If you're looking for some juicy Chicago Bulls News and Rumors a month before training camp opens, look no further than Alex Kennedy's piece on the remaining free agents to realize the fridge is probably bare.
Depending on what your thoughts are on Dexter Pittman making the most of his training camp invite, we all would like to see some backup depth at the center position behind Joakim Noah and Nazr "The Shove" Mohammed. I've been on record for weeks hoping the Bulls wouldn't find a third center....I wanted a SECOND center who pushed Nazr to third string/"playoffs only" duty. Doesn't look to be happening.
I'm surprised Pittman was even on the radar considering how little he showed in Miami for the Heat. Then again, who's left at center that would be an upgrade over Pittman? At this point I'd be splurging on more appetizers and an extra keg ...open up the training camp tryout party to the likes of Jason Collins, Joel Przybilla, Cole Aldrich, DeSagna Diop and Hamed Haddadi. Make the first couple of days Meatloaf Tryouts and may the best performer be a Bull.
It would be a good move for Gar Forman and John Paxson to let Tom Thibodeau make the final call on if they add one more piece, considering the friction, or at least the press's assumption, the two sides have been at odds on team decisions such as the exit of Ron Adams. Let Thibs "have a win" going into the season and pick his last guy.
If the Bulls decide Pittman really is the answer over the rest...that would be 13 players under contract. Does anyone else on this FA list warrant another minimum 14th man spot? There's plenty of these guys I deem a "higher potential to contribute" than say Pittman. Actually if only looking at it that way...most of them.
I could see the Bulls considering a 6th guard behind D. Rose, Jimmy Butler, Kirk Hinrich, Tony Snell and Marquis Teague IF they're worried about over-use on Rose, typical health issues with Captain Kirk, a rawness in Snell and a lack of development in Teague(all possibilities). Those are a lot of ifs though, and I doubt they head into the season pressed to find insurance there.
If they did go Geico though, Sebastian Telfair, A.J. Price, and Mike James would all be additions at the point who could actually offer legit help in one way or another. If looking for another 2-guard, I'd start with Deshawn Stevenson, Roger Mason and Leandro Barbosa (if healed from ACL surgery) in that order.
There would be no reason to add an additional small forward or power forward, though it was interesting that the Bulls were reportedly flirting with Antawn Jamison until he signed yesterday with the Clippers, as well as Anthony Tolliver. Considering you already have Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng with plenty of backups for each of them with Taj Gibson, Erik Murphy, Mike Dunleavy, and Jimmy Butler(let him slide over, I want 40 J-bux mins a game please)...the Bulls look set there. I saw the Jamison and Tolliver wooing as a bad sign Taj will be playing more center this year, therefore creating the need for another four. Bad, bad plan if you ask me.
If for some reason they are small forward-hungry(CAN'T see it), I'd take a hard look at Corey Maggette, Damien Wilkins and most of all James Johnson. Yes that James Johnson who Chicago drafted at 16th of the first round in 2009, then banished to Toronto soon after.
James has what I'll call "disorganized talent" and could bring some nice athleticism at the end of the bench. Wilkins actually played well for the Sixers last year when called on to start, and Maggette, while more a name than a game at this point...couldn't hurt you at all for some instant offense off the bench if needed.
For the power forwards, I don't think you have to look further than a few guys we're already rather familiar with. Why not consider Drew "Mini-Boozer" Gooden again? There's not a ton of difference between the two besides a 15M pay check. Chris Wilcox could bring some extra cheap beef to the floor as well.
My guess is the Bulls will bring back Malcolm "Mini-Taj" Thomas. He's a good kid who they clearly like, and he'll accept showing off a Brooks Brothers wardrobe on the bench all year. And if by chance you actually need him..he brings some spring to his step. The Bulls explored what was out there, they didn't find much, and Thomas appears to be that Bulls ex-girlfriend simply roses and chocolates away when all else fails.
End of day...none of these guys will make much of a difference for the Bulls. Or I should say, if they did...your original plan really went awry this year. Then again look no further than Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli in '12-'13 and you realize you can never be certain who pays huge dividends and when. Moves like that separate great GMs in this league. Maybe the Bulls REALLY think they can bring out untapped potential in Pittman?
Lets finish off this roster and get going. GO BULLS!