Derrick Rose Injury: 5 Things Chicago Bulls Must Do Before ‘The Return’ Part II
Derrick Rose Injury: 5 Things Chicago Bulls Must Do Before 'The Return' Part II
Beginning to hit their stride after a somewhat slow start, the Chicago Bulls are now again going to be without their superstar point guard Derrick Rose. After suffering a meniscus tear, Rose opted for surgery that took place Monday to repair the ligament and will now be out for the remainder of the season.
The loss of Rose comes at an incredibly heart-breaking moment in time for the Bulls, who looked like they were getting back to their roots as a phenomenal group that played team basketball, first and foremost. Rose was aggressive, though not having gotten his shot back to where he'd like it to be, and looked more and more comfortable with his teammates each and every day.
With a healthy Rose, the Bulls were one of the only teams in the East that could even be given a shot to be the Miami Heat. Without him, they are merely waiting to be eliminated in the playoffs. Yes, I said playoffs. Chicago will make the postseason even without Rose, but how far will they go? That's the question that dooms many Bulls fans' season outlook.
As the Bulls prepare for the rest of the year, I can't help but look ahead to the 2014 offseason and wonder what Chicago will do before their point guard comes back. There are undoubtedly decisions to be made -- big ones. There are changes that need to be made, again without a doubt. What are these changes and decisions, though? That's what I'm here to unravel. Even with Rose this season, it would have been tough for Chicago to take out Miami. There are still moves to be made before they can compete for a ring.
Before Chicago can even think about making a championship run in 2014, assuming Rose is able to come back, they will have to assemble the right pieces and eliminate some baggage that could be holding them back next year. With that said, here are five things this franchise must do before Rose returns yet again.
5. Get Nikola Mirotic Into Game Plan Immediately
With European superstar big man Nikola Mirotic finally joining the Bulls in 2014, they will have to get him a place on the team and within the rotation immediately. Mirotic is a 6'10'' stretch four that can shoot the ball at a silky smooth rate. As one of the top players overseas, Mirotic has flat out dominated his opponents earning MVP of the ACB league and a championship in the same season. He has great footwork and already a well-developed inside game. The Bulls will have another big man to use at their disposal, and he should fit nicely with a front court that includes Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson. The three of them could be very good for a long time in Chicago.
4. Let Luol Deng Walk
Forward Luol Deng will be a free agent in 2014, and his current salary of $14 million isn't anywhere close to where the Bulls would pay for him if they chose to keep him in black and red. For the sake of many reasons, mainly injury concerns and lack of a big-time offensive game, they have to finally wave goodbye to one of the better players they've had since the Jordan era. Taking $14 million off the books will also help fuel a free agent signing or two, which is something I'll get to later.
3. Amnesty or Trade Carlos Boozer
As good as Carlos Boozer has been over the past year and into this season, the Bulls would be very wise to try and either trade him or use the amnesty clause. Boozer is in the last year of his contract next season and will be making just short of $17 million. Think about how that could affect the team's cap room if he were off the books -- it would be huge. Maybe a team would want to take a chance on him for a season and appreciate the fact he's an expiring contract? Who knows. But, getting Boozer out the door not only helps their free agency period, but it opens up the opportunity for Gibson to start, which we've seen he's more than capable of doing.
2. Sign Legitimate Wing and/or Scorer via 2014 Free Agency
This has to be done -- there are no excuses this time. Whatever it takes to get it done, Chicago has to bring in a legitimate wing after letting Deng go. Jimmy Butler gives them the flexibility to sign either a two or three, and there are some interesting names out there like: Eric Bledsoe, Danny Granger and Evan Turner just to name a few. Chicago's problem has been that they rely too heavily on Rose to score the ball, thus crippling his ability to be an effective true point guard.
1. Lure Veterans Into Opportunity to Win Championship
Just as the Heat have done, Chicago has to find a way to get veteran free agents in a Bulls uniform. Next summer, there will be plenty of guys they could take a look at and sign to a fairly inexpensive deal. A few of those names include: Devin Harris, Elton Brand, Vince Carter, Brandon Rush and Antawn Jamison. That's just a small percentage of the available veterans that could find a role with Chicago next year. With Kirk Hinrich coming off the books, the Bulls might be interested in another point guard especially due to questions about Rose. That could be a position, along with the wings, that the Bulls go after.