Jan 07, 2011; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Andres Nocioni (5) shoots as Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) defends during the fourth quarter at the Wells Fargo Center. The 76ers defeated the Bulls 105-99. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Andres Nocioni Set for a Bulls Reunion?

There has been much debate as to what the Bulls need to make a championship run and seriously challenge the Heat in the East. Some say a shooting guard is needed and others say that another big man is needed.

A possible return to Chicago may be in the cards for Andres Nocioni

There has been no word out of Gar Forman as to if the Bulls will even look into signing someone down the stretch of the season. But the longer Derrick Rose and Rip Hamilton sit, the more and more likely it is that Chicago could be looking at adding another piece to the puzzle.

Last year the Bulls didn’t make a trade at the deadline but added John Lucas III and Janero Pargo. This year they didn’t make a trade but the only transactions they’ve made is signing, cutting and re-singing Mike James a few times.

But a big man over a scorer may be what the Bulls need. Scoring at the moment isn’t on fire but Derrick Rose is sitting as is Rip Hamilton. When they both return (or even just one of them) the offense will pick back up. But the Bulls have struggled holding teams down in the third quarter, a weakness that will be overexposed in the post season by any and all opponents.

Andres Nocioni is in an interesting situation. He is returning from his overseas contract but hasn’t yet officially worked his way back into the 76ers lineup. Nocioni was with the Sixers for their 84-79 loss Friday night to the Heat but didn’t travel with the team to Chicago for the 89-80 loss to the Bulls.

Nocioni last played on March 7th against the Celtics.

He started his career with the Bulls in 2004 and remained in Chicago until 2009, even signing a 5 year, $38 million contract with the Bulls before being traded in 2009 to the Kings. Since then he’s bounced from Sacramento to Philadelphia to Argentina and now back to Philly.

But 76ers head coach Doug Collins admits that Nocioni isn’t fitting back into the lineup as they had hoped.

“When we brought Noch in we really thought we were going to play him a lot and it just didn’t work out,” Collins said.

The Sixers have said that although he is officially on the active roster, they have granted Nocioni permission to peruse other options such as, most preferably to them, returning to Argentina.

“[Nocioni's] official status is that…we’ve worked out a deal with him to allow him to either go on with another team maybe, or if not, I talked to him last night, go to Argentina and get ready for the Olympics.” Collins said.

A return to the Bulls is not out of the question at all. While in Chicago, Nocioni not only created controversy for his extremely physical style of play (a hard foul on Tayshaun Prince led to a suspension), but he was a solid producer for the Bulls 22.8 points per game and 9.6 rebounds per game in the postseason for the Bulls.

Adding Nocioni would be a move Forman would hope will directly effect the Bulls in the playoffs. With his track record of playing hard against the Heat (a brawl nearly started when Nocioni fouled Dwayne Wade hard and was subsequently shoved into the first row of fans by Udonis Haslem) and being solidly productive, there are worse options out there then adding the former Bull.

There is no word on when or even if the Bulls pull off a Rip Hamilton type deal where they wait patiently to catch a player waiting to be bought out, but it seems like the right move from all angles for Chicago.

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