It seemed like the Chicago Bulls were destined to be one of the biggest players in 2014 NBA Free Agency. Every big name that became available on the open market this summer, it seemed like the Bulls were linked to them in some manner. With that wrinkle, it would have been hard to believe that they’d end up without one of the top free-agents.
Chicago’s biggest pursuit this offseason was that of Carmelo Anthony. For quite a while it seemed like the Bulls were poised to add one of the best offensive scorers in the game and making themselves serious contenders in the East, particularly with the much-awaited return of point guard and former MVP Derrick Rose. However, that turned out to be a fruitless search.
Not everything was fruitless for the Bulls in Free Agency, though. The Bulls were able to re-sign guard Kirk Hinrich, a guy who Tom Thibodeau and the Chicago coaching staff have all backed for quite some time. The Bulls were also able to sign veteran guard Aaron Brooks to possibly fill the void left by the fleeing D.J. Augustin.
In terms of adding talent, the draft was a big night for the Bulls. Though they’ve long been a defensive force in the league, the Bulls’ offense has looked depleted for quite some time now. That’s partially due to the absence of Rose, but also in part due to the absence of any real offensive weapons on the wings. Getting Doug McDermott in the draft was a huge addition in that regard, as well as giving them versatility on the wings and their frontcourt. Though Cameron Bairstow isn’t likely to contribute anytime soon (if ever), he’s also a good flyer for the Bulls to take from the draft.
Bairstow may not affect the Bulls’ frontcourt this season a great deal, but the signings of Pau Gasol and 2011 draft pick Nikola Mirotic, as well as the waiving of Carlos Boozer, certainly will. Getting rid of Boozer is a move many fans have been calling for with the veteran showing a decline in value in recent years, especially with the rise of Taj Gibson.
Mirotic will figure into the mix for Chicago in a big way. Not only does he have pro experience overseas, but the big man is a versatile offensive talent that is coming to a team that is in need of as much of that skill-set as possible. Meanwhile, Gasol provides them with another veteran presence and, if he’s healthy, an incredibly valuable offensive big-man to insert into the rotation.
With everything that the Bulls were able to get their hands on this offseason as well as getting Rose back, missing out on Anthony isn’t entirely forgiven—but the blow is certainly lessened a great deal. The Bulls should easily contend in the East and return to prominence on a title-contending landscape of the league.
Final Grade: B+