Dreams of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade raced through Chicago Bulls fans all winter. Jerry Reinsdorf and John Paxson were not immune to these fantasies, and for 2 long weeks it appeared that those fantasies could possibly come true.
Ultimately it was not to be. The super team will reside in South Beach rather than Chicago. But that doesn't mean that Chicago can't continue to build toward a championship team. In fact, great strides have been made recently.
The Carlos Boozer signing is somewhat risky because of his injury history, and lack of defensive aptitude. He's not a perfect fit in new Bull's coach Tom Thibodeau's system. However, he is a perfect fit with Derrick Rose, and he's going to help the Bull's score points. He was the best available free agent left, and despite the injury risk and the defensive warts, he makes the Bulls a better team.
The Ronnie Brewer singing was a terrific one. The reason the Bulls signed Brewer was because the Orlando Magic matched the Bulls 20 million dollar offer to J.J. Redick. Brewer's contract is a three year contract worth 12.5 million with the last year not guaranteed. The Bulls lucked out with this signing. While Redick had a better year than Brewer last year, Brewer has had the better career. Brewer is a potential defensive stopper that should thrive in Thibodeau's system, and he is athletic enough to run with Rose and company.
The Bulls still have one or two moves in them. The player that they should be aggressively pursuing right now is Andrea Iguodala. Ironically, the Bulls had thought about drafting Iguodala in the 2004 draft, but decided to go with Luol Deng Iguodala is an athletic SG that defends well. He's not a shooter, but his athleticism allows him to get to the basket. Why would Philadelphia trade him? Philly is rebuilding, and Iguodala has become a redundant piece in the 76ers machinery now that they have drafted Evan Turner.
A trade of for Iguodala would most probably have to include Deng. Deng has been maligned in the Chicago media as an underachiever, but if you look at his numbers from last year, you could make the case that he would give Philly a very solid building block that would compliment Evan Turner's growth, whereas Iguodala will impede it. Philadelphia is rebuilding, and their number one goal right now should be to grow Turner in the hopes that he is a superstar.
Deng isn't as bad as the Chicago media makes him out to be. Using ESPN columnist John Hollinger's PER stats http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/statistics/_/position/sf , Deng was the 11th ranked SF last year while Iguodala the 8th ranked SG. They have different skill sets. Deng's ability to hit a mid-ranged shot could help Turner generate some room to roam. Deng is also tall enough to play PF if the 76ers go small. All of that said, it's widely known that Iguodala is the better player and value, and the Bulls will have to give up one, and possibly multiple first round picks to make it work.
They should give up multiple first round picks to make it happen. Trading Deng for Iguodala would allow the Bulls to slide Brewer to SF which is a slot that he could grow into an elite defensive player in the league. Iguodala is already a top notch defensive player. You add Noah into the mix as an interior post presence, and you have something worth thinking about. From an offensive perspective, they have the elements of the best pick and roll offense in the NBA with Rose and Boozer. and they've partially addressed their woeful three point shooting by adding Kyle Korver earlier in the free agent season.
LeBron James isn't coming to Chicago. The dream of seeing Rose and LeBron on the same team is dead. That dream dying doesn't kill Chicago's dream to bring greatness back to Chicago. Real basketball does not mirror fantasy basketball. Management for good teams build their teams to have a certain identity. Whether it works depends on whether management has chosen a good identity, whether they have staffed the team with players that exhibit characteristics that fit well with that identity, and whether the players themselves buy into it. The Bulls hired Tom Thibodeau for his ability to implement a defensive philosophy that has proven it can stop elite players from scoring. There's a couple of guys dancing on the beach right now that fit that elite category. If this year's Bull's team is to compete with those guys, it's got to be built to stop them, not to simply outscore them. Iguodala is the last piece of the puzzle that they need in order to contemplate completing that daunting task.
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