Thursday, May 22, 2008

NBA Offseason Preview - Chicago Bulls

Chicago Bulls
Record: 33-49
2008-2009 Payroll (Source: $40.4M
Draft Picks: #1, #39

How the winds of change have taken shape in Chicago! The season started with rumors of Kobe Bryant heading to the Windy City followed by another slow start ultimately squelching the Kobe rumors and relieving Scott Skiles of his job. It ended with a blockbuster sending Ben Wallace on his way, but taking on Larry Hughes’s ugly contract (2 years/$26.5M). With the acquisition of Drew Gooden, the Bulls added a scoring power forward to their roster. Meanwhile, Ben Gordon and Luol Deng remain Bulls, but for how long? Both have qualifying offers, but will be prized free agents.

And when all hope was lost following a disheartening season that saw good turn into bad and bad into worse, the Bulls were gifted with the #1 overall pick.

Burning Questions: For a guy who pulled the trigger on many now-famous shots as a player, John Paxson has been notoriously gun-shy as a GM. Now that the Bulls are selecting first overall, how does this affect the long-term signability of Deng and Gordon? Also, who will the Bulls select first?

Gasol: Could have been a Bull.
Credit: The Hype
Perceived Needs: Scoring PF, Backup PG, Veteran C

If I Were GM … I would select Michael Beasley as the #1 pick overall. Last season was an aberration. What was missing the previous two seasons? It was most definitely an interior force who can score at will. Simply put, the upgrade at power forward (Drew Gooden) is higher than the upgrade at point guard (Kirk Hinrich) should the Bulls select Derrick Rose. With their second-round pick (#39), the Bulls should address the potential exodus of backup point guard Chris Duhon.

Among the existing Bulls, re-signing Luol Deng (qualifying offer of $4.5M) is the top priority, because he provides a value-add with his mid-range jumper which is rare in today’s game. While inking Ben Gordon (qualifying offer of $6.4M) is important, this may not be realistic unless the Bulls are able to offload the hefty contracts of either Larry Hughes or Andres Nocioni (4 years/ ~$29.5M). If Gordon demands a trade, the Bulls can be certain to ask for a lottery-protected 1st-round pick from a Western Conference team.

Without a head coach, it’s tough to project the tempo at which the Bulls will play. Nevertheless, the Bulls could always use a true center to complement Joakim Noah, who shocked many with his steady performances following the trade of Ben Wallace.
(Editor's Note: Andres Nocioni did not pass the ball at any point during the development of this post.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Bulls are in the market to trade for a point guard. They're interested in TJ Ford, Calderon and Kyle Lowry.

Calderon's the best of the three.