Chicago Bulls: J.J. Redick
The problem for the Bulls is that there isn't much interest in either veteran as the minutes to the deadline tick away. Boozer has a mammoth contract that the Bulls will likely amnesty in a year and a half, while Hamilton just turned 35 years old and has been playing on a minutes limit for most of the season because Tom Thibodeau is so concerned that Hamilton's body will break down again.
Knowing these factors, and knowing the Bulls are trying hard to hold onto financial "flexibility" in preparation for the 2014 summer, it seems unlikely that they are going to make a deal by Thursday's deadline.
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Like Mark McGwire, Tom Thibodeau isn’t here to talk about the past.
Orlando ultimately decided to match the offer sheet, delving even deeper into the luxury tax in the process. If you thought Thibodeau would get sentimental when he saw Redick for the first time on Saturday night though, think again.
"I just look at the guys that we have," Thibodeau said on Friday. "I don't like to look back."
Bulls point guard Derrick Rose felt the same.
"I'm not even thinking about that," Rose said. "At the time, I knew that we could have got him, but since we didn't I hurried up and got that out of my mind, and I'm just happy that we got Korver and all the other great shooters on the team."
Both answers are politically correct, and I'm sure that's exactly how they feel, but now that a few months have passed and the Bulls are now seeing Redick face to face the entire episode is worth revisiting: Should the Bulls have offered the Orlando sharpshooter even more money in the first year of the deal? Would it have even mattered, since it seemed after the fact that the Magic were going to match the deal no matter what the figure was?
Of course, no one knows what the answer to these questions are and it's far too early to suggest the Bulls made the right or wrong move when it comes to Redick.
If the Magic hadn't matched Redick's deal and he ended up with the Bulls, it's unlikely that the Bulls would have gone after both Ronnie Brewer and Keith Bogans. Brewer probably would have been the odd man out -- considering Bogans was a much cheaper option. Still, after seeing Thibodeau's offense in motion for the past three weeks, it's clear that Redick, like Korver, would have gotten plenty of open looks playing alongside Rose. Brewer has been hampered by a sore hamstring throughout training camp, so again, no one knows how he will fit into the offense's structure. Regardless of his health and no matter how well Brewer (a career 23 percent shooter from behind the arc) plays this season, he isn't going to give the Bulls the long-range threat that Redick (a career 39 percent shooter from behind the arc) would have provided.
The ironic part is that Bogans, not Brewer, has filled the role that Redick would have inherited up to this point in the preseason. He is hitting open 3-pointers and providing solid defense next to Rose. While Bogans is a better defender, Redick is a much better passer and a better all-around shooter. Brewer may still end up being the starting shooting guard on opening night, but it's Bogans who seems to have caught Thibodeau's eye.
It's easy to understand why Thibodeau and Rose don't want to focus on what might have been, but as you watch the Bulls play the Magic for the first time, it's hard not to wonder about what might have been if Redick had ended up in Chicago.
Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith said Friday that the team will retain Redick. The Magic matched a $19 million, three-year offer sheet that the Chicago Bulls made for Redick.
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Orlando GM Otis Smith and his staff have put too much time into molding Redick into the player they always wanted him to become. They did the same thing with Marcin Gortat when he signed a mega offer sheet with Dallas last summer.
The Devos family clearly isn't afraid to go deep into the luxury tax to keep its players, especially with the revenue streams that will come from a brand new downtown arena.
So where does all this Redick news leave the Bulls?
Well, this news esentially guarantees that Gar Forman is on the phone with Henry Thomas, trying to figure out just how much it would take to get his client Ronnie Brewer to come to Chicago.
Brewer would instantly fit in with the Bulls young core and would provide a little more athleticism from the two spot than Redick would have. He's also a little bigger and a better defender than Redick. The major difference is that Redick shot 40 percent from behind the arc last season while Brewer's percentage hovered around 20 percent from long range. Redick would have given the Bulls the second sharpshooter to play alongside Kyle Korver.
A Korver/Redick tandem would have worked extremely well alongside Derrick Rose, but now Forman must make an agressive play for Brewer and hope for the best. After getting spurned by Raja Bell, he has to find the right guy to start along Rose, and Brewer is probably the best option out there.
With the money left over Forman now has the ability to make a stronger play for other free agents such as Matt Barnes and Brad Miller if he so desires. Each would provide the Bulls with a veteran presence and toughness that would fit in well in the locker room.
The bottom line for Forman is that he must move fast in order to lock up the rest of his roster. If he waits too long, Brewer and most other quality free agents will be gone. If he acts swiftly and adds the right pieces, the fact that he lost out on Redick won't change the fact that the Bulls will still probably end up winning 50 games next year if the rest of their roster stays healthy.
"With pretty much every decision that we've made here as it relates to this basketball team, ownership is heavily involved. I think I've said all along that if we don't have the best owners in all of pro sports, I'd be hard-pressed to find one, because they've stepped to the plate every time I've asked them to step up to the plate," Magic general manager Otis Smith said. "I'm sure this decision won't come easy, but I think they'll step up to the plate if we ask them to do it now."
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It's still too early to tell, but it certainly can't hurt the Bulls' chances.
In the short term, the Richardson move probably means that at least one Orlando contributor won't be back next season. Here's one the Bulls should go after: Matt Barnes.
Barnes has played for seven teams during his seven-year career and is looking for a long-term deal after opting out of his contract after the season with the Magic. He has stated publicly in recent weeks that his first preference would be to return to Orlando, but it's hard to imagine Magic GM Otis Smith digging even deeper into the luxury tax to retain Barnes and Redick after signing Richardson.
Whether Smith matches Redick's offer sheet or not, the Bulls still have enough money available to make a strong push for Barnes right now. He would be a good complement to Luol Deng off the bench for several reasons. First of all, he's durable after missing only a handful of games over the past four seasons. With Deng's availability uncertain because of health concerns, Barnes would serve as a solid insurance piece.
He plays with a swagger and toughness that would fit well with the attitude the Bulls tried to develop throughout last season. He has the ability to make three-pointers if given enough space, which he should have plenty of by playing with Derrick Rose. Most of all, he is a hard-nosed defender who you could easily see becoming a favorite of new Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.
Barnes, 30, must realize that this may be his last chance to make some big money and sign a guaranteed contract for multiple years. If the Bulls offered Barnes a three-year deal worth $12-$15 million there's a good chance he would accept considering he hasn't even made $8 million throughout the course of his career, a pittance for an NBA veteran. The three-year deal would also allow the Bulls even more flexibility when superstars such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh could come off the books again in a few years.
If the Bulls landed Barnes and the Magic still decided not to match the offer sheet for Redick, Chicago suddenly would have one of the deepest rosters in the NBA, and they still would have a few million left to spend under the cap. Not bad for a summer's worth of work for Gar Forman and Co., even though they didn't land the splashy free agents in James, Wade and Bosh.