Now that the Chicago Bulls have pulled off the free agent coupe of the offseason (note sarcasm), they can turn their attention to other decisions and needs as July 11 - the day free agents can sign with new teams - approaches.
By adding Kirk Hinrich, who apparently was the Bulls top (only?) target in free agency, management satisfied its desire for a combo guard to fill in for, then play alongside, Derrick Rose. It also means the Bulls, who used their full mini-mid level exception on Hinrich, can now acquire new additions in only two ways: By offering the veteran's minimum, or by trading.
Here's a quick run-down of some personnel decisions the Bulls have to make during the next few days:
Omer Asik - The Bulls will have three days to match once Asik signs his $25 million offer sheet from the Houston Rockets. It may not be the right move, but I'm expecting the Bulls to match. That's a lot of money to pay a backup center, but then there are few backup centers that can change a game, at least defensively, like Asik. Let's just pray that the $25 million man's hands get better.
C.J. Watson - According to a tweet from Chicago Tribune beat reporter K.C. Johnson, C.J. was informed Sunday afternoon that his team option for the upcoming season will not be picked up. That's too bad: He's a capable backup point guard - in fact, I'm still not sure how Hinrich is an upgrade - with definite value, and the Bulls let him walk for nothing.
Kyle Korver - The Bulls also hold a team option with a July 10 deadline on Korver, and there's been zero indication of what they might do with the streaky three-point specialist. The roster as currently composed is short on scoring, especially from the perimeter, so it's possible Korver could be retained. He's another guy with value around the league.
Ronnie Brewer - The general consensus is that Ronnie will not be offered a new contract, and that second-year man Jimmie Butler will be able to fill in nicely.
John Lucas III - A JL3 tweet on Sunday referred to the Bulls in past tense ("Just read the bulls sign Kirk Hinrich back that's a good pick up for them."), so one must assume he will not be offered a new contract. Bulls fans should wish JL3 the best and hope he lands a multi-year contract.
Scoring - The Bulls still need a scorer, but may have to wait to see what free agents are available after July 11. Management met with Gerald Green over the weekend, but that was before the Hinrich deal was announced. I'd expect that Green, and other options like Michael Redd, whom the Bulls have also contacted, will fetch more than the Bulls have to offer.
Back-up point guard - There is speculation that the Bulls may be looking to add a backup point guard at the veteran's minimum. That's probably a wise move, as draftee Marquis Teague is but a year removed from high school, and it's difficult to envision coach Thibs giving him much crunch-time PT.
Sources: Report: Chicago Bulls will not exercise option on C.J. Watson, SI.com; Kyle Korver in limbo while Bulls decide whether to pick up option, Chicago Sun-Times.
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.
Other Bulls coverage from Steve:Kirk Hinrich Isn't the Answer for the Chicago Bulls: A Fan's View (July 8)
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