How the Chicago Bulls Could Become the Banana Boat Team in 2017


Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Paul have recently talked about how fun it would be playing on the same NBA team. Wade is now a member of the Chicago Bulls and with Paul and James hitting free agency* at the end of this next season, Chicago could become the host city of the Banana Boat crew.

Before I begin this article, let me just say that it’s unlikely this will ever become a thing.

That being said, there is a possibility (albeit, a slim one) that “The Brotherhood” will get together and this article highlights just how the Chicago Bulls could become the Banana Boat team.

Ever since Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were drafted in 2003 (and Chris Paul in 2004), the four have had a friendship. Their bond has only grown over the years and they have gotten together often over the years.

More from Bulls Rumors

It’s no secret that they would all love to be together on the same team and the fit works out great (if James plays power forward).

The hard part isn’t the fit, it’s the money. All four of them are superstars that command max money or close to it.

So, how could the Bulls end up being the team that signs them all?

They can’t.

However, it is possible that Chicago can sign Chris Paul and LeBron James, who are free agents after this year. Anthony, who is under contract until 2019, would be left out.

But, if you recall, while he may be a member of The Brotherhood, he is not a part of Team Banana Boat.

The fourth member of that crew is actually Gabrielle Union, who is Wade’s wife.

(So in reality, the Bulls already have 50 percent of Team Banana Boat!)

Getting the other 50 percent may be improbable, but it’s definitely not impossible, especially if the other two superstars are willing to take a pay cut.

James spoke with Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck just before this past season’s All-Star break regarding playing with The Brotherhood:

"“I really hope that, before our career is over, we can all play together. At least one, maybe one or two seasons—me, Melo, D-Wade, CP—we can get a year in. I would actually take a pay cut to do that.”Maybe at the end of their careers, James said. Maybe sooner. One more ring chase, this time with everyone on board.“It would be pretty cool,” James said. “I’ve definitely had thoughts about it.”Before bounding away, he smiles and closes with a coy chirp: “We’ll see.”"

Let’s say that Paul and James are in fact willing to take a pay cut to play with Wade and Jimmy Butler. Then, the idea of this super team forming is a true possibility.

The max money next year (2017-18) for a player who is changing teams and has played 10 or more seasons is $35.7 million. With the NBA salary cap rising up to a projected $102 million next summer, the Bulls would only have approximately $21 million to spend.

Live Feed

4 Teams that should trade for Tyler Herro
4 Teams that should trade for Tyler Herro /

All U Can Heat

  • Grade The Trade: Bucks add two-time All-Star in a deal with rivaling BullsBehind the Buck Pass
  • 4 Teams that need to trade for Hawks' Trae Young immediatelySoaring Down South
  • 3 teams who blew a golden opportunity by not signing Christian WoodFanSided
  • NBA rumors: Trae Young trade buzz, Andre Drummond is a comedian, Wemby and KAT team upFanSided
  • These NBA stars might switch teams sooner rather than laterAll U Can Heat
  • The Bulls could make a lot more room, though.

    If Rajon Rondo is traded, that’s $14 million more available. If he isn’t traded, Rondo may have the option to opt out after this season (the contract information has not been fully disclosed, but he may have a player option), which would also work.

    Additionally, if the Bulls also trade their current starting center Robin Lopez (which shouldn’t be too difficult), that’s another $14 million.

    Suddenly, the Bulls have $49 million to spend.

    Chicago would need to let Nikola Mirotic walk away in free agency, but other than that, it could keep the rest of their players. Taj Gibson will be an unrestricted free agent, but the Bulls have his Bird Rights, so they could sign him and exceed the salary cap without harm.

    The $49 million would be spent on Paul and James (let’s say they each sign for $22 million) and then whatever is left would be used to find a couple remaining pieces for the bench.

    Although finding any decent NBA player for the veteran’s minimum sounds difficult with the cap amount skyrocketing, Zaza Pachulia and the Golden State Warriors have shown us that a title contender can get great deals.

    Pachulia averaged 8.6 points and 9.4 rebounds last season and he just signed with the Warriors for the veteran’s minimum (about $2.9 million). On the other hand, Bismack Biyombo only averaged 5.5 points and 8 rebounds, yet signed a four-year, $72 million deal with the Orlando Magic.

    None of this would have been possible without the Wade signing and although it’s only a two-year deal with a player option, Wade has made it appear as if Chicago will be his final team.

    No matter who wins the NBA title this upcoming season, James and Paul will remain hungry to win a title. Joining Wade and Butler in Chicago could be the chance for (most of) The Brotherhood to play together and compete for a championship.

    Sure, there would be pay cuts involved, but James has said he is willing to do it and Paul likely would too if it meant playing with his buddies on a championship-caliber team.

    Next: 5 free agents that the Bulls can buy low on still this summer

    If James and Paul did sign with the Bulls, then the Bulls lineup could look like this:

    Chris Paul // Dwyane Wade // Jimmy Butler // LeBron James // Taj Gibson

    Jerian Grant // Denzel Valentine // Doug McDermott // Bobby Portis // Cristiano Felicio

    That right there is a team that could compete with the Warriors and possibly could be favored to win the championship.

    In reality, the odds of this ever happening are very slim.

    But, if LeBron and his friends really want to spend time during their careers playing with each other and competing for a title, Chicago could be the best place to do it.

    (*This is assuming that James signs a two-year deal with a player option in the second season. It is highly likely that this is what will end up happening.)