The big question: Will the Bulls upgrade at shooting guard?

Free agency will begin on December 9.

The Bulls kick off the season against the Lakers in L.A. on Christmas Day.

Now the Chicago faithful are left to wonder: What roster changes will be made between now and then?

The Bulls are set at point guard. Obviously. And center. They have one of the best non-All-Star small forwards in the league. Carlos Boozer was a bit of a disappointment last season — especially in the playoffs — but he puts up points, shoots at a high percentage, and is one of the best defensive rebounders in the league.

The bench is fantastic.

And Keith Bogans is the shooting guard.

It’s the problem that hasn’t gone away. That won’t go away. Because the Bulls can’t win an NBA title with Keith Bogans starting at the two spot any more than the Chicago Bears could win the Super Bowl starting Caleb Hanie at quarterback.

Something has to be done. Everybody knows that.

After the 2010-11 season, I listed a group of possible free agent SG pickups.

ESPNChicago’s Nick Friedell has done the same thing.

The same names keep popping up. Arron Afflalo. Jason Richardson. O.J. Mayo. Courtney Lee. Jamal Crawford. And of course veteran reclamation projects like Rip Hamilton, Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady.

There are significant problems with every player on this list. Either they don’t quite fit the team’s needs — an athletic two who can stick threes, create his own offense, defend at a high level — and/or the Bulls probably can’t acquire or afford them.

There isn’t a perfect answer out there.

If he decides to play at a discount rate for the chance to win a championship, I think Jason Richardson would be one of the most likely candidates. The front office also has two players in Taj Gibson and Omer Asik that could be used in a trade or trades…although management seems understandably reluctant to give up either player.

In the end, the Bulls probably don’t need an absolutely perfect fit. The Heat might have beaten then in five games in the Eastern Conference Finals, but the Bulls were right there in every game they lost. They just need someone who’s a little bit better, a little bit more of a scoring threat than Bogans.

Again, I think Richardson will be the one.

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