The 2010 offseason could turn out to be the most epic in Chicago Bulls history.
Whether or not it is epic in a positive way, an epic failure, or an epic disappointment is up to Jerry Reinsdorf and the Chicago front office.
What I'm about to say is nothing that has never been dreamed on this site before. Heck, it may even have been written more than a year ago. But as July grows closer, dreams are starting to become realities...sort of.
As of right now, all talk about the Bulls is centered around superstar small forward LeBron James, as well it should be. For more than two years, James and the class of 2010 have been arguably the most eagerly anticipated--event we'll call it--in recent NBA history.
The NBA Playoffs, agree or not, are taking somewhat of a backseat to all this LeBron talk. LeBron is the Brett Favre of the NBA in that he simply dominates headlines. Everyone wants to know what the dude had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and what color shirt he is wearing for the day. So when ESPN.com starts breaking news that LeBron's top option if he leaves Cleveland is the Chicago Bulls, not only does the MSM take notice, but fans stop caring about the Playoffs almost all together.
Enough small talk, let's just get down to it.
1. Head Coach
I think this is probably my most shocking opinion on here. Quite honestly, I don't know or really care who our coach is going to be. Perhaps I have been caught up in the LeBron hype, but I know that of the candidates we have interviewed/plan on interviewing, nobody gets me all that excited.
For instance, we could have Burt Snurd as the head coach, but as long as we get LeBron James, it isn't going to matter to me.
We might as well interview LeBron's coach from Cleveland. He had about as much impact--again this is just my opinion--on the Cavs success as Danny Green. He's kind of just there. I don't think the head coach has as much to do with NBA success as say, an NFL coach, but you can definitely tell when there are bad apples.
Still, I will go with Mo Cheeks, the former Sixers coach. Obviously the Sixers didn't find a ton of success under him, but he has head coaching experience (unlike Del Negro), has been a candidate for some time now, and seems to be arguably the top candidate we are looking at.
My Prediction: The Bulls sign Maurice Cheeks as Head Coach
2. The Draft
Next on the menu of this four-course meal is the 2010 NBA Draft, where we will be selecting 17th overall. Nobody on the web seems to have come to a consensus of a guy the Bulls are looking at, whether it be a shooting guard, swingman/forward, power forward, or project center.
My thought process is that the Bulls already have a developmental center in Omer Asik overseas, and will likely be bringing him in this year. He is big, a solid scorer, and great rebounder who really helps out on the offensive glass, but more on him later.
Center is out of it for me unless a top tier prospect falls.
As far as a power forward, it completely depends on what we plan on doing in free agency. We drafted two guys last year who can play power forward in James Johnson and Taj Gibson, but who knows if one of them will be used as bait in a sign and trade situation?
No power forward for me.
On to the swingman/forward type. I like Paul George from Fresno State, simply because he can shoot, and I like Gordon Hayward for the same reason. I don't think either of them will still be there, and if they are, we might have to select one because our top player is still off the board.
As far as I'm concerned, our top target heading into the draft should be a shooting guard, and we might have a chance to get one of the deadliest shooters in this year's draft.
For the second straight year, our first round pick will be a dude named James. This year, Oklahoma State guard James Anderson will be the Bulls' pick at 17 overall, and he will provide the Bulls with some desperately needed three-point shooting.
Chad Ford thinks Anderson may be one of the more NBA-ready players in this year's draft, and he plays much better defense than is given credit. This pick could free us up to trade Hinrich if we needed, though I'm not so sure about that, and it would give us a huge boost offensively.
My Prediction: Bulls Draft James Anderson
3. Free Agency
This area will obviously hold the most weight this offseason, and comes just a couple of weeks after the draft, if I'm not mistaken.
From everything I have read so far, LeBron James is going to the Chicago Bulls. I, for one, believe he is a fool if he doesn't. Nobody out there is offering a better foundation of players for LeBron to build his championship dynasty around the Bulls, who feature our beloved Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.
If I'm LeBron, and even if I'm not a Chicago Bulls fan, I'm signinf with Chicago simply because they are better (WAY better) than the New York Knicks or Cleveland Cavaliers, who are reportedly LeBron's top two options outside of the Bulls.
Prediction: Bulls sign SF LeBron James
The Bulls still have some holes to fill, particularly with scoring at the four position. I think Taj Gibson is a nice player, but he's got so much more value in my opinion coming off of the bench as a change of pace, high effort kind of guy. Not that he can't start and be effective, but my sights are set high, and so should the Bulls'.
Jerry Reinsdorf has a very, very rare opportunity.
- PF Chris Bosh
- 2011 2nd round pick
- Cash considerations
- SF Luol Deng
- PF Taj Gibson
- 2012 1st round pick
I have no idea if the Raptors would buy into this, but do they really have a choice? If Bosh names the Bulls as his team, they obviously don't HAVE to oblige him, and I really don't understand their leverage in this situation. Someone more knowledgeable on the situation should sound off in the comments, but my questions is why do the Raptors hold so much leverage in a sign-and-trade for a guy that could literally bolt for absolutely nothing.
This is why I'm hesitant to add Gibson, who would be a very valuable asset off the bench for the Bulls in the event that they do trade for Bosh. Obviously, Deng has to be part of any sign-and-trade in a scenario in which we sign LeBron James, which I truly believe we will.
Deng's contract is at 10.365 million, which is a lot to pay for an oft-injured small forward, so I don't know if the Raps will bite here. Perhaps they will look to fill Chris' needs elsewhere, though if he wanted to play for the New York Knicks, he could essentially leave for nothing, which makes me wonder.
If the Bulls are his team of choice, I don't see how Chicago comes out of this deal looking like winners, which is why I've added the additional pick and cash consideration, because I think the Bulls could look to buy another draft pick. (So, obviously, this deal comes during or right before the draft)
As I previously stated, I think the Bulls could look to buy another pick in the draft. Rookies are very inexpensive, and after the moves we've made, we need roster fillers and at cheap prices. If the Raps are willing to take on Deng's salary and pay us roughly $1 million in extra cash, I think we make another trade on draft night:
- 2010 1st round pick (28th overall)
- Cash considerations
I know this move should have been made in the draft section, but just roll with me here. Here, the Bulls use the money they received in the Bosh trade (roughly 1 million dollars) to obtain an extra pick at the bottom of the first round of the 2010 NBA draft from a team that has three first round picks this year in the Grizzlies.
I'm still not sold on the Bulls' backcourt, even with the addition of James Anderson. I love Rose, I have always loved Hinrich, and I think Anderson will turn out to be a fine player if or when we get him. BUT, I think the backcourt is still an area that needs to be addressed, and this seems like the perfect draft to do so.
I really struggled here in picking the correct player, but I think I came away pretty happy about my "mock" decision with this pick. I'm going to go ahead and pick Jordan Crawford, the guard from Xavier who is famous for dunking on LeBron at a basketball camp last summer, and a guy who would be a welcome offensive juggernaut.
Some say he is a poor man's Ben Gordon, and I definitely saw that when I watched him in the NCAA tournament. He has deep range on his shot, though I don't remember Ben being as good a finisher at the rim as Crawford is. Crawford is a guy who will come in with James Anderson and provide instant offense, something we desperately need.
After the draft/the initial part of free agency, I think the Bulls are sitting pretty with a roster that includes Rose, Hinrich, Crawford, Anderson, James, Johnson, Bosh, and Noah.
I think the Bulls will also be able to bring back Joe Alexander and Brad Miller at very reasonable prices, increasing the depth of our frontcourt. Miller has proven he can still play, and I think Alexander at a cheap price could be something of a steal down the road if he ever develops.
I also believe the Bulls are primed to bring over Omer Asik, as has been discussed on this site numerous times. Asik is a strong center prospect who can add some much needed frontcourt depth with his offensive rebounding and low post scoring.
I don't know who else, but you might see some ring chasers come sign cheap to shore up our frontcourt depth for the time being. Obviously, because this is my "ideal" scenario.
4. The Depth Chart
PG: Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, Jordan Crawford
SG: Hinrich, James Anderson, Crawford
SF: LeBron James, James Johnson, Joe Alexander
PF: Chris Bosh, Johnson, Noah, Roster filler
C: Joakim Noah, Brad Miller, Omer Asik
Like I said, this is my ideal offseason for the Bulls. I don't know how much of this, if any of it will actually come to fruition, but it's fun to speculate and dream. Hope you enjoyed my rant!