Bulls could add two perimeter players


Bulls could add two perimeter players

So, are you caught up in the speculation over which wing scorer the Bulls will be able to acquire for the upcoming season? Dont be surprised if they wind up making more than one move before the opener against the Lakers on Christmas Day.

As first reported on Hoopsworld, free agent guard Jamal Crawfords preference would be a second tour of duty with the Bulls through a sign and trade deal with Atlanta. According to the report, the Bulls would offer Ronnie Brewer and an unnamed second player (most likely Kyle Korver) to match a first year salary in the 8 to 9 million range for Crawford.

Now, why would Tom Thibodeau want a guy who my studio partner, Kendall Gill, calls the worst defensive player hes ever seen? Well, its pretty simple. Thibodeau has supreme confidence in his team defense concepts, and believes he can make anyone (including Crawford) a better defensive player. And, Jamal can provide instant offense as well as any shooting guard thats currently available.

Crawford was the Sixth Man of the Year for the 2009-2010 season when he averaged 18 points a game off the bench for the Hawks. Last season, his numbers dipped to 14.2 ppg on 42 shooting from the field, but as we saw in the playoff series against the Bulls, hes still got a lot of bounce in those legs, and can create a shot off the dribble, something the Bulls were sorely lacking outside of Derrick Rose in that playoff loss to Miami.

Adding Crawford would also allow Rose to play off the ball at times, and put his newly honed low-post skills to work. Lets face it, the Bulls asked Rose to do everything last season, and he responded by winning the MVP award. But all parties agree the Bulls would be more efficient, and Rose would have more energy in reserve for the playoffs, if he wasnt asked to carry the offense in each and every game.

Okay, so I mentioned the possibility of adding two new wing players. How is that possible? Well, if the Bulls match salaries in a trade for Crawford, they would still have their full mid-level exception to go after a solid veteran to back-up Luol Deng and also get minutes at the shooting guard spot. Maybe a veteran like Caron Butler, Josh Howard, Shane Battier, Tayshaun Prince or Grant Hill. All of those players would be great additions to the roster, more than making up for the loss of Brewer andor Korver in a trade for Crawford.

Right now, the Miami Heat are targeting Battier as their new sixth man, but maybe the Bulls could make a pitch to steal him away, citing better team chemistry with a no-nonsense, defense first coach. Hill is nearing the end of his career, but still is able to contribute on both ends of the floor. Butler or Howard would give the Bulls another scoring option, who could compete with Crawford for the starting spot opposite Rose. And, Prince would be an ideal defender for the Bulls system, who could even play some power forward at times, which would give the front office even more flexibility in considering future moves.

Rookie Denzel Valentine believes he'll play in Bulls' season opener

Rookie Denzel Valentine believes he'll play in Bulls' season opener

Showing no hesitation, Denzel Valentine stood some eight feet behind the 3-point line and launched a triple in Jimmy Butler’s face, then on the next possession, hit a corner triple that ended a contested 3-on-3 game following Bulls practice Wednesday.

He looks ready, sounds ready and most importantly, feels ready for the season opener Thursday night against the Boston Celtics after missing so much time with a right ankle sprain he suffered in the preseason opener well over two weeks ago.

“I think I’m going to suit up,” Valentine said. “Still have to talk to coach about it, but I think I’m going to suit up. I feel great.”

Assuming the Bulls play nine or 10 guys tomorrow night, Valentine should get some run against the Celtics considering how easily he adapts to the game—and the Bulls are in no position to discriminate if a guy can contribute, thus making Valentine’s recovery that much more important.

“It feels great right now. The staff, give them credit. They’ve done a great job of getting me back into great shape, getting my ankle stronger, so it feels great right now, and ready.”

It seemed the injury took longer than the initial prognosis, and even Valentine felt that, as the Bulls’ first-round draft pick was anxious to get back on the floor and learn the new system and teammates.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

“Yeah, that was my first ever actual ankle sprain. I’ve twisted my ankle a couple times in college, and I’m back in a couple days, practicing the next day,” he said. “But this one took a while. It was kind of frustrating because I thought it was going to be just like college, twist my ankle and be right back, but it was kind of an unfortunate accident. It took longer to heal. It actually took longer to heal than me actually being out there. It took time, but I’m ready now.”

Heck, he even has a new teammate in Michael Carter-Williams and that affects him being a primary ballhandler on the floor. Fred Hoiberg envisioned Valentine being able to play some point behind Rajon Rondo but with the recent trade, Valentine will likely play more on the wings behind Butler and Dwyane Wade.

It’s another change in the early stages of his career—one where he hasn’t been able to establish much continuity. Hopefully for Valentine, the worst of this is behind him.

“It’s very difficult, and being in Chicago, we’ve played all of our preseason games here, so there wasn’t no traveling like mid-season, so everybody is here pretty much every day practicing, and I’ve got to sit out at it,” Valentine said. “They kind of lose a little chemistry towards me, and the guys getting to play with me and me getting to know them on the court, so kind of lose a little bit of rhythm. But the good thing about me is I don’t need a whole lot of time with the team. I can kind of just sneak my way in and adapt.”

Bulls Talk Podcast: Looking ahead to opening night matchup against Celtics

Bulls Talk Podcast: Looking ahead to opening night matchup against Celtics

In our latest installment of the Bulls Talk Podcast, Mark Schanowski and Kendall Gill get you set for opening night against the Celtics. 

They debate realistic expectations for the team and break down the decision to start Taj Gibson at power forward. Later, Schanowski and Gill analyze the team's biggest concern, defense. 

Finally, CSN New England's Celtics Insider A. Sherrod Blakely joins the panel to discuss what Rajon Rondo has left in the tank. 

Check out the latest edition of the Bulls Talk Podcast below: