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Training camp roster battles, and what to do with James Johnson

As a reminder, your rotation:

Starters: Rose, Brewer, Deng, Boozer, Noah
Bench: Korver, Gibson, Watson, Asik/Thomas*, Bogans

*figuring it'll be one or the other, depending on how Asik looks in camp.

That's basically everyone with a guaranteed contract (and James Johnson, but more on him later), and today Sham goes into extensive detail on the background of those invited to camp: Brian Scalabrine, John Lucas III, Roger Powell, Chris Richard, and Kyle Weaver. A good read if you're unfamiliar with any of them, including what Roger Powell has been up to since leaving Illinois.

Sham's guess is that Scalabrine and Lucas are the best bets to make the team, though only Lucas would be of any help (being a 3-point shooter who sortof has another skill as emergency PG, whereas Scal is not much of a shooter who has zero other skills). Aggrey Sam of CSNChicago agrees, citing the Thibodeau connection above anything, and confirmation that Thibodeau has been given leeway in the Org. and is using it.

Sham likes Weaver also as a backup (backup) wing, but it's a role that James "Jimmy Johns" Johnson currently has. But he interestingly notes that the Bulls could always send Johnson to the DLeague (as a 2nd year player he's eligible).

It's worth considering, as Johnson clearly needs development, and could he get it with the roster as packed as it is, and practice time during an NBA season being so sparse? The DLeague may not prove anything either, but if the Bulls had trust in the coaches there it could be a better shot to get Johnson to become a useable NBA player. As it stands now, he still has intriguing skills but a playoff team like the Bulls likely would rather have the safe choice off the deep bench, meaning while Kyle Weaver has proven to be merely a fringe NBA player, he'd at least know where to be on the court. If there was an injury to where minutes opened up and they'd rather roll the dice that Johnson has a better chance at real production, Johnson could always be recalled.

Unfortunately, I don't even think the Bulls are considering it as an option, given their spotty record with the DLeague. They did use it last year for some late season call-ups (including Richard), but one of their last 'relegated' players nearly got killed, and it's never been much of a relationship before or since.

Johnson is an interesting case this camp beyond his prospective playing time: it's possible that the Bulls decide not even to pick up his 3rd year contract option for the '11-'12 season. That seems a bit extreme, as even as a lost cause it'd only be ~$1.8m in salary, at the least useable in future trades.