Chicago Bulls Prepare For Interesting Offseason


After losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games during the postseason, the Chicago Bulls enter an offseason with many questions, and inevitable changes.

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One of the changes that has been talked about all season, is the possible firing of Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.

A dramatic feud between Thibodeau and the Bulls front office started in July 2013 with the firing of Thibodeau’s top assistant and current Boston Celtics assistant coach Ron Adams.

When the Chicago Bulls’ front office put this current roster together, it’s safe to say that they weren’t expecting a second-round playoff exit. Instead of playing in June, the Bulls are home early, and are now thinking about future changes.

According to many reports, and a recent report on Bleacher Report, the Bulls could possibly lose one of their stars in Jimmy Butler if he isn’t offered a max deal. According to, the Los Angeles Lakers are one of the teams expected to offer Butler a max contract, and no one should be surprised if they’re the only team that offers Butler the max.

Along with Butler’s mysterious future, last year’s NBA Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah had arthroscopic knee surgery on his left knee last summer, and judging by the season he has had, it’s obvious that he wasn’t the same player.

Noah averaged just 7.2 points per game and 9.6 rebounds per game in 2014-15, after averaging a double-double at 12.6 points per game and 11.3 rebounds per game during his All-NBA First Team season last year.

A big question moving forward is, what kind of performance will the Chicago Bulls get from Noah next year, who will be in the last year of his deal in 2015-16. Noah is expected to make a little over $13 million next season and could find himself playing elsewhere.

Tony Snell has a player option and will possibly be maintained next season. Doug McDermott‘s first two years were guaranteed when he was drafted, and he will be back next season. Derrick Rose will still be under contract for at least two more seasons.

The only free agents the Bulls will decide if they want to resign next season are Mike Dunleavy, Jimmy Butler, Nazr Mohammed, and Aaron Brooks. The Bulls will basically have most of their core players returning next season, but Jimmy Butler remains a question mark.

With the level of talent that the Bulls have, they’ll definitely be in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference, but how many other teams will improve?

You have Cleveland, Detroit, Indiana and Milwaukee in the Central Division, and all will improve next season. The Pistons made a push for the playoffs at the end of last season that saw growth from Andre Drummond, the addition of Reggie Jackson and the return of Brandon Jennings from injury.

With the return of Paul George, the Pacers will find their way back to relevancy. Barring any changes, including Kevin Love‘s potential departure, the Cavaliers will have Anderson Varejao returning to the rotation. With the competition improving throughout the East, has the Bulls’ title window closed?

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  • Many think the probable loss of Thibodeau will change the team’s direction dramatically, but with the possible emergence of young stars like McDermott and Snell, a veteran core of Rose, Noah, Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson, all the Bulls would need is a coach that can utilize the entire roster.

    Along with utilize the roster’s full potential, resting players more has been the constant theme of why the front office and many Bulls fans are unhappy with the job Thibodeau has done.

    Thibodeau coached the Bulls to the Eastern Conference Finals during his first season in 2011, and although he has gotten to the playoffs in all five years he has coached the Bulls, the Bulls haven’t gotten past Round 2 in three straight years.

    Many Bulls fans would argue that Thibodeau hasn’t had a healthy roster for the past two seasons, but this year the Bulls were not only healthy, but possibly the deepest and most talented Chicago Bulls team at his disposal this season. The result? A six-game series loss to an injury-riddled Cavs bunch.

    Bulls play-by-play analyst Stacey King was on with ESPN Chicago’s Waddle and Silvy recently, and spoke on the Bulls style of play. King mentioned the Bulls’ pick-and-roll sets and occasional isolation plays that were too predictable.

    The Bulls have also struggled to remain consistent all season, losing fifteen games to sub-.500 teams and struggled to remain healthy for most of the season, partly due to the limited amount of players that exist within Thibodeau’s 7-man rotation.

    It’s a disappointing feeling for a team, that many picked to make The Finals this season, to lose in the second round of the NBA Playoffs to a Cleveland team without Love and a healthy Irving.

    Maybe change is necessary. It’s clear that this Bulls team is talented on paper, but maybe a coaching change needs to be made so they display how good they are on a more consistent basis.

    Next: Can the Bulls sign Jimmy Butler AND maintain their core for next season?

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