With all of the talk centered around who the Chicago Bulls might sign this summer, it’s also important to remember that there’s a handful of free agents currently on the team that they might lose.
At the point guard position, Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin did an adequate job filling in for the injured Derrick Rose for much of the season. Augustin essentially revitalized his career in Chicago and could be an attractive player to teams in search of a backup point guard.
Hinrich, on the other hand, was a calming veteran presence on the team throughout the year. He could elect to re-sign with the Bulls for the veteran minimum, but the same can’t be said for Augustin.
The Bulls would love to have Augustin return as the primary backup for Rose, but if the market is too aggressive for his services this summer, the Bulls could be looking elsewhere. As of right now, it’s very difficult to envision Augustin returning unless he took a much smaller offer to stay with the Bulls.
Looking at the shooting guard position, there really isn’t much to discuss outside of free agent Jimmer Fredette. Fredette came over to the Bulls in early March after being let go by the Sacramento Kings in a buyout. However, the three-month experiment didn’t work out in the end, and coach Tom Thibodeau never really inserted the three-year guard out of BYU into his rotation.
The Bulls could use Fredette’s shooting ability next season, but it’s more likely that both sides will move on this summer.
The power forward position is more complex in some regard. The Bulls’ leverage in free agency all starts with the potential amnesty of Carlos Boozer‘s $16 million contract. Boozer has undoubtedly played his last game as a member of the Bulls, and could virtually land anywhere this summer.
However, if the Bulls want any chance of signing Carmelo Anthony — or even trading for Kevin Love — Boozer would have to be amnestied or traded in order to clear cap room.
Finally, there’s the status of center Nazr Mohammed. Mohammed isn’t one of the most spectacular players on the Bulls roster given his age and his 16 years of NBA experience. Still, Mohammed has done well in limited minutes since signing with the Bulls in 2012. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the team sign Mohammed to a third one-year deal at the veteran minimum.
With so much uncertainty involving who the Bulls will sign this summer, it’s almost impossible to tell who will stay and who will go. But to break it down, while Hinrich and Mohammed were valuable in terms of veteran leadership, neither player serves much of a purpose or a need for the team moving forward. Augustin will be the team’s biggest target to retain, but could leave for a bigger contract and greener pastures.
However, everything simply rides on the amnesty or trade of Boozer. Once the Bulls acquire — or fail to acquire — Anthony or Love, the team will finally be able to fill out the rest of the roster.