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Bulls free agency rumors: Chicago 'connected' to Devin Harris, according to report

The Bulls need help on offense, and Harris could be an option this offseason.

Chris Covatta

It's not a secret that the Bulls need an influx of offensive talent. The return of Derrick Rose should certainly improve the Bulls' dire situation on offense, but even if he stays healthy and comes back close to his MVP self, he needs more help.

The Bulls will have plenty of options to pursue in this crucial offseason, both of the big and small fish variety. One of those possible options was buried in Aggrey Sam's latest bit about Rose:

That said, after two season-ending injuries in the last three years, the organization understands that they have to brace themselves for the possibility of unexpected misfortune or even just lightening Rose's burden. Whether that means the return of Augustin, bringing back veteran Kirk Hinrich, acquiring another backup in free agency-Mavericks point guard Devin Harris has been connected to the Bulls, according to a league source-or trying to surround Rose with talent that fits his game, the front office has options.

Devin Harris certainly isn't an exciting name, and there's a reason he made the minimum in Dallas this season. Harris, 31, has been rather injury prone over the course of his career, never playing a full season. In fact, he has only reached the 70-game mark three times in his career. He only played 40 games this year and 98 over the last two years.

Harris really struggled with his shooting during the regular season, likely due to his injuries and all the time he missed. The guard averaged 7.9 points while shooting just 37.8 percent overall and 30.7 percent from three. It should be noted that Harris has never really been that good a three-point shooter, even when he was at his best. His career-high mark from deep is 36.2 percent, and he has shot over 35 percent only three times.

Harris did enjoy a solid postseason in the Mavericks' seven-game series loss to the top-seeded Spurs. In that series, Harris averaged 11.4 points and 3.9 assists while shooting 47.0 percent overall and 44.0 percent from deep. He played nearly five more minutes per game in the postseason than in the regular season, which could have been a function of him being completely healthy or just simply because he was more effective than usual.

Harris did deliver a few clunkers in that series, but his ability to go off from time to time does make him an intriguing name. In addition to his occasional quick-strike scoring, he's a capable ball handler and distributor. He ranked 12th in the NBA in assist rate this season and did a decent enough job taking care of the ball. Also, the Mavs did outscore opponents by 11.2 points per 100 possessions with Harris on the court this season per's stats page, so he has that going for him.

Ideally, a guy like Harris is added to a roster that has both Rose and D.J. Augustin on the depth chart. But while Harris made the minimum this season, he'll probably be looking to parlay his solid playoffs into a bigger contract. With Augustin himself earning a larger contract and Harris likely searching for one as well, it might not be in the cards to sign both for above the minimum. It probably could be done if things worked out right, but there's also that whole Kirk Hinrich thing. In addition, Harris might not want to sign on if Augustin and/or Hinrich are brought back, even with Rose's own health being such a question mark.

Augustin has said he wants to return, and some of his quotes even make it sound like he's dead set on coming back. But a lot can change when free agency starts, and perhaps the Bulls view Harris as a potential Augustin replacement. Augustin will likely cost more thanks to his excellent regular season, but his flaws have consistently been exposed in the postseason. Harris is a bigger player with a slightly better playoff track record, so maybe the Bulls would prefer to take a chance on him, especially if he comes at a cheaper rater than Augustin.

If it came down to a choice between Harris and Augustin, I think I'd rather keep the latter. Augustin is five years younger, more durable, a better long-range shooter and just as good a playmaker. Yes, his diminutive stature can be a hindrance on both ends at times, but I like the potential of him as a supporting piece when Rose returns to the lineup as opposed to the No. 1 scoring option.