With the offseason now in full swing for the Chicago Bulls, the team must decide how they will improve for the 2014-15 season. Coming off a 48-win year, the Bulls found ways to win despite the injury to Derrick Rose and the trade of Luol Deng. However, once the playoffs began, the Bulls were exposed for their lack of scoring and lost to the Washington Wizards in the first round.
Nevertheless, the Bulls have a lot of options and ways to improve their team before next season. They have two first-round draft picks, No. 16 and No. 19 picks, and can use that to strengthen their bench and get younger. The Bulls can also amnesty the $15 million remaining on Carlos Boozer‘s contract, which would allow them more flexibility in free agency. Carmelo Anthony will be their main target, but if the Bulls fail to land the New York Knicks small forward, the Bulls need to focus on getting bigger. With only Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson expected to return, the Bulls will be very thin at the power-forward and center position.
One way the Bulls can get bigger is by signing 2011 draft pick Nikola Mirotic. The 23-year-old Mirotic is considered one of the best European players at the moment, has great size at 6-foot-10, and can consistently knock down a mid-range jumper. Mirotic currently has a contract and plays for Real Madrid of the Spanish ACB League, which could be bought out by the Bulls if they have enough cap room to sign Mirotic this summer.
The other option would be to find big-leaguers in free agency. Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol will be available, but his unwillingness to play defense might turn the Bulls away. Wizards power forward Marcin Gortat will be an unrestricted free agent as well, and he could be a good addition alongside Noah and Gibson. It also wouldn’t be surprising to see the Bulls go after Boston Celtics center Kris Humpries, or Dallas Mavericks power forward DeJuan Blair.
In any case, the Bulls desperately need to add more depth at forward and center so Gibson and Noah will no longer have to log heavy minutes all season long.