NBA Draft/Free Agency Preview: Chicago Bulls Waited for Derrick Rose and Now Wait for Luol Deng
The Derrick Rose Saga ended up lasting for the entire 2012-2013 season, much to the chagrin of fans of Rose and the Chicago Bulls. Now that Rose is expected to come back for the beginning of the 2013-2014 season, the Bulls now turn their focus to Luol Deng. Deng can become an unrestricted free agent in July 2014, so the Bulls are hoping that they can gear up and make another run at the NBA Championship. With their tenuous cap situation, and owner Jerry Reinsdorf’s reluctance to ever engage in reckless spending, the Bulls don’t expect to look drastically different in 2013-2014, other than the benefit of having a returning Rose.
With 2 years and $32 million owed to Carlos Boozer, the Bulls are unlikely to be able to add any big name free agents – unless they are able to find a taker for Boozer. Expect there to be tons of talk leading up to the trade deadline next season and next summer regarding Deng’s future with the Bulls, or as the next big name free agent to sign elsewhere. Joakim Noah is owed $40 million over the next three seasons, while Taj Gibson is there to bolster the front line. The Bulls should be one of the top three or four teams in the East next season with the Miami Heat, New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers. The Bulls’ fortunes in 2013-2014 will go a long way to determine what they do next summer in free agency.
In the meantime, the Bulls need to re-stock their bench, The Bulls are typically prudent spending-wise, so expect them to utilize the 20th pick in the 2013 Draft to add the shooter that they desperately need. Rip Hamilton is not long for Chicago, with the team possession an option for 2013-14. Hamilton has been injured or limited in his productivity since being traded from the Detroit Pistons prior to the 2011-2012 season. It is not clear how much a player in the draft will be able to help the Bulls, as this is one of the weakest and most top-heavy drafts in recent memory. Outside of the first few slots in the lottery, the only consensus on the players who will remain when the Bulls pick is that most all of them are glorified bench players, or a specialist on a team that is mostly loaded with a solid core, such as the Bulls.
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