There will be no mascot-and-cheerleader fueled welcome parties thrown at O'Hare, nor will the immediate and future success of the franchise be hanging precariously in the balance when the Chicago Bulls open free agency as the clock strikes midnight. The Bulls are over the salary cap and dangerously close to the luxury tax threshold that makes owner Jerry Reinsdorf's blood curdle. Which is to say: NBA free agency will be about as much fun for Bulls fans in 2012 as it usually is. Not fun at all.
The Bulls don't have delusional dreams of grandeur this time around, no savior ahead in the distance. Instead, they'll likely pay a pretty penny to retain backup center Omer Asik while hoping a guard of the Kirk Hinrich variety accepts a lesser offer to come to Chicago.
What's just as troublesome is that it appears we're on the verge of Chicago's biggest rival growing even stronger. Rumors have been flying around all day -- and for weeks, really -- that the Miami Heat are set to offer Ray Allen what is known as the mini-mid-level exception, which amounts to $3 million per season. He is free to accept it, if he so chooses, at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday.
Allen was "handing out resumes" as his Boston Celtics were walking off the court in defeat after Game 7 against the Heat according to ESPN's Bill Simmons. Though Allen earned $10 million last season, the allure of winning a title in Miami appears to be enough to pry him away from Boston. The Bulls are also said to have interest in the veteran sharpshooter, though the chances of Allen coming to Chicago appear minimal at best.
In another bit of NBA free agency news, Kevin Garnett is staying with the Boston Celtics for three more years. Will it be enough to keep his teammate Allen away from the real Evil Empire?
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