Looking at the Bulls' wing options
July, 14, 2010
By Nick Friedell
J.J. Redick is more than a shooter.
Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty ImagesJ.J. Redick has become more well rounded as a player
A few years ago that statement would have been blasphemous, but to the surprise of a lot of casual basketball fans, it's now the truth.
I've followed Redick's career closely since he came into the league, and I can tell you that he has improved considerably since his first year in Orlando. He's actually a solid defender now. It's true. Redick spent a lot of time in the gym bulking up and working on his foot speed -- and it paid off. That's why Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy continued to put him on the floor during crucial stretches last season, and that's one of the biggest reasons why the Bulls decided to sign him to a three-year offer sheet worth almost $20 million. He stays in front of people now, unlike the beginning of his career when opposing guards used to see him come into the game and salivate at all the scoring opportunities that were suddenly available.
After becoming an All-American at Duke, he couldn't find minutes under former Orlando head coach Brian Hill. Van Gundy didn't give him much time when he first took over, either. Redick requested a trade, but he clearly used the perceived slights as motivation.
To Redick's credit, he worked on his deficiencies and got better. That's why anyone who is bashing the Bulls for their offer and questioning Redick's qualifications right now is off base. Aside from the fact that he has improved considerably as a defender and shot 40 percent from beyond the arc last season, he's also a very underrated passer. He has solid court vision and would complement Derrick Rose in that regard very well. No, Redick isn't LeBron James or Dwyane Wade -- nobody is. But the Bulls could do a lot worse than adding the 26 year-old sharpshooter to play alongside Rose for the next three years. With Redick and Korver in the fold, alongside the 21 year-old All Star point guard, the Bulls will become a team that nobody wants to face on the perimeter.
Brewer next?: Now, if the Magic go deep into the luxury tax and match the Bulls offer sheet, Gar Forman's next call will probably be to Ronnie Brewer. Unlike Redick, the Memphis swingman is an unrestricted free agent and you can bet that he is watching how this particular deal unfolds. New Bull Kyle Korver even referenced Brewer, his former teammate in Utah, on Tuesday during his introductory news conference and said he had been speaking to him about the possibility of playing in Chicago.
Nikki Boertman/NBAE/Getty ImagesRonnie Brewer might be the Bulls' Plan B if Orlando matches for Redick.
Brewer is a year younger than Redick and has a bigger body and a little more athleticism. The biggest difference statistically though is that Redick has always been known as an accurate long distance shooter, 39 percent during his career. Brewer, on the other hand, is shooting just 23 percent from long range over his short career and attempted just 31 last season. The Bulls clearly have made 3-point shooting a priority this offseason and Redick fills that need much better than the Arkansas alum. Brewer would be a nice fit, but there is a reason he didn't get the original offer sheet from the Bulls.
Iguodala unlikely: I have gotten a lot of e-mails about Andre Iguodala over the past week and whether the Bulls may have interest in trading for him. I just don't see this happening. The only way a deal could go down is if Philadelphia took back Luol Deng's contract, and it doesn't seem like any team wants to touch that deal with a ten foot pole. Having said that, Iguodala's deal may be even worse. He has four years and about $55 million left on it if he picks up the player option during the final year. Iguodala is a better, more explosive player than Deng. He's also a lot more durable, rarely missing games due to injury, but do you think that he can be the second option on a championship team? I think the Bulls would be better served trying to flip Deng's deal in a couple years for a proven superstar if one becomes available down the line. Iguodala is a solid piece, but the Bulls already have plenty of those. They need the type of 25 points per game star that they missed out on during free agency and Iguodala, like Deng, hasn't proven that he can be that guy.