Since the Chicago Bulls were knocked out of the playoffs by the Washington Wizards, there’s been a lot of talk about who the team should sign during offseason. Other than discussions about signing Carmelo Anthony, or even trading for Kevin Love, Lance Stephenson‘s name has been mentioned numerous times by Bulls fans everywhere. But if the Bulls sign Stephenson, it would be a colossal disaster.
Stephenson, arguably one of the biggest head cases on the highly dysfunctional Indiana Pacers, isn’t the type of character player the Bulls are known for bringing in. He’s outlandish, brash and was even involved in scuffle with teammate Evan Turner prior to the start of the 2014 playoffs. Needless to say the No. 1 seed Pacers had a tough time against the No. 8 seed Atlanta Hawks.
The Bulls have a history of steering clear of players such as Stephenson in the past. In 2006, when the Bulls traded Tyson Chandler to the then New Orleans Hornets, they acquired veteran P.J. Brown and troubled young player J.R. Smith. Although Smith could have contributed to the Bulls at the time, the organization wanted no part of him and dealt Smith to the Denver Nuggets for next to nothing.
Also, when the Bulls traded Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this season, they acquired troubled center Andrew Bynum in the deal. Bynum was immediately waived by the team even though the Bulls needed an extra big man in the rotation. He was immediately picked up by Indiana in hopes of helping them win a championship, but Bynum only further added to the Pacers’ dysfunction.
The only exception the Bulls have made about signing a player with a sketchy reputation was guard Nate Robinson. Still, the team only signed Robinson because they were desperate to bring in point guards after the loss of Derrick Rose to a torn ACL. Robinson also played on the Boston Celtics in 2009-10 when Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau was an assistant there, so there was a bit of a history with the two. Robinson was also signed for the minimum and was desperate himself to revitalize his career in Chicago.
Yes, Stephenson is an incredible talent who can put up solid numbers and play great defense. He averaged nearly 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists while nearly making the All-Star team in February. However, it was rumored that coaches around the league were hesitant to vote Stephenson onto the team based on his character.
The Bulls have a great cast of characters with good chemistry and a solid work ethic. They genuinely enjoy playing for each other and for Thibodeau as well. Adding Stephenson could only be a poisonous signing that could destroy any chemistry that the team might have next season. The Bulls would be wise to steer clear of Stephenson this summer.