Free Agent Watch: It’s finally over…LeBron is joining the Super Friends

The LeDecision has been LeMade: LeBron James will join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat. The three guys who were probably (in some order or another) Chicago’s Plans A, B and C have joined forces to become The Super Friends of South Beach.

Ouch.

But you know what? It could be worse. A lot worse actually.

The New Jersey Nets won only 12 games last year, missed out on John Wall, and haven’t made a major acquisition this summer. The Nets going to win more than 12 games next season, but not enough to escape another NBA Draft lottery.

The New York Knicks — the first team to start clearing cap room, thereby kicking off LeBronmania — managed to overpay for Amar’e Stoudemire and trade for Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf and Kelenna Azubuike. And that’s it so far. During the 2009-10 campaign, the Knicks set a franchise record with their ninth straight losing season. A tenth consecutive losing season isn’t out of the question.

The Los Angeles Clippers are, well, they’re still the Clippers.

And I believe Cavalier owner Dan Gilbert’s open letter to Cavs fansprovides some rather painful (if somewhat classless) insight into how Clevelanders are feeling today. After all, their hero is now fulfilling his dreams while crushing theirs.

So sure, the Heat hit the Jackpot at the expense of several teams, the Bulls included. But while the Cavaliers, Clippers, Knicks and Nets will probably be among the worst teams the in NBA, the Bulls should be one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference.

Think about it. The other teams — including the Heat, by the way — basically gutted their rosters and adopted a “Lose Today To Win Tomorrow” mentality for the mere hopeof signing either LeBron or one or two other headliners. That plan was an epic success for the Heat. Not so much for the other squads.

The Bulls, on the other hand, managed to keep a solid core of players in tact while clearing enough space to be in the hunt for a superduperstar. So even though it kind of stings to have missed out on the LeBron/Wade/Bosh sweepstakes…

…the Bulls are okay.

They still have an All-Star point guard in Derrick Rose. They managed to sign a former All-Star and proven 20-10 guy in Carlos Boozer without giving up a max deal. They have two players (Joakim Noah and Luol Deng) who can play reasonably close to an All-Star level (and Noah could go over the top this season). They have a young up-and-coming big man in Taj Gibson. And they still have roughly 18 million in cap space to spackle over the rest of their holes (namely at shooting guard and in the three-point shooting department).

Several teams went all in and came away with nothing or next to nothing. The Bulls somehow managed to go all in while keeping a big pile of chips stashed behind their backs. That’s kind of cool, isn’t it?

As it stands, the Bulls probably won’t be better than the Celtics, Heat or Magic. But they could be a solid fourth seed in their conference. It may feel like a booby prize to some people…but I bet fans in Cleveland, New Jersey and New York would swap places with Chicago fans in a heartbeat.

Let’s go ahead and forget all the LeBron/Wade/Bosh stuff and look forward to seeing how management fills the rest of the team’s needs. My hope was that the Bulls would get Mike Miller, but it looks like he’s going to Miami too (it figures). So who’s next on the short list?

According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: “Sources said the Bulls also have targeted Ronnie Brewer, Keith Bogans and Roger Mason. Wesley Matthews, J.J. Redick and Anthony Morrow are restricted free agents, though the Bulls do have enough money for significant offers to give their current teams pause should they choose that route. Another intriguing possibility for backcourt depth is Peoria native Shaun Livingston.”

As they say on TV, stay tuned.

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45 Responses to Free Agent Watch: It’s finally over…LeBron is joining the Super Friends

  1. Brad S. July 9, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    Gutless… All three of them.

  2. mikemayer3@hotmail.com'
    thirdsaint July 9, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    Don’t forget, Matt, that with Lebron leaving Cleveland the division is up for grabs and I think the Bulls will win it easily. That insures them, at least, the 3rd seed. Boston’s getting older too so it’s not entirely unlikely they can move up to #2. Especially since the aging C’s take the regular season off. That bodes well for the Bulls. I am confident they’ll get the SG and 3-point shooter they need (Korver off the bench would be quasi-Kerr). The Bucks will be in the hunt but I see them around the 5th seed.

  3. enigmatik.inviktus@gmail.com'
    Enigmatik July 9, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

    The Bulls will be fine. Of course it would have been nice to get one or all three of those guys, but it’s going to be that much more satisfying to beat the ring chasers. Boozer fulfills the need for a low post threat, now the Bulls just have to get some shooters and the team will be a force to be reckoned with.

    In all of this, I really hate that Hinrich was given up for nothing, but I hope that the team can get some nice acquisitions to make up for his departure.

    This is going to be a great season for basketball.

  4. mikemayer3@hotmail.com'
    thirdsaint July 9, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    I hate that Hinrich had to go too but hindsight is always 20/20. Still, it had to be done and you have to wonder how much better he might’ve been defensively with Thibodeau.

    Anyone else feel that the best chance to win a title is this year or next year? You have to think that Miami team is going to get better and better as the years go by as their roster is filled out, no?

  5. Brad S. July 9, 2010 at 4:34 pm #

    I totally agree with you guys about Hinrich. Would this be a sweet little team right now with new draftee James Anderson and Hinrich combining to fill the 2 spot? Not that I am mad at the organization, (as you said: hindsight is 20/20) they had to do the trade to have even a chance to win the free agent bonanza. But still, I like Kirk better than most of the names being brandied about.

  6. pc_eclipse@yahoo.com'
    Savage July 9, 2010 at 5:04 pm #

    I respectfully disagree with you guys. Although I would of loved to keep Hinrich cause we all know he is a competitor. But not as his price tag. We can likely get 2 quality shooters which we greatly need for the price of Hinrich. And his shot just isn’t consistent enough to qualify as a good shooter. I think Tibs will help our young players learn how to play better defense. We now desperately need a couple of three point marksmen!

  7. daniel.kenealy@gmail.com'
    Dan the Man July 9, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    I really think we should go after Morrow. He is an SG who can defend and shot 45% fromk 3 the last 2 years. Here is who I personally would love to see the bulls sign, although I am sure they wont get every one of these guys.

    Morrow (shooting/defense), Redick (shooting), and Wes Matthews (defense, decent shooting) at G (we need 3 unless the bulls are bringing back pargo or acie law).

    Mike Miller if possible and/or Korver at forward (these to could probably also play guard if you want to go with a big lineup).

    Bring back Brad Miller and also get another no name big man to eat up fouls when you play Orlando or LA or other teams with dominant big men.

    Combine those 6 guys with Rose, Noah, Deng, & Gibson (who knows, maybe James Johnson wont suck to bad this year either!?!?! I try to be opptimistic) and that team is going to the eastern conference finals easily…maybe farther.

  8. bullsbythehorns@gmail.com'
    Matt McHale July 9, 2010 at 5:19 pm #

    For the record, I really, really hope the Bulls make a strong effort to get Morrow. Unfortunately, he was just traded to the Knicks, and he’s a restricted free agent, which means the Knicks can match any offer the Bulls make…and we know they have plenty of cash floating around.

  9. Ron July 9, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

    Nice blog Matt, but the only problem is that the Heat and Magic play in the same divison. This means that either the Heat or Magic would be the fourth seed. Leaving the Bulls with the third seed.

  10. daniel.kenealy@gmail.com'
    Dan the Man July 9, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

    Was Morrow in the trade? I thought NY got Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf and Kelenna Azubuike? Even if he did get traded we should definitely still go after him.

  11. sha.koval@gmail.com'
    uncleshawn July 9, 2010 at 5:44 pm #

    I would love the Bulls to go after Wesley Matthews and JJ Redick, then re-sign Brad Miller. Any way you slice it, the future is bright for Los Toros!

  12. mikemayer3@hotmail.com'
    thirdsaint July 9, 2010 at 5:45 pm #

    Yeah, I only saw the names Dan mentioned, not Morrow. Or were those names not finalized? I’m not familiar with Morrow but I love those 3-point numbers and if he can play good defense he’d be a perfect fit.

    Lebron just handed the Bulls the Central division and, at the very least, the #3 seed on a silver platter.

  13. gosieg@umich.edu'
    Gordon July 9, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    I’m actually very excited. Getting rid of Hinrich was the right move even now – we can fill so many holes with the money we would have been paying him.

    If we can get a couple of good shooters and resign Brad Miller or the like, this Bulls team is right on par with Miami.

    While it would have been incredible to get one of those guys, it will be that much more satisfying now to beat all three of them.

  14. davebadasslarson@yahoo.com'
    BadDave July 9, 2010 at 6:55 pm #

    I feel alone when I say that I still want the bulls to get another rebounder/inside defender to come off the bench. Shooting first, bench post guy second. Miller’s not really a phsyical down-low center, and Noah and Boozer are both starters. I’d kind of like the Bulls to nab Jefferson, except he is also a starter. One of those three (Noah, Booz, Jeff) would have to come off of the bench. I bet Noah would do it, but is it fair to ask of the guy that is the heart and soul of the team? I don’t even think so.

    So…back to the shooters, I guess, and hope that Boozer & Noah can stay out of foul trouble.

  15. joelm74@gamail.com'
    j/m July 9, 2010 at 7:12 pm #

    i agree with uncleshawn. Wes mathews and Reddick would be a smooth move for the the bulls. Get Miller bout a 1000 ice bags and bring him back too. Lets get off our hands and do work, The only thing miami has is the mod squad and sand! we got a squad ready to run

  16. joesez@gmail.com'
    joe July 9, 2010 at 9:12 pm #

    Warrior’s Anthony Morrow, my local team, is NOT a defender. He’s been pretty weak defensively But is young and works very hard in the off season. He can get better.

    Morrow — Of the four free agents, Morrow has the best chance of sticking with the team. He can play some 3, so he fits a need. By all accounts, he’s a gym rat (he’s been working with the team even without a contract). If the team wants to keep Randolph around, Morrow would also be a good person to have in the locker room to keep him happy. Whether or not the Warriors ink him will likely come down to cost, but given the rumored demand for his services around the league, a right to match may allow the Warriors to get something in return if the deal turns out to be too rich for the team’s current status.

    and

    Along with Anthony Randolph and Stephen Curry, Morrow was part of the Warriors’ new “new core.” His 08-09 campaign showed us a prolific scorer, inconsistent in other areas but working hard to round into a complete player. After a few dominant summer league performances, expectations were sky high coming into the season. They quickly returned to earth. Morrow got fairly consistent minutes while he was healthy, but wasn’t able to produce consistent results. He would go 10-13 one game, only to go 1-3 the next. A few related factors contributed to his uneven results. First, the NBA figured out how to guard him. Since he still has huge trouble putting the ball on the floor, you can crowd him easily, denying him the ball often and making any shot a tough one.

  17. not so despicabull July 9, 2010 at 9:43 pm #

    i would like to gamble a little. maybe josh howard? or mcgrady? depending on how much they wanted, i think it would be worth a shot.

  18. craiglavoie@gmail.com'
    Craig July 9, 2010 at 10:37 pm #

    What’s unfortunate is that the three best targets–Wesley Matthews, JJ Redick, and Anthony Morrow–are all restricted. I bet all of their teams will match even somewhat unreasonable offers for them.

    Redick: He played well in the playoffs and fills a need as a third guard and three-point shooter coming off the bench with Vince Carter getting older (and being Vince Carter). Plus, losing Redick would be the most significant development of the offseason for them and they can’t be perceived to be getting worse with everyone else improving.

    Matthews: Jerry Sloan likes him, evidenced by the fact that he started last year as a rookie. Plus, he was an undrafted pick-up for them and GMs usually like to hold on to success stories like that as proof of their brilliance.

    Morrow: The Warriors like their young backcourt with Curry and Ellis. And three-point shooting is more important in Don Nelson’s system than almost anything else.

    Just saw that we signed Kyle Korver for 5 mil. per year. Not bad. Does he start at shooting guard or come off the bench behind Deng?

  19. sean.is July 9, 2010 at 11:08 pm #

    Bulls sign Korver for 15million for 3 years. Good contract.

  20. pc_eclipse@yahoo.com'
    Savage July 10, 2010 at 12:37 am #

    We should definitely pursue Wes Mathews I know he is restricted but we should look into it. Or maybe even Brewer only down side is he is not a great shooter. JJ is a bit short for me to like him as a starting SG and he is restricted. We may want to go after either M. Barnes (sf) or I know most will not like this but Josh Howard (sf) if we are thinking of trading Deng for a sg. Besides Mathews there is not a whole lot of talent at the 2 guard left in Free Agency that can hit 3s we may need to trade for a starting SG. I know we got Korver but he seems to be more like a SF from what I could tell in my limited time seeing him play not sure he is a starting SG on a great team. But I am glad we got him don’t get me wrong he knocks down threes with ease got to love that for the Bulls.

  21. pc_eclipse@yahoo.com'
    Savage July 10, 2010 at 12:39 am #

    I also like Morrow, I think if were going for a starting SG only options in FA is Morrow, Mathews, Brewer.

  22. coolchicagobrotha79@yahoo.com'
    Mario July 10, 2010 at 1:39 am #

    Well we addressed another one of our need with the Korver signing. An excellent shooter with height (6’7′) who has played in a good system with an excellent coach. Not to mention he is familiar with our new power forward and he is only talking 5 million a year for three years excellent signing

  23. joesez@gmail.com'
    joe July 10, 2010 at 3:55 am #

    W’s are for sale. Don Nelson will not be coaching the GSW once sold.

    GM already says the team is not being built around Nelson’s style. Their defensive PF Draft Pick proves it.

    A. Morrow is obtainable, GSW Owner is cheap and will not exceed the cap and they’re close.

    He’s less likely with Aston Kutcher signing. Both guys are come-off-the-bench shooters.

    I expect Bulls to pick an athletic SG/SF to help with defense and possibly start.

  24. TexasBearsFan July 10, 2010 at 5:06 am #

    We’re offering a contract to Reddick now too. I like this, the Bulls are out making moves. While Miami sleeps on their stars, the Bulls are snapping up decent pieces.

  25. Raevyrn July 10, 2010 at 5:48 am #

    Looks like we made an offer of 20 million over 3 years for Redick. We’ll see if the Magic match within a week. I hope we get him. It’ll give us pretty good depth at the guards with Korver as well.

    The details of the Heat signings are in: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5368003

    This bodes some trouble, more cap space than I would have thought. Arms race!

  26. joelm74@gamail.com'
    j/m July 10, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    The bulls need to target Wes Matthews now.he’s a legit 6’5 2guard who ended up starting for the Jazz the last 28 games of the season including the playoffs and was a solid contributer. Hes only 23 and will continue to improve. not to mention we’re one of the few teams who can afford to over pay the right guard. Hes got starter written all over him, not to mention the fact that Sloan was clearly happy with his performance which means a ton to NBA insiders.

  27. joelm74@gamail.com'
    erik July 10, 2010 at 9:09 am #

    Yo just look looked up Wesley Matthews on you tube, for sh#ts and giggles and that highlight reel looks ill, he’d be A NICE pick up, some one who can run with DRose! Check and recognize…

  28. Frank Tian July 10, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

    i think we should give mcgrady a try. he is slower now but can still shoot and pass well, and plus he is 6’9. he is 30 years old, i bet we can have him do some good work in chicago. also it has been months since he was recovered from injury, so he should be around 100% by now and should be at the start of the season.

  29. abormet@hotmail.com'
    Aaron July 10, 2010 at 1:33 pm #

    Morrow signed an offer sheet with the Nets so forget about him.
    Mike Miller is going to sign with the Heat so forget about him.

    Kyle Korver is now a Bull. JJ signed the Bulls offer sheet so either the Magic will match or he’ll be a Bull. Korver and JJ share the SG spot so the SG minutes are spoken for (unless the Magic match).

    I’d like to see them sign Luke Ridnour as the backup PG as well as another shooter (decent 3ptFG%) and then Brad Miller to back up Noah. Unlike many people I like Brad’s game and he is perfect for the role (veteran backup center who has a decent outside shot and good passing skills).

    I expect the Magic to match the offer to JJ so the Bulls need another shooter/SG option.

    After that sign a few low cost veterans to eat up garbage time/provide fouls and off we go.

  30. DipenPatel@Chicagobreakingsports.com'
    BULL4EVER July 10, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

    This organization has totally retalliated by signing Boozer Korver and a signing to be in the near future J.J Redick since losing on LeBron and Bosh.The Windy City has zero interest in messing around when losing on key free-agents by stealing second-best prospects straight up, hey that is what Chicago has always been totally made of.Speaking of Miami possibly winning an NBA title next season, not so fast because the Bulls will have so many things to say about this,especially after these three acquisitions.Cannot wait until the upcoming season. GO BULLS

  31. TREYDOG July 10, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

    BULLS 72-10 RECORD IS DEFINATELY IN JEOPARDY OVER THE NEXT 6 YEARS. OH WELL, I’M SURPRISED THAT RECORD LASTED AS LONG AS IT DID, BUT WE WILL SEE.

  32. bob.edwards47@yahoo.com'
    BoppinBob July 10, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    I would like to see the Bulls resign Brad Miller and go after Ian Mahinmi or Kwame Brown for the third center. With Korver locked in and an offer out to JJ Redick, I would like to see the Bulls resign Acie Law. If the Magic match the Redick offer than go after Shaun Livingston. James Singleton would be a nice addition at the F slot. Both Gibson and Johnson can play the 3 and 4. I believe if the Bulls can get these kinds of players they could contend this year and into the future.

  33. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath July 10, 2010 at 3:42 pm #

    Very, very happy fan. Boozer will enjoy playing with an intense big man, instead of a guy who is always floating to the three-point line. I don’t mind us becoming the Jazz of the East, while Miami becomes the Spurs of the East … this league is turned on its head and it is going to be fun.

  34. stefanhynes09@gmail.com'
    Stefan July 10, 2010 at 5:12 pm #

    Check out the potential fallout of LeBron, the trade for David Lee and upcoming NBA Summer League

    sportsaccordingtome.com

  35. felipeagarcia87@hotmail.com'
    DJ July 10, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    I also heard that the Bulls sign Kyle Korver to a 3 year deal worth 15 million dollars, which is not that bad. (So he is officially a Bulls player.)

    As for J.J. Redick I also heard that the Bulls offer him a 3 year deal contract worth $20 million dollars as a backup SG for Kyle Korver. (I guess?) This deal I don’t like!!! I rather sign Anthony Morrow or Wes Matthews or Ronnie Brewer since all of these guys can play better defense to slow down a guy like: Kobe, Wade, Ray Allen, Vince Carter and other good scores when the Bulls have a close game of winning.”

    I also heard that the Bulls sign C: Omer Asik from Turkey as a backup for J. Noah.

    Starter:
    PG: D. Rose (defense and scorer)
    SG: K. Korver (scorer)
    SF: L. Deng (defense and scorer)
    PF: C. Boozer (scorer)
    C: J. Noah (defense)
    Rotation Bench players;
    PF: Taj Gibson (defense)
    SF: James Johnson (defense)
    C: Omer Asik (scorer)
    SG: Anthony Morrow or Wes Matthews or Ronnie Brewer (defense)
    PG: Earl Watson or Acie Law or Carlos Arroyo (defense and scorer)
    Backup injury players:
    SF: Joe Alexander or SG: Derrick Byars or SG: Rodney Carney
    PF: Veremeenko or C: Etan Thomas or PF: Malik Allen
    PG: Jannero Pargo or John Lucas III or Jerel McNeal

  36. PTFC July 10, 2010 at 7:40 pm #

    I think the Celtics are finally and officially going to be old. I mean at some point I don’t care how much heart and determination you have the big 3 is 32-35 years old with a lot of mileage. At some point it just doesn’t matter and nature takes over.

    With this said I put the Bulls right up there battling the Celtics for a 3 seed in the East.

  37. auti_76@hotmail.com'
    LOLZ July 10, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    PARGO SHOULD NEVER EVER BE ON A LIST OF A TEAM U WANT

  38. DipenPatel@Chicagobreakingsports.com'
    BULL4EVER July 11, 2010 at 1:46 am #

    Yo treydog Chicago’s all-time record of 72 wins will never come to an end no matter how hard any team tries to bring down those 72 wins, and I don’t care even if it’s the Bulls trying to tally off more than 72 wins,trying to break their own all-time record.Chicago’s 72 wins, the Braves’ 14 straight NL East titles, Joe Dmaggio’s hitting streak of 56 straight and Jason Elam’s 63-yard field goal, these all-time feats are 4ever/immortal that won’t ever come to an end no matter how hard they will be tried to destroy.

  39. TREYDOG July 11, 2010 at 4:14 am #

    I’d be very surprised if the Magic matches the Bulls offer of 20mil/3yrs for JJ Redick. If I were JJ, I would absolutely beg Otis Smith to not match for the chance to start and play significant minutes along side D. Rose and C. Boozer. JJ could become a modern day Jeff Hornacek when he averaged 15 pts a game playing alongside Stockton and Malone.

  40. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath July 11, 2010 at 7:32 am #

    Might be crazy, but I like the talk about Shaun Livingston. Perhaps, having a top-average shooter with range, like Korver, behind you on the bench should take some of the pressure off? In limited games and minutes last year he showed good touch from the floor and the free-throw line, rebounded and dished. It could be pretty exciting to have him alongside Rose – and could save a pretty penny, I imagine…..?

  41. bob.edwards47@yahoo.com'
    BoppinBob July 11, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

    Bull4ever, some people used to say the same thing about the Babe’s HR record. “I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’”, to quote a Chicago radio personality.

  42. DipenPatel@Chicagobreakingsports.com'
    BULL4EVER July 11, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    Babe Ruth was never at all synonymous to homeruns,boppinbob,the great HAMMERIN HANK has always been synonymous to homeruns and still is even today because barry bonds had to totally cheat by using PHDs/steroids to break his homerun record of 715 homers which was the most all-time homers by AARON.

  43. DipenPatel@Chicagobreakingsports.com'
    BULL4EVER July 11, 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    Chicago or Boston will bring down Miami,especially if it’s Chicago because they are totally younger than Boston and everything remains to be seen whether which team is more likely to upset Miami out of these two teams and how close will Chicago come to winning a 7th NBA title since Jordan and Pippen left the Windy City. GO BULLS BABY.

  44. bulls fan in ohio July 11, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    i love Boozer attitude on taking it to the gutless 3, i think the bulls have a serious shot at being a contender, i really hope they can land jj redick and have kover come off the bench that gives us to solid 3 point shooters, and with boozer demanding a double team that will allow those to shooters to light it up

  45. bob.edwards47@yahoo.com'
    BoppinBob July 12, 2010 at 1:43 am #

    Bull4ever, your age and lack of knowledge is showing. Hank Aaron hit 755 HRs in his career not 715. He broke Babe Ruths career record of 714 HRs in 1974. Hammerin’ Hank never came close to braking the single season record of 60 HR which was broken by Roger Maris with 61 in 1961. Ruth hit his 714 HR in 8,399 at bats, Hank hit his 755 HRs in 12,384 at bats. But be that as it may, the Bulls set the bar very high with 72 wins. But I’ve learned in my lifetime to never say never.

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