Xavier Henry would be perfect if he drops but James Anderson would be okay as well. I expect little from this draft pick but you never know. 
          By making these moves the Bulls have a strong starting five with a mix of defense, explosive scoring, veteran leadership, and chemistry. They also have a solid bench and depth at each and every position. The long NBA season is bound to bring injuries. I love the idea of Lee and Noah in the paint together with Deng slashing and Ray hitting jumpers off screens and Derrick doing his thing. Rose would have the firepower around him to get his assist numbers up around the 8pg mark. Ray Allen could rest and play only 30 minute per night or less with Kirk sitting on the bench.

PG. Derrick Rose/Eric Bledsoe
SG. Ray Allen/Kirk Hinrich
SF. Luol Deng/James Johnson
PF. David Lee/Taj Gibson
C. Joakim Noah/Brad Miller

          Maybe not the sexiest looking group of players or roster that you could imagine the Bulls having, but I think it would be very very effective on both ends and would contend for a top 3 spot in the east. Longterm the Bulls would have to move Kirk or Deng to make room to resign Rose or move both to sign future additions, but moving into next season this would be an ideal team. That is saying if we cannot sign LBJ, Wade, or Bosh. To be honest I might rather have Lee over Bosh.
          So what are your thoughts? What would you do as the GM for the Bulls this offseason or for your team for that matter? Thanks for taking the time to read this and i hope you enjoyed it.

Since: Jan 17, 2009
Posted on: June 5, 2010 8:24 pm

If I Were GM of the Bulls I Would...

Well they've taken one step in the right direction by getting Thibodeau. Just like you wanted. We'll see how it works out. Maybe it is a sign of what is to come.

Since: Jan 20, 2008
Posted on: June 5, 2010 5:51 pm

If I Were GM of the Bulls I Would...


No I have not heard anything lately in regards to Deng being moved anywhere. Like you said Amar'e would have to be in a sign and trade deal now and that might be hard to pull off. He may just want to sign in Miami with Wade, New York if LBJ signs there, or stay home on the Suns. The only sign and trade that makes any sense is to Dallas for Dirk. Nash and Dirk together again for one last run would be a great storyline. Amare would fit in nicely in Dallas as well.

Since: Feb 14, 2008
Posted on: June 4, 2010 10:27 pm

If I Were GM of the Bulls I Would...

The Suns had big interest in Deng...  but that has subsided for the simple fact that they don't own Stat's rights currently...

If Stat was still under contract, I believe they were trying to push for a Stat and Barbosa for Deng, Hinrich and Gibson trade, but now, unless he agrees to a sign and trade, I don't think they are actively pursiung Deng...

Locally and Marc Stein wrote about this, they have a list of options of:

A- Keep Amar'e

B- S&T to get Dirk

C- S&T to get Boozer

D- S&T to get David Lee

There has been no local talk of pursuing a deal with Chicago unless those pieces will be used to acquire options b-d...

Anything comes up Chi I will let you know, and keep me informed if you here anything good from the Chicago side...

Since: Jan 20, 2008
Posted on: June 4, 2010 10:14 pm

If I Were GM of the Bulls I Would...

Steve Kerr was big on Luol Deng a couple of seasons ago but I wonder if the interest is still there. If he is I could see the Bulls moving Deng and Hinrich in a three team trade getting Amar'e in a sign and trade. Suns might want something in return for Stoudemire, or they might let him walk and go after Dirk. It is an interesting thouht. I would love to see Deng's contract get moved. He is a solid starting SF, but is making 50% more then he is worth. We are most likely stuck with him for a season or two. 

Since: Jan 17, 2009
Posted on: June 4, 2010 2:42 pm

If I Were GM of the Bulls I Would...

Weren't the Suns interested in Deng at one point. I don't know who would be worth that much money that the Bulls would need. Or how a trade would be done unless there was a three team trade or something. Anything you have in mind?

Since: Jan 20, 2008
Posted on: June 4, 2010 10:02 am

If I Were GM of the Bulls I Would...


Thanks for the reply. I agree that Rose will be a superstar. He ranked 14th in overall scoring last season. I bet he is top 10 if not top 5 this season. He is that good of a scorer. I think the key is signing David Lee. It is a bold move that creates a ton of chemistry. Miller will sign for the minimum and then we just need to find a shooter. If we cannot get a stud like Ray Allen perhaps we could go for a younger but still effective shooter like Anthony Morrow. He could start but split time with Hinrich as the 6th man.

Lots of NBA fans outside of Chicago do not like Kirk or think he is way overpaid but I think he the glue of the team. he has been here the longest and is a jack of all trades player. I think the Bulls should keep him around for his leadership and defense. Deng on the other hand is overpaid and his contract gets worse with each season. If Paxson can find a way to trade him for cap space going into next summer or in a sign and trade deal this summer then I would give him the GM of the year award. Deng is a great 3rd option on any team but his contract is way to high.

Since: Jan 17, 2009
Posted on: June 3, 2010 7:21 pm

If I Were GM of the Bulls I Would...

First off I'd like to say nice post. I always enjoy reading your post although I don't always comment on them. This was nice to read and you share some interesting situations. 

I agree that building a team in the best way isn't always the sexy way. Throwing ridiculous amounts of money at a superstar seems like it'd be the best option but I'd say the other way is better. Any contender needs a go-to type guy. In other words every team needs a stud. Bulls have that in Derrick Rose. He might not be 'there' yet but he is certainly close (it's crazy thinking that he is only 21). Some teams say 'lets add another' then they provide a couple of athletes and role players to patch up the rest of the roster and there you have a contender. Usually that doesn't work out though. Like you said you need guys who fit the system, get along with each other, and get along with the coach. 

Personally I'm not hyped up on LeBron James. I just don't know like watching his game. I don't see the beauty in continuous, unneeded  pull up jumpers, plowing through people, dunks, and kicking it out of a double team to a wide open three-point shooter. But thats just me and I don't want to get into that. I can't see LeBron coming to Chicago because he is either staying with Cleveland or going to New York. Plus the whole making his own mark and not taking away from Michael Jordan's legacy idea adds to that. Dwayne would be the most logical because it's is hometown but he has expressed his desire to stay with the Heat and they offer the most money to go along with that. Then there is Bosh. I think he'll join up with LeBron or Dwayne it just depends where they go. Then the other guys like JJ, Stoudemire, and Boozer aren't really worth a ton of money like you already stated. And if they don't get the money they want they probably won't sign. With those factors that leads the 2nd option to building a championship team.... the slower way.

David Lee give the Bulls a cheaper version of Chris Bosh. Not bad if you ask me. Lee is a gritty player that cannot only grab rebounds, but can nail the open jumper and this gives the Bulls the perfect scoring bigman. He may not have a great back to the basket game but I think his scoring abilities fit perectly with the Bulls.This would be a great pick up and a great fit. Near the end of the season he had a crazy game with 37 points 20 rebounds and 10 assists. It shows his versatility. Sure he did it against the Warriors but it hadn't been done in over 25 years so that isn't too shabby. Bulls could use his versatility but so could a lot of teams. I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't sign with the Bulls. But if they do pick him up it would be great. Adding a 20-10 guy is always nice.

I understand that Ray is getting older, but he is one of those few athletes in the NBA that keeps himself in great shape. I bet he has 3+ good effective years left in him. He is a savvy veteran that fills one of the Bulls biggest needs, a deadly three point shooter.A player will always lose his athleticism but a true shooter will always keep his shot.
This leaves the Bulls with about 2 million in cap and I say they either resign  to a one or two year deal or look for a backup point guard like perhaps .I'd prefer they just resign Miller. The next best thing to a back up veteran point guard is a back up veteran center. You gotta love a tough, burly bodied, veteran center. Alston has always come off as a me first type player. He had a problem being with the Magic because he knew he'd be second tier behind Nelson. If someone wants to build a team through chemistry that wouldn't be the way to go. Obviously there are more veteran point guards to choose from but from a Rafer Alston standpoint it should be a no go. Eric Bledsoe could be a solid back up and there wouldn't be a doubt that he would bring energy. Plus you have Kirk who has been in the league long enough to know how to get it done. He is more of a combo guard but he has seen plenty of action running the point.

All in all those pickups aren't all going to come true (if any) so it is hard to say. Either way the team made improvements this year with Rose showing flashes of stardom and Noah becoming a double-double threat on a every game basis. Taj Gibson showed some improvement and foreshadowing of a solid player. A coach that is the right fit and doesn't necessarily have the name can go a long ways as well so the biggest move is how they handle the hiring of a head coach.

Nice post and lets hope some of those deals become reality.... especially the championship part.

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