Veteran point guards will surely consider the Chicago Bulls as a preferred landing spot because the Windy City provides both playing time and playoff aspirations.
Not too many teams could offer those two opportunities.
Derrick Rose, who tore the ACL in his left knee, will be out eight to 12 months as he recovers from the severe injury. Even when Rose does return (which could be the All-Star break or later), the Bulls will limit his play to fixed minutes to avoid re-aggravating his knee.
That means for the Bulls to be competitive, they will have to get another skilled point guard like Kirk Hinrich or Raymond Felton to help the backcourt. Plus, John Lucas III (contract expired) and maybe even C.J. Watson ($3.7 million team option) might not be returning, opening up opportunities for free agents to eventually call Chicago their new home.
The Bulls not only will give a potential free agent playing time, but a roster composed of solid teammates.
Carlos Boozer is a good pick-and-roll player who can score 15-20 points a night.
Luol Deng, a NBA All-Defensive second-team selection, is a slasher who provides blanket perimeter and individual defense.
Joakim Noah is a passionate baller, infusing energy and output on both ends of the court.
Richard Hamilton is effective when healthy as he opens up the passing lanes with his shooting and off-the-ball movement.
And don't forget the Bulls Bench Mob of Taj Gibson, Kyle Korver, Omer Asik and company. They easily make Chicago one of the NBA's deepest and most successful teams the past two NBA seasons.
Possible interested free agents include Hinrich and Felton.
Hinrich was a former Bull (2003-10) who was unloaded for cap space reasons as Chicago heavily pursued LeBron James. Hinrich had a successful career with the Bulls (13.4 points, 5.8 assists) and gives Chicago an experience veteran manning the point. Captain Kirk has voiced wanting to return to the Bulls.
Felton struggled through an off year with the Portland Trail Blazers (11.4 points on 40.7 percent shooting). However, the 6'1" Felton can create his own shot and is a good distributor (a career 6.7 assists per game average). Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau would be attracted to Felton's defensive abilities.
Other possible free agents include Chauncey Billups (played with Hamilton for six years with the Pistons), Andre Miller (open to play for a contender), Ramon Sessions (could opt out with the Lakers) and Jameer Nelson (planning to opt out from the Magic). All four can score, create their own shot and are good distributors.
The Bulls still have a mid-level exception ($5 million for up to four years) they could offer potential signees. That's more than what other big-market teams like the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks could offer (all can offer a max deal of $2.5-3 million for two years).
Getting paid well to play significant minutes while being on a championship contender makes the Bulls a top destination for free-agent point guards.