Posts Tagged 'Luol Deng'

Now I know how the Detroit Lions feel (a.k.a Neverending Rebuilding)

It’s been a long time since I posted but there hasn’t been anything I really felt the need to talk about. Now there is…I am not a huge Chicago Bulls fan. Sure I lived through the Jordan era, but I was only 8 when the Bulls won their first title, and 14 when they won their last. I remember the rallies and parades and some of the games but I didn’t truly appreciate it for what it was. After Jordan retired the Bulls entered rebuilding mode. They used the first overall pick in 1999 to take Elton Brand, who was a solid player but not a franchise guy. The next year they took Marcus Fizer and Jamal Crawford. In 2001, they gave up on Brand and ended up with Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler. They appeared to be the perfect complement of eachother, one all offense, the other defense. Curry was the laziest player ever and Chandler didn’t pan out until the Bulls gave up. In 2002 they tried to add Jay Williams, but he would hurt himself in motorcycle accident and never play again. That ended rebuilding phase #2. The third phase began in ’03 when they took Kirk Hinrich 7th, the 3rd first round PG they had take since Jordan left.  They continued to add high first round picks and looked on the verge of busting out, but this year they have just been a bust. The team is a mess and it doesn’t seem like this is the team that can go places. So what should they do?

Here is who is signed for 2009 and last when they which summer their contract is up (t-team option, r-restricted):

  • F Drew Gooden (2009)
  • G Thabo Sefolosha (2009-t, 2010-r)
  • G JamesOn Curry (2009-t)
  • F Cedric Simmons (2009-t, 2010-r)
  • F Tyrus Thomas (2009-t, 2010-r)
  • C Aaron Gray (2009-t)
  • C Joakim Noah (2009-t, 2010-t, 2011-r)
  • G Larry Hughes (2010)
  • G Kirk Hinrich (2012)
  • F Andres Nocioni (2012)

That’s 10 guys under contract for next year. Add to it that Luol Deng and Ben Gordon are restricted free agents next year and likely a lottery pick this year. So what do the Bulls do?

  1. Re-Sign Deng and Gordon and hope things come together – I don’t think this is all that likely. Although they Bulls can match any offer and since they have 10 guys under contract for next year they might have the cap room for it. They can hope that this year was a hiccup and that with (hopefully) a new coach next year things come together and this team can have a shot in the East. Sefolosha, Thomas, ad Noah have shown growth and maybe this year was a hiccup.
  2. Re-sign Deng or Gordon – Another option is to bring back just one of the two. Deng is probably the better player, and still looks like he could be a solid 2nd or 3rd option behind a star. Gordon is basically a shooter who doesn’t play great defense. With Larry Hughes on board for two more seasons, there is almost no way Gordon is back.
  3. Let both Deng and Gordon walk – It’s possibe that both guys will move on. If this somehow happens, there would likely be one sign and trade involved. Don’t forget the Bulls have a lottery pick that could be a good spot for a point guard. They could take someone like DJ Augustin, play him at the 1, and Hughes at the 2, and rotate Hinrich at both. Then rotate Tyrus, Gooden, Noah at the 4 and 5. As for the 3, they could use the money left over to get someone like Corey Magette or Antawn Jamison to be that veteran prescense. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t mind getting a guy like Jamison. Another option could be to go after an ETO guy like Jermaine O’Neal.
  4. Blow up the team – One option is to plan for the big free agent class of the summer of 2010. The Bulls only have two guys under contract for then, Hinrich and Nocioni. Tyrus, Thabo, and Cedric Simmons will all be restricted that summer and Noah will be under team control if they want to keep him. In 2010, LeBron, Dirk, McGrady, D-Wade, Amare, LaMarcus Aldridge (restricted), Ginobili, Bosh, Boozer, Deron Williams COULD all be free agents then. A lot of them won’t make it without new contracts but who knows. With Larry Hughes big contract expiring at the same time, they have that to look forward to. Of course there is a ton of unknowns here. Could they actually get one of the big guns? Will any of the current guys pan out by then? Thabo is coming along, it’s only his 2nd season and he was a foreign player. Since they are stuck with Hughes, Noc and Hinrich, they can keep playing those three while bringing along Noah, Tyrus, Thabo and whoever they draft in June. And hope in the next two seasons the team grows just the right amount to add a superstar and put them over the top.

Those are the options, but which do I prefer? I wanted the Kobe trade last summer and it’s evident that this team needs a star. I would let Deng and Gordon walk. I think they will likely get sign and traded or take the one year and walk. That would be ok, but I wouldn’t sign them long term. Optimally I would trade them for contracts expiring in summer of 2010. I would use my first round pick on a point guard. Derrick Rose is the dream scenario, but Bayless, Westbrook, Collison or Augustin should still be there when the Bulls pick. I would do whatever I could to prepare for the summer of 2010. I would trade my first round pick in 2011 (banking on signing someone the year before) for parts that would help me in two years.

Of course that isn’t what the Bulls will do. They will trade Gordon, re-sign Deng. Waste the 1st round pick on some mediocre, high risk big man (DeAndre Jordan, Kevin Love, and Hasheem Thabeet come to mind), try to trade Tyrus Thomas (since you have Drew Gooden and the aforementioned draftee), make the playoffs next year, lose in the first round, get a crappy draft pick, make a bad signing (Iverson, Rasheed Wallace) thinking its the solution and get caught in the same cycle