Now that the Chicago Bulls finally ended their nightmare series with the Washington Wizards in five games and ended their season, it’s time for management to focus on getting the roster better before the 2014-15 NBA season.
The first matter at hand is adding more depth for the bench. Head coach Tom Thibodeau has been forced to go with a seven or eight man rotation over the last two seasons due to a lack of depth. Also, starters such as Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler were relied upon to play heavy minutes all season long. By the end of the playoffs, many player from the Bulls’ rotation looked tired against the young legs of the Wizards.
The Bulls have two first-round draft picks in June’s upcoming draft, so they’ll be able to add a couple of fresh faces right off of the bat. A much-needed backup big man and small forward is the area the Bulls need to focus on in the draft or free agency. Veterans Mike Miller and Caron Butler will be available, and could give the Bulls a scoring punch off of the bench.
San Antonio Spurs power forward Boris Diaw would also be a good addition in a reserve role. Diaw, a 12-year veteran out of France, has the ability to score in the post, or step out and knock down the three.
Other free agent possibilities for the Bulls also include Wizards center Marcin Gortat, and even the possible return of Cleveland Cavaliers forward Luol Deng. Deng, who spent nine seasons with the Bulls before being traded in January, never wanted to leave Chicago and would undoubtedly welcome a return. He was clearly missed during the Bulls’ first-round series against Washington.
The team also has to decide what they want to do with point guards Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin. Both players will be free agents, but more than likely, only one would be re-signed to back up Derrick Rose. Hinrich, a 10-year veteran who is in his second stint with the Bulls after stops with the Wizards and the Atlanta Hawks, could be the odd man out having logged so many miles on his 33-year-old body.
With Augustin this season, who is only 26-years-old, the Bulls were able to run the same pick-and-roll plays that they did for Rose, who went down with a season-ending injury in November. Augustin would be the most ideal player to return.
Finally, there is the complex situation of Carlos Boozer and the possibility of signing Carmelo Anthony. While the Bulls wouldn’t mind keeping Boozer for one more season, there is no possible way they can keep Boozer and still sign New York Knicks small forward Anthony. The Bulls could amnesty the final year of Boozer’s $15 million contract, but would have to shed an around another $4 million in order to sign Anthony to a maximum deal.
Although the Bulls underachieved in the postseason with their lackluster effort against the Wizards, expect a lot of changes coming for Chicago this offseason.With Rose set to return, two first-round draft picks, and the addition of free agents, the Bulls will hope to become serious contenders in the 2014-15 season.