Although the Chicago Bulls have bigger plans and players to prioritize heading into this offseason, the overall depth of the team is still a concern.
As we saw in the first-round playoff series against the Washington Wizards, the Bulls were often reluctant to play anything more than an eight-man rotation. Due to injuries and a mid-season moving of Luol Deng, multiple players were forced to step into starting roles who were originally brought in to bolster the Bulls’ bench. Kirk Hinrich and Mike Dunleavy Jr. both saw their highest number of starts in over seven seasons.
With the pending free agency of both Hinrich and D.J. Augustin, the Bulls will need to address their backcourt depth this summer in a big way. Although many would like to see both players return, it is quite unlikely they will return together. Augustin’s performance off the bench last season alone (14.9 PPG, 5 APG) will entice some team to offer him a better contract than Chicago could match.
The Bulls will need to add a scoring threat off the bench that won’t cost them a ton of a cap room. Cue Ben Gordon. After being waived by the Charlotte Bobcats before last seasons Mar. 1 deadline, Gordon’s stock could not be lower. The former Bull is still a productive scorer at times and has the ability to knock down shots when needed. He has a few years left of quality play left in him (only 30 years old), so what better way to close out his career than with the team that drafted him third overall in 2004?
At this point in his career, Gordon is a rotation player off the bench who could help a contender, which is exactly what the Bulls will be next season. Assuming the Bulls sign a marquee free agent on the wing next month, Gordon could give relief minutes to both wing players without the Bulls dropping too far off offensively. Last season the Bulls went through several spurts of games where they struggled to score the basketball. With a scorer like Gordon coming off the bench, those sections of games could be limited or even prevented.
Gordon’s stock and price is low, but his production level could be enough to call him undervalued for the first time in his career. Sounds like a perfect time for the Bulls to rekindle the fire the two once had for one another.