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Bulls Thu Jul 08 2010

(UPDATE 07/07) Pocket Guide to the Chicago Bulls Offseason

The Chicago Bulls have entered into a period in their franchise history that is full of two things: questions and potential.

If the cards land just right, the Bulls could become immediate NBA Championship contenders. On the flip side, a few missteps or mistakes could mire the team in another prolonged stretch of mediocrity.


To help you follow along with all of the questions, and subsequent answers, that will invariably come from the next few months, please follow along with this "Pocket Guide to the Chicago Bulls Offseason". Feel free to score along at home as each topic is addressed in real life. This document will be living and breathing with each additional update, so be sure to check back frequently.

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07/07 Update: Well, most of the answers are in for the Bulls. While there are still some loose ends (ie: potential Luol Deng trades, additional free agents), the biggest questions seem to have been answered. The Bulls went all in for LeBron James or Dwyane Wade and came out the other side with Carlos Boozer and a shooting guard to be named later. The Bulls will be better based on what they have done so far in this offseason, but only time will tell how much impact the moves (and non-moves) will make.

06/23 Update: Most NBA news trickled to a stand-still as the basketballing world was transfixed on the Celtics-Lakers Finals. Now with a champion named, fans can turn their attention to new sources of hope. Coming up on the horizon for the Bulls: the announcement of Tom Thibodeau as head coach (today), the NBA Draft (Thursday), the first day of official free agency (July 1st). Each of these important dates will fill in more of the puzzle that has become the future of the Bulls.

1.) Will LeBron James be playing for the Bulls next year?

Current Status: Unknown

Rumors

(Update 07/07) Tonight will act as the period on the longest sentence in NBA free agent history. James will take to the Thursday night primetime airwaves and announce his decision. At this point, most experts have taken the Bulls off of the serious contenders. There is still the slight possibility of James landing in Chicago, but the smart money is on Cleveland or Miami.

(Update 06/23) Perhaps it was with the coordination of David Stern, but it did seem like the James rumors slowed briefly during the NBA Finals. Or maybe the world has tired of new, unsubstantiated claims by everyone who has ever even spoken with James during the past six months. For those who need more James, consider contemplating a Chris Paul trade, regrouping with Eddy Curry and learning all their is to know about William Wesley.

(Update 06/08) James will be going on a "free agent tour" with stops in his potential next city. Chicago made the itinerary. Tom Thibodeau signed with the same agency as LeBron James (CAA Sports). James was interviewed by Larry King and said that Cleveland still has an edgeSendLeBrontoChicago.com bought a billboard. to re-sign him.

Every new day seems to bring a new story about the insatiable chase to recruit LeBron James. There are even dedicated websites that push out information constantly. Even major news outlets cannot stop themselves from covering each angle. At this point, one cannot rely on any information until the man himself makes a statement.

  • Best Guess as of June 1st, 2010: LeBron will remain with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
  • Best Guess as of June 8th, 2010: LeBron will remain with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
  • Best Guess as of June 23rd, 2010: LeBron will remain with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
  • Best Guess as of July 7th, 2010: LeBron will join the Miami Heat.
2.) Who will be the Bulls coach next season?

Current Status: Tom Thibodeau (topic closed)

(Update 06/23) Tom Thibodeau will officially be announced as the Chicago Bulls head coach today.

(Update 06/08) The Bulls will hire Boston Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau to a deal worth approximately $6.5 million, with two years guaranteed plus a team option, according to multiple media reports. The deal will be finalized after the NBA Finals are complete.

Rumors: The name on everyone's minds the past week has been Phil Jackson, but ever since this idea was brought up (even publicly to Jackson) the probability seems to be dropping. Tom Thibodeau, an assistant with the Boston Celtics, has been named as a probable candidate. Other names being mentioned, according to ESPN Chicago, include Maurice Cheeks, Lawrence Frank, Elston Turner and, of course, John Calipari.

(UPDATE: Thibodeau has allegedly been offered the New Orleans Hornets coaching position.)

  • Best Guess as of June 1st, 2010: Just to go against the public opinion, Byron Scott will coach the Bulls next season.

3.) Who will the Bulls select in the 2010 NBA Draft?

Current Status: Kevin Seraphin, traded to the Washington Wizards with Kirk Hinrich (topic closed)

Draft Recap: The Bulls were not very interested in the actual process of the draft this year, instead they used it as the grounds to clear salary cap space. The Bulls agreed to package Krik Hinrich and the eventual 17th pick, which turned into Kevin Seraphin, to the Washington Wizards. The move provided the Chicago front office with the nearly the flexibility to sign two maximum contract free agents. Those grading the Bulls drafted ranged from an "A+" to an "A" to a non-grade.

Rumors:

(Update 06/23) If the Bulls use their 17th pick in the draft they will most likely be selecting James Anderson. The growing sentiment is that the Chicago front office is looking to offload
the pick for some more salary cap flexibility.

According to CSNChicago.com, the Bulls held workouts this past weekend with six potential draft picks. Guards James Anderson of Oklahoma State, Xavier Henry of Kansas, Paul George of Fresno State and Dominique Jones of South Florida, as well as forwards Georgia Tech's Gani Lawal and Louisville's Samardo Samuels participated in the session.

  • Best Guess as of June 1st, 2010: The Bulls will select James Anderson in the 2010 NBA Draft.
  • Best Guess as of June 8th, 2010: The Bulls will select James Anderson in the 2010 NBA Draft.
  • Best Guess as of June 23rd, 2010: The Bulls will package the pick and a player in some sort of move.

4.) Which free agents will the Bulls sign?

Current Status: Carlos Boozer (as of 07/07, still expecting more)

(Update 07/07) The Bulls have signed Carlos Boozer to a 5-year contract worth between $75 and $80 million.

Rumors:

(Update 07/07) The dominoes have been falling one after the other in the past few days. Joe Johnson returned to the Atlanta Hawks (some had predicated his arrival in Chicago); Amare Stoudemire joined the New York Knicks; Chris Bosh decided to team up with Dwyane Wade in Miami. Additionally, smaller moves have seen Ray Allen and Paul Pierce return to Boston and Dirk Nowitzki return to Dallas.

While LeBron James still has a decision to make, the rest of the Bulls roster will presumably be filled with names of a less marquee magnitude. Most would like to see a reliable shooter added to the roster with the likes of Mike Miller, JJ Reddick and Kyle Korver being thrown around. Other rumored targets include David Lee and Anthony Morrow.

Doug Thonus at Chicago Bulls Confidential lays out very nicely what the options appear to be moving forward.

(Update 06/23) Nothing is going to move until the LeBron James piece falls into place. If James does land in Chicago, assume it will come with additional pieces. Players will want to come and play for the James-led Bulls team. If the big signing does not go through, a mad scramble involving the Bulls and every other LeBron suitor will ensue.

(Update 06/08) The most noted free agents have been throwing around an idea of a "free agent summit", but this talk has been downplayed after initial reports. Dwayne Wade seems to be a definite no-go to Chicago and has been doing his best to bash Chicago as an organization lacking loyalty. Carlos Boozer thinks highly of the Bulls.

This is perhaps the greatest unknown. So much of the free agency game this offseason will fall into place after James makes his decision. Talk of Joe Johnson, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Dirk Nowitzki or any other potential free agent pick-up for the Bulls is useless without knowing James' status and the identity of the new coach.

  • Best Guess as of June 1st, 2010: The Bulls will sign Joe Johnson this offseason.
  • Best Guess as of June 8th, 2010: The Bulls will sign Carlos Boozer this offseason.
  • Best Guess as of June 23rd, 2010: The Bulls will sign Joe Johnson this offseason.
  • Best Guess as of July 7th, 2010: The Bulls will sign Mike Miller in addition to Carlos Boozer this offseason.

5.) Which current players will not be with the Bulls at the start of next season?

Current Status: Kirk Hinrich (as of 07/07)

(Update 07/07) As detailed above, the Bulls agreed to package Krik Hinrich and the eventual 17th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, which turned into Kevin Seraphin, to the Washington Wizards.

Rumors:

(Update 07/07) The hot topic at the moment is the movement of Luol Deng. Rumors have him being traded to various teams for various pieces. Do not expect this move to come until after the final big free agent moves are made.

(Update 06/23) As previously stated, the Bulls are seriously considering moving their 17th pick in the draft. Along with this, the front office would hope to dump the salary of Kirk Hinrich or Luol Deng. This is more of a dream situation rather than the most likely scenario. It does speak to the push to garner more cap space. This news does not bode well for a long term future for these two Bulls.

The two players generating the most buzz in regards to their involvement in deals to send them outside of Chicago are Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng. While unpopular, there is also talk of moving the emerging Taj Gibson during this tumultuous time.

  • Best Guess as of June 1st, 2010: Luol Deng will not be a Bull next season.
  • Best Guess as of June 8th, 2010: Luol Deng will not be a Bull next season.
  • Best Guess as of June 23rd, 2010: Luol Deng will not be a Bull next season.
  • Best Guess as of July 7th, 2010: Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich will not be Bulls next season.

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Stick with Tailgate for all of your Bulls offseason news.

 
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