I can't help but hope that Gar Paxsdorf is thinking somewhere along the same lines that I am. And I believe that they are, because they left that almost $1.5 mil under the cap. And if they are thinking the same way I'm thinking than you can forget about any big money trades. So no Melo, Rip, BG, Iggy, Kevin Martin, or Ellis. Think young with untapped potential but has shown flashes. Here's my thinking:
-- 1) In Hindsight Great Offseason: Even with Boozer not playing, he's a better signing than Bosh and Stoudemire. He may cost more than Bosh, but look at his performance early on, Taj has out played him. He came cheaper than Stoudemire and you have to think he'll be a better rebounder and defender. After that none of our guys has a contract longer than 3 years, and the most a year is Korver's 5 a year. I'll admit it, I'm very happy we struck out on trading Deng to get the space to sign DWade, Lebron, and Bosh. (And don't kid yourself if we had the space, they would have come here, instead of Miami) I'd rather beat them.
-- 2) They Like This Team: Resigning Noah and not trading Deng proves that. Noah gets his $12 mil a year and goes out and shows he worth it, and probably took a hometown discount if he actually got out in the open market (with current conditions) After not being able to clear cap space, keeping Deng, is looking like a pretty smart decision. I really don't see a better bang for your buck, when I look at other SF's. He may not be the most talented, but he's the most talented $11 mil/ year SF you going to get.
-- 3) They Are Looking Long Term: With the new collective bargaining agreement coming, I think the Bulls are set up pretty nicely. I don't think you are going to see a hard cap like the NHL. I think the system will be a hybrid of the current system and the NFL's system, where you get a hard cap, but more ability to keep your own guys. Think something like a Franchise Player tag, where you get 2 and those guys live outside the cap, salarywise, everyone else has to fit under the cap. The Larry Bird rule would have to be modified a bit, maybe make the tenure you have to have to initiate it longer. Keep the MLE, and the Vet minimum and your good. If this is the case then having Boozer at $15 mil, Noah at $12 mil, and Deng at $11 mil really isn't bad. Salaries will definitely not be any higher than they are now, which means D.Rose's max extension will probably be in the $15 - $17 mil range.
My Conclusion: (This all depends on the Collective Bargaining Agreement, of course)
They have constructed a team of young professionals that work hard and enjoy working hard. A group that under a new energetic, intelligent new coach can all grow together into something special. Not only for this season, but for years to come. The only weak link is SG. I really think Joe Johnson was the guy, if he had waited for a while and until ATL threw all that money at him (thank goodness they did). By signing Brewer and Bogans, the Org gave themselves a band-aid, I expect they thought for the year, or at least until trading deadline time. Then you use your recently acquired mid-level free agents, and a combination of draft picks to supplement your needs at SG, backup PG, and maybe another servicable big. I believe that to be the original thinking before the start of the year.
And I said earlier to look for young players, with upside who have show flashes. Well, I'll add, that are making no more than $6 mil this year, and would except extensions of no more than $10 mil. Anyone I traded for this year would be extended for at least the next 3 or 4 years. I'm thinking they are looking for the disenchanted young player, that is looking for an opportunity to win. And I don't think they are giving up Taj. JJ, Brewer, Bogans, Scals, Watson and Thomas are our trading pieces as far as players go, and of course our draft picks.
The start of the season, with our team looking so good without Boozer, and the East looking more winnable than expected should have hastened the SG search. If we can get a guy in here by New Year's it would be ideal. That way you can easily introduce him to system while you ease Boozer back in at the same time. And have him for most of the year, instead of the last half. But at the same time, teams will be more urgent to trade closer to the deadline, so it will be a thin line of when to make the move. The list of guys on our SG wish list should be:
OJ Mayo -- He just seems like the perfect choice, and with his declining status in Memphis, maybe we can get him for Charlotte's 1st and Watson, since they are looking for back up PG help.
Rodney Stuckey -- He may not be available, but with the Pistons record and the clashes with Head Coach John Kuester, he may be out if they decide to truly rebuild. I don't see Rip being moved and BG isn't going anywhere. His game isn't a perfect match for the spot, but could develop into it. I've always thought they were wasting him at the PG spot. We would probably have to give up some combination of 1st round picks and Watson, Asik, Bogans, and Thomas to make it work. He's probably the hardest to resign to a decent contract.
Terrence Williams -- I know, I know he's an headcase, but he's a headcase who can ball. Please remember the triple-double he dropped on us last year. He's not even Delonte West crazy, he just seems to suffer from the same thing Noah went through his 1st 2 years. He hasn't matured yet. A change in scenery could do wonders for him, and a team of young guys to help and hold him accountable could do even more. Having Noah and DRose as leaders of your team, and young assistants like Brunson, Griffin, and Pinckney could help the young man. No one has ever said anything about his work ethic being bad, just his punctuality. He would be the cheapest, you could probably get away with just sending Scalabrine and our late 1st for him.
Courtney Lee -- Seems like a good fit and if Houston keeps losing, they could be looking to unload some players for draft picks. Our 1st and Bogans should matchup nicely.
Corey Brewer -- He's basically caught in a numbers crunch in Minny. I think he would have to be a package deal, maybe Bogans, Watson, and 1st round pick for Brewer and Kosta Koufos, who seems like a bizarro Asik.
Marcus Thornton -- He would be a more perfect fit than Mayo if he played D. Another cheap one though
From this list you have a group of guys all no older than 26, that you could plug into your SG hole and get potentially, at least 13 a game in our system and play solid to above average D at the position, for this year. And have the potential to be much more down the road, and not want big time contracts with an extension. All without giving up any of your top 6 -7 guys talent wise.
Mayo, Williams, Thornton, Lee, Stuckey, Brewer
Depending on what we do to get a SG, which should be priority #1, that sets up our trading deadline moves. More than likely Watson will be included in any deal for a SG, so I'm thinking a back up like Sebastian Telfair from Minnesota, Ramon Sessions from Cleveland, or Patty Mills from Portland. Out of that group I like Mills.
Now the extra big man, may seem like a luxury, but I don't think you can ever have enough quality bigs to throw out there. Plus, I don't trust Kurt Thomas to play all that well when called upon, and with Boozer being somewhat injury prone and Taj having these foot problems, not to mention Noah's history. I think we need a good young quality big to challenge Asik as the 4th big off the bench (when Boozer returns).
Would you be happy with these additions by the time the trading deadline is over?.. And which combination would you rather have?
Bulls Get: OJ Mayo for Watson and the Charlotte pick, Spencer Hawes for Bogans and Scalabrine, and Ramon Sessions for Thomas, JJ, and our 1st round pick
You're welcome to use this post to come up with alternative theories on what u would do to tighten things up for the stretch run as well.