Ever since the Cleveland Cavaliers were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs, the focus of Bulls fans has been whether LeBron James will head to Chicago.
The buzz is back because the Bulls are better positioned now to see their plans become reality.
With a nucleus of point guard Derrick Rose (the team’s first All-Star since the Jordan era), center Joakim Noah, small forward Luol Deng and power forward Taj Gibson, the Bulls have more quality talent in place than any other of the teams with significant cap room.
James, of course, is at the top of the Bulls’ wish list, but the Bulls have to be at the top of the wish list for any free agent looking to change teams.
‘’Chicago is a team worth checking out,’’ Toronto power forward Chris Bosh said Thursday on ESPN Radio. ‘’When you have a city like Chicago and you have young talent like Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah and a new coach like Tom Thibodeau, that’s something worth looking at.
‘’I know they’re all about winning. I know they have a winning tradition in Chicago and I know they’re trying to get back there.’’
KC Johnson in the Tribune mentions another possible acquisition:
Most teams are working under an assumption that the league will set its salary cap at $56.1 million. The Bulls, with just five players under contract, now trail only the Knicks in available cap space and lead the Nets and Heat, who possess roughly $27 million each.
The Knicks, with roughly $34 million of cap space, are the only team with the ability to offer two maximum contracts. But their roster is uniformly considered inferior to the Bulls’ core, which also features second-year forward Taj Gibson.
A league source said the Bulls have held internal discussions about bringing back free agent Chris Duhon as a third guard.
The Bulls do seem to be the front-runner for LeBron James’ services. Even if they sign only one of James/Bosh/(insert other free agent name here), they should become one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference when play begins in the fall. It’ll be an interesting time starting when the free-agent signing period commences on July 1.