Bulls roster: Who’s in, who’s out at guard next season
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org May 18, 2013 5:20PM
Nate Robinson wants to stay with the Bulls, but he has said he’s tired of being a one-year-deal player, and his stock has never been higher. | Lynne Sladky~AP
Updated: May 20, 2013 10:23AM
Goodbye, Nate Robinson.
Arrivederci, Marco Belinelli.
Good luck, Rip Hamilton.
Hardly knew you, Daequan Cook.
‘‘We’ll see what the market calls for,’’ Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said repeatedly Thursday, one day after the Miami Heat sent the Bulls home for summer vacation by topping them 4-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
What the market calls for is some painful losses in the backcourt, with Robinson, Belinelli and Cook all free agents and the Bulls holding a $5 million option on Hamilton that they have no intention of picking up.
So who’s in and who’s out when it comes to the changing of the guards that’s about to occur this offseason? Unfortunately, the losses are going to hurt.
WHO’S COMING BACK
Rose’s torn anterior cruciate ligament and the aftermath have been a public relations nightmare for the 2011 NBA MVP. The soap opera dragged on way too long. But all will be forgiven once Rose steps on the court next preseason — bigger, stronger and maybe even better than remembered. He’s the face of the Bulls, like it or not, and any chance they have of overcoming
the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference starts and ends
With just over $4 million coming to him next season, Hinrich could be worth every penny as a key backup for Rose and for his ability to slide over and play some two-guard. Look for Thibodeau to take pressure off Rose at times by playing Hinrich at the point and leaving Rose to score in certain matchups.
The second-year guard/forward from Marquette has superstar potential. As a starter this season, Butler averaged 13.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game. In his second season with the Bulls, Scottie Pippen averaged 14.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Both came into the NBA as defensive specialists and both made huge strides offensively. Butler will start at the two next year and will be a blast to watch.
Teague played like a 19-year-old rookie in a system that was way over his head. All eyes will be on the point guard this summer, as he needs to take huge strides.
Robinson wants to stay, but he has said numerous times that he’s tired of being a one-year-deal player. His stock never has been higher. He showed he can be more than a 20-minute player off the bench. There are numerous teams with money and a need at point guard who would be willing to give Robinson a multiyear deal, and the Bulls aren’t one of them. Look for the Dallas Mavericks to be on Robinson’s radar.
Under Thibodeau, Belinelli showed he’s more than just a shooter. He can handle the ball and has a solid pick-and-roll game. Like Robinson, he has earned a multiyear deal elsewhere.
The veteran found his way out of the doghouse in the final two games against the Heat and showed something, but it’s obvious that he and Thibodeau can’t co-exist any longer. Hamilton can still play, just not for the Bulls.
Never added the outside threat the Bulls were hoping for.
WHO’S OUT THERE
Just as they were last offseason, the Bulls are limited in what they can add in free agency. Expect cheap acquisitions and players Thibodeau is familiar with.
Ronnie Brewer (right), Marquis Daniels.
Thibodeau already said outside shooting tops the priority list this offseason. The Bulls need to get deeper in the backcourt, so expect a serious look at the guard positions.
Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State; Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan (pictured); Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia.