I started out skeptical of the 2010 plans because of the roster and salary structure of the Bulls, but the coup Paxson pulled off at the trade deadline has made 2010 an almost undeniable fact. As I've been thinking about future possibilities. This plan is what I keep coming back to.
This summer I draft a low ceiling/high floor SG/SF and PF/C with the two 1st rounds picks. I'm not looking for future starters, just guys that could come in and play a productive 10-15 minutes off the bench. I let Gordon walk, and I make a hard push to get Tyrus to sign this summer so I don't have to deal with his cap hold in the summer of 2010. I really want Tyrus on this team long term. Moving him for Stoudemire or Bosh wouldn't be an easy decision for me because I continue to think he's going to be very good, and the type of player that consistently makes game changing plays. I would hope showing some faith in Tyrus combined with the uncertainity of the economy would get him to sign, but I know it's a long shot. I'd be willing to give him the 9-10 million per year that's been the going rate for athletic big men.
If I can get Thomas signed, I forget about blockbuster summer deals or trade deadline deals unless it's too good to pass up. I ride out the season with Rose, Salmons, Deng, Thomas, and Noah starting with Hinrich, Miller, Tim Thomas, two rookies, and some cheap veterans off the bench. Since Paxson seems set on giving Vinny another year that's not enough players to screw up with. If Salmons puts up another strong season, maybe he opts out to get his last contract.
Then in the summer of 2010, I go after Dwyane Wade hard. I didn't think Wade would leave Miami and worried about his injuries, but I've been changing my mind during the course of the season. He's clearly healthy again, and I think has learned to slightly alter his style. I think the new rule changes protect him more as well. Outside of LeBron, Wade is clearly the best player on the market that summer. He's more dominant than Bosh or Stoudemire, and brings championship experience.
Chicago is the one place Wade could make up the money he'd lose in by not signing in Miami because of the marketing opportunities. He has established enough of his own celebrity and accomplishment, and enough time has passed that the Jordan legacy would be an asset, rather than a burden. In addition there is the opportunity to market the All Chicago backcourt of Wade and Rose.
On the court Chicago would offer Derrick Rose, a player Wade openly lobbied for prior to the draft. However, they would have more than Derrick Rose. Rose, Wade, Deng, Thomas, and Noah with Hinrich, perhaps a resigned Brad Miller, some young players including potentially Asik, and cheap veterans would be a contending team capable of playing championship level defense with unmatched athleticism. I don't think Miami can match that as a talent base for Wade to pursue championships with. Even if Miami they could get Bosh to pair with Wade, I don't think Bosh and Beasley match what the Bulls would have. I'm finally willing to entertain Wade as a possibility.
I think this path gets the team further than any other possibility. Giving up Tyrus and expirings for Bosh or Stoudemire is a huge boost, but I don't think it's enough to get the team where it needs to go. It would still require some huge development by Rose. The more I think about it, the more I bet big on Wade. This summer will determine, whether this is going to be feasible. If it's clear Tyrus is going to be difficult to resign then the Bulls can go to plan B. Not much would have to change to go to Plan B. The same draft picks work. I still let Gordon walk, and readdress the SG position in 2010 free agency. And of course injuries during the course of next season could change things, but if I'm Paxson I keep Wade in mind as plan A. I have the patience to wait another year and a half for a shot at Wade, but I don't know if other Bulls fans do.