With Wednesday marking the official start to free agency, the Bulls wasted no time breaking up the current ”bench mob” in an attempt to get a cheaper, hopefully more offensively potent secondary unit.
So far the club options for both Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Watson have been declined in favor of bringing back Kirk Hinrich on a two-year deal for about $3 million a year. As much as I like Hinrich as a fill in point guard, I have serious doubts about using him as an undersized 2-guard considering he only shot .414 from the field last year. He will get a warm welcome back to Chicago for his scrappy defense, but Captain Kirk should not be counted on to pick up much slack in the scoring department this year.
There are now rumors swirling of a Kyle Korver sign and trade with either the Atlanta Hawks or the Minnesota Timberwolves, although the return would most likely be a trade exception or a second round pick. It isn’t much, but it’s still better than letting him walk. Even though Brewer, Watson, and Korver were all big pieces of Chicago’s bench, their collective inability to perform in the playoffs last year has forced the Bulls to seek cheaper replacements.
Gerald Green, C.J. Miles, and Michael Redd are just a few of the minimum salary players the Bulls have been eyeing to shore up their bench. Green stands out as a very intriguing option due to his combination of size, youth, and athletic ability. The former dunk champion played some of the best basketball of his career when he finally found ample minutes late last season with the New Jersey Nets, managing 12.9 points in only 25 minutes a night. While there are still plenty of good free agents available, the Bulls will be constrained to who they can sign due to their limited cap space and unwillingness to go far into the luxury tax.
Yet all of this is somehow overshadowed by the looming decision the Bulls must make on Omer Asik once he signs the offer sheet from Houston. Investing too much money in Asik would cripple the Bulls financially in the long run and prevent them from finding scorers to take pressure off of Rose. The Bulls were afraid to deal Omer for assets when they had the chance, now they have to let him walk or pay up big time.
With the majority of the bench mob on the way out, I hope the Bulls part ways with Asik and never look back, although word is Chicago is leaning towards keeping him.