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Report: Bulls working to improve roster “at almost any cost”

Jun 16, 2014, 11:01 AM EDT

Kenyon Martin, Joakim Noah, Carmelo Anthony Kenyon Martin, Joakim Noah, Carmelo Anthony

The Bulls should look at their roster, built around Derrick Rose and Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah on a foundation of Tom Thibodeau’s defense, then look at the rest of the Eastern Conference, and know they are close to contending.

They need to stay healthy, first. Then they need just one more piece, ideally a forward who can become a reliable second scoring option.

And they are willing to do just about anything to get that piece, reports Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times.

According to several NBA sources Sunday, the Bulls have been actively looking to improve the starting lineup at almost any cost, with Derrick Rose the only untouchable player — and not by choice.

“They are looking to exhaust as many assets as it will take,’’ one source said of general manager Gar Forman and head of basketball operations John Paxson….

Carmelo Anthony is still Plan A as the Bulls and the rest of the NBA await to see if the Knicks forward will opt out of his contract. But the Bulls are more active in their pursuit of Kevin Love than initially rumored. Also, don’t rule out LeBron James coming into play again if the four-time MVP opts out of his deal.

I like that they are aggressive, that Carlos Boozer being amnestied and the willingness to move their two first round picks and other assets are in play.

But if you add Anthony or Love at the cost of Taj Gibson, is that too high a price? Noah has said it is. I think if you can add one of those two big name forwards to a front line rotation with Noah and Gibson, with a hopefully healthy Rose, you are potentially the best team in the East. Certainly in the mix.

But if you sacrifice too much depth to get the stars…. did you watch the NBA Finals that just ended and see what a lack of depth helped do to the Heat?

  1. sumkat - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    On one hand you ask the question if giving up Gibson is too high of a price

    On the other, you list a starting lineup that includes Gibson AND either Melo or Love

    confusing yourself…again

    • lmoneyfresh - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:22 AM

      He throws out that question and basically says that IF they can manage to keep Taj while adding Love or Anthony then they would be a top team in the east. He posed a hypothetical based on the rumors of trades as of now and then added his opinion of why they should try to keep Taj. Keep up son.

      • jkfargo - Jun 16, 2014 at 8:11 PM

        If you have two all NBA team players at PF and C do you really need to worry about paying a backup over 8 million a year? Taj is a good player, but if it will likely take him to get Love. If the Bulls aren’t willing to give up Taj, why bother going after Love and Melo? They obviously have their star forward in their minds in Taj Gibson. It’s because of Taj, they are probably a leading contender to land Love. The Wolves have no PF on their roster besides Love. I think the Bulls would be better off keeping Butler over Gibson anyways. He is a better fit next to Love, Noah and Rose than Gibson is. The Wolves already have a ton of wing players. There is no way the Bulls get Love without giving up one of Gibson and Butler. The Wolves are going to want a young proven NBA player and Gibson is a proven PF who can start for the Wolves right away. The Bulls won’t miss Gibson when they have Love. They will be able to find cheap vets that will want to chase a ring as a backup PF. It’s not often a guy like Love, who is 25 and an all NBA player, is available. If the Bulls aren’t willing to give up a career backup for a star player, they will continue to lack the offensive power to win deep in the playoffs.

      • lmoneyfresh - Jun 17, 2014 at 4:11 PM

        Do you *need* him? No. But if you can swing it I would love it. That would be an unreal rotation down low. But, if it came down to keeping Taj or completing a deal for Love well then I hope the door doesn’t hit Taj on the way out (no disrespect intended).

  2. hwatt - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    maybe they figure Thibs, like Pop, can take pretty much anybody from anywhere and make them above average. Spoelstra couldn’t even get the big 3 to put it all out there every night, let alone the rest of that roster. but if you give Thibs 3 all-star players (rose+noah+melo/love) they’re betting he can turn castoffs from around the league into what it takes to make deep runs into the playoffs.

    • fanofthegame79 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:28 AM

      Spoelstra couldn’t get 2 of the big 3 to do anything…or the rest of that team.

      But leave LeBron out of that….he did all he could. He was the MVP of the Finals, just on the wrong team.

      • hwatt - Jun 16, 2014 at 12:06 PM

        oh yeah most def, that’s what I meant. I’d edit that post if i could

    • mcjon22 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:57 AM

      Thibs took DJ Augistine, who had been released by 3 teams in the past year, and turned him into an effective starting PG who’s probably going to fetch the Mid Level exception from some team. Nate Robinson came as a bit of a head case and again, was made into an effective player by Thibs system and signed a nice contract with Denver. Same with CJ Watson, Marko Belonelie, and Mike James.

      I think there’s a lot of players who based on Thibs track record, would sign one year deals at the chance to be put in a position to succeed, and cash in the following summer.

      • hwatt - Jun 16, 2014 at 12:08 PM

        they cash out bc Chicago is VERY selective with the checkbook, always has been. as the article says, even Taj is pretty much on the trading block. But at this point under the more strict cap, it’s pretty much supply and demand. Thunder and Bulls have the same probs in this sense.

    • kinggw - Jun 16, 2014 at 12:30 PM

      They’d be wrong. Thibs had three all stars in Deng, Rose, and Noah what happened there? He had the MVP in 2011 and a deeper team and Spo still outcoached him. The guy inherited a playoff team, he didn’t turn the Bulls around.

      Spoelstra is a better coach than Thibs, period. The guy has lost one playoff series in the past three years and now you’re acting like he’s holding the Heat back.

      • parasolmonster - Jun 16, 2014 at 12:58 PM

        “Spoelstra is a better coach than Thibs, period.”

        Mother of God…

      • hwatt - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:31 PM

        no, Thibs inherited a team that wasn’t doing much but getting tossed from the playoffs early. He turned Rose from a forward into a pg, upped the hustle out of everyone and took that team to the ecf.

        Spoelstra inherited lebron james. If he took Cleveland to the finals single-handedly, of course he’s going to take a better organization to the finals repeatedly. That’s not rocket science, that’s knowing the right gm at the right time.

      • paleihe - Jun 16, 2014 at 2:19 PM

        “He turned Rose from a forward into a pg.” What? When did Rose ever play forward?

      • bougin89 - Jun 16, 2014 at 2:25 PM

        “Spoelstra is a better coach than Thibs, period.”

        It really hurt reading this. I think Spoelstra does deserve more credit than he gets, he’s a good coach, but he also has had by far(and I mean BY FAR) the most talented team in the East for the past 4 years. The only team that was really close was the Celtics and all of those guys were past their prime whereas the Heats big three were in their prime.

      • azarkhan - Jun 16, 2014 at 3:22 PM

        Who knew Luol Deng was a star?

      • chicitybulls - Jun 16, 2014 at 4:41 PM

        kingg – lol @ you. Thibs took a team that finished .500 the 2 years prior to him and had them with the BEST record in the league the next year (#1 seed the next 2 years). He also won coach of the year, something spo has yet to do despite having 2 championships in 4 yrs and 4 straight finals appearances. What does that say about how the voters think he’s done as a coach?

      • jimeejohnson - Jun 16, 2014 at 4:41 PM

        Only knowledgeable fans.

      • realfootballfan - Jun 16, 2014 at 5:23 PM

        Yep, I like Thibodeau’ and think he’s overcome alot, in how the Bulls have handcuffed him but the myth of him has gotten out of hand now. Dude’s never been out of the 2nd round of the playoffs, even without Derrick Rose, there is no way the Bulls at a 1 seed should have been beaten in 6 games by that sorry Sixer team that is picking top 5 in the draft a couple of years later.

      • chicitybulls - Jun 16, 2014 at 8:58 PM

        @realfootball – umm stick to football. You must have missed when the Bulls made it to the ECF. Maybe you were watching the dolphins in the playoffs that year. Oops. And that year they lost to the sixers, you do realize they were without Noah the last game or 2 and a hurt Gibson. And they still almost won that series if either Asik can hit free throws or better yet Watson takes the ball to the rim and gets fouled and hit the free throws himself being the better free throw shooter. But dont worry, minicamp is right around the corner.

      • redbaronx - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:49 PM

        @kinggw – The Bulls really don’t have a second scorer to Rose. Chicago played Miami well despite the lack of offensive firepower. Also, I don’t think you’d find many buyers to the theory that Spo is a better coach than Thibs. That’s not to say Spo isn’t a good coach, but I don’t think he’s better than Thibs. That’s also not to say that Thibs doesn’t have his flaws. He wears out his starters too much which may contribute to injuries. Thibs has got to find a way to rest his guys more.

  3. cantonbound13 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    As a Knick fan I’d trade Melo to the Bulls for their two 1st round picks & Taj Gibson.

    • unfrozencavemanlawyer2 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:26 AM

      I’m sure you would- but he’s not yours to trade- he’s a free agent. And the Bulls could simply flip Taj to someone else for a future 1st round pick, amnesty Boozer and sign Melo outright. The team losing the free agent in a sign and trade doesn’t have much leverage. Essentially- they take salary filler and scraps or say no and take the cap space (like the Lakers did with Howard).

      • cantonbound13 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:29 AM

        In a sign & trade Melo gets the max. He’s not the type to give up a dime.

    • lmoneyfresh - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:28 AM

      As a bulls fan I’d counter with the 2 picks and Mirotic. Not sure that leaves them with a ton of salary but I really want to keep Taj.

      • cantonbound13 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:31 AM

        I don’t blame you. I do think your team is the front runner for Melo.

      • chicitybulls - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:36 AM

        Agreed. Taj has to stay. Melo even said Taj would have to be here for him to consider coming here. They can have the 2 picks. I’d want to keep Mirotic too. Depth on the bench and size and shooting.

  4. m4a188 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    They are going to regret this.

    • lmoneyfresh - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:35 AM

      Elaborate.

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 16, 2014 at 2:38 PM

        Long time Bulls fan here, since mid 70’s.

        I know you didn’t ask me to elaborate, but I’ll jump in.

        Melo is highly overrated. He’s a volume shooter who scores a lot because he shoots a lot.

        He’s too inefficient.

        Now, I know we’re talking about the Bulls, but here is some info on Melo and the Rockets as there’s been talk of him landing there (wont’ happen but still show my point well).

        2013/14 Rockets TEAM field goal percentage .472%

        2013/14 Melo field goal percentage .452%

        So, the great OFFENSIVE Melo can’t even help out that teams average field goal percentage.

        Stars are supposed to help teams.

        Melo hardly plays D either.

        One more stat.

        2013/14 Rockets TEAM average point per shot 1.34 (not bad for a whole team)

        2013/14 Melo average point per shot 1.29

        Again, Melo would NOT help them defensively and he would hurt their team shooting, bring their team shooting percentage down as well as cause them to score a bit less overall as each time the ball leaves his hand for the basket (be it a free throw, a 2 or 3 pt shot, he averages LESS points than the team averages as a whole).

        So, won’t help their D and he’ll hurt them offensively.

        And they’ll pay him a lot to do that for them…

      • m4a188 - Jun 16, 2014 at 2:43 PM

        If you think thibs will suddenly make Anthony or Love good defenders, you will be disappointed. Each of those players need player(s) around them to clean up after them defensively, that’s going to be hard to do without any depth. But at least it will make for some great marketing and revenue for the organization.

  5. holleywood9 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Taj won’t win a champ for you. Get rid of role players for the stars. Thibs has shown he can make players better and find the players to fill those roles. He learned a lot from pops

    • chicitybulls - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:38 AM

      Umm, ask the Spurs how important role players were. Taj is more than just a role player. Not saying he’s a superstar or all star type but he’s more than just a role player.

      • lmoneyfresh - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        Exactly. A guy that came close to winning 6th man isn’t just an everyday role player. He’s efficient and gives great energy off the bench.

      • Aberam - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:18 PM

        Sure, but if you have to choose between him and Melo, you choose Melo. Carmelo’s defense will get quite a bit better with Thibs, and what he adds offensively is more than what they’ll lose defensively with Gibson.

      • chicitybulls - Jun 16, 2014 at 4:48 PM

        Aberam – the key is NOT to choose between those two. Besides, Melo said he wouldn’t come without Taj being here. He knows how important Taj is.

  6. dadawg77 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    Melo and Love. Melo sing and trade for Boozer and some future picks. NYK does it because they bottom out and have tons flexibility in 2015. You don’t get close to equal value in a sign and trade. Plus that is basically what Miami gave Cleveland for LeBron in a sign and trade.

    Taj, Mirotic and one or both of this year’s picks for Love.

    Rose, Butler, Melo, Love, Noah

    • cantonbound13 - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:25 PM

      Melo & Love? Who’s going to play defense? 40% of your starting lineup is a turnstile

      • dadawg77 - Jun 16, 2014 at 6:02 PM

        In Thibs I trust when it comes down to defense.

      • cantonbound13 - Jun 16, 2014 at 7:03 PM

        Thibs is a great defensive coach but it’s difficult to defend with more than 1 defensive liability on your team.

    • chicitybulls - Jun 16, 2014 at 4:53 PM

      I’m a Bulls fan and that’s a pipe dream, dawg. 4 all stars in your starting lineup? Not going to happen.

      • dadawg77 - Jun 16, 2014 at 6:06 PM

        I know its a dream but it is there. It works cap wise and I think it can work on the court. Its time for the Bulls front office to go big or just go home. I am afraid they will settle for the NBA hell of just good.

      • bhunter1995 - Jun 17, 2014 at 10:18 AM

        Is it possible yeah, is it probable, no, mainly because there are so many teams trying to get Love and Melo. I do think that the Bulls will get one of those two players but both is a stretch but a possible stretch at that, I’d say there is a 15-20% chance that the Bulls can pull off those moves and if they do they will be instant title contenders.

      • chicitybulls - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:18 AM

        I’d say when Rose comes back and is close to where he was then they are probably already title contenders. If they do pull this off they’d probably be title favorites.

    • JHathwell - Jun 18, 2014 at 4:15 AM

      salary cap, brother. aint happening.

      • JHathwell - Jun 18, 2014 at 4:26 AM

        theyd be at over 75m for 6 plsyers, which means at least 85 or more for an entire roster. Bulls ownership aint going for that.

  7. campcouch - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    Washington Wizards will pull a okie-doke on the league and sign Melo.

    Just trolling.

  8. opinevain - Jun 16, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    Melo still has to play defense for the Bulls.

  9. loungefly74 - Jun 16, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    not to sound all “anti”…but is a “healthy” Rose still good? he has played 49 games since the end of the 2011 season…its been a bit. they have placed a lot on him and nothing to show for…here is a wacky idea…trade Rose to a team that thinks he is still MVP-caliber for a few solid pieces. bring in Melo as well thru FA. hey! i said the idea was wacky! (as I dodge tomatoes and other various fruits/vegatables thrown at me)

    but yeah, with the East very weak, the Bulls gotta make moves now.

    • antistratfordian - Jun 16, 2014 at 2:13 PM

      well look at that. see, you’re not being a troll by asking such a question. it’s a legitimate question. but you worry too much about what other people might think – let go of that, and you will truly be a unique contributor.

      • loungefly74 - Jun 16, 2014 at 3:41 PM

        just poking fun at myself at your expense. dont think too much more of it. the mention of your name was merely to bring a chuckle to the readers.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 16, 2014 at 3:56 PM

        you mention it often. i guess you have no other way to entertain readers than to talk about me.

    • chicitybulls - Jun 16, 2014 at 4:58 PM

      Very funny lounge. At least you’re having fun with it. The truth is no one know what Rose will be when he comes back (no, not even anti despite what he thinks in that vast wasteland called a mind). Will he be MVP caliber??? Odds may be against him. Can he still be an all-star? I would say that’s likely. We’ll see how he looks this summer with Team USA. I agree, they need to make moves. They know it though. They have options.

      • loungefly74 - Jun 17, 2014 at 8:23 AM

        Rose is coming back carefully to insure he will be the best he can. i do think he will be a force again in the league.

    • realfootballfan - Jun 16, 2014 at 5:34 PM

      He did the right thing so he doesn’t end up like Wade. It’s the same kind of meniscus injury. Just look at Russell Westbrook for the contrast in the different approach those two took over what Wade did with his surgery to get back quicker. His career is now over or at the very least will need to change alot over the last few years of it. I would expect Rose can come back as explosive as ever because he opted for the longer route, even if it did frustrate the fans.

    • Chris - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:00 AM

      I got to agree with you he’s never been a great shooter and I’m sure he lost his explosiveness.he didn’t lookile an All Star I’m the games he played this season.

  10. mrhonorama - Jun 16, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    First thing, the source for this information is Joe Cowley, so it must be taken with a large grain of salt.

    Second, if there’s one thing we should learn from both the championship Spurs and the last two Heat titles, winning in the NBA requires lots of 3-point shooting. Unless the Bulls brain trust wraps its head around the concept that you need more than one effective 3-point shooter on the floor, I’m not sure what all their moves would lead to. And of course, D-Rose’s effectiveness is also an open question.

    As a Bulls fan, I’m not optimistic that the team will salvage a contender now that the team is weighed down by a supermax contract for a player who cannot be counted on.

  11. ptownbearsfan420 - Jun 16, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Am I the only bulls fan that doesn’t think “God” Gibson should be traded?? Dudes ok but i mean, he’s no Boris Diaw now lol he can’t even shoot!!

    • chicitybulls - Jun 16, 2014 at 5:03 PM

      You might not be the only one but I’d say you may be in the minority. Dude is a beast on defense and he’s shown he can put up 20 pts as a starter. Maybe not average 20 but he is capable of those on some nights.

  12. realfootballfan - Jun 16, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    They should have traded Thibodeau’ because he’s just going to get fired with this kind of delusion in the building. The Bulls aren’t close to anything because they have the same problem the Pacers have, they can’t score enough. Or maybe they missed the Finals. They should have bottomed out this year and got one of these stud wing players coming in the draft. Now, they’re depending on getting Carmelo, which still might not fix their problems because no one has ever gotten him to play defense.

  13. spliff219 - Jun 16, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    stay away from Melo please. We dont need a 30 yr old sf that cant play D. Bring over Mirotic and move up in the draft

  14. iowahbr - Jun 17, 2014 at 7:50 AM

    Look at all the heat the Heat are getting in the press about being the 2nd best team in the NBA this year. the Bulls are so far from even the Heat, let alone the Spurs, that contention talks is just that, talk and nothing more. the first thing is to discover if Rose has any chance of returning to his old form or not or will he become just a gym shoe salesman in his older 2nd NBA career..

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