Living in limbo

Still no word on Vinny Del Negro’s future.

Still no real clue about which free agent(s) the Bulls will target this summer.

There’s always a certain amount of ambiguity surrounding a team after it is eliminated from the NBA playoffs. But the Bulls are one big question mark. The only players under contract for next season are Derrick Rose, James Johnson, Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng and Taj Gibson. Of course, there’s a sense that either Hinrich or Deng would be offered up readily in a sign-and-trade scenario. And Vinny has been one of the walking dead for months, although we won’t know for sure until this weekend or early next week.

What is the future of this team?

This season — and to an even greater extent these playoffs — proved that Rose and Noah provide a great foundation on which to build. Of course, the season and playoffs also proved the Bulls are another All-Star away from being something other than the scrappy team that sneaks into the playoffs and fights valiantly before their annual early exit.

We’re supposed to trust in management’s plan…even if we aren’t 100 percent certain what that plan is.

Jerry Reinsdorf is sitting on a big pile of cash. How will he spend it? I doubt LeBron James will come to Chicago. My two cent pscyhoanalysis is that LeBron wants to be bigger than Michael Jordan by the time his career is over, and that might be impossible if he comes to the Windy City, where he would be playing in Jordan’s shadow from the get go. If he leaves Cleveland, it’s most likely he’ll go to New York, right? James loves the Big Apple, and he would be the city’s greatest basketball player before suiting up for a single game.

Everything Dwyane Wade has been saying seems to indicate he’s not leaving Miami any time soon. Chris Bosh is still in play, and he would fill Chicago’s biggest need…a reliable frontcourt scorer. The biggest obstacle to Bosh will be the other teams throwing cash his way. Miami has more cap space available than the Bulls, and they have a former NBA Finals MVP, not to mention beautful weather 12 months a year.

I was critical of Joe Johnson’s performance in Game 5 of the Bucks-Hawks series, but to be honest, my reluctance toward Joe has more to do with the fact that he’s a volume shooter who’s numbers feel to reliant on big minutes and plenty of touches. I’m not sure he’s the ideal player to pair with Rose. I know, I know. The same could be said of D-Wade, but Wade is a superstar and Johnson.

No, I’m not excited about David Lee. I can’t shake the feeling that somebody is going to overpay for Lee this summer and that somebody will be very disappointed over the next four to five seasons.

Carlos Boozer? Word has it he wants to stay in Utah. Amar’e Stoudemire? It’s starting to look like the Phoenix Suns might break the bank to keep him.

Every possibility has a dark side. The folks in the front office have left the team and the fans dangling for the last season or two or three or four…and there’s no clear path to change. There are vague, blurry possibilities. We can only hope the Bulls don’t go the way of the Detroit Pistons — who spent over $90 million for Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva last summer — because that would be catastrophic.

As far as coaches go, my pick would be Jeff Van Gundy. I’m not sure that would be a poplular pick among most Bulls fans, but his teams always play tough defense and execute a disciplined (if unspectacular) offense. But as I said above, it’s not clear whether the Bulls will need a new coach. (That seems like a joke, right? I feel like management is dragging its feet on a decision that has already been made…but what do I know?

Man, I hate the offseason guessing game.

29 Responses to Living in limbo

    Enigmatik April 30, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

    This offseason is going to drive all of us Bulls fans insane.

    As weird as it would be, I wouldn’t mind having Jeff Van Gundy as the coach. He would immediately change the mindset of this team. Just to hear the way most of the players speak, excluding Noah, no one displays the type of anger that the greats get when they lose. It doesn’t appear to burn them up when they get eliminated from the post-season…or when they blow a 35 point lead at home…or lose a season series to the New Jersey Nets…Van Gundy would kick that crap out the window. Byron Scott wouldn’t be bad either, but he eventually wear out his welcome.

    If the team can’t land one of those top shelf players (LeBron, Wade, Bosh), then they may as well save their money. No sense repeating the Ben Wallace mistake. And if a sign and trade is to be done, I’d much rather Hinrich than Deng.

    Did I mention that this offseason is going to drive all of us Bulls fans insane?

    Brad S. April 30, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

    …I’m already insane: Bring on the endless speculation!!!

    bullsfandom April 30, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

    In many ways the Bulls of today resemble the Heat circa 2003, with Rose as Wade and Noah as Haslem (add to it the fact that the face of the franchise to that point (Mourning) just left the team, and they had a talented SF who despite having injury problems had a good year (Deng)).

    The following year, Shaq was traded for Odom and Caron Butler and the team became a contender. Most people remember this, including today’s Free Agent crop.

    Sure Miami still has Wade (and the weather), but who else do they have? The rest of that team is a joke, and is not exactly young either.

    New York and New Jersey can both sign two Max deals, but come on, like that will happen. We are worried about getting ONE guy, let alone two…and we have a good team already here. You go to either of those teams and you are playing with a bunch of scrubs.

    Somebody will come here, whether it is Lebron (I never bought your psycho analysis. You may still wind up being right, but your logic just feels off to me), Wade (who will want to leave once he realizes that nobody is going to be going to the Heat), Bosh (who I think was misquoted. Why would he want to leave one team going through a rebuild for another?) or one of the other big guns.

    As far as a coach goes, I don’t trust any man that would hire Jerry Krause, Tim Floyd, and avoid paying a quality coach so he could instead get an unproven assistant GM who has never coached before. (Best ‘mistake’ he has ever made IMO).

    richiexp April 30, 2010 at 3:42 pm #

    The only players under contract for next season are Derrick Rose, James Johnson, Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng and Taj Gibson.

    You mean…
    The only players under contract for next season are Derrick Rose, James Johnson, Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, and Joakim Noah.

    But everyone knows that..

    thirdsaint April 30, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

    What’s crazy is now Dirk is saying he’s not so sure about his future and there’s speculation he may leave Dallas thanks to their latest blunder. I’d gladly take him on this team but they still need another body down low with a post-game.

    Evan April 30, 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    Sources say that Del Negro will not be fired ‘for cause’ as indicated in the URL I put in the website text box.

    Brad S. April 30, 2010 at 8:13 pm #


    I read that today, too. I think he would be the PERFECT fit because he is a big, but could also stretch the floor with his 3 point shooting. It would be like getting a 2for1. Joakim cannot operate too far away from the basket. Let him rebound and defend and get his points in close. Dirk would play both inside and out. I seriously hope he tests the waters.

    thirdsaint April 30, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

    I do too Brad. Plus we have a younger PG that will only improve so he’ll get the same experience as he got with a young Nash and older Kidd at the very least. If he does test the waters I would think Chicago could be an interesting place for him. Moreso than, say, New York or New Jersey. The more free agents that are available the better chances we get one because they all can’t go to Miami, hah.

    George April 30, 2010 at 9:51 pm #

    What is the general opinion of Byron Scott as a head coach candidate for the Bulls?

    He’s coached young versions of Jason Kidd and Chris Paul. He’s taken New Jersey to several Finals with a small line-up. He’s coached NO to a high degree of sucess. I’d be thrilled to see someone who has sucessfully coached great pointguards coaching Rose and hopefully helping him get to the next level.

    I can’t help but think his progress so far has been inspite of VDN.

  10. bobbysimmons April 30, 2010 at 10:20 pm #

    We don’t want Dirk trust me, the only team Dirk can play for is the Mavs. The problem with having Dirk in your offense is that everything has to move through him. Can you imagine Dirk playing second fiddle to anyone? We need someone who can play with Rose, not someone who just wants to isolate and try to score while the rest of the team watches. The reason Dirk will never win an NBA title is that he’s not good enough to be the best player on a championship team and he’s not versatile enough to be the second option.

    luvabullnj May 1, 2010 at 1:19 am #


    I am starting a campaign to stop the Bulls from hiring Jeff Van Gundy as coach. I am a DIE-HARD Bulls fan living in New Jersey since the 90’s. So I have watched both JVG and Byron Scott in action as much as any Bulls coach. Saying Jeff Van Gundy’s teams “execute a disciplined offense” is like saying Tyrus Thomas has an unlimited upside and is a future all-star in the making. His teams have to play good defense because JVG has NO OFFENSE PERIOD. JVG’s brand of basketball is completely, utterly UN-WATCHABLE. If you’re going to campaign for a Van Gundy, let it be Stan. When (not if) Miami signs a max player in the summer, Pat Riely WILL take over as head coach and STAN maybe available to coach depending on his contractual conditions.


    Byron Scott on the other hand would be a great choice. He took the Nets to two NBA Finals with ONLY Jason Kidd, a rookie Richard Jefferson, a sophomore Kenyan Martin coming off a broken leg, Mr. softie Keith Van Horn and a pair of mediocre guards, Kittles and Harris, and not much else. There were doubts about Scott’s coaching abilities when he was fired in his fourth season but he more than proved his critics wrong with his success in New Orleans again with only one bonafide all-star. And the Nets never were able to replicate their success even with Vince Carter added to the mix.

    So if the Bulls do splurge on a proven coach, I hope it’s Byron Scott or ANYONE else over Jeff Van Gundy and that would include Vinny Del Negro, who I think did a fine job considering his inexperience.

    Free Agent Watch:

    Would Dallas trade Dirk for Kirk (and Deng)?

    Bosh will probably want to go to Miami but the Heat have nothing to offer in a sign and trade. Dallas on the other hand can trade Dirk for Bosh so I think they have a better shot at Bosh then anyone else.

    Nikhil May 1, 2010 at 2:04 am #

    Dirk and DRose running the pick and roll would be incredible to watch. Plus, playing with a PG like Rose would save Dirk a lot of wear and tear, and given his skill set (he’s hardly drives to the basket) I think he will age well.

    rocky May 1, 2010 at 3:57 am #

    Dirk is good but I’d rather have the younger Chris Bosh.

    Trade Luol Deng,Kirk Hinrich, Rights to Omer Asik for Chris Bosh

    Sign Lebron James Outright

    Sign Brendon Haywood

    Re-Sign Acie Law

    Draft Xavier Henry or Terrico White

    rocky May 1, 2010 at 3:59 am #

    I’d try to obtain another draft pick and draft 2 shooting guards: Xavier Henry and Terrico White.

    Tell me this wouldn’t mean championship:

    C-Joakim Noah-sub-Brendon Haywood
    PF-Chris Bosh-sub-Taj Gibson
    SF-Lebron James-sub-James Johnson
    SG-Xavier Henry-sub-Terrico White
    PG-Derrick Rose-sub-Acie Law

    joe May 1, 2010 at 4:50 am #

    JVG would be a disaster for this team. Rose walking the ball up the court?!? Please no.

    B. Scott, I think he wants LAL with Jackson possibly quitting if Lakers fail to win it all.

    Would Chicago fire VDN? I think they’d replace him,that is not fire him until they knew who would take over.

    Dj May 1, 2010 at 7:07 am #

    People like I said b4 the Bulls top priority should be to sign a big guy this summer like: Chris Bosh (which I highly doubt he will come here) or David Lee not a top SG 1st! They need another talented big guy that can help J. Noah scoring inside the painted area. That way the Bulls don’t have to take to many jump shots when they are shooting at a low percentage.

    After the Bulls sign a top PF big guy, then they should focuses on getting a taller SG that won’t cost them that much money, that can hit 3’s like: Anthony Morrow, Kelenna Azubuike, Kyle Korver or Rasual Butler to a 2-3 year contract.

    If the Bulls can manage to do a sign and trade deal to improve their team, I would trade L. Deng for Rudy Gay in a heart beat and if I have to give up James Johnson or my 2nd round draft pick I would do it. It’s not like I don’t like Deng, it’s just that he is not a good quick 3 point shooter that the Bulls need and he takes to many jump shots and he is an injury risk type of player.

    So here is my 2010-2011 13 player roster:
    PG: D. Rose
    SG: K. Hinrich or Anthony Morrow or Kyle Korver (hopefully)
    SF: Rudy Gay
    PF: David Lee (hopefully)
    C: J. Noah
    SG: K. Hinrich or Anthony Morrow or Kyle Korver (hopefully)
    PF: Taj Gibson
    SF: James Johnson (if he is not traded)
    C: Brad Miller or Omir Asik (if Brad Miller leaves)
    C: Chris Richard or Omir Asik (if Brad Miller stays)
    C: (Bulls 1st round draft pick hopefully)
    SF: (Bulls 2nd round draft pick, if they don’t trade him away)
    PG or SF: Acie Law or Joe Alexander
    SG: Derrick Byers (maybe)

    Then the Bulls are set to make a stronger run into the playoffs next season with that monster line-up!

    N people like I keep telling u a thousand times: Lebron James, D. Wade, Joe Johnson, Chris Bosh and other top super star WON’T COME TO CHICAGO n I also agree with most of you people to hirer Byron Scott over Jeff Van Gundy b-cuz helped improved good PG’s like: Jason Kid & CP3 to take their game to the next level by making their teammates better.

    Go BULLS!!!

    Trm3 May 1, 2010 at 8:52 am #

    Why wouldn’t those guys come here? Explain? Especially Bosh?? F David Lee! Not hard to be an All-Star in NY..Seriously, Aaron Gray could put up those numbers in NY. I don’t want David Lee, he’s not as good as ur boner is telling u, lol..What does he do that Noah doesn’t do or Taj?? I wasn’t impressed when we played his sorry butt.

    Bosh, Boozier, Amar’e would all be perfect next to Noah. Forget Lee and forget Dirk, he’s a softy and there’s a reason his teams don’t make it far. He’s soft! One finals appearance means nothing to me especailly when u blow it..why? Cause he’s soft! I don’t want a big man shooting 3’s and doing the same fakes over and over again.

    No Jeff Van Gundy either. I think we’d be so much better of team if we sped up the game. Scott would do that. But I don’t think we’ll hear anything about VDN until we find someone or have someone lined up to replace him.

    Those are my opinions..

  18. bullsfan76 May 1, 2010 at 6:23 pm #

    rocky you are an idiot go away

  19. bobbysimmons May 1, 2010 at 6:54 pm #

    There’s also word that Rudy Fernandez is disgruntled in Portland. I’d love to have him, Portland has to unload some of it’s talent, too many guys on the bench who can’t get enough PT. Problem is he makes like 1.5 million, so I don’t know what the Bulls could offer besides JJ + our first round draft pick this year or something like that. Also maybe we can pawn off Hinrich to them since they were interested in him a year back.

    Bam! May 1, 2010 at 7:13 pm #

    Evan: I think I found the website you were speaking of, and it is quite interesting. Is this it?

    Bob Koca May 1, 2010 at 9:22 pm #

    “Of course, the season and playoffs also proved the Bulls are another All-Star away from being that scrappy team that sneaks into the playoffs and fights valiantly before their annual early exit.”

    Bulls are doing that already. Did you mean to say “… away from going beyond being that scrappy team …”

  22. Chris May 2, 2010 at 5:24 am #

    You mean…
    The only players under contract for next season are Derrick Rose, James Johnson, Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, and Joakim Noah.

    But everyone knows that..
    actually, i’m pretty sure the article is right. rookie salaries are usually 3 yrs, and this is the end of noah’s 3rd. obviously, they’ll resign him, but i think he’s not under contract anymore.

    Adrian May 2, 2010 at 7:26 am #

    WTF Bulls are considering Dwyane Casey?

    BULL4EVER May 2, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

    Start getting low-post scoring help by signing a high-profile free agent,don’t just concentrate on getting rid of VDN,because bringing this Chicago team back to it’s greatness they once had in the 90’s is the organization’s No.1 focus instead of getting rid of VDN because he can leave after free-agent help arrives.GO BULLS

    Dj May 2, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

    Listen Trm3, (“Mr. Boner man” Face ass! lol) The reason why your buddies: Bosh, Loozer and Amar’e won’t come to Chicago is b-cuz they probably would rather stay with their teams and collect more money, with a bigger contract. (especially Boozer and Amar’e since their teams are playing really good right now.) Even if they don’t stay with their same teams: Bosh would rather go to Miami to play along side with his best friend Wade or he would rather do a sign and trade deal involving the Los Angeles Lakers PF: Pau Gasol to take his spot in Toronto. As for Amar’e and Boozer they would rather go to Miami and play along side D.Wade with a hall fame coach GM: Pat Riley and they are both risk injuries type of players that can miss half of the regular season. Tell me this Trm3, if you are the Bulls GM why would you take that risk.

    On the other hand, are you high or something??? David Lee is as good as Aaron Gray??? 1st of all Aaron Gray did not make the All Star team this year and he is not as quick as David Lee or a better Rounder and a better scorer. Plus David Lee won’t cost the Bulls that much money like your buddies: Bosh, Boozer and Amar’e want, which is around 16-18 million dollars for a 4-5 year contract. Don’t forget Trm3 the Bulls also need to resign J. Noah and D. Rose soon. Plus the Bulls also need to sign other decent 7-8 players to their roster this summer since they only have 5 players on contract right now: (D. Rose, Kirk Hinrich, Taj Gibson, James Johnson & L. Deng.)

    Next time you want to talk trash to me, do your NBA research 1st about the Bulls and other teams.

    felipe garcia May 2, 2010 at 7:17 pm #

    Nice burn DJ, I totally agree with you at 100% percent. The Bulls top priority should be to sign a PF over a SG and David Lee is the right fit for the Chicago Bulls. He is a good rebounder, passer, runs the floor well on offense and defense. He also shots at a high percentage by taking smart shots, he is a hard worker, he does not complain a lot to his coaches or teammates and he is a healthy player that does not miss a lot of regular games throughout his career.

    The Bulls 2nd priority should be to sign a decent tall SG that can hit 3’s like: Anthony Morrow, Kelenna Azubuike, Kyle Korver or Rasual Butler 2 a 2-3 year contract. (just like DJ mention already)

    Then the Bulls 3rd priority should be to try to do a sign and trade deal involving:
    1st: L. Deng & the Bulls 2nd round draft pick for Rudy Gay
    2nd: Kirk Hinrich and James Johnson for Monte Ellis
    3rd: Kirk Hinrich for Mickael Pietrus and Anthony Johnson

    Then with those moves the Bulls should have enough firer power to make a strong run into the playoffs to match up against the big boys in the East and West.

    Bulls Starting line up of 2010-2011:

    PG: D. Rose
    SG: Monte Ellis or Mickael Pietrus (or K. Hinrich if he is not traded)
    SF: R. Gay (or L. Deng if they don’t trade him away)
    PF: David Lee (hopefully)
    C: J. Noah (resign)


    SG: Monte Ellis (or Hinrich if he is not traded)
    PF: Taj Gibson
    SF: James Johnson (if he is not traded in a 2 man deal)
    SG: Anthony Morrow (hopefully to a 3 year contract)
    G-F: Mickael Pietrus & PG: Anthony Johnson (or Hinrich if he is not traded)
    C: Brad Miller or Omir Asik (if Miller does not signs a 1 year contract)
    PF-C: (Bulls 1st round draft pick “A Big Guy”)
    C: Chris Richard or Omir Asik (if Brad Miller stays)
    PG Acie Law (to a 1 year contract)
    SF: Joe Alexander or Derrick Byers (to a 1 year contract)
    SF: (Bulls 2nd round draft pick if they don’t trade him away)

    joe May 2, 2010 at 10:47 pm #

    Monta Ellis will dominate the ball. He’s not a good fit with his current ~11M/yr contract.

    There are decent big guards to be had at reasonable cost.

    I’d put FA money into a PF, not an undersized SG.

    The three GSW “big” guards are all undrafted, D-League signings gems. Bulls can get a good -backup bench guard cheaply.

    Trm3 May 3, 2010 at 9:17 am #

    Wasn’t much of a burn. My point about David Lee and Aaron Gray were..GRAY COULD PUT UP THOSE NUMBERS IN NEW YORK AS WELL AS LEE DID/ sarcasm..saying Lee isn’t as good as ur making him or his stats seem on a sorry team. As for all those other guys Bosh, Boozier, and Amar’e how EXACTLY do u know they don’t want to come to Chicago? U talk to them personally?? Aside from 2 of the 3 guys teams are playing good..How do u know?? Joe Johnson left a really good Phoenix team for a bad Atlanta team at the time?? So playing on a good team means nothing (I don’t know how I knew that cause I OBVIOUSLY know nothing about the NBA like u say).. And just because Bosh and Wade are friends doesn’t mean jack! Example: Drew Brees and LT are friends and LT signed with the Jets instead of New Orleans this offseason, why they’re friends?? Brees even talked to him about reuniting??

    Ur logic is flawed..I’m just saying u can’t possibly know what’s going to happen. Just because a team is winning now or because 2 guys are friends don’t hold much.

    As for staying with their current teams cause they could make more by signing a long term deal. Yes they can. But most players are smarter not to sign a long term deal unless they know they got the pieces to contend. Like Deron Williams said “if the Jazz don’t resign Boozier, there’s a reason I only signed a 3 year deal”. Most players want options to leave or threaten to, if they don’t see improvement, there’s a reason these guys are opting out. So long term deals I don’t see unless with there new team.

    Monte Ellis?? Really, the guy is a ball hog and did any of u watch any GS games?? Not a good fit on our team. U wanna get rid of guy who plays D for a guy that doesn’t know what defense is?? I’m all for trading Deng tho (terrible deal, our Bulls overrated him from the get go..wasn’t good at Duke and not spectacular now) I’d love to have Rudy gay instead of Deng.

    Don’t build up Riley as this great GM either..Riley was a HOF COACH not a GM, he hasn’t done crap except draft Wade. He’s like Danny Ainge, Boston wasn’t going anywhere with him at GM and was about to be fired until he signed Allen outta of his ass which lead to Garnett changing his mind and allowing a trade to Boston, that’s where Riley is at..

    Evan May 3, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    Hey Bam!

    I posted that link where it says “Comment by Evan“. I don’t think I made myself clear enough in my original post. Oh well, nothing a quick Google search couldn’t fix, right?

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