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A Quick Look Forward

March 19, 2011

As usual, I logged into ESPN on Friday and since Thursday was a quiet NBA night, most of the analysis today was about “things to watch during march madness” and players who will become available over the next year and a half.  I scrolled down to the Bulls (you can see the full list here) and was happy to see this:

Available Bulls for 2011 and 2012 (source: espn.com)

As some readers may know, the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expires this summer and there’s been talk about a potential lockout.  All sorts of changes to the CBA have been bandied about, including the implementation of a hard salary cap and introduction of a the “franchise player” tag.  I’m definitely not an expert on the NBA’s salary cap (see Larry Coon’s excellent summary for the full lowdown) but from my naked eye, the above image makes me happy for a few reasons:

  • We will likely go into next year with our core intact – all the major pieces are under contract (d.rose, luol, boozer, joakim) and with omer picking up steam, if we’re not able to hold onto Kurt Thomas, we’ll be ok even if one of the major pieces goes down with injury.  And let’s be real, Kurt Thomas is going to run out of the fountain of youth elixir at some point.  I’m not even going to address Scal’s contract situation – somehow the United Center crowd will have to survive without the red-headed human victory cigar to cheer for.
  • We only have one mega-contract to worry about next season – d.rose will get the max under the new CBA rules.  Period.  For the first time in a long time, I’m not concerned about the Bulls’ management – I think they know that Derrick wants to be in Chicago and they will take care of him.  Omer will definitely get a pay raise but I think we’ll find a way to make it work.
  • Keith Bogans is an unrestricted free agent – expiring contract plus draft picks could finally yield an upgrade at the 2.  Somebody who could’ve made one of the bajillion open 3s last night would be nice.

If you look at the other contending teams, particularly in the East, it’s clear that some major decisions will have to be made.  Either there are ticking timebombs (cough cough early termination option for dwight howard cough cough) or aging players (see Celtics) or half of the roster needs to be replaced because everyone is on super-short contracts (see Miami).  The implementation of a hard cap would certainly hurt teams like the Heat the most, simply because the success of their Big 3 strategy was predicated on their ability to add quality help through tools like the mid-level exception and not the draft which is a hit-or-miss prospect that would delay the win-now goals.

All this is to say…these Bulls that I love so dearly will be around for a few more years.  But, enough of this, let’s get back to the current season – I’m ready for the playoffs already!

-Jocelyn

 

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