Instead of the Bulls throwing tons of money and overpaying a good but not great player, what about building a deep team in the mold of the San Antonio Spurs? There are a ton of potential possibilities for how this could happen, but here's one:
Amnesty Boozer, Sign Nikola Mirotic for 7 million per year for 3 years, and sign Paul Pierce for 7 million for 1 year, which is of course $14 million. How will the Bulls get $14 million if amnesty of Carlos Boozer only creates $11.7 million? I have Starred** the moves that make it possible for the Bulls to have over $15 million in cap space. Re-sign DJ via exception. Trade 16th and 19th pick for the 12th pick, a move that would also create approx. $800k in cap space** since 16th pick+19th pick salary cap is roughly $2.56 mil and the 12th is worth about 1.74 mil according to rookie salary scale. Draft Nik Stauskas with the 12th pick. Sign Elton Brand to minimum as he could fill a Kurt Thomas-like role. Nazr Mohammed is done as a player, or at least he should be. Re-sign Kirk to minimum. Retain Greg Smith and let other non-guaranteed contracts of Lou Amundson, Ronnie Brewer, and Mike James walk for somewhere around $3 more in cap space**. Again, they would be traded in the ideal scenario but this is all a BACKUP PLAN. Use 2nd round pick on a developmental C or PG (maybe a foreign draft and stash). Finally, remain active on trade market throughout the year and at the deadline for a superstar. Just in case some star says he wants out...
Rose, DJ, Hinrich
Butler, Stauskas, Snell
Pierce, Dunleavy, Snell
Taj, Mirotic, Brand
Noah, Smith, Brand
Minutes Per Game:
PG: Rose- 25, DJ- 20, Kirk-3
SG: Butler-35, Stauskas- 10, Snell- 3
SF: Pierce- 25, Dunleavy- 20, Snell- 3
PF: Taj- 30, Mirotic- 15, Brand- 3
C: Noah- 30, Smith- 15, Brand- 3
That is a 13 man roster there with a 10 man rotation throughout the season to keep the regulars fresh for the playoffs. Pierce is obviously a risk given his age but he can provide a lot of what Carmelo Anthony would bring to a lesser extent, and can focus on being a secondary offensive threat with Jimmy Butler beside him, Taj/Noah behind him, and a capable backup in Dunleavy. He is slow but a good rebounder and offensively he is a solid pick and roll threat due to his scoring ability and he is crafty and has the ability to post up opposing wings, all things the Bulls lacked this past season. Snell is relegated to 5th wing, but in the next year or so he could take Dunleavy's position as the primary backup wing, with Stauskas as the starting 2 and Butler starting at the 3. Retaining Kirk is idea because Rose could sit on back-to-backs or during long stretches of games and Kirk could provide solid minutes in small bunches behind DJ. Side note: I'm extremely excited to see Taj and Noah play together this season, as both have improved considerably offensively since 09-10 and both are absolute stalwarts on defense.
I'm not entirely sure if this roster could win it all, but it would definitely be an improved team from the past couple years, even if Rose had stayed healthy. A bench full of shooters fits the mold of the Spurs, with DJ, Stauskas, Dunleavy, and Mirotic all capable of shooting at least 40-ish% from 3-point range, which would be a nightmare for opposing coaches. And although this bench would be defensively challenged, they would not be undersized with Stauskas (6'6), Dunleavy (6'9), Mirotic (6'10) at the 2, 3, and 4 to rebound enough to make up for defensive woes. And I think Greg Smith has solid potential as a bruiser of a rebounder and screen-setter.
Avoiding any major injuries, I see this team winning around 55-60 games, and at least reaching the ECF. And the depth would be a step toward preventing major injuries since Thibs would have legitimate players. Not a bad backup plan. What do you think? And yes, this is my 2nd post in as many days but do not fret. I do not have a ton of time on my hands and will be not posting nearly as often in the future,
Here is the link for the salary scale for rookies I used: http://basketball.realgm.com/nba/info/rookie_scale
And I got the 11.7 cap figure after amnestying Boozer from Jay Platt's post a couple days ago.