In the Tribune, KC Johnson runs down six teams that will be vying for LeBron James’ services starting Thursday. Perhaps most surprising on the list is the Nets; LeBron’s good, but they’re starting from a 12-win base. Here’s Johnson’s take on the Bulls’ chances:
James filed paperwork to switch his jersey number from 23 to 6 next season, which means he’s coming here for sure, right? More seriously, James grew up a fan of the Bulls and Michael Jordan — whose No. 23 is retired — has talked openly of his love for the city and has gushed about the team’s young core after both regular-season and playoff games. He even complimented rookie Taj Gibson.
With a 21-year-old All-Star guard in Derrick Rose and a no-nonsense winner in Joakim Noah, the Bulls are coming off back-to-back playoff appearances. Barring another trade, the Bulls also have roughly $14 million to offer another significant free agent.
Historically, the Bulls haven’t fared well in free agency, although a surreptitious trip to Newport Beach, Calif., in July 2004 by Paxson and team Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf impressed Kobe Bryant.