Well Pippen Peoples, strap up and expect the unexpected. Now that the season is over for the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls front office has a lot of work to do these days. First and foremost management has to deal with the Carlos Boozer situation. Will he become a free agent. The Bulls are reportedly trying to trade him, but good luck with getting good assets in return. Outside of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler, the rest of the roster is in the air.
You could use plenty of words to describe what the Bulls are doing in the offseason. You could call it rebuilding, retooling or my personal favorite, under construction. There are so many spots open right now I think some of you Pippen Peoples have a shot at a spot on the roster (Why not? You guys won’t get paid a lot.) Pippen Ain’t Easy’s last audit covered all of the players that were under contract for next year. Now we will do a deep tissue massage on the unrestricted free agents and expiring contracts.
1) Mike Dunleavy next year’s salary: $3,326,235 expiring contract considering the circumstances. Mike Dunleavy did a solid job for the Bulls. His role was expanded from running four laps around the track to running behind Jimmy Butler in a Boston Marathon after the injury to Derrick Rose and the trade of Luol Deng. However, I don’t think any real Chicago Bulls fan wants to endure 82 more games of this guy in the starting lineup. At this stage of his career he’s just not good enough. I always called Dunleavy the X-factor for the Bulls meaning if he shot well from the perimeter the Bulls were always successful. A good example was in Game three when he went absolutely insane setting a Chicago Bulls playoff record knocking down eight three pointers in the Bulls only playoff win this year. Mike Dunleavy will be better served coming off the bench in this upcoming season. The only thing is, who knows what will happen this offseason. Dunleavy’s expiring contract is very enticing trade bait.
2) Kirk Hinrich Unrestricted free agent: Salary cap hold: $5,276,700, outside of Carlos Boozer, Kirk Hinrich is the only player that I wrote about and criticized that brought out such passion and controversy at Pippen Ain’t Easy. Kirk Hinrich did not have a good year last year shooting less than 40% from the field while having issues staying in front of quick point guards. I have to be honest that he was not supposed to be the starting point guard this past season but the Derrick Rose injury put an end to that. A lot of people (myself included) thought DJ Augustin should have started at the end of the season but it is what it is. I guess under the circumstances he did a solid job. The Bulls do want him back considering he is a Thibodeau favorite. He is not worth another five million dollar salary though. If he wants to stay as bad as he says he does, hand him the league minimum and dry clean his jersey for next season.
3) Nazr Mohammed Unrestricted free agent: Salary cap hold: $915,243 There’s this rap song by Craig Mack called “Flava In Your Ear”. There is one line that applies here. Here’s the line…”You won’t be around next year.” Look, Nazr Mohammed needs to retire and hang up the sneakers. Whether he wants to keep playing or not is on him but his career doesn’t need to continue in Chicago. Everyone talks about how bad Carlos Boozer was, Nazr Mohammed had more fouls than points in the first round series against the Wizards. The only reason the Bulls might keep him around is for a locker room presence. Which is ridiculous. If that was the case , give him Adrian Griffin’s coaching spot if he leaves for Cleveland.
4) DJ Augustin Unrestricted free agent: Salary cap hold: $915,243 Augustin basically bailed the Chicago Bulls out last year coming in December and shocking the entire NBA. His shooting off the bench was a godsend kind of like Nate Robinson the year before. He was amazing last year and resurrected a career that was on life support and the doctor was ready to pull the plug. Augustin did struggle when his name moved up on the scouting report in the playoffs but some of it was on Thibodeau not making adjustments to get him easier looks. The only question now is will Augustin get the Nate-Rob deal. Robinson turned his Chicago Bulls hot streak into a multi-year deal with the Denver Nuggets. Augustin and the Bulls have both shown interest in working out a deal but it will depend on the open market in the offseason. My guess is Hinrich will take the bargain basement deal and come back. My guess is that somebody is going to offer DJ a better deal and he’ll take it.
5) Jimmer Fredette Unrestricted free agent: Salary cap hold:$915, 243. He’s the symbol of my issues with Tom Thibodeau and his lack of adjustments in the playoffs. Jimmer Fredette may have bombed big time in this past postseason, but his ability to shoot the ball warranted him a shot. Since being signed late in the season, he was a nice ambassador, signing autographs, modeling Chicago Bulls team gear and filling the minimum quota of how many players have to be dressed on the bench. After watching an offensive performance that bordered on looking at a Broadway play while your team is playing in the Super Bowl, I would assume that he is trying to find a team that will give him a chance to play. Somehow I don’t see it. For that reason alone, Fredette may be back next year. That is, if the Bulls even want him. Now Pippen Peoples, this situation financially is about as difficult as my college Spanish courses at Winston-Salem State back in 1994.
For more on the salary situation, check out the team page at ShamSports.com or Basketball Insiders.