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Monday, June 13, 2011
Bulls building to beat the Heat

ESPNChicago.com

Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Forman said Monday that as his team looks to add pieces, one of the factors in the decision-making process will be how it affects the Bulls' chances of beating the Miami Heat.

The Heat won the last four games of the Eastern Conference finals to eliminate the Bulls in five, who had the best regular-season record with 62 wins. But the Heat fell short in the NBA Finals, losing in six games to the Dallas Mavericks.

"Obviously, [beating the Heat is] part of the equation," Forman said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "In my mind, our goal is to improve, continue to improve our team. And we feel we have some really solid pieces moving forward, and we're headed in the right direction. We want to get better.

"At the same time, you are looking at a team in Miami that won the Eastern Conference this year, so ... when we analyze where we're at and what we're trying to add, that's certainly part of the equation."

After losing out to the Heat on LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in free agency last year, the Bulls signed Carlos Boozer, who averaged 17.5 points in the regular season. But Boozer's production dipped in the postseason to 12.6 points.

If the Bulls are to get by Miami next season, an improved Boozer would seem to be a requirement.

"I thought Carlos had a very good year for us," Forman said. "When you look at the numbers during the season, he was 18 points, 10 rebounds, shot over 50 percent from the field. I thought he was a big part of the success we had winning 62 games and finishing with the best record in the league.

"Obviously he got slowed a little with the sprained ankle at the end of the season and lost some conditioning, and then the toe injury ... when you have ligament damage in your toe, it's going to affect you. It affects how you move and some of the pop that you have. I expect Carlos to come back healthy and ready to go. If you look at signings over the years, when there's big free agent signings, a lot of times the first year is a touch down and then guys come back the next year with a stronger year. That's been the trend, at least looking at it statistically. We were happy with the year Carlos gave us. He was a big part of what we did. And we would expect he's going to come back next year and help us to get better."