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.