How Chicago Bulls' Draft Reshaped Their NBA Free-Agency Plans

Mike B.Correspondent IJuly 1, 2013

After drafting a wing player like Tony Snell, the Bulls will have to find a center via free agency.
After drafting a wing player like Tony Snell, the Bulls will have to find a center via free agency.Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls did a solid job in the 2013 NBA draft, selecting New Mexico small forward Tony Snell 20th overall and Florida power forward Erik Murphy with the No. 49 pick.

The Bulls’ draft decisions will surely alter their free-agency plans. Most “experts” and fans expected the team to take a center, especially in the first round. Possible big-man targets included Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk, Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng and Duke’s Mason Plumlee. 

Olynyk was off limits, as he was selected 13th overall. However, both Dieng and Plumlee were available, going 21st and 22nd, respectively. The Bulls also could’ve taken 7’2” Frenchman Rudy Gobert, who went 27th.

Passing on a center in the draft, the Bulls will have to go the free-agent route to find one. The team can either use their mini-mid-level exception (MMLE) or offer a minimum contract.

Samuel Dalembert would be an exceptional pickup. The 12-year pro out of Seton Hall could play 10-15 minutes a night for Chicago, playing behind 2013 All-Star Joakim Noah. It’s no secret that Noah is injury-prone and needs a quality backup to keep him fresh for a deep postseason run.  

Dalembert averaged 6.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game with the Milwaukee Bucks last season. And according to, he produced 14.7 points, 13 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per 36 minutes.   

Dalembert was spectacular this past February versus the Denver Nuggets, pouring in a whopping 35 points.

That’s not bad for a guy who averages just eight points per game for his career.    

Via Chris Tomasson of Florida Fox Sports, Dalembert wouldn’t mind leaving Milwaukee for a a title.    

“I’d look at the mid-level, whatever’s going to be out there. If it is a real contending team, we’ll have no problem. So we’ll see.’’

The Bulls should emerge as contenders next season with the return of Derrick Rose, who missed an entire year recovering from ACL surgery.     

Sammy D would certainly be an upgrade over Nazr Mohammed, whom the Bulls signed to replace Omer Asik last summer. Don’t expect any more 35-point performances, though.

Cole Aldrich would be a much cheaper option for the Bulls. Drafted 11th overall in 2010, the Kansas product hasn’t quite performed like a lottery pick thus far. Yet he possesses the skills to be a decent backup center in the Windy City.

Last season, Aldrich averaged 2.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 0.5 blocks per game, splitting time with the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings. While those numbers are nothing to brag about, his 9.3 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per 36 minutes are a bit impressive.

In addition, Aldrich has shot 54 percent from the field for his career and 71.1 percent from the free throw line. He hit 93 percent of his free-throw attempts during the 2011-12 season.

Aldridge produced back-to back double-doubles this past April, including a 12-point, 12-rebound, four-block effort against the Rockets.

Other big-man options include the likes of Jermaine O’Neal, Ryan Hollins, Ronny Turiaf and Brandan Wright.

Taking Snell in the draft means the Bulls won’t have to sign for small forward Luol Deng. Snell is an excellent shooter, something the Bulls desperately needed to acquire. The 6’7” swingman shot a highly respectable 39 percent from downtown last season. He also hit 165 of his 434 three-point attempts during his career at New Mexico.   

With a ridiculous 6’11” wingspan, Snell has the potential to be an outstanding defender. That means he’ll be perfect in Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau’s system.  

Thibodeau, of course, isn’t a huge fan of playing rookies. Jimmy Butler rarely touched the court two years ago and Marquis Teague was the victim last season. However, Coach Thibs’ “No rookies allowed” rule could very well end next season, with Snell serving as a contributor immediately.

While Snell’s arrival with reshape the Bulls’ free-agency plans, the drafting of Murphy will not. If the sharp-shooting big man makes the team, he’ll be the team’s third power forward behind Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson. The Bulls likely weren’t going to sign a third power forward anyway.

This will be an interesting offseason for the Bulls. Will Nate Robinson be re-signed? What about Marco Belinelli and Nazr Mohammed?  We’ll see.