CHICAGO — The Bulls have little to do with the Chris Paul saga outside of the fact they’d be matched up against him in his first game as a (would-be) Laker. Instead the word and buzz round Chicago centers on the free agent market and the Bulls quest to add that championship piece that will put this team above and beyond and into the NBA Finals in 2011-12.
But so far the Bulls have been relatively quiet in the market. With names like McGrady, Battier and Butler — all names that were in the Bulls wish list — committing elsewhere, the Bulls are seeing their potential targets relationship status change.
However, not all is lost for the Bulls who last season suffered from the lack of offensive production at the shooting guard position. THey had a gigantic wish list with names like Crawford, Afflalo and Richardson all the way down to Green and Butler on it. But their silence is far from golden, even though free agency has only just officially begun.
December 9th was the first day teams would officially ink new toys and it was looking like a day in which the Bulls would splurge. But it’s going to be far from a Black Friday fire sale and more like last minute shopping for the Bulls this Christmas.
But Gar Forman earned the right to take his time and not be bothered or pestered when he assembled a championship caliber team out of the ashes of other teams scraps. Bringing in big name free agents was never going to be the plan but the Bulls can still spend a little hard cash to plug their gigantic shooting guard hole.
The Bulls can use their mid-level exception to add a decent name and talent like Jason Richardson but they’d like to avoid spending too much. Unlike some other teams in the NBA, the Bulls aren’t money stupid, they’re business savvy and realize that, yes you spend money to make it, but there comes a point when you’re still making a lost profit.
Josh Howard remains high on the Bulls board but is also being courted by the Nuggets, Jazz, Nets, Spurs and Wizards. He fits the mantra of this team and doesn’t sacrifice defense for offense.
One target, Caron Butler, is off the table with reports he’s signing with the other L.A team, the Clippers, as soon as he’s able to.
The Bulls have been very introverted with their free agents plans, even keeping potential targets outside of the loop. Whatever Chicago plans on doing, don’t expect them to make tidal waves in the market. Last season they signed Carlos Boozer who is a big name, but not when compared to what was out there.
Instead expect the Bulls to fly under the radar and pick up a guy who either got lukewarm attention or no attention in the market. But if that happens don’t lose the faith. Gar Forman has a winning track record, but the sequel is always the hardest thing to do right.