Monday marks the official opening of free agency in the NBA. Next to the draft, it’s one of the most exciting times in the offseason.
Big-name free agents (sometimes) pick new teams and a number of players will be traded to a new city and be donning a new uniform for next season. And just like this year’s NBA Draft, this free agency season should be just as unpredictable, especially with the new collective bargaining agreement kicking in.
So far we’ve already seen Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett traded from the Boston Celtics to the Brooklyn Nets, and former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani was shipped from the Toronto Raptors to the New York Knicks. But a little closer to home, no one is really sure what the Chicago Bulls' plans are.
On one hand, there are a few who expect the front office to make a blockbuster deal, while others expect the team to not make too many changes at all. So instead of focusing on what we don’t know, let’s take a look at what we do know:
If there ever was a player who had the best single season wearing a Chicago Bulls uniform, it would probably be Nate Robinson. The 5-9 guard with one of the biggest hearts on the team carried the Bulls to victory on many nights, and by the time the season ended, he was a big-time fan favorite. But this is where the business of basketball kicks in and as a result, Robinson most certainly won’t be on the roster next season. The team can only offer the veterans minimum and the diminutive guard can certainly command much more than that (and a longer deal) on the open market.
The highlight of the Chicago native’s campaign with the hometown team was his shoving LeBron James to the ground in the playoffs. Little used during the regular season, when Tom Thibodeau did call his number, the 15-year veteran showed an ability to be effective – especially late in the season – despite being nearly 36-years-old. The Bulls still need size in the paint and Mohammed will most likely stick around another season making the veteran’s minimum.
The veteran shooting guard spent the better part of two seasons in Chicago either hurt or in Thibs’ doghouse. The Bulls have shopped Hamilton to gauge interest of any kind in his services, but the most likely option is the Bulls buy him out of the remaining year of his contract for $1 million.
There are other questions surrounding the Bulls, like the status of Marco Belinelli’s future with the team, Marquis Teague being given an opportunity to compete for minutes this season and of course, what’s going to happen with Luol Deng now that Chicago was drafted incoming rookie Tony Snell. All of these questions and more should be answered in the coming days, but the way it looks now for Chicago, it seems that things are still very much in the air.
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