The Summer of Gar: What the Bulls should do this summer
Look, I’m as diehard a Bulls fan as there is. I understand that it’s not technically over for us. But for all you unrealistic fans out there, here’s the harsh reality: we are absolutely not winning the championship this year. It’s just not our year. I’ve been watching basketball for as long as I can remember, so trust me when I tell you that you cannot win without a superstar. Over the last 30 years, only one team has won without a “superstar”, and that’s the 2004 Detroit Pistons, who still happened to have 3 all-star caliber players in Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Ben Wallace, and Tayshaun Prince thrown in as well. The Bulls don’t have that without Rose, and now they’re even more screwed without Noah.
To me, this means one thing: start thinking about next season. I’m already obsessing over the future. And that future doesn’t involve a certain someone. I’ll give you a hint: he’s getting paid $15 million a year and sucks. Here’s my genius plan for this summer:
1) Amnesty Carlos Boozer. If you read my previous post, I don’t have to explain to you why this is a necessary move to make. Throw in the fact that he has 3 years remaining on his contract, hasn’t improved a lick of his defense and has severely regressed on offense during his time as a Bull. Quite frankly, he’s awful. I can’t stand him. Get him out. Right now.
2) This is where it gets interesting. Sign Eric Gordon. Yeah, yeah, I know. Easier said than done. He’s a restricted free agent, and he’s injury prone. Doesn’t matter. The absolutely ideal player for the Bulls would be James Harden. He’s a great shooter, gets to the rim and has a knack for finishing. We have 0 players that can get to the rim outside of Derrick Rose. Hence why we looked so awful in games 2 and 3, and hence why Lucas and Watson continuously run out the shot clock or settle for bad jumpers. Unfortunately, James Harden is under contract with the Thunder and continues to be their glue-guy.
That’s where Gordon comes in. He is a very similar player to Harden, but a more athletic version. I watched this kid play during his freshman year at IU, and I’ve followed him since he got drafted in 2008. He’s the exact type of player we need. Before the Hornets decided to tank their season away and sit Gordon with a “knee bruise” for 57 out of 66 games, he had begun to turn into the player everyone hoped he would turn into – a future all-star. In his third season with the Clippers, he increased his scoring average by nearly 6 points (from 16.9 to 22.3) and was getting to the free throw line 6.2 times a game (while making 5.1, good for over 80%). Most importantly, he had become one of the most clutch players in the game (defined as 4th quarter or overtime, less than 5 minutes left, neither team ahead by more than 5 points). According to 82games.com, Gordon was ranked 12th overall in production per 48 minutes of crunch time. In clutch situations, he was averaging 38.4 ppg and shooting 55.6% from the field, 55.3% from three point range, and 93% from the line. Think about what I and everyone else has been saying about the Bulls the past week: no go-to-scorer, no one to attack the basket, no one to keep us afloat in the fourth quarter. Eric Gordon certainly fits the bill and then some.
As I said, he’s a RFA, and he’s up for a qualifying offer of $5.1M. That’s chump change once Boozer’s awful contract is off the books. If Gar Forman and John Paxson make a godfather-like offer to Gordon, are the Hornets really going to match it? If he was so injured all season long, why would they trust him to stay healthy and overpay him? I don’t care how much the Bulls offer him. Just get him to Chicago. His approach to the game will certainly change once he plays for a hardass coach like Tom Thibodeau, as opposed to a dumbass coach like Vinny del Awful. That may be all the push he needs to stay motivated and healthy. Gordon’s the real deal, and he’s exactly what the Bulls need. And screw his hometown Pacers. No one in that state cares about Pacer basketball whatsoever anyways. As a Bulls fan, I will certainly welcome him with open arms.
3) After amnestying Boozer’s sorry ass, the Bulls will need to make up for a lack of frontcourt depth. That’s when you sign one of 6 free agent power forwards: Brandon Bass (if he declines his player option with the Celtics); Carl Landry (although he’s extremely overpaid so may not be worth it to even make an offer); JJ Hickson (averaged 14-9 in his 2010-11 with Cleveland; averaged 15-8 with 54% FG in 19 games with Portland this season; would only cost roughly $3.5M); Jason Thompson (last resort and probably overpaid, but very capable of playing 25-28 minutes a night and putting up 13-8 with over 50% FG); Ersan Ilysasova (averaged 16-9 post all-star break this season with 55-51-80 splits; averaged 14-9 as a starter); and just so I can dream, Kris Humphries, who will demand a big contract after another huge season with the Nets by averaging 14-11. If the Bulls have to dump some salaries in order to make all of this happen, such as CJ Watson’s or Ronnie Brewer’s, I’ll live.