NBA free agency: What backup center options are out there for the Bulls?

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

It's not a very inspiring list.

The rotation for your 2013-2014 Chicago Bulls is mostly set. The starting lineup is etched in stone, there's two new rookies, the bench loses Marco Belinelli (R.I.P.) and gains Mike Dunleavy. The Bulls are well over the salary cap and into the luxury tax at this point, so the rest of the roster will almost certainly be filled out with minimum signings. It's something to ponder as free agency pushes into its second week after a wild weekend, but nothing appears particularly imminent for the Bulls in terms of minimum signings.

While the Bulls deserve a bit a praise for being proactive in targeting and signing Dunleavy on the first day of free agency with their taxpayers' exception, there's value in waiting when it comes to handing out minimum deals. Who knows, maybe someone who's expected to draw more attention instead sees a quiet market and would prefer to spend a season building their value playing for a very good team on a short deal. A plausible scenario is the Bulls finding a big man who can hopefully be an upgrade over Nazr Mohammed. It's not like Nazr sets the bar particularly high, but this still may be a bit of a longshot.

Last season we did see the Miami Heat bolster themselves by signing Chris Andersen to a minimum deal during the season, so maybe there's a little bit of hope in terms of one of these guys really helping.

Who might be out there available for the minimum? It's not exactly a murder's row.

Sam Dalembert and Jermaine O'Neal may be the best options, but they seem more candidates for a mini-MLE somewhere and not the minimum. Same for Andersen himself.

DeSagana Diop, Joel Pryzbilla, Cole Aldrich, Chris Wilcox, Jason Collins? Greg Stiemsma is newly-available after the TWolves waived him. Thunder young guns Daniel Orton and Hasheem Thabeet have non-guaranteed deals, so that would involve a waiting game for the Bulls.

Elton Brand isn't a classic center, but the Bulls have been rumored to have interest.

There's also, of course, the $5 million trade exception acquired when the Bulls dealt Kyle Korver to the Atlanta Hawks last season. It's a shame the Bulls couldn't even finagle a second round pick as part of that deal, because I would guess there's a 99 percent chance the Bulls do not use this exception. With the Hinrich-induced hard cap expiring on Wednesday, it is at least possible the Bulls could use the TPE.

Who might fit into it? Here's a quick (if uninspiring) list via YFBB :

Brendan Haywood - 2 years/$4.3m
Jordan Hill - 1/$3.5m
Joel Anthony - 1/$3.8m (plus player option following season)
Epke Udoh - 1/$4.5m
Gustavo Ayon - 1/$1.5m
Marcus Camby - 1/$4.4m (plus 1m guaranteed following season)
Lavoy Allen - 1/$3m
Joel Freeland - 2/$5.9m
Aaron Gray - 1/$2.7m

[note: I am just speculating based on teams that would be willing to give players away instead of pay them, 'costing' the Bulls a 2nd rounder at most. Some of these guys hopefully would even net the Bulls a pick. Oh, and keep in mind that nobody can be signed/traded into this exception, as the Bulls are over the tax apron -yfbb]

Udoh might be nice. Aaron Gray is.....Aaron Gray. So yeah. The Bulls are only looking for someone better than Nazr, but it goes to show how few NBA-caliber centers there really are in the world.

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