This is the first of a three part post grading the Chicago Bulls's offseason moves or lack thereof. General format of the grades will include the grade, followed by a brief background, reasoning for the grade, and potential impact it has for the future of the Chicago Bulls.
The Bulls preseason tipped off today which means that the NBA offseason has been completed, at least according to most basketball video games and myself. Since Chicago was bounce from last year's post-season so unceremoniously, quite a few roster and personnel moves were made by owner Jerry Reinsdorf and executives Gar Foreman and John Paxson. Some of the moves were brilliant while others were questionable at best. Let's take a look at some of these moves and grade how well they were executed and the potential impact this could have on the team this coming season.
Luol Deng Doesn't Opt For Surgery: C
After being eliminated from the Olympics, starting forward Luol Deng was expected to have surgery on his left wrist for the ligaments he tore early in the 2011-2012 season. He opted not to. The decision was fairly shocking and places some question marks on him going into the 2012-2013 season.
Reasoning for Grade:
This one isn't so much of a move as much as it is something that will simply impact the team this next season. Anyways, a "C" grade for Deng may be fairly surprising since it should probably be lower. By not opting for surgery, Deng may actually be hurting the Chicago Bulls this next year. We all saw his production and consistency take substantial drops last season after the injury. His points per game dipped from just under 20 to 15.3 ppg while his went from shooting a 44% to shooting 39% from the floor. He ended the season shooting 41%, a full 5 points below his career average of 46%.
The only reason I gave Deng an average grade is simply because I hope he does hurt the Bulls to the point that they miss out on the playoffs. Even if Derrick Rose comes back strong late in the season he will likely be limited. As such, I dont see Chicago moving past the second round of the playoffs making everything pointless. I want Chicago to end up with a lottery pick to hopefully add some talent to the squad. Also, there is still the possibility that Deng may end up getting the surgery later in the season.
I'm not entirely too confident in Deng's ability to play with the injured wrist. Looking at his most recent footage with the British Olympic team, his wrist does not seem to have fully healed. His consistency was still mediocre and his shooting was below his career averages. He also did not show much of any aggression that he has shown throughout his career. By that, I mean he almost never drove to the basket. It should be noted he didn't drive after sustaining the injury last season often times to protect his wrist. When he did drive, the ball was often knocked loose.
Given that he is the primary option on offense this season that doesn't make me too confident in his prospects to help the team. Overall, I believe Deng opting out of surgery will hurt the team on offense and defense. Whether this is a good or bad thing is up to you.
Amnesty Clause Not Used On Carlos Boozer: D
Starting power forward Carlos Boozer is currently owed $15 million this season. Going into the offseason, there was speculation that the amnesty clause may be used on Boozer due to his inability to provide the 20 points and 10 rebounds he was signed to a max contract for. Speculation was furthered with the Chicago Bulls set to enter the luxury tax for the first time in team history.
I personally wanted to see Boozer's contracts wiped from the book for four reason:
- While I do appreciate what he has brought to the table in some games, Boozer has been terribly inconsistent on offense. He was signed to a max contract to provide 20 points and 10 rebounds a game. He hasn't done so.
- His defense is atrocious. Enough said.
- His $15 million that he's owed this year could have gone towards keeping most of the bench mob around by keeping the Bulls out of the luxury tax (more on that in a later post).
- The money saved on Boozer could have gone towards Taj Gibson's extension (again, more on this in a later post).
The reason Boozer's grade is not a complete "F" for me is simply because I want to see how he performs needing to shoulder more of the load. If he can perform closer to 20-10, then keeping him is worth it. His grade also is not lower since I believe this is his absolute last season to try to prove himself to the front office.
It is hard to determine Boozer's future impact since it depends entirely on what player Chicago gets for the majority of the season. If he continues to only average around 15-8, Chicago could be looking at missing the playoffs provided no one fully replace Rose's 25+ points per game. Should the Bulls get the guy they signed, Chicago could end up as high as the five or six seed in the playoffs. But overall, hanging onto Boozer for one more year does not greatly alter the future of the Chicago Bulls.
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