Carlos Boozer

7 Things the Chicago Bulls Must Do During The 2011 Offseason

I’m ok now.

I officially talked myself off the ledge last night and resealed that prescription bottle that I cracked open following the Chicago Bulls’ meltdown during which the Miami Heat came back from 12 points down with a little over 3 minutes to play. However, I know that this one is going to sting all summer as the Chicago Bulls’ 2011 offseason begins.

After soundly winning Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and offering every indication that the Bulls/Heat series would go at least 6 or 7 games, the Bulls failed to execute during 4 consecutive fourth quarters, and have been officially eliminated from Playoffs.

Too many errors, too many lapses, and in the end, too much Lebron James, who the general public has suddenly anointed as “clutch” after years of labeling him “unclutch”, despite the fact that the game tape and every advanced metric showed otherwise. Newsflash people……Lebron’s big 4th quarters have been going on for past 8 years, only now, you are beginning to acknowledge it because he has a championship level supporting cast. Amazing how a player’s reputation can suddenly change once they have help and start winning, isn’t it? You mean having Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem to alleviate the pressure instead of Mo Williams, Antawn Jamison, and Boobie Gibson has absolutely nothing to do with it?

Regardless, this article is not about Lebron James or the Heat. It is about my beloved Chicago Bulls, and after being eliminated, we can finally put their accomplishments in perspective. In sum, we can now acknowledge that the Bulls overachieved just as many of us had suspected. They won 62 games during a year in which most pundits predicted that they would win no more than 50, achieved the best record in the NBA, and established a team oriented identity that consisted of unrelenting hustle, strong chemistry, and a stalwart defense… Or in other words, they were a better version of the 2001 Philadelphia 76ers.

  • A 6’3 (or under) Alpha Dog who won MVP honors and served as the team’s sole facilitator and primary source of offense.
  • A defensive minded coach that won Coach of the Year Honors
  • A Center whose game was predicated on defense, rebounding, and hustle
  • A cast of scrappy role players who gave 100% on each and every possession

Unlike the 2001 Sixers however, the Bulls have a better Alpha-Dog, are much younger, and have far more upside with their core of Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, and Joakim Noah entering next season at only 23, 26, and 26 years old respectively.

It is said that experience is a great teacher, and as such, the Bulls are destined to improve. However, even with incremental progress in 2012, they still do not have enough to beat the Miami Heat and Gar Forman/Jim Paxson must now begin making improvements since unlike this season, the Bulls will not be able to catch the league by surprise. Moreover, depending upon the new CBA, the Heat may still have an opportunity to become even better by making enhancements to their point guard and center positions.

Therefore, here are 7 things that the Chicago Bulls must do during the 2011 offseason to contend for a championship:

1. Somehow, Some Way, Get A Second Superstar

I know…. much easier said than done.

But Derrick Rose needs help, and specifically needs that second player who can help alleviate the pressure by either creating offense off-the-dribble, or in the post.

History has shown that blueprint for success in the NBA consists of building with at least 2 stars who can create offense for others. If the Heat and Celtics have taught us anything, it is that you should first acquire the superstars, and then worry about depth and role players later. In other words, if you build it, they will come.

Therefore, if I’m Gar/Pax, everyone, and I mean everyone, other than Derrick Rose, is available in a potential trade for Dwight Howard or an equivalent superstar. This includes Joakim Noah. If you have an opportunity to pull the trigger in acquiring the best big man in the NBA, you do not stop, you do not pass go, and you do not collect $200. You pull that second piece in and worry about the rest later.

Personally, I think Dwight Howard will re-sign with the Magic once he realizes how much money he is walking away from under the new CBA. However, should the Bulls have a shot, they need to put all of their chips on the table since Howard would provide them with that second star that would make them a title contender for years to come.

2. Do the Impossible – Trade Carlos Boozer

If the bane of Dave Sheridan’s basketball viewing existence is Chris Bosh, then the bane of mine is Carlos Boozer. I don’t care if they only get 50 cents on the dollar, the Bulls need to somehow move him.

We always knew that he was a defensive liability who executed his own version of the “matador” defense….. in which he literally emulated a matador – but we all agreed that it was just something that we had to get used to. However, his Houdini act on offense during the playoffs, in which he averaged only 12.6 points and 9.7 rebounds on 43%  shooting, was simply unacceptable.

I know that Boozer won’t be easy to move since he has 4 years and approximately 60 million dollars left on his contract. However, that contract is uniquely structured in that his salary actually decreases in 2012 at 13.5 million (unlike most contracts that increase in subsequent years) before increasing back to the 15 million dollar range in 2013 and 2014. If the Bulls are to have any chance at moving him, it would be next year, and preferably before the season begins.

When the Bulls signed Boozer, they thought that he could fill that #2 role that the Bulls so desperately needed by providing the team with a second facilitator via the low post. However, anyone who has followed Boozer’s career knows that he never really had a low post game to begin with. Boozer’s game is more on the high post, and entirely dependant on point guards to create space for his shots.

Boozer was supposed to be that #2. However, he’s not, and never will be. Trading for another PF that offers more defense and less offense should be a more than acceptable scenario for Chicago.

3. If Boozer does not get traded, he needs to learn from (drum roll please)……..Charles Barkley

I’m serious on this one.

I know that Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard were mentored by Hakeem Olajuwon in consecutive summers, and saw tremendous growth in their low-post games. While Charles Barkley is not Hakeem Olajuwon, and  may not be a suitable on-court mentor given his propensity for Cheeseburgers and Krispy Crème doughnuts, he is nonetheless the premier standard for all successful undersized power forwards who are interested in developing a strong low-post game. And should Boozer stay, he needs to do just that.

Barkley, despite being only 6’5, was an athletic freak who not only played the power forward position but could run the floor like a guard. He had excellent foot work, and a unique and uncanny ability to generate offense in the low post by using his lower body while keeping his defenders off-balance by either attacking the basket with either hand, or fading away. Most importantly, Barkley rarely ever got his shot blocked, a problem that Boozer seems to encounter repeatedly.

I understand that Boozer will never be as athletic as Barkley, but as an undersized power forward, he can certainly afford to improve his footwork and low post game, which will give the Bulls an additional option for facilitating offense.

4. Acquire a Defensive Shooting guard with 3-point range

Before I elaborate, let me first boldly declare that I believe Ronnie Brewer is arguably the best on-ball defender in the NBA, and certainly one of the top 3. Did anyone else notice his play? I for one was blown away. If you have a chance to watch the tape of the Miami/Chicago series, watch Brewer take turns defending both Lebron and Wade. Though the Big-2 had their share of success, it was rarely on Brewer, and his length, footwork, and quick hands enable him to stay with almost anyone.

Amongst the many puzzling coaching moves by Tom Thibodeau was not playing Brewer enough minutes. Regardless, the Bulls can no longer rely on one-dimensional guards at the Shooting Guard position. They need to acquire a player that can play on both ends, while spreading the floor for Derrick Rose.

2 free agents come to mind: Jason Richardson and Mickael Pietrus. Richardson is an unrestricted free agent who shot nearly 40% from three point land while I have always felt that Pietrus, who can also shoot the 3 and spread the floor, can flourish if in the right system.

One guy the Bulls should definitively stay away from is J.R. Smith who has essentially become the second coming of J.R. Rider. Two J.R.s over the span of 10 years in the NBA is more than enough.

5. Rose Needs To Develop His Game At The Elbow

I am perplexed over why Tom Thibodeau insisted on repeatedly putting Rose in screen/roll situations late in the game instead of resorting to isolations. I imagine that part of the challenge is that Rose has yet to develop his game at the ‘Elbow’ – the offensive scheme in which a player initially receives the ball outside of the paint, on either the left or right side of the free throw line (give or take 3-4 feet), which makes it extremely difficult for defenders to double team while providing the offensive player with increased visibility over his passing options.

Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant both began incorporating this as part of their game once they began seeing increased double teams at the top of the key. I know that Rose is only 6’3, but he is usually matched up against guards with whom he has a height and strength advantage, and there is no reason why he can’t develop an Elbow game himself.

6. Hope that Luol Deng can sustain his level of play.

 One guy who brought “IT”, each and every night was Luol Deng, who had a career year and flourished under Tom Thibodeau’s new system. Deng became comfortable with his cuts to the basket and developed a 3-point shot that helped spread the floor on offense. More importantly, his defense improved tremendously in which he received All-Defense Team votes for the first time in his career.

However, Deng had a similar breakthrough season back in 2007 before crawling into hole the following season amid unresolved contract negotiations and Kobe Bryant trade rumors. Once the distractions began, Deng went into a funk and the team suffered as a result.

His confidence level is back but the remaining question is whether it is here to stay?

7. Hope that the Charlotte Bobcats fail to make the playoffs in 2012.

The Bulls own a protected first round draft pick from the Charlotte Bobcats in 2010 which becomes increasingly more valuable should the Bobcats fail to make the playoffs.  The lottery protection is as follows:

  • 2012: Lottery-protected
  • 2013: Top-12 protected
  • 2014: Top-10 protected
  • 2015: Top-8 protected
  • 2016: Pick is unprotected

Best case scenario is that the Bobcats fail to make the playoffs until at least 2015. Regardless, 2012 is expected to be talent laden draft, so the Bulls look to be in good shape should the Bobcats make the playoffs and finish around the 15th or 16th pick.

4 agonizing months + lost time due to a potential lockout before we get answers to some of our questions.

Be sure to check our brand new NBA Forum for additional NBA discussion


46 Responses to “7 Things the Chicago Bulls Must Do During The 2011 Offseason”

  1. I, too, was disgusted by the agonizing play by the Bulls in the 4th quarter of Games 2-5. That said, hats off to ’em for a thrilling season that brought an MVP trophy back to Chicago and teamwork that propelled us to the second best team in the east, and perhaps the association. As for your points, I agree with the first. As saddened as I would be seeing Joakim in another uniform, anytime you can get a dominating big in the NBA you do that trade. I would love to be able to trade Booz for him, but it seems as if he is untradeable as he was exposed during the playoffs. It would also be neat to trade Booz for D12 and move Jo to the 4 ( a la Serge Ibaka) to see Jo punish opposing big men on the weak side. And I drool over Dwight in a Thib defenseive scheme. Acquiring a two guard this offseason won’t be too hard. I’d LOVE to get Aaron Afflalo, a guy who can spread the floor and is a great defender, a Chicagoman’s dream of the blend of Korver and Brewer. JR Smith is an upgrade over all of 2 guards, but I don’t see the Bulls pursuing him as he once forced a trade out of Chitown and the organization prides itself on signing class act guys. I do believe Deng can continue to be the player he was the season and I feel he finally shed the “injury prone” label. In 07 we expected him to be the alpha dog of the team and now we have him in the role he was destined to play. One more thing I’d like to see in the offseason: a high screen and roll with Deng and Rose. It seems as if a lot of teams are implementing that in their offense (Westbrook and Durant, LBJ and Wade, Nowitzki and Kidd to name a few). Good article Realist. And Go MAVS!

    Posted by Nick Orellana | May 27, 2011, 5:29 pm
    • Nick -Thanks for read.

      I would love Afflalo as well and he would have been my first choice except that he is a restricted FA and is certain to have his contract matched by the Nuggets. They will not let him go. Therefore, I thought that J-Rich and Pietrus were second best options.

      I think that the high screen/role is a great suggestion. It will force the defense to make a decision versus predictably trapping Rose on every possession.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | May 28, 2011, 2:20 pm
    • I think the bull’s should recruit Brandon Roy as shooting to help derrick Rose spread the offense as well as take some of the shooting pressure off by Brandon creating his own shot plus Brandon is pretty good on the deffensive side to.

      Posted by Bobby Martin | August 19, 2011, 12:31 pm
  2. I agree that the Bulls would be just completelu UNSTOPPABE if they got Dwight Howard and it would not be fair to the rest of the NBA! But if the Bulls came this close to beating Miami (i know Miami won series 4-1) but every game Chicago lost, it was the same old story; THE 4 QUARTER COLLAPSE! Chicago would be leading or would be close the whole game and then not have enough offense to finsh the game. LITERALLY no one else on Chicago can create their own shot but D-Rose. I think if Bulls get a second scorer then they can beat Miami. Get someone like Aaron Afflalo, or as the article mentions Mikael Pietrus, or even T-Mac, Why not JR Smith. Rose an Smith are 2 super athletic scorers and that combo with Chicago’s defense would be SICK! But JR has been in the league a while maybe he has calmed down. JR Smith obviously knows that this is D-Rose’s team and D-Rose will most likely take the last shot (unless it’s a catch n shoot then Bulls may go to Korver or Deng). But Dwight+D-Rose=Championships for years. Sorry MIA fans.

    But Bulls fans Dwight’s prefered destination is Lakers and Lakers have the 2nd best center in the league to offer.

    Which starting lineup is more championship caliber

    Scenario 1:
    SG:JR Smith
    SF:Luol Deng
    PF:Carlos Boozer
    C:Joakim Noah

    Scenario 2:
    SF:Luol Deng

    Scenario 3:
    SG:Keith Bogans
    SF:Luol Deng
    PF:Taj Gibson
    C:Dwight Howard

    Posted by jordan | May 27, 2011, 8:02 pm
    • Thanks for the read Jordan. A couple of thoughts:

      My issues with J.R. Smith is that he is a loose cannon. He is undisciplined on offense and extremely apathetic on defense, and in a system that required discipline on EVERY possession, I felt that Smith would be a bad fit.

      In esponse to your question, I take Scenario #3 in a heartbeat.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | May 28, 2011, 2:23 pm
    • Scenario 3

      Posted by D_col | June 7, 2011, 2:18 pm
    • i like senario number 2 with a slight change . trade boozer for david west or udonis haslem . then u send noah to magic and get howard

      Posted by Cb | October 20, 2011, 8:41 am
      • None of those would even be considered. David West is a FA and is younger than Carlos Boozer. Why would NOLA get older by accepting this trade? They need to convince CP3 to stay long-term and the addition of an aging PF would not provide that luxury.
        Boozer for Haslem makes little sense for either team. The addition of Boozer would contribute to Miami’s frontcourt woes. Not only would they have two 4s that can’t play defense, but also two starting-caliber 4s. As such, this trade would only create a log jam in the Miami front court. Furthermore, this deal makes no sense for the Bulls. I likely speak for the rest of Chicago by saying that outside of the cap relief that the Haslem-Boozer swap would provide (disclaimer:, Haslem is a major downgrade to Boozer. Having Haslem as our starting 4 would not be an upgrade over Booz.
        Finally the Noah for D12 swap is just downright foolish. Not in this day in the association will you see ya a franchise trade their star player 1-for-1. This trade would need some type of Noah-Booz-Pick combination. And, unfortunately, I just don’t see that happening. Let’s play some ball, huh?

        Posted by Nicholas Orellana | October 27, 2011, 2:22 am
  3. Wow! Didn’t even know Pietrus was up for grabs there! In Pietrus you have someone that isn’t scared of the big moment (do we remember the 2009 Finals?!), is a good perimeter defender, a good shooter and decent penetrator, and seems to be a likeable guy as well. As a “defense first” kind of guy, he’d be a good fit, I think…the only question is can he actually play as a starter or would you have him help anchor your bench…

    Posted by Walter | May 27, 2011, 8:50 pm
    • Walter – Thanks for the read.

      I would play him as a starter. If you are going to sign a FA and spend precious cap dollars, they absolutely must be a starter. Pietrus’s issues in the past centered mostly around consistency and discipline. However, I really believe that Thibs can provide an environment where Pietrus can thrive.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | May 28, 2011, 2:27 pm
  4. Btw, I think that everyone not named the Lakers should just give up on Howard. It’s seeming like a foregone conclusion (despite Buss liking Bynum). I think it’s either Orlando or LA for Howard at this point.

    Posted by Walter | May 27, 2011, 8:51 pm
    • Walter – Agreed. Except all indications out of Los Angeles are that Bynum is untouchable (as ridicouous as that sounds). The Lakers are also extremely reluctant to take back Gilbert Arenas’s contract which will be a requirement for anyone wanting to acquire Howard.

      If Howard wants to win the Championship, refuses to sign with Orlando, and Orlando is put in a position to either deal or lose him for nothing, perhaps there is a chance.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | May 28, 2011, 2:30 pm
    • I actually beg to differ on the lakers being the only team to acquire dwight howard. Why would magic wanna trade for an injury prone center in bynum? especially showing that he has no class elbowing jj barea in a lost to the dallas mavericks. Then went on to say there’s trust issues with his ball club! Why on earth would the magic want him as the face of its franchise? It also has been reported that howard said he doesnt wanna follow in shaqs footprints! Also i think orlando fans will just cringe on the fact that the magic yet again gave up their superstar center to the lakers! Also why would Howard go to the lakers with an aging KOBE who might be on his last years of his career? And any trade for howard would deplete the lakers, considering that the lakers would have to package bynum, gasol and give or take 1 or 2 players added + Picks! I just dont see it happening with the LA.
      Like i said KOBE is on his downside, and although i see howard, and kobe winning 1 or 2 rings together. after kobe dont got it no more. Howard is basicly in the same situation as with the magic. Even with all that said i do think that the lakers do have a chance, but i also think the bulls have The BEST chance, to acquire Howard.
      1.were young
      2.were defence first
      3.we have alot of qualtity pieces for trade bait. Taj, asik, noah,deng, picks etc…
      Just my opinion though…

      Posted by convic21 | June 6, 2011, 6:22 pm
    • Couldn’t disagree more. Chicago is the more likely destination. Bynum is off-limits according to Buss. And even if we wasn’t, the Bulls can offer WAY more than that for Howard. Say what you want about Bynum, but Noah is the better defensive Center and is less injury prone, which is HUGE. Plus the Bulls can deal picks and another big man or swingmen in the deal. Sorry LA fans, but if he’s leaving Orlando, it’s to be a Bull.

      Posted by Sean | June 14, 2011, 1:39 am
  5. I would like to what weeds the blogger smokes up in Chicago???

    Trade Boozer??? Who in the right mind will take him and why???

    Get Howard?? What next ?? Kobe??? While you are at it why not get CP3 also???

    Posted by Jim In OC | May 27, 2011, 11:50 pm
    • Who would take Boozer? Maybe the same idiots who took on Gilbert Arenas, Darko Milici, Baron Davis,etc., etc. Don’t underestimate the ability of the NBA GM to make completely asinine maneuvers to sabotage their team. The real question is: is Gar Forman slick enough to pull off the coup?

      And yes, I agree on Howard. It’s either Orlando and LA (and preventing some type of Jim Buss intervention, seems like it should end up being LA)

      Posted by theheatison | May 28, 2011, 8:42 am
      • Thanks for the read. To answer your question, the team that would take on Boozer would likely be the same team that gave up their own version of Boozer, or one of their own bad contracts.

        Posted by The NBA Realist | May 28, 2011, 2:46 pm
    • Thanks for the read Jim in OC.

      To answer your first question, Humboldt County.

      To respond to your second question, for the Bulls to get rid of Boozer they will have to take on another bad contract. Believe it or not, there are teams out there who would be willing to take a guy who averages 19/8, despite underperforming in the playoffs, as long as they can get rid of one of their own equivalently underachieving players. And that bad contract may still be a better fit for the Bulls than Boozer.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | May 28, 2011, 2:41 pm
    • You don’t read well do you. Howard wants out of Orlando and the Magic will trade him for something. And if you think he’s going to be dealt to LA for an injury prone and classless Bynum, you’re nuts. Sorry folks, he’s a Bull next season.

      Posted by Sean | June 14, 2011, 1:42 am
  6. Brewer best on baller? He would get more minutes if the coach agreed with you. He is maybe top 20. He isn’t even the best on his team (Bogans, Deng) Only hope of trading Boozer is for a similar bad contracts teams want to drop(DET for Gordon and Villanueva, MIL for Maggette and Gooden, NJ for Morrow, Farmer and Outlaw) Good luck!!

    Posted by Michael | May 28, 2011, 8:08 am
    • Michael, Thanks for the read but I completely disagree with you.

      Brewer is a much better on-ball defender than Deng and Bogans and did a fantastic job of locking Wade and Lebron down when he got an opprotunity. Sure, those guys scored, but more often than not, missed their shots. Brewer doesn’t get more playing time because he is somewhat of a liability on offense and cannot spread the floor for Rose. Otherwise, he would have certainly been on the court more often.

      I do however agree with your points on Boozer. The Bulls would have to take on another bad contract, and I would be more than willing to do so at this point given Boozer’s vulnerabilities on the defensive end.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | May 28, 2011, 2:45 pm
  7. As you watch boozer, you can see he was only required to provide one of the 3 components of Defense(on-the-ball,team rotation, and rebound) which is rebounding. It is pathetic to watch him to attempt the first two. He doesn’t want to improve, or he would have spent time with deng or gibson learning the first two. Brewer is an excellent man-to-man defender, however I think the Bulls may regret not exploring the Mayo for Asik trade, particularly since boozer did not produce enough offense to offset his defensive liabilities.The Gordon trade idea is interesting. Bulls would not accept JR Smith when they had a chance. Pietris is an excellent consideration. Size, fearless, good 3pt percentge,good defender. Look what Tony Allen did for Memphis with little “O”. Pietris can guard the 1,2,3 so the Bulls could do to guards what lebron did to rose

    Posted by BosFanInChgo | May 28, 2011, 12:32 pm
    • Thanks for the read BosFanINChgo – Completely agree with all of your poinse and great insight.

      I’ve never been a big OJ Mayo fan, nor his defense, so I am not sure that holding off on the Asik/Mayo trade was necessarily a bad move for the Bulls. Moreover, acquiring Mayo would have meant that the Bulls would need to overpay him once his contract was up.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | May 28, 2011, 2:50 pm
  8. Thanks for the read the nba realist, i fancy myself a nba/bulls realist too. Aftr they lost i was beside myself and didn’t want to atch sportscenter or any sports until the hurt subsided. Even though who had them going this far before the season began. I think deep in our heart of hearts we knew they were at least a two guard away. Now to make my points 1. Boozer was injured before training camp and therfore was able to fully be intergrated into the offense and defense sets (although he is injury prone). 2. Boozer has always been described a poor at best defender ala Carmelo on D TURRIBLE. 3. Look at what Thibs were able to do with the big three in Boston. Beside K.G the other two were terrible on D, this made them at leat respectable. My point: They say Carlos is sensitive and he hears everything, he knows how Chicago fans feels about him and i think he will work his butt off like never before to be at leat respectable on D. And that will build his confidence which will translate over to offense and he gotta set better screens. Whew long point my last if Orlando don’t think that they can resign him (d12) i think that they will go for the best offer even if it’s in their conference and here’s what you do. Throw a package that can’t be beat my proposal::: Noah (good center, we get his money off our books) our 1st round and Charolotte’s 1st for this year or Orlando can hold on to it until they wanna cash it in. Boozer decent power forward (no D)cj watson and our 1st next year. For Dwight,Arenas(who you can either keep or try to buy him out) the money you save from Boozer and noah can asorb boozer and you might be able to motivate Gil to slim down loose weight engage and win a championship. What do you guys think? Also how do i start up a sports blog i would love to write.

    Posted by GEM | May 28, 2011, 6:39 pm
    • Gem- Thanks for the feedback. A couple of thoughts:

      First, I appreciate your optimism around the notion that Boozer will take the criticism to heart and actually try and improve his defense. However, this is the same old song that he has been hearing going back to his days with Utah when Pau Gasol would repeatedly abuse him. Even if he wanted to improve, I just don’t think that he has the athleticism, skills, or lateral movement to change his habits. I think that he is what he is, and the Bulls have to deal.

      Second, I am in the minority in thinking that a Bulls/Orlando deal for Howard is “remotely” possible. However, there is no way that Orlando would take back Boozer’s contract as part of the deal. Perhaps they can replace Boozer with Gibson, and I think that your scenario becomes more plausible. Regardless, for the Bulls to have any shot at Howard, they would need to include Gibson, Noah, and the Charlotte pick at a minimum.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | May 29, 2011, 5:52 pm
      • Nah, that’s sound about right. I would say something like Noah, Asik, Korver and the picks for Howard. You need to understand that the Bulls have complete leverage in the situation. Orlando will be desperate to deal their superstar, and Chicago can offer the best deal. They don’t need to over pursue, because they don’t NEED Howard. If they believe Orlando is asking too much they can just say “Good Luck being Cleveland 2012 and go suck it!”

        Posted by Sean | June 14, 2011, 1:49 am
  9. Nice article, and I agree with all of your points except #2. When a young team leads the league in wins during the regular season, you don’t trade core players because they lose in the conference finals or a player has a few bad series. You let the team grow together and improve. It is easy to overreact in the heat of the moment, but this team, right now, without making a single change, is likely to be an NBA championship contender next year and for years to come. Given the amount of chance there is in winning an NBA title, I feel like if you were to play this playoffs through from the beginning ten times, the Bulls win a couple titles with this crew. They were the #1 overall seed, played the best game of the ECF, and wound up losing by 11 points total over 5 games. If the Bulls can stay as good as they are right now for a few more years, they’re probably going to get their shot at a title.

    I’m not saying you do nothing if you’re Paxson. If you can get that 2nd Superstar you do it and worry about filling out the roster later. But you really shouldn’t trade Boozer unless you can get equal value-he’s not yet 30 and is a career 17 and 10 guy who shoots over 50% from the floor. He’s spent one injury-plagued year in the system and is the same player who was aggressively courted by numerous teams last offseason. He’s not a perfect fit for sure, but despite being the playoff scapegoat he’s not nearly as bad as you think he is. NBA history is littered with trades where a team was sick of a guy and got rid of him for less than his worth, and I can’t think of a single time it’s worked out. Furthermore, at this point Boozer’s at his absolute lowest trade value, which is the worst time to trade him even if you’re dead set on doing so. I’d probably call Atlanta and see if they’re interested in a Boozer-Josh Smith deal of some sort (that’s my Bulls dream scenario given that I don’t think they have a realistic shot at Howard), but beyond that I just don’t see a guy with a similar contract who is available and won’t make the team worse talent-wise.

    It also should be relatively easy to grab a wing without having to move any pieces. Richardson IMO would be a great fit, as would Pietrus. Other potential UFAs who might fit include Ray Allen, Caron Butler, Jamal Crawford, Leandro Barbosa, Anthony Parker, Tracy McGrady, Mike Dunleavy, CJ Miles, and Rip Hamilton if he’s bought out. I’m not sure what the new CBA will look like and whether there will be a midlevel exception, but a small tweak by adding any one of these guys might be all the team needs to get over the hump, and to me this is the easiest and least risky way to improve the team.

    Posted by Lochpster | May 29, 2011, 12:48 pm
    • Thanks Lochpster.

      I actually disagree. I believe that this Bulls team overachieved this year, and as currently contructed, do not have enough to beat Miami, especially since Miami is likely to improve next season through free agency. Granted, the last 4 games of the series were close, but it was obvious that the Bulls did not have enough scoring to pull through during those 4th quarters, and part of the challenge lies in not having that second star. I believe that for the Bulls to stand pat, it would essentially mean accepting 2nd place. While they may remain contenders for the next few years, the NBA is a about championships, and at some point they could even potentially slip to mediocrity depending upon whether other teams in the conference improve themselves. Winning with only 1 superstar is possible, but occurs infrequently.

      The problem that I have with Boozer, is that he is always injury plagued and has been so in everyone’s system, not just the Bulls. Moreover, he is unreliable, which is my biggest issue. Lastly also encounters challenges whenever he goes up against good defenses. I highly doubt ATL does a Boozer for Smith deal, although I would be ecstatic if the Bulls could pull that off.

      I like your Caron Butler suggestion. Ray Allen still has a player option which he is bound to exercise at 10M per year. The others are either poor defensively or unable to spread the floor well enough.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | May 30, 2011, 6:07 pm
      • Why do you think the Heat can improve through free agency? They don’t and won’t have the room under the salary cap to improve. Anyone falling off the books would be a minimum earning player. Wade, James, Bosh, Miller and Haslem are all under contract for multiple years. They won’t find a better PG than the combo of Chalmers and Bibby (both making very little money).

        While I don’t think Lochpster was saying stay the course until the Bulls win, I think his thoughts are on. Let this team give it another run with the core group and tweek it (by adding a scorer via FA or draft). If the team regress next year, or fail in the same manner, make more impact type changes. I wouldn’t say the Bulls overacheived as much as peaked earlier than expected. Give it time to mature and once Noah and Boozer really learns how to play with each other on both ends of the court, this team will be even better.

        Posted by Andrew | June 10, 2011, 8:14 am
        • Thanks for the read Andrew.

          I know that we are embarking upon uncertainty with the new Labor Agreement. However, assuming that certain components stay the same, the Heat will still have a mid-level exemption (36 million over 6 years) to offer a FA next year and can help address either Center or Guard. They will also have a Veteran’s exemption (1.5M) in which they may be able to entice a solid veteran who is itching to win a championship. With a solid core of 3 stars that are still in their prime, they Heat will serve as an attractive destination and they will be able to stay 1 step ahead of the Bulls.

          I disagree that they won’t find a better PG combo. Bibby’s defense is extremely suspect and his game has slipped with age. I do like Chalmers however and believe that he plays good defense. However, in my mind, Chalmers is better suites as a backup than a starter, unless we see significant improvement.

          I understand the thought around waiting for the Bulls to mature, and honestly, they are likely going to have to stand pat in the end regardless. However, my thought is this: If you have an opportunity to improve your team, and get rid of Boozer for decent value, I take it.

          Posted by The NBA Realist | June 10, 2011, 12:50 pm
    • If the Bulls don’t have a realistic shot at Howard, what team does? The Lakers? Hilarious!

      Posted by Sean | June 14, 2011, 1:50 am
  10. Dumping Boozer needs to be priority number one, and there’s a perfect ex-bull that can fill his spot with great defense and equal rebounding almost immediately: Tyson Chandler.

    If the Bulls could snag him in free agency assuming they bait a team into trading (hopefully for a shoot guard), they would have easily the best defense in the paint in the NBA between Noah and Chandler. He’s an unrestricted free agent, they have to try for him.

    In terms of a shooting guard they just need someone that can consistently hit an open shot, not necessarily someone that can create their own. Richard Hamilton’s old, but I have confidence that he can perform the way they need him to. Jason Richardson is the same way, except I think he’s even better than Hamilton is. Either one would fit fine, but my biggest hope is that they can trade away Boozer and snag Tyson Chandler as an unrestricted free agent.

    Great job, Realist. You’re the only writer on this site that I consistently agree with.

    Posted by Scalabrine 1 Lebron 0 | May 29, 2011, 2:58 pm
    • Thanks Scal, and I appreciate the kind words.

      I have a couple of issues with Chandler:

      1.) He has proven to be injury prone. Granted he played 74 games this year, but only played 51 in 2010 and 45 in 2009.
      2.) Lack of Scoring – Having both Noah and Chandler at the 4 and 5 positions will provide for a great defensive presence, but next to no offense. Quite honestly, I would rather have Taj Gibson at the 4 position.

      However, perhaps it would make sense to have Chandler come off the bench?

      I also agree with a 2-guard who can hit shots, instead of create shots, is more important. This is what scares me about J.R. Smith – he thinks that he can do both.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | May 30, 2011, 7:51 pm
  11. I honestly don’t think the Bulls need to go nuts for D-Howard, though I’d love to have him. I think they should stick with their identity, which is suffocating defense, while adding a few new scorers here and there. Don’t get me wrong however, I do believe they should try their utmost to get rid of Boozer, even if they have to con their way to doing it (if that is even possible), but I don’t think that getting rid of “The Matador” would be possible.
    I for one, never liked the idea that Kyle Korver was the only real shooter on the team. Whenever he comes on the floor, teams have shown (especially late in the season, and in the playoffs) that its kind of easy to keep an eye on him when he’s the only threat from downtown. I like the idea of adding Pietris or Richardson, though either one would be a starer, I think they should add another perimeter specialist to the bench with Korver. I’d like to ad another shooter like Sasha Vujacic. I feel he could potentially be the “Judd Buchler” to Kyle Korver’s “Steve Kerr” if you will. I’d also like to see the Bulls ad someone like Shannon Brown. If he isn’t a starter, they’d need someone to provide offence when Rose an others are on the bench.
    I’m getting the feeling that Kirk Thomas might be hanging it up soon. If so, I’d love to see someone like Grant Hill coming in behind Luo Deng. I feel that Grant could fill that void of experience that would be left if Kirk Thomas was not to return, plus he can still put the ball in the hole and play solid “D”. These thoughts are all assuming that the Bull don’t either go after D-Howard, or worst case, can’t get him for other reasons. In the event that he’s not wearing a Bulls jersey, I’d be very happy if the Bulls would just fortify the identity they’ve already created for themselves.

    Posted by Kenny | May 31, 2011, 6:09 pm
    • Thanks for the read Kenny.

      I agree with most of your points, but do disagree with your position on Dwight Howard. If you have an opportunity to get the best Big Man in the NBA, and not give up D.Rose, you have to go for it. Players such as Noah, Gibson, Deng are nice, but D. Howard is a franchise player who can combine with Rose to give you a title contender for years to come.

      Other than that, I like your suggestion of Vujacic. I think that after his career year in 2008, he became somewhat discouraged and apathetic from Kobe’s intimiation. However, a chance to play with another superstar may help to revive his career.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | June 6, 2011, 8:33 pm
      • Well no, I didn’t mean to come off as if I didn’t want D. Howard, or didn’t feel the Bulls shouldn’t do their utmost to get him. I realized how it looked when I said “they shouldn’t go crazy for him”. I do think the bulls should do as much as they can (primarily with Boozer in that trade) to get him. I just wouldn’t want to see them go the NY Knicks route in order to do it. That should wouldn’t make sense to me because we were only 1 pure shooter, and 1 better scorer away from really making the Heat/Bulls series a REAL series and possibly winning. So while I do feel the Bulls should crack their knuckles and dig in, I don’t think they need to mangle the team in the process.

        Posted by Kenny | June 7, 2011, 7:07 pm
  12. Also, one more thing, could you explain the Charlotte-Draft-Pick situation a little more clearly? I don’t know whether to be excited or consider it irrelevant given its current description…

    Posted by Scalabrine 1 Lebron 0 | June 1, 2011, 8:50 pm
    • Yes. When the Bulls traded Tyrus Thomas, they received a lottery protected First round Draft Pick in 2012. Therefore, if Charlotte fails to make the playoffs in 2012, Charlotte gets to keep the pick and the Bulls will then recieve the Bobcats’ 2013 first round pick.

      However, that pick is also protected , but through only the Top 12 meaning if Charlotte gets a Top 12 pick, they will once again get to keep the pick and the Bulls will then be given the Bobcat’s 2014 pick. So on, so forth until 2016 when the pick is completely unprotected.

      •2012: Lottery-protected
      •2013: Top-12 protected
      •2014: Top-10 protected
      •2015: Top-8 protected
      •2016: Pick is unprotected

      Posted by The NBA Realist | June 6, 2011, 8:57 pm
  13. Jamal Crawford will be a free agent this off-season. Why not purusue this former Chicago Bull? He didn’t play great in the Chicago Atlanta series, but I honestly believe he could provide the scoring option we so desperately need at the SG position

    Posted by WhyNot | June 6, 2011, 9:35 am
    • WhyNot. It is a good suggestion. However, my concern about Crawford is more on the defensive end. Don’t get my wrong, Crawford is decent. However, I just think that the Bulls can do better, and I would go after Afflalo, J-Rich, or Pietrus while making Crawford a Plan ‘B’ option.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | June 6, 2011, 9:34 pm
    • Jamal Crawford is the matador part 2!

      Posted by Bully | June 7, 2011, 8:45 am
      • Go to youtube, type in jamal crawford crossover, proceed to watch 20 videos of him embarrassing player after player. I don’t care if he plays matador defense, we have Brewer to cover the defensive end. Jamal Crawford has some of the best handles in the league and is extremely underrated.

        Posted by WHYNOT | June 15, 2011, 6:08 pm
  14. The Bulls should NOT trade Boozer unless it’s for Howard and they really only need to address 2 things, getting a real SG and dumping Bogans, and nobody has said anything about Rasual Butler, i think the guy can still play, but thibs didn’t play him because of his love for Korver, Thibs should have gave that guy a chance, and then we could have a better read on whether we keep him or not!

    Posted by Bully | June 7, 2011, 8:43 am
    • i agree. i also wondered why thibs didnt play butler. he was a 3pt specialist who could def play backup for deng. korvers role was big in the 1st rd of playoffs ONLY. his 3s and big shots diminished as the bulls move forward. we dont want the bulls to get a sg who cant shoot, bc i have heard stuckey is an option. i believe oj mayo would b the best fit as for the safe move but for the big move def monta ellis. maybe not likely but bulls would hav the best backcourt in the league. i also believe dwight howard is out of the question. i dont think ge wil leav orlando and bulls should keep noah for his defense not offense. hopefully boozer can provide the inside presence we need or we could search for a new pf. thx great article!

      Posted by Jay | June 7, 2011, 10:21 am
  15. Andre Igoudala, would be best…Imagine two Chi-Town boys in da backcourt… Run and Gun.. He might not be as good a shooter as others at this position but he is athletic and can make a big shot…D-Rose, Iggy, Deng, Taj Mahal, Noah.. Sorry Booze, your coming off the bench..And peace out Miami..

    Posted by scottymac | July 6, 2011, 6:57 pm
  16. I have to give The NBA Realist props for being real enough about his own team(which most fans can’t do) to see the situation clearly. Boozer this season is ending the game on the bench which is unacceptable for someone making $80 million.

    They did upgrade the shooting guard spot but Miami upgraded its bench by a pretty large margin and I think that Miami found its answer at PG through the draft(Cole). I think that Cole will do for Miami what Rondo did in Boston, only hopefully Cole will be able to hit FT’s and jump shots.

    Deng should be an allstar but he might not be in the east because of the log jam of players at the small forward.

    I just don’t see Chicago winning a 7 game series vs Miami with both teams being how they are. I think Chicago needs to make a move before the trade deadline to increase their chances of winning, and I totally agree that they need to dump Boozer if they can at all.

    You would think that Chicago would pound the paint as that is considered to be Miami’s major weak spot but today Bosh out played the entire Chicago front court by himself.

    And Wade told Lebron that he needs to keep playing like the Cleveland Lebron which I thought was great advice and something Lebron needed to hear and he will hopefully listen to. Miami is Wade’s team because its his city but the Heat will(and readers follow me here please)live and die based on what Lebron does. If Lebron can play like he did in Cleveland and throughout the first 3 rounds of the playoffs, the entire way through the playoffs then if Miami stays healthy they will be in good shape. Especially with Bosh knowing his role now.

    I think(and I think most Chicago fans would agree) that with DRose having his toe hurt it would be nice if he wasn’t playing pretty much every minute of every game. I have been watching a lot of basketball this year and Chicago has Rose in all the time. Thats a good way to wear him out before the playoffs. The truth is for Chicago(and they need to understand this) is that homecourt means nothing in the playoffs vs Miami(which is where it counts because both teams will make the ECF if both stay pretty healthy), its about which team has hit its stride and which team is more rested.

    Miami made the right call with shutting Wade down for a while, Chicago should do the same when they can with Rose. The team is deep enough to beat a lot of teams without him playing so he can take nights off and I think he needs to.

    Posted by nightbladehunter | January 29, 2012, 5:55 pm

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