The Chicago Bulls entered the 2013-14 season with dreams of a championship. Derrick Rose was finally back on the court after an 18-month absence due to an ACL tear, and after Rose went berserk in the preseason, it appeared the Bulls were going to be a force once again.
But then disaster struck, again. Rose suffered another major knee injury, this time tearing the meniscus in his right knee. With Rose sidelined for a second straight season, the title hopes were dashed once again. Luol Deng was traded in early January for what amounted to some draft picks and luxury tax savings, and it looked like the Bulls were headed toward the lottery.
Joakim Noah and Tom Thibodeau were having none of that, and the Bulls rebounded admirably from a poor start to post a solid 48-win campaign. However, Chicago petered out in the postseason, losing in five games to the Washington Wizards. The Bulls' lack of scoring without Rose was an issue all year, but it was a major problem in the playoffs.
Rose will be back next year, but the Bulls know they need more offensively even if he stays healthy. Chicago has two first-round picks in the upcoming draft, and they could use those to add more weapons. The Bulls are also poised to make a major move this offseason, whether it be via free agency or trade. This is seen as the favorite destination for Carmelo Anthony, though the Bulls need to open more cap space to make it happen.
PG: Derrick Rose (injured), Kirk Hinrich (UFA), D.J. Augustin (UFA), Jimmer Fredette (UFA), Mike James (non-guaranteed)
C: Joakim Noah, Nazr Mohammed (UFA)
The Bulls need some offensive help in the worst way. With Rose out for the majority of last season, Chicago ranked toward the bottom in many major offensive categories. The Bulls were 27th in offensive efficiency and dead last in field-goal percentage. Adding three-point shooting would be a huge help, as Chicago attempted the third-fewest threes in the league and connected on under 35 percent of those long range shots.
In addition to scoring help on the wings, the Bulls could also use some more frontcourt depth. Noah has lacked a quality backup since Omer Asik went to the Houston Rockets, and somebody will need to replace Carlos Boozer if he's amnestied or traded.
Another point guard could be useful as well due to Rose's questionable health and the uncertain futures of Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin.
With two picks in a deep draft, the Bulls have the opportunity to add some quality players, although there has been some debate over whether the team wants to bring in two rookies next season. There have been some discussions about trading up, with ESPN's Chad Ford reporting that the Bulls are looking to get up to No. 11 to potentially have a chance at Nik Stauskas or Gary Harris.
In addition to Stauskas and Harris, there are a plethora of other wings that could be in play, including players like Rodney Hood, Zach LaVine and James Young. T.J. Warren would be an intriguing fit because of his scoring ability, and there are numerous mock drafts that have the Bulls selecting Tyler Ennis to help at point guard. In terms of big men, Adreian Payne would be a nice fit.
But the Bulls have much grander plans this offseason than just adding depth via the draft. With a nice stable of assets and the flexibility to open up more than $11 million in cap space by simply using the amnesty provision on Boozer, Chicago is looking to make a big move by adding either New York Knicks. If nothing comes to fruition, the Bulls could look to dump salary, specifically Taj Gibson, in order to sign Anthony outright.or Kevin Love. Anthony has expressed interest and is said to be Plan A for the Bulls, and Chicago is exploring sign-and-trade scenarios with the
Another name to keep an eye on is Real Madrid standout Nikola Mirotic. The 2011 first-round pick is finally off the rookie scale, and the Bulls are looking to bring him over this offseason. Mirotic does have a rather hefty buyout, but Chicago could offer a solid contract via cap space or the mid-level exception, depending on how the cap situation plays out. Mirotic is also one of the Bulls' best assets, so he could potentially be used in a trade for Anthony or Love.