The Bulls made their big free agent purchase, agreeing to a deal with Kirk Hinrich. But they aren’t done filling out their roster that still has open spots left.
One of those open spots could be filled by a guy technically in the spot right now. Kyle Korver has a much publicized $5 million non-guarnteed contract that needs to be dealt with and the longer the Bulls take to discuss it, the more likely it seems Korver will return in 2013.
The big thing the Bulls want to do is stay out of the luxury tax and keeping Korver may be a way to do that. They know how much they’ll have to pay him which means they can then go out and budget themselves for a center like Nazr Mohammed.
Chicago also said very early on that they’d notify Korver if they decide to not pick up the option on his contract so he can find work elsewhere. Either the Bulls were lying, Korver knows he’ll find work, or the Bulls are seriously considering bringing him back in 2013 to play off the bench.
The only way Korver doesn’t come back is if the Bulls can cut his contract and find someone to do his job at a cheaper price. Chicago has been looking at Brandon Rush who has a $4 million qualifying offer from the Warriors but that contract could exceed the Bulls comfort zone.
Gerald Green is another option who could come cheap, and he fills Korver’s positional role as a dual shooting guard and small forward. But can he reproduce Korver’s offensive stats?
Another option is ex-Raptors guard Jerryd Bayless but Bayless wouldn’t be filling Korver’s role as much as he’d be coming off the bench behind Rip Hamilton and occasionally Kirk Hinrich. There is also doubt surrounding how low or high Bayless’s contract will be in 2013.
Courtney Lee has been a target for the Bulls but he is being courted now by the Celtics and their championship chances far outweigh those of Chicago’s at the moment.
The only way Korver would be let go and not notified of it yet as was promised, is if the Bulls are orchestrating a sign and trade with a team. The Rockets could be interested in such a deal but with Courtney Lee being an unrestricted free agent, he has no personal gain to be had by re-signing with the Rockets to be traded if Boston offers more money outright.
So either the Bulls just forgot about Korver with all their free gent issues, or they are bringing him back. I’m not one to call Bulls brass liars but if they were to cut Korver on July 10 after promising to notify him early on in the process, that would be — for lack of a better term– rude.
The Bulls need production off the bench and Korver gives them the best option for that at the moment. All signs are pointing to a return for Korver in 2013, but in the NBA everything is a mystery until it happens.