The owners and players of the NBA ended their lockout, and worked together to come up with a new CBA. There were some major changes that came out of it, but that’s what you expect when there is a 100+ day lockout. It’s going to change the way teams operate.
The Bulls finished last season losing to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, and none of them are going to forget that. The Bulls’ weaknesses were exploited, and one of the most glaring weaknesses was at the shooting guard position. Keith Bogans started in every single game for the Bulls, but didn’t really help them produce anything on offense. Tom Thibodeau is a defensive-minded coach though, so Bogans is probably very valuable in his eyes, but he is a liability on offense. He did help them end up with the best defense in the league, but he could be just as helpful on the bench. They drafted Jimmy Butler with their first round pick, but he is mainly a SF. They also have Ronnie Brewer, but he plays better when he comes off the bench.
Some free agent options at the two guard position would be Jason Richardson, Caron Butler, Arron Afflalo (Restricted), Marcus Thornton (Restricted), and Nick Young (Restricted). Being a Restricted Free Agent means that the player’s current team would get the chance to match any offer that opposing teams had offered, and it is why the Bulls could not get J.J. Redick last season. Stephen A. Smith had guaranteed that the Bulls would sign Tracy McGrady, but I haven’t seen anything about it since.
They have been in talks with Jamal Crawford, Caron Butler, Josh Howard, Nick Young, and Jason Richardson. Crawford could give them the scoring help that they need, and he is a great ball handler (with one of the greatest crossovers in the league), but he doesn’t really offer them anything on defense. Maybe Thibodeau could change his mindset though. They all would help greatly on the offensive side of the ball, except for Howard really.
I would be fine if they traded a few players for a better SG option. They still have a lot of young guys who haven’t reached their ceiling yet, and their future draft picks aren’t going to be as useful if the team keeps on improving. Jerry Reinsdorf has stated that he would be willing to pay the luxury tax in order to bring in a key piece. The luxury tax is when a team owner has to pay back the amount of money they would be over the limit, and Reinsdorf has been known to avoid it. The tax rules are going to get stricter in 3 years, so he’s better off just paying it now. The Bulls aren’t going to be able to take the next step if their owner is going to be stingy with his millions of dollars. He has the youngest player ever to win MVP on his team, so he should be building a team around him. They made it to the conference finals too, so it’s not like they need a complete overhaul.
As for the current team, both Derrick Rose and Luol Deng played overseas during the lockout, and Boozer has reportedly slimmed down considerably. Boozer was a disappointment during the playoffs, but that was mostly due to his toe injury, so hopefully he has gotten healthier. Kyle Korver is still an assassin, and Joakim Noah still probably has that terrible jump shot. It’s going to be hard to assemble a team that can beat the Heat in a 7 game series, but as we’ve all learned, anything is possible.