For Chicago Bulls fans, the time is now to start looking towards to the off-season.
However, this off-season is likely to be a disappointing one for Bulls’ fans.
The Bulls do not have a lot of payroll flexibility meaning any significant improvements are unlikely to come this off-season. The biggest improvement that the Bulls will see from last season to next is the return of Derrick Rose.
When Rose returns for the Bulls, it will be the same story that has been told before. That story is that the Bulls are a team that shows incredible effort and inspires the players on the team, but the team still will need more than Rose.
Joakim Noah proved that he is capable of being a mental leader for the team, but his play is not likely to reach superstar level. Luol Deng has earned a nice reputation for himself, though, injuries are making it hard for the team to depend on Deng.
The lack of payroll flexibility is likely going to be the reason why Nate Robinson does not return to the Bulls. Meaning the Bulls will be losing a scoring option.
That is where the problem lies with the Bulls. The team does not have enough scoring options to support Rose.
A scoring option became available on Monday and it is an option that has been connected to the Bulls before. That option is Monta Ellis.
Ellis informed the Milwaukee Bucks that he will be opting out of the final year of his contract and will become a free agent this summer.
Ellis was expected to be a free agent in 2014 and speculation pointed to Bulls making a play for the guard. Ellis was scheduled to make $11 million during the 2013-2014 season.
Assuming Ellis will be looking for similar value, the Bulls will be hard-pressed to fit the shooting guard into their payroll. Meaning the team would have to operate a sign-and-trade with the Bucks. Something that may be difficult for two teams in the same division.
Ellis would be a stellar addition to the Bulls as the guard has a history of playing with Rose. Last season with the Bucks, Ellis averaged 19.2 points while playing all 82 games of the regular season.