- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
MIAMI -- For the second consecutive year, the Chicago Bulls head into the summer knowing that their team will look a lot different in October than it did at the end of the season.
The Bulls' core, led by a presumably healthy Derrick Rose, will be largely intact barring a major trade this summer. The same cannot be said about the bench. With that in mind, let's take a quick look at the Bulls roster and see who will likely be returning next year. And decide for yourself with our Take Him or Trash Him.
Derrick Rose: After sitting out the entire season as he recovers from a torn ACL, the 24-year-old superstar will have a lot of pressure on him to produce. As long as he is mentally ready to go, he should be fine. He's also the only untouchable on this roster.
Joakim Noah: The emotional big man enters into the third year of his $60 million contract. He played at an All-Star level this year but he knows he must find a way to get his foot problems in order.
Luol Deng: The veteran forward enters into the final year of his contract and is scheduled to make over $13 million. Tom Thibodeau loves him because of all the different things he's able to do on the floor, but if he doesn't want to sign an extension for a cheaper rate the Bulls would be wise to shop him around and see if they can get a younger, cheaper player in the process.
Carlos Boozer: He has two more years left on his deal, but he's still most likely to be amnestied next summer. The Bulls would love to move him but that seems very unlikely considering he still has over $30 million left on his contract. Boozer was solid for the Bulls this year but he is not the back-to-the-basket scorer they thought they were getting when they signed him in the summer of 2010.
Taj Gibson: His new four-year deal, which could be worth almost $40 million with incentives over the next few years, kicks in next season. He remains an integral part of the Bulls' bench.
Richard Hamilton: The veteran shooter knows the writing is on the wall and that he's not going to be back in Chicago. He made that pretty clear after Wednesday night's loss. He'll take his $1 million buyout and try to latch on with another team.
Nate Robinson: The little guard with the big heart also seems resigned to the fact he won't be back next year. He is going to be looking for a multi-year deal worth a lot more money than the Bulls will be willing to offer.
Kirk Hinrich: The veteran guard spent most of this season battling injuries, but he should be able to thrive more playing limited minutes behind Rose. He's got another year on his deal worth about $4 million.
Jimmy Butler: The reigning darling of Chicago sports, Butler proved he can be counted on to produce in big minutes. He's become an important part of the Bulls' future and a legitimate asset in any possible trade talks.
Marco Belinelli: After a slow start, Belinelli showed that he could score in different ways and hit several big shots for the Bulls in the final few months. The Bulls would like to have him back, but he figures to draw interest from several teams and will likely make more than the $1.9 million he made with the Bulls.
Marquis Teague: The rookie struggled to break into Thibodeau's rotation but showed flashes of solid play when he got the chance. Another year in the summer league and working under Thibodeau will do him good. He'll come into camp looking for time behind Rose and Hinrich.
Vladimir Radmanovic: To borrow a line from White Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson: "He gone." The veteran shooter rarely played and didn't make much of an impact.
Nazr Mohammed: The Bulls could decide to bring the veteran center back but the odds are slim. They'll probably look for someone younger and more productive.
Daequan Cook: Cook struggled to knock down open looks when given the chance. He'll likely be looking for a new team this summer.
So what should the Bulls do with all the new holes on their roster?
Once again they'll be looking for cheap, one-year deals to fill out the rest of the bench. A name that instantly comes to mind is that of Ronnie Brewer. The veteran swingman knows Thibodeau's system and gets along well with a lot of his former teammates. He would fit in nicely into the fabric of the Bulls' locker room and would provide depth at the two and three spots. He would also fit the price range the Bulls are looking for since he would probably sign at the veteran's minimum.
For a team that badly needs three-point shooting, Kyle Korver would also be a solid fit. He has always spoken highly of Thibodeau and his time in Chicago. If he'd be willing to take a pay cut from the $5 million that he made last season with the Atlanta Hawks, he would fill a role the Bulls struggled with all year without him.
Either way, with all the money locked into their veteran core, the Bulls know they'll have to find some cheaper options to fill up the bench. What better way to do that than with guys who are already familiar with Thibodeau and his demanding ways?
That's the difference between the Bulls and most other teams in the league. The organization can't just add any player and expect them to thrive under Thibodeau. They need players who can handle being barked at and who don't mind working hard. There's a certain type of player they have to recruit and Brewer and Korver would fit that bill again -- assuming the price is right.