After the NBA Draft on Thursday night, the Chicago Bulls seemed to have cleared just enough cap-space to sign 2 maximum contracts. The Bulls are in a free-agent arms-race right now with the Miami Heat – who will have enough money to re-sign Dwyane Wade, 2 other max-contract players, and enough spare change leftover to get a couple decent players to fill-out their line-up. Chris Bosh, in a statement to the Miami Herald, seems to think their team is in great shape.
“Miami is in top contention. With the money they have, the cap space they have, the rights on Dwyane [Wade], him possibly staying. And just having a good organization; they are known as a first-class organization. Dwyane is going to be known as one of the greatest players in the history of the game when it’s said and done.”
But the Chicago Bulls have put themselves in the catbird seat for the recruitment of LeBron James’ services. The Chicago Bulls packaged Kirk Hinrich and 17th overall pick Kevin Seraphin in a Draft Day trade to the Washington Wizards for essentially nothing – except a lot of extra assets ($9 million’s worth) for the July 1st start of free-agency. This trade cannot take official effect until July 8th, but that makes little difference for the Bulls, who are set upon snagging the best player in the world.
Assuming Wade re-signs with Miami, the Heat will have 3 somewhat quality NBA starters on their roster, in the forms of Wade himself, Michael Beasley, and Mario Chalmers. Miami is in position to have Wade, 2 All-Stars, Beasley, and Chalmers on their roster. . . but their depth would just about end there. The Chicago Bulls, on the other hand, have 5 players already under contract for the up-coming season. With their depth, quality of talent, and cap situation the way it is now, Chicago looks much more impressive and seems to be much greater of a threat than Miami (or any of the other Summer of 2010 main players) to do damage in the NBA Post-season for many years to come:
- Derrick Rose – 21 years-old
- Joakim Noah – 25 years-old
- Luol Deng – 25 years-old
- Taj Gibson – 24 years-old
- Enough 2010-11 cap-room to sign (likely 2) maximum contracts – during the timeframe of, perhaps, the greatest level of talent currently left un-signed in NBA history.
The title hopes for the Chicago Bulls in 2010-11 are very much alive and well. Especially if LeBron James, 26, jumped aboard.
The fact that the Bulls’ organization will not be able to sign a 2nd top-tier player until July 8th means very little in terms of an obstacle they would need to overcome. Chris Bosh described it well in a recent interview on ESPN’s Mike & Mike in the Morning:
“Am I waiting on LeBron? Pretty much. I think everyone has to. I have to as well. He’s a great player and I would be crazy to think that all the teams that are considering him, they would talk to somebody else first. I think everybody is going to be going at him first.”
“They’ll probably call him at 12:01,” Bosh added. “Hopefully they’ll call me at 12:02.”
In sunopsis, wherever LeBron James lands will set the landscape on how free-agency will turn out. If LeBron James goes to the Miami Heat, alongside Dwyane Wade, Bosh will likely follow. If James chooses the young Bulls, it is hard to imagine Bosh not wanting to join, if Chicago really can give him max-money.
Though Chicago and Miami have some of the best young star power, it is nearly impossible to predict what will happen after the July 1st date. New York, New Jersey, Washington, and the L.A. Clippers also have boatloads of cash available. Nobody knows for sure how this will all play out. Chicago has to be the clear-cut favorite because of their location, financial assets, and talent crop. Joe Johnson is the first major free-agent that expressed that he wants to come here. And why wouldn’t he. . . or anybody, for that matter?
The approach and mindset for Bulls’ fans has to be simple:
If it is to be, it will be.