BY ERIC SCHROEDER
While perhaps not as awful as the Bucks, sorry my Wisconsin friends, the Bulls season came to a pitiful close in their game five loss to the Wizards on their home court. Despite a rather incredible season following the loss of Derrick Rose to another knee injury, the Bulls will have a lot of work to do this off-season. If they want to have any hopes of competing for a title, some major roster moves will need to be made. While the Eastern Conference itself may not be very deep, the West is continuing to become better. Up and coming teams such as Portland or Golden State along with what could be considered perennial powers in Oklahoma City and the Clippers, make things difficult. While San Antonio and Dallas have been powers, their age will become a factor as some players begin to retire.
If the Bulls want a taste of true success, the first thing they need to do is cut Carlos Boozer. Boozer can be a great player, but the key words there are “can be.” His offense is hot and cold most nights. As for his defense, it is essentially non-existent. Taj Gibson has solidified himself as a solid all around player. He is not afraid to work down low and bang with other bigs. His rise and dedication to defense is what makes Boozer such a liability. In fact, coach Tom Thibodeau has made habit of sitting Boozer down the stretch of big games and playing Gibson instead.
Now one major thing this summer is free agency and for some reason, both fans and players want Carmelo Anthony to come to the Chicago Bulls. This is probably the biggest mistake the team could make. You just cut a defensive liability only to sign another one who most likely will cost even more money. His offensive skills are undeniably better than Boozer, but he is the most selfish player in the game, averaging only three assists per game. LeBron averages about seven, Durant has about six and even the Bulls own center Joakim Noah averaged five a game for their career average. To sign Carmelo is to doom the Bulls over the next few years.
The direction the Bulls do need to go is in locking up Jimmy Butler and DJ Augustin. Jimmy is one of the most athletic players the Bulls have had in years and DJ is solid depth at the point guard position. One move that would not surprise me is if the Bulls were to sign back Luol Deng in free agency. He was a fan favorite and Joakim Noah was quoted as considering him a brother. If not Deng, I think the Bulls should pursue Rudy Gay. He has a player option to stay in Sacramento, but who exactly wants to stay in Sacramento? Gay is an athletic and talented small forward who has the potential to be an explosive scorer. Coupled with Butler that could be a very dangerous combination.
Finally benefiting from the Tyrus Thomas trade, the Bulls have two mid-first round picks in an incredibly deep draft. With these picks, they need to address depth at the point guard and power forward positions. Now, everyone is waiting for what the Bulls should do with Rose. Keep him. Regardless of if he lost some explosiveness he still has incredible fundamentals. Having Rose as a passing and facilitating point guard will be extremely beneficial to the team as a whole. Fill in those other positions with the draft and the Bulls should have a solid team for the future. This team may have had an early exit from the playoffs, though with the way the Wizards are playing it may not be as bad as first thought. Either way, this team is loaded and set to have an incredible season next year.