Chicago Bulls Should Make Chris Bosh a High Priority Target This Offseason

By Justin Ullestad
Steve Mitchell - USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell – USA TODAY Sports

With the pending decision on what to do with Carlos Boozer and his ridiculous contract looming this offseason, the Chicago Bulls will be looking to add a big name free agent this summer, as well as some much-needed depth down low. Currently, the Bulls have Boozer, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Greg Smith as the only big men on the books for the upcoming season.

The Bulls could suffice multiple needs by signing Chris Bosh this summer. Bosh is a versatile big man who is offensively gifted. He has become a lethal shooter from long range over the past few years with the Miami Heat and has performed well defensively despite the fact that he is often undersized at the center position for the Heat.

When Bosh joined the Heat in 2010, the former face of the Toronto Raptors took less money to become part of Miami’s “Big Three”. Whether the Heat win the NBA title again this season or not, Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade all have the option of opting out of their current contracts. If I were to choose one player who is the most likely of the three players to opt out, it would be Bosh.

If Bosh leaves Miami, he may not be able to garner the maximum deal he desires, but he could get a contract similar to the contracts of Boozer (five years, $75 million) or Al Jefferson (three years, $41 million). Landing with a team that is poised for a championship run with him as a focal point of the offense could be tantalizing enough to pull Bosh away from Miami.

That situation describes the current state of the Bulls precisely. With a healthy Derrick Rose and the addition of Bosh and his scoring ability, the Bulls could potentially be the Eastern Conference favorite going into next season. Bosh’s versatility to play down low or on the wing would allow coach Tom Thibodeau and his staff to create different situational lineups. Seeing Noah, Gibson and Bosh on the court at the same time is a real possibility. The Bulls’ length and athleticism could give any team in the league trouble on both ends of the court.

Statistically, Bosh has become one of the game’s most lethal postseason shooters since joining the Heat. Including the team’s current postseason run, Bosh has made 39-of-89 (43.8 percent) three-point attempts in the playoffs since 2010. The addition of the outside shot to his game makes him a matchup nightmare for most teams in the league, especially when he is slotted at the center position in the rotation. Players like Roy Hibbert, Robin Lopez and other paint dominant big men have a tough time closing out on Bosh when he is setting up outside the three-point arc.

With Bosh’s estimated salary, similar to what Boozer is scheduled to earn (assuming he is moved), the Bulls would still have enough cap space available in order to re-sign key bench players D.J. Augustin, Jimmer Fredette, Kirk Hinrich or bring in other role players to fill the roster.

Bosh is a two-time NBA Champion and a nine-time All-Star, yet he has played the part of a role player for the past four seasons. Yes, he is playing with the best player in the world, but I think Bosh is about ready to go off and make a name for himself elsewhere, regardless of if that is in Chicago or not. I believe he is still sore at Miami fans for leaving before Game 6 was over and that plays a factor in his decision on whether or not he wants to continue to play in South Beach for another two seasons.

Carmelo Anthony may be Chicago’s first choice going into free agency, but it’s debatable on which player would be a better fit in Thibodeau’s system. Regardless, Bosh could be on the move this summer, and the Bulls will be looking to make a splash. We’ll have to wait and see if both parties are successful.

And as much as Bulls fans, including myself, have despised the “Praying Mantis” known as Bosh for years, he is a perfect fit within this roster and brings experience and leadership to the locker room.

Justin Ullestad is a Chicago Bulls writer for Follow him on twitter @justin_ullestad. “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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