Apr 6, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) takes a shot against the Miami Heat during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Can the Chicago Bulls Work Offseason Magic?


As the Chicago Bulls head into the offseason, for general manager Gar Forman and vice president of basketball operations, John Paxson, the season is just starting. The Bulls expect to be busy this summer looking to sign players who they think will bring the NBA championship back to Chicago. Many people have been talking about the Bulls as a possible landing spot for Carmelo Anthony, but at this point those are just rumors. The Bulls also hold the rights to European star Nikola Mirotic, and will try to bring him over to the NBA this offseason.

The first question on Paxson and Forman’s mind is where to begin. After being completely dominated in almost all facets of the game against the Washington Wizards, one thing is clear the Bulls need more scoring. Even with a healthy Derrick Rose, the Bulls need a second primary scorer. This does not mean Mike Dunleavy Jr. or D.J. Augustinthe Bulls need another super star if they want to be true championship contenders. This is why there have been many rumors about Anthony making his way to Chicago.

Unless Anthony wants to take a major pay cut to play for the Bulls, a sign-and-trade scenario is most likely. The Bulls would have to give up basically half of their roster for the Knicks to trade him. This would most likely include Taj Gibson, Dunleavy, Jimmy Butler, and possibly a few draft picks for a 29 year old who has been out of the first round of the playoffs only twice in his career. One thing is for sure, Anthony can score….a lot, and the Bulls could use that.

More and more reports have surfaced about Nikola Mirotic’s future in the NBA, and as of now it seems that he will be staying at least one more season in Europe. Although the Bulls would love to bring him over, right now it seems they don’t have enough money. This leaves the Bulls with a major dilemma, if they can’t bring over Mirotic, and they can’t sign Carmelo Anthony who do they turn to?

Sorry Bulls fans, Lebron James will not be signing with the Bulls, so where do the Bulls go from there? Keep in mind that the Bulls hold the 16th, 19th, and 49th overall pick in the upcoming draft that is filled with talented prospects. Forman and Paxson have been known for their late round draft picks (Gibson and Butler most notably), so they may find their scoring answer in the draft. However, to find an impact player for next season, free agency is probably their best bet.

The Bulls will most likely use the amnesty clause on Carlos Boozer, so they need to find a power forward and shooting guard (assuming Butler with play small forward). A few names to look out for this offseason include: Detroit Pistons Center Greg Monroe, although he is a restricted free agent and most likely won’t leave Detroit, it is nice to dream of a Joakim Noah-Monroe duo running up and down the court. Memphis Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph if he decides to opt out of his contract. Unrestricted free agent shooting guard Lance Stephenson, who the Bulls know can score in bunches. Another name to look out for is Detroit Piston’s Rodney Stuckey. Thought to be the face of the franchise, Stuckey never took the next step in the NBA, but one thing is for sure, he knows how to score the basketball. Also, they are relatively good defensive players, something Tom Thibodeau preaches.

The fact of the matter is that the Bulls need help. Derrick Rose or not, this offseason is extremely important for the Bulls. They need more talent if they even have a chance to compete for an NBA championship. The championship window for the Bulls keeps shrinking as they wait for Derrick Rose to return to his “old self”. As a Bulls fan though, would you consider this offseason a failure if they cannot sign Carmelo Anthony? I guess we will have to wait and see.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony Chicago Bulls Featured Gar Forman John Paxson Nba Popular

  • Leroy Boyd

    This is a decent article in fact the first one to suggest other options the Bulls might explore if the Melo or not. I know the Bulls are going to a sign and trade and give up Taj and Butler that would hurt more than not getting Melo.

    Not getting Melo I can see the Bulls bring Mitrotic over signing Stuckey and resigning DJ. I can see no Melo line up Rose Stuckey Butler Gibson and Noah.

    The second unit of DJ Dunleavy Snell Mirotic and Smith

    plus the 2 first rounders I can see the Bulls trading one of them fora vet who could iimpact the team. But again right now a lot of speculation but the decision to join the Bulls is all on Melo

  • Lloyd A Brodnax

    How about our Bulls get our player Mirotric (sorry on the misspelling of his name) over here. Bulls mgmt get off your butts and get him playing for our Bulls. Then afterwards or in conjunction work the Melo avenue if doable, but enough talk…we want and demand action!

  • Eddie Currie

    Would it be a failure if the Bulls did not sign Anthony? Um, no. The true failure would be getting rid of Taj and Jimmy just to bring Anthony on to the team. Stephenson is an all-around better option.

    • tdh

      Not getting melo is not a failure, I agree. However, all players come with baggage. Stephenson was part of the disturbance in IND locker room chemistry this season and they fell apart after that as a team.

      Getting Melo does not mean trading Jimmy and Taj. I shared a scenario which is legal under the CBA that could get Melo for about $20M only costing CHI Dunleavy, picks, and possibly Snell + 3 contracts that NYK would waive + CHI is under cap so can receive more than they send with that cap space in the trade. NYK will want the picks and cheap contracts, not Boozer. CHI also does not need to include players they are building around like Taj or Butler. The contracts to waive are important because they are over the luxury penalty and will not want to remain there if they lose Melo. However, they must be in the deal to balance the payroll. NYK would get them then drop the options (Amundson, James, and Brewer). They signed these guys exactly for this potential purpose at the end of the season. Dropping payroll in NY would be a priority in addition to getting picks and pieces to rebuild with. 2 first round picks and a couple cheap contracts like Dunleavy and Snell could get it done. They would only take $5M back in contacts along with picks. Dunleavy would only be signed for next season and then off the books. He would be able to start or reserve play SF with the loss of Melo at SF. Snell is a young depth SF on a rookie contract still.

  • jaime

    Is there a possibility that Melo does a lebron and sign for 14-15 mill a year ? Then there would enough cap space to bring over Mirotic ?

  • tdh

    “The Bulls would have to give up basically half of their roster for the Knicks to trade him.” I don’t know how anybody can say that. Here is a scenario. CHI does amnesty Boozer because they don’t find a trade partner (likely). They are now under the cap by $11.5 – 12M range. They lose the bi-annual and mid-level exceptions for going below the cap, but gain the room exception. They S&T for Melo with NYK. They send Dunleavy ($3M contract) + 3 players that NYK will waive (James, Brewer, and Amundson) whose contract options are $4M in value + picks to the liking of NYK (up to 2 this year or some combo – possibly some from the Deng trade or some of their own) + they can take back $11.5M – 12M more than they send because they are UNDER the cap. This is about $19M already. I hardly think that Dunleavy and a couple picks equals “half” the roster. NYK will not want a bunch of bloated contracts in return. Dunleavy is cheap and would give them a SF for next season and then he is off the books and that contract is small. Picks are rebuilding materials. They waive the other guys. They might need to add a player into this like Snell to get this over $20M, or S&T Kirk or DJ to NYK as the final piece specified by NYK. This is the best deal they will get anywhere for Melo if he does in fact leave. S&T is the most likely way they get Melo if he wants to come to CHI because everybody wins (Melo gets a bit more money, NYK gets some compensation for their lost star, and CHI has a way to make everything work under the CBA financially).

  • Julie CzerwinWeaver

    Very nice article with truth, reason and facts. Sounds like you know the order of the offseason.
    Only thing that is on my mind…. Is why is Noah pursuing Melo? Noah knows what the team would have to give up.
    Another thing, this Lakers deal with wanting Thibs, do u think they would talk Thibs into coaching a big 3 in the West…a Melo, Koby and Nash? I am curious if Phil is willing to trade his scorer to his beloved lady and if they can just get their insiders to put a bug in Thibs ear….! I am thinking to much.
    Let’s not get my blood pressure going, Leroy has a good idea with the Stuckey in the line up.
    I think Mirotic is staying over there one more yr

  • crygdyllyn

    Carmelo Anthony at age 30? Great if we don’t have to give up too much.
    If we have to gut the team, then no way.
    Butler, Snell, and 3 first round picks is too much for me.
    We need the ability to build a full team around Melo.
    I would go with Butler OR Snell, and 1 first round pick 2014, first round pick 2015.
    Then bring Mirotic over.
    Team would look like this –
    Noah, Mirotic/Taj, Melo/Snell, draft pick, Rose/DJ.
    Is that good enough to get a championship?
    Probably not.

    • Andrew Barrett

      I think that all options that have been brought up are viable options for the Bulls, however we have to take into account the Knicks side of things concerning Carmelo Anthony. Although it would be very nice to give up Dunleavy and a few picks, there is no way that the Knicks would go for this type of trade. Phil Jackson is one of the smartest minds in basketball and he is not going to give up a top five player in the game for a few role players and some picks. The Knicks are going to try and get everything they can from the Bulls, and I don’t envision a scenario where they don’t get Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler, or both. Plus they will want a few first round picks. If the Bulls don’t give the Knicks what they want, someone will. I would love to envision keeping Butler and Gibson, but at this point that does not seem likely if they want to get Anthony in a sign and trade.
      Carlos Boozer will be amnestied, and if he is not there will be a lot of backlash in Chicago (from myself included). The only thing is though, in order to bring over Nikola Mirotic the Bulls must buyout his current contract. Under the new CBA rules the Bulls can only pay $600,000 towards the buyout that will not count towards the team’s payroll this offseason. This leaves about 2.5 million dollars left remaining in the buyout. So the Bulls would have to use the team’s payroll or Mirotic would have to pay the rest of it himself. Either way it is possible that he comes over to the NBA this offseason, but very hard.