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Bulls will do what they can, and move (sigh) Carlos Boozer and David Lee to the top of their wish list

Jul 7, 2010, 12:38 PM EDT

Coming into free agency, the Chicago Bulls seemed to have it all: an up-and-coming point guard, a solid big man, one of the market’s most coveted coaches, decent role-playing talent, and oodles of cap space. The world was theirs, though now there’s a slight problem — it isn’t. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade have both reportedly spurned the Bulls to sign with the Heat, Amar’e Stoudemire is already committed to the Knicks, Joe Johnson has agreed to stay with Atlanta, and LeBron James seems to have pared down his options to Cleveland and Miami. That means the top five free agents have all chosen to ignore Chicago’s incredible potential, which will cause the Bulls to shift gears a bit.

According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, the Bulls will now focus on acquiring either Carlos Boozer or David Lee (presumably in that order), while trying to pick up a few shooters and acquire more talent via trade. All of those moves make a hell of a lot of sense for Chicago. The Bulls were 19th in the league in three-point shooting percentage last season, and their two most productive long-range threats (Kirk Hinrich and John Salmons) have been traded. Power forward has long been a position of weakness for Chicago, and though Bosh and Stoudemire have already been swept off their feet, Boozer and Lee are still incredibly talented and productive.

Without a premier free agent in tow, the Bulls will have plenty of money to spend on shooters. Ray Allen (unrestricted), J.J. Redick (restricted), Anthony Morrow (restricted), Kyle Korver (unrestricted), Roger Mason Jr. (unrestricted), and Wesley Matthews (restricted) are all solid free agent options for Chicago, and none of those players are expected to break the bank. Redick and Morrow are among the more intriguing long-term options, but their restricted free agent status will make it fairly difficult to pry them away from their respective teams without seriously overspending.

It’s tough to anticipate how the Bulls would work the trade market, but I think it could safely be assumed that they’ll try to fill both of the aforementioned needs (power forward and wing shooter) through that channel while possibly trying to deal away Luol Deng. Without the dual-max contract possibility hanging overhead, there’s no urgency to trade Deng. However, I’m sure the Bulls still wouldn’t mind climbing out from underneath the $51.3 million Luol is owed over the next four seasons.

Missing out on the top free agents is tough luck for Chicago, but they can still be off-season winners. As long as the Bulls address their weaknesses by signing quality players to reasonable contracts, second-tier talent could be enough. Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah are still growing into their own talents after all, and could just be a solid PF and supporting cast away from making things interesting in the East.

  1. It Figures - Jul 7, 2010 at 12:55 PM

    What do you expect from the Bulls management team? They suck. Personally though, I wanted no part of Stoudemire. I am glad he is off the table or else the Bulls would be overpaying him. JJ Redick???? Seriously????? Please tell me that is a lie! But, that sounds like something stupid the Bulls would do. Bulls will suck for a long time. This is sports in Chicago.

  2. Sean - Jul 7, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    Hey the combination of Boozer and Noah seems interesting to me. Both are high intensity guys and would bring a lot of energy to the team. That alone would be an upgrade still, and they’d just have to gather a few pieces.

  3. N - Jul 7, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    The Bulls should trade Luol Deng for Al Jefferson. It works for both parties.

  4. Hammer - Jul 7, 2010 at 1:09 PM

    Boozer not only would help down low, but would also strengthen the bench with Gibson backing him up.

  5. Max - Jul 7, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    Why aren’t we trying to get SHANNON BROWN! Get Boozer, and Shannon and pick up a few quality bench players and we’ll be top three.

  6. thejedininja - Jul 7, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    WADE IS NO LONGER WELCOME IN CHICAGO!!! WE HAVE TO SPREAD THE WORD BECAUSE HE PLAYED HIS “HOME TOWN” AS FOOLS!!! LETS NOT LET HIM EVER FORGET THIS!!!

  7. betdat - Jul 7, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    Bravo Mr. Wade. I knew that your primary goal of doing a second interview with the bulls was not sincere but only to steal Bosh away from Chicago. Lebron wouldve come here and Wade knew it. Chicago, congrats to you for letting a ball player not only out hoop you but out smart you at your own game as well. Boozer and Ray Allen with another smart bench moves will still make us a top 5 team in the NBA. Wade, laugh your ass off now but I’m going to laugh my ass off when you exit in the second round!

  8. J - Jul 7, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    How does that possibly make sense for the T-Wolves? they are already stacked at the SF position, not only drafting two players in the first round at that position but also trading for one with martell webster.

  9. Chad W - Jul 7, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    PEOPLE! Take it easy we could end up with LeBron! Mr.Wade would of been nice but the hope is still there to get the number one top guy of them all! Think about it! LeBron and Boozer or Wade and Bosh? I think I would take LeBron and Boozer! Its a better fit for Rose to play with LeBron anyway!

  10. Exit Stage Left! - Jul 7, 2010 at 2:31 PM

    Lebrons big tv show will have special guest appearances by none other than C. Bosh and one D. Wade!! He’s not going to take an hour to say he’s staying in Ohio….Not an hour to say Bulls are the place “although that’s his best chance for money, rings and fame combined!”….Nope its gonna be a happy hour of how he took less money to make the “super team” complete. They played the cards right, got everyone believing, and then laid down that straight flush….without even so-much as blinking!!! Well played…

  11. Sam Davis - Jul 7, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    David Lee please. Not Boozer. Lee will be slightly cheaper and a better fit.
    I don’t mind that we didn’t get LBJ or Wade as both would be taking touches away from Rose and we need to build around our future superstar, but no Lee and I would really see this FA period as a failure.
    Please Bulls mgmt, make the right move and grab the younger, slighty cheaper, better fit with Noah in David Lee.

  12. Biff - Jul 7, 2010 at 3:04 PM

    The Bulls did the right thing. They presented their case, but did not gut the roster. While it would have been nice to have one of the three big egos, they really are still positioned to field a much better team this coming year. I also like that they did not have to give up James Johnson, and look forward to them bringing in Omer Asik. The players have every right to their decision based on anything they choose to base it on. Those are the rules. Now it’s up to the Bulls to improvise, adapt and overcome. With this core, with a promising head coach and a lot of cap space, they are poised to do just that. We have the added plus of not feeling dirty for having to root for one of these prima donnas, and the pleasure of rooting against them. Maybe ESPN can give LBJ another hour to talk about how it feels to be 30 without a ring.

  13. jologs4lyfe - Jul 7, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    The sad fact is the bulls have been insignificant after they won their last championship. Their front office personnel just plain sucks…how the hell were they not able to land any of the big three (bron, wade, bosh) with all they had goin for them not to mention that wade is from chitown that should have been an easy sell, not to mention that chitown has a bigger sports market than miami…well i dont know bout now basketballwise anyway…this tells me that somewhere along the process the people at the front office mismanaged this whole free agency process…wade and bosh even stated that they will take less money in order to win and still chose miami that has a less talented cast compared to the bulls. That tells me one thing…”they (GM/Owner/Team President and coaching staff) failed to earn the player’s trust durring negotiations…The bulls have been notorious for that and its been well documented durring the Jordan era..it would be smart if they just adress their line-up needs with mid-level talent cuz they have a good nucleus already…maybe allen at SG, Boozer is no bosh but he’s solid and a good back-up PG for rose…felton maybe? dont be mad at wade chicago fans..its not he’s fault…i truly believe that wade just did not trust the chicago front office and that was enough to persuade the other two away from chicago..

  14. Anonymous - Jul 7, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    A MEN

  15. Sam Davis - Jul 7, 2010 at 3:36 PM

    There’s the question of whether or not Wade ever had any intention of signing here in the first place.
    He was already spouting that “loyalty” BS before any of this even started and it looks like that 2nd meeting mean’t nothing.
    They SAY that they’ll take less money but lets see if that actually happens. Bosh is rumored to be talking with the Raps right now about a sign-and-trade so that whole play for less thing might not be as solid as once thought.

  16. Jizzle - Jul 7, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    Dont worry fellow bulls fans. Wade and bosh isnt enough to win in mia. Remember the heat only won because of their cast of jason williams, james posey, udonis halsem, and shaquille oneal. This years heat sqaud is no where near that. Besides if we get boozer he will more dependable offensively in the low post than bosh I just looked at both stats yeterday. The truth is Wadenever intended to go to Chicago and the truth is we dont want him we really want Labron but I know he will stay in Cleveland…

  17. NiccoloA - Jul 7, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    Sam Davis,
    Call me crazy, but don’t you want a point guard to be “giving away” the ball?

  18. rog - Jul 7, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    To tell you the truth, if Chicago can land boozer and go after atleast 2 solid shooters and a legit backup pg for rose you won’t need the deceivers who knew what they were doing all along. Let’s not forget we have an edge with bostons defensive teacher, coach thibs. Sorta like the hidden cameras placed by the n.e.patriots staff in the offices of nfl coaches across the league a couple years ago. He (Thibs) can give insight on bostons tricks of the trade, while sharing what it’s like to play like champs. Try Salmons again, why not? Unless for some reason he didn’t like how we just completely dropped him off like a hitchhiker without a home. If management can’t salvage what’s left of free agency, then one word…fired!!!

  19. Adam - Jul 7, 2010 at 8:32 PM

    I hate Dwayne Wade he did Chicago bogus. 4get Wade its all about lebron even doe he might not come to chicago. Wade should have 0 hope of winning a title!

  20. Henry - Jul 8, 2010 at 10:40 PM

    That’s total bs. Blaming the management is no way to bring down the Bulls. People keep getting the sense that the Bulls are the same management team as they were in the 90’s, but you all have to not look into the past. This is now, this is Forman. Be thankful he got Boozer which was a win-win situation. REMEMBER it was highly unlikely that James, Wade, or Bosh would land in Chicago. The best hope was D.Wade, but he fooled the Chicago fans, and look what’s happening, total bashment.

  21. mike - Jul 9, 2010 at 5:35 AM

    your pretty dumb the bulls drafted noah ,then took rose instead of beasley, and got boozer,if you think lebron or d wade were serious about going anywhere but miami ur a moron,they planned this for 2 years,the bulls have been doing great rose can and will become a top 5 player in the nba soon(youngest all star since lebron) noah is a top 5 center and tho bosh scores a few more points than boozer,bosh is not a true power forward, boozer is a better pf BETTER REBOUNDER BETTER DEFENSE AND BETTER FIELD GOAL%, enough with this garbage we have a young team on the rise with almost 20 million $ to spend on free agents or trade,bulls will be #1 in the central division,and with rose being 21 years old he will only get better,im so sick of morons thinking anyone had a shot at signing wade or lebron,it was planned for years

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