One nice thing about this Rose trade happening before the draft and free agency is that, woo boy, there are a lot of holes to fill.
The state of the Bulls isn't good, but it's also in flux, which could mean it'll get better?
Current signed roster
(age on opening night)
*(on November 10th...close enough)
The Bulls sent out a 2nd rounder in this deal, their own for 2017. They're pick-neutral for the 2nd round now, as they have a 2018 2nd rounder from the Holiday-Hinrich deal. And of course, if the Kings pick is protected top-10 for the 2017 draft, that will instead convey as another second-rounder.
(Kudos to Basketball Insiders, who turned this around extremely quickly.)
This is assuming farewell to the cap holds of Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol, and Aaron Brooks. And a real farewell to the Richard Hamilton stretch provision money! E'Twaun Moore is an unrestricted free agent (and 27 years old, FYI), but his cap hold is the minimum so it behooves the Bulls to work something out where they agree to pay him late in the summer with early bird rights and not cap space. If he leaves for more money than that, so be it.
The Bulls could have up to $26m in cap space, not enough for a true max contract but still quite a bit to work with.
There is some flexibility here too. Their big expiring contracts are in more manageable chunks of salary than Rose's $22m, and all belong to vets they could stand to lose: Gibson, Calderon, and Dunleavy ($1.6m guaranteed in 2017-18). Snell is sorta-expiring, and any team getting him would get his matching rights for restricted free agency. Lopez is on a good contract, one that will look better in comparison to some of the deals free agent centers will get this offseason.
- Starting Point Guard - Jose Calderon too washed up to be a starter and/or receive heavy minutes. His defense will be even worse than Rose's. Remember Paxson said that the point of attack on defense was important? It was memorable because it was kind of weird, but it was said.
- Athleticism and defense on the wings - Grant and Dinwiddie is a step in this direction, but they're both more of point guard height. It'd be great to retain Moore but he's no great shakes in the athleticism department either. Butler can't play 40 minutes every night and carry even more of the offense now with Rose gone.
- Another star - If this was in some kind of order this would probably always be first. If you trade Jimmy Butler you need two or three more superstars. With Jimmy we probably only need 1 or 2! How this happens, who the hell knows. Package what you have in expirings and picks. Accidentally tank behind Hoiball and keep your own solid (if not top-5) pick for next year. Essentially: get lucky.
- Clear out for Mirotic - will he be a star? Probably not, but he has the potential to where you owe it to yourselves to find out. Niko had a letdown second season but looked better after returning from that appendectomy. Granted the Bulls were a trash fire by then so it's hard to know if that's real. I think getting complementary bigs to play alongside him (instead of Gasol) will help, as will moving out from Gibson or Portis. They all look to pretty firmly be PFs to me, and that's Mirotic's only real position too.
- Another defensive Center - adding this in after listening to Nate Duncan's podcast this morning. Co-host Danny Leroux liked Lopez more than Nate did, but both agreed that it didn't totally fill the center hole, and this year's free agency class still has a lot of those guys available. The good news is the Bulls can hold firm on offering fewer years to FAs knowing Lopez is always there. Signing Ian Mahinmi (or someone of that caliber) would relegate Lopez to play about as many minutes as the millions he's making, but it'd still be a moveable contract. Or maybe these guys don't know the power of Felicio!