How many Bulls rumors have you heard this week? Dozens? Hundreds? It's reaching the point where Jimmy Butler can't sneeze without three bloggers claiming he's about to be traded to the Knicks - and for fans, it's frustrating to have to sort through so much crap to separate the fact from the fiction.
We're here to make that easier - we'll break down all the major Bulls rumors floating around the internet, analyze whether there's anything to them, and let you know whether there's any fire behind all this smoke.
The Bulls definitely want Kevin Love...but the real question is how much they're willing to give up for him. They've made two offers so far: one that included Carlos Boozer (and his giant expiring contract), either Jimmy Butler or Taj Gibson and picks, and another that includes Gibson, Tony Snell and picks.
The interest is there, but these offers just might not be enough. Golden State was close to the finish line and almost had a deal done, but internal disagreements over the inclusion of Klay Thompson killed the move. Nothing the Bulls have offered comes close to the reported Golden State offer (Thompson, David Lee, a 2015 first-rounder), and it remains unlikely that Chicago will up their offer or make a deal that would see them take on more money...especially when they need as much free cash as they can to make a run at Carmelo. Unless something drastic changes or Carmelo signs a deal elsewhere, the Bulls won't be a serious contender for Love.
With Love out of the picture, the Bulls are fully focused on Carmelo Anthony. Anthony has officially opted out of his contract in New York, and now all he has to do is wait for the offers to start rolling in when NBA Free Agency opens on July 1st.
That's fine with Chicago, right? After all, the Bulls are reportedly his top choice, and he's already admitted that he'd sign for less than a max contract to get a better shot at a ring.
Although some columnists - like the Chicago Tribune's Steve Rosenbloom - worry that Melo could be using the Bulls to improve his leverage elsewhere, we'd still be shocked if he ends up anywhere else.
First things first - Carmelo isn't going back to the Knicks. Sources close to Anthony have made it clear from the get-go that he wants to play the field, and what the Knicks can offer (a few more years of rebuilding, then maybe a title run when he's too old to be the top dog) just isn't gonna cut it. Unless they somehow sign two other stars, that rules the Celtics out of contention as well. Houston, Dallas and Los Angeles (both the Lakers and Clips) are all monitoring the situation, but none have been as active in their pursuit of Melo as the Bulls. The Heat were never serious about pursuing Anthony, and those rumors were pure speculation with no basis in reality.
It's no secret that Eastern-Conference teams have a serious advantage in pursuing free agents because of the much-easier path to the NBA Finals, and when all the cards are on the table, the Bulls still have the best shot. If Anthony wants a situation where he can win right away over anything else (which is what he maintains both publicly and privately), Chicago is his best option. Plenty of things can still change, but Carmelo to Chicago is looking more likely by the day.
The Bulls have considered a number of trades that would help them move up in the NBA Draft, and their main priority is still adding offensive firepower. Chicago is approaching the draft under the assumption that they won't add a major free agent (better safe than sorry), and they've identified three players who can help with that - Michigan's Nik Stauskas, Michigan State's Gary Harris and Creighton's Doug McDermott.
As things stand, McDermott is the favorite, and the Bulls are engaged in talks that would send the #16 and #19 picks to Sacramento in exchange for the #8 selection...which they'd then use on Dougie McBuckets.
Tom Thibodeau's Future
Thibodeau was mentioned as a serious contender for a number of coaching jobs, with ESPN trying to make it seem like a departure was imminent.
As is fairly typical with ESPN these days, those rumors were just writers trying to find something to talk about during a slow news cycle. We've had several discussions over the past few months with people in and around Chicago's front office...Thibodeau leaving (especially in a trade) was never a serious possibility. If a team had made a formal approach, that might have changed...but only Golden State and the Lakers sounded them out, and both quickly lost interest when the Bulls made it clear that Thibodeau would be sticking around.
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