Free Agents Chicago Bulls Can't Afford to Lose This Offseason

Andres MonteroContributor IMay 3, 2013

Both Marco Belinelli and Nate Robinson deserve consideration for the Bulls' future.
Both Marco Belinelli and Nate Robinson deserve consideration for the Bulls' future.Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bulls have a handful of expiring contracts on the roster, but there are a couple of players they have to try to keep past this year.

The Bulls don't have a lot of spending room, though, so they'll have to make a tough decision on who they decide to re-sign.

Bringing back one of these players is more beneficial than signing a new free agent. Since they've been with the team for a year, they can build on what they've learned about the system and get better as opposed to having to start from scratch.

These two players have made big contributions to the Bulls so far, and their styles could be very complementary to Derrick Rose, who should make his return next year.

Even if they can't sign both, the Bulls cannot afford to let both players go.


Nate Robinson

Nate Robinson had arguably the best season of his career. He had his highest assist total ever and his second-best scoring and three-point shooting year.

Not only did he have one of his best statistical years, but his performance has kept the Bulls alive in many games—and in some cases—has won the game for them.

His 35-point performance against the New York Knicks on April 11 lifted the Bulls and helped end their 13-game winning streak.

Robinson has also come up big during the playoffs. His Game 4 performance brought Chicago back to life as he scored 23 points in the fourth quarter to bring the Bulls back from a 14-point deficit.

His heroic performance led to a triple-overtime victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

If the Bulls re-sign Nate, he'll be able to play next to Rose, which could be a deadly combination. Both guards are able to attack the rim at will, often drawing extra defenders—especially Rose.

A well-executed two-man game with Rose and Robinson could cause problems with Rose's knack for getting to the rim and Nate's shooting touch.

Robinson provides great scoring off the bench, and his scoring ability makes him a viable option late in games when Rose will surely draw a double-team when he gets the ball.


Marco Belinelli

Marco Belinelli was a surprise for the Bulls. He was brought in to replace Kyle Korver as Chicago's three-point specialist, but it turned out he could do more than just that.

Belinelli's ability to run an offense and create for himself and others is rare to find at his position and holds a lot of value. He proved it in Game 6 of the playoffs, running the pick-and-roll to perfection with the Bulls' bigs.

Statistically, Belinelli did most of his damage as a starter. In the 27 games he started, he averaged 13 points, over two assists and shot just under 40 percent from downtown.

More importantly, Belinelli established himself as the Bulls' go-to guy in late-game situations, with game-winners against the Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, Utah Jazz and Nets.

With Rose in the lineup next season, Belinelli can give him the option to play off the ball. Rose can use his quickness to make cuts to the basket or curl off a screen to attack the paint.

Belinelli would give the Bulls offense a new dimension with his versatility, making him a big candidate to be one of the free agents they decide to keep.

Re-signing either Robinson or Belinelli would give the Bulls several options offensively, not to mention a solid scorer coming off the bench.

With Rose expected to be back at the start of the 2013 campaign, these two players could have a crucial role as a 2-guard, a position the Bulls have struggled with over the past few years.

There aren't a lot of free agents the Bulls can target who will give them the same production as these two, so their best bet is to go with one or the other.

Whether it's Robinson or Belinelli, the Bulls stand to add a solid player who will be able to contribute to the Bulls' title run next season.