The thought was that the Bulls, though undoubtedly having some front office troubles and suffering with a lack of scoring, were in pretty good shape. They have the cap space to sign a max free agent (if possible, Dwyane Wade, if not, Chris Bosh, and the last plan is likely Joe Johnson). And one of the big draws is that they have an established core of players. Derrick Rose is a top flight point guard, Joakim Noah is a fierce defender and a terrific rebounder, and the thought was that players like Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng would be part of the lure.
Turns out, maybe not.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Bulls instead are seeking to make room for a second max free agent, which would require freeing up $16.57 million in space. And to do so, they’ll have to move one or both of Deng and Hinrich. So much for an established core.
The dual-max idea is the most popular one in the league right now, primed around the concept of having two alpha dogs instead of one. Which really wouldn’t make them alpha dogs, but forget it, let’s keep moving.
If the Bulls can move Deng and Hinrich for a sign-and-trade free agent, they’d still have Noah and Rose, to go along with, conceptually, Wade and Bosh. You have to wonder if this line of thinking is in response to Wade’s talk of not leaving Miami. If he obviously doesn’t care about a good foundation of role players, since Miami right now is entirely comprised of an offensive shortbus, the thought may be to try and convince him with sheer star power.
It’s an awfully big investment, and you have to wonder how long they’re going to keep Hinrich on the hook in trade waters. It also calls into stark contrast how far we’ve come with this Bulls team, who entered the 2007-2008 season as potential Eastern Contenders behind a core of Hinrich, Deng, and now-Piston Ben Gordon. Things can fall apart fast in this league.