Chicago Tribune Bulls beat reporter K.C. Johnson tweeted Friday afternoon that the Bulls might take a look at guards Michael Redd (SG) and Jerryd Bayless (G/PG): "Add two names to Bulls' free-agent possibles: Michael Redd and Jerryd Bayless, who just became a UFA after Toronto pulled qualifying offer."
The interest in Redd and Bayless, both of whom have had injury problems, comes as somewhat of a surprise…and yet isn't surprising at all. Simple fact is, the Bulls may not get any of the players they've targeted, as Hinrich and Lee are likely are both being heavily courted. Prudence dictates that all possibilities be examined.
With that in mind, let's take a closer look.
Redd: A dynamic scorer before tearing an ACL, Redd made a nice comeback last season with Phoenix after playing in just 28 games the previous two seasons. The Suns were looking for bench scoring, and Redd responded with a respectable 8.2 ppg on 40 percent from the field. The numbers are more impressive per 36, as he averaged 19.5 ppg, just shy of the 20.9 ppg he averaged in 2009 before tearing his ACL. There's little doubt that Redd benefitted greatly by having the Suns' renown training staff at his disposal, as he looked smoother and stronger as the season progressed. The Suns would like to have Redd back, but are waiting to see if their offer sheet for Eric Gordon gets matched. Weaknesses: With Redd, you're getting one thing and one thing only - scoring, and that's exactly what the Bulls need. He's an absolute defensive liability, his quickness and speed are gone, and he's not much of a passer or three-point threat. The Verdict: Can the Bulls afford to pair Redd with the fragile Rip Hamilton at shooting guard? Given how he looked late last season, Redd is definitely worth a gamble if other targets don't pan out.
Bayless: Many pundits expected Bayless, a former first rounder (11th overall in 2008), to have a breakout campaign in 2011-12. It was not to be. Three games into the season, he suffered a severe hip pointer; a day after returning, he partially tore his left oblique and missed the rest of the season, having played in just 31 games. When he was on the floor, Bayless, a sixth man for the Raptors, looked good, averaging 11.4 ppg on 41 percent from the floor and 42 percent from deep. Like Redd, his numbers per 36 were impressive: 18 ppg to go along with 6 assists. Bayless, who at 6-foot-3 has good size for the position, is known as a slasher who can penetrate, draw fouls and shoot. Weakness: He's known as a poor defender. The Verdict: Bayless would be a good fit for the Bulls - he's a solid ball handler who can score and even play some two. Based on his per 36 stats and potential to someday be a starting point guard, however, he's likely to draw significant interest.
Notes: In other free agent news, Lou Williams, who finished second in this season's Sixth Man of the Year voting, has cut ties with the Philadelphia 76ers; there's been no word if the Bulls are interested, but he'd likely to fetch more than they can offer.
YCN featured sports contributor Steve Merritt is - for better or worse - a lifelong Chicago Bulls, Bears and Cubs fan. He's followed the Bulls since 1969, when he tuned in after bedtime on a cheap dime store radio tucked under his pillow.
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