Who should join near-lock Rose on 2012 Olympic team?

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Who should join near-lock Rose on 2012 Olympic team?

Just as news that Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer won't make the cut of finalists for the 2012 USA Olympic men's basketball team -- along with fellow 2008 participants Michael Redd of the Suns, Pistons small forward Tayshaun Prince and future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd -- wasn't a shocker, it's no surprise that Derrick Rose did make the list.
Barring injury, the Bulls point guard and reigning league MVP is almost a lock to make the squad, but who else will join him?

Pencil in the likes of the back-to-back NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant of the Thunder, current Magic center Dwight Howard, Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony and the Heat duo of LeBron James and Chicago native Dwyane Wade.

The other half of the dozen-man roster is where it gets tricky, but if it's up to me -- based on their skill sets and the 19-man player pool, first reported by Chris Sheridan -- I'd go with Clippers floor general Chris Paul, his young teammate Blake Griffin, NBA rebounding champ Kevin Love of the Timberwolves, Hornets sharpshooter Eric Gordon and 76ers swingman Andre Iguodala.

The final two picks might seem like head-scratchers -- leaving off point guards Chauncey Billups, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams, forwards LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh and Lamar Odom, and center Tyson Chandler -- but if the goal is to win a gold medal, then role players and specialists like Gordon (shooting) and Iguodala (defense) are necessary, though it's hard to leave off veterans like Odom, Billups and Chandler, let alone young talents such as Westbrook and Aldridge.

However, evaluating the snubs on how they play for their NBA teams and present production -- Odom has started the season miserably after being traded to Dallas, Billups isn't getting any younger, Aldridge won't get the same touches he sees in Portland and the abilities of Westbrook, Chandler and Williams are relatively duplicated, if not surpassed, by Rose, Howard and Paul, respectively (Gordon is currently hurt and Iguodala has struggled, but they'd be specialists) -- it doesn't appear they'd make it a more complete team, though the value of chemistry can't be underestimated, helping the cases of 2010 World Championships veterans Odom, Chandler and Billups.

The final roster won't be set until after the NBA season concludes, so there's plenty of time for debate.

Who would be on your roster and what players should have been included in the group of finalists?

How Bulls could land a max free agent and re-sign E’Twaun Moore

How Bulls could land a max free agent and re-sign E’Twaun Moore

Quick note here because we are all eager to get back to our twitter feeds and wild speculation. Even though the Bulls will only have approximately $24 million in cap space, there is one situation in which they can sign a Tier 1 max player AND re-sign E’twaun Moore.

This all hinges on the deal (and discount) that Moore would give the Bulls. The Bulls have Early-Bird rights with Moore; that means they can potentially sign him to a deal and not eat into their cap space. There are a lot of rules into how this works and I won’t bore you with details, but the bottom line is that the Bulls can offer a 3-year deal for approx. $21 million or a 4-year deal for appox $28 million. If Moore accepts this contract, the Bulls just to have account for his ‘cap hold’ of $980,431 in free agency until the actual deal is signed. 

This potential deal would leave the Bulls approximately $23 million to spend, well above the $22.2 million it would take to land a Tier 1 (0-6 year NBA player) in free agency. This includes restricted free agent Harrison Barnes. Again, this only works if Moore doesn’t want to test free agency, or doesn’t receive a better offer in free agency. If Moore wants more money, the Bulls have to use their cap space to sign him to a larger deal.

One important key to any restricted free agent like Barnes, the Warriors will have 3 days to match any offer sheet that Barnes signs. Barnes can’t sign an offer sheet until July 7th, so the Warriors effectively will have until at least July 10th to make that decision. This prevents any team like the Bulls ‘swooping’ in and landing Barnes while Kevin Durant conducts his meetings in the Hamptons.

Reports: Joakim Noah likely to join Derrick Rose, sign with Knicks

Reports: Joakim Noah likely to join Derrick Rose, sign with Knicks

Multiple reports indicated that former Bulls center Joakim Noah will join Derrick Rose and sign with the New York Knicks.

Both the Washington Post and ESPN report that Noah is very likely to sign in New York, his hometown. ESPN's Marc Stein went so far as to say that other teams have already accepted that Noah is all but a done deal to sign with the Knicks.

And according to Tim Bontemps from the Washington Post, Noah's deal with the Knicks will have "a starting salary somewhere in the $18 million per year range," a large but not insane number considering the league's salary cap explosion this summer.

The Vertical's Shams Charania added that Noah will meet with Phil Jackson and the Knicks when free agency begins Friday night.

Noah would fill a void at center left by the Knicks' trade for Rose, which shipped center Robin Lopez back to Chicago. Noah averaged 4.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 29 games last season before season-ending shoulder surgery in January. Noah spent the first nine seasons of his NBA career with the Bulls and was named Defensive Player of the Year just three short years ago.

But he fell out of grace with Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg, who opted to bring Noah off the bench for the first time in his career. It was largely assumed that both Noah and Pau Gasol would not return to a Bulls team that missed the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.

Teams can start negotiating with free agents on July 1, and can sign free agents beginning July 6.

Denzel Valentine: Bulls' versatility will 'make us so dangerous'

Denzel Valentine: Bulls' versatility will 'make us so dangerous'

The Bulls are undergoing a "retooling" in their backcourt after dealing Derrick Rose to the Knicks, drafting Denzel Valentine and attempting to re-sign E'Twaun Moore in free agency.

That, combined with Jimmy Butler, the addition of Jerian Grant and an already versatile frontcourt will give Fred Hoiberg plenty of options that Valentine believes will make the Bulls "dangerous" in 2016-17.

"I think that's going to make us so dangerous this year, is we are versatile with our guards," He said on Wednesday night's White Sox broadcast. "And in those three positions I feel like we're going to be able to guard and do a lot of things offensively and throw a lot at you when we're coming down on offense. And the defensive end, too.

"I think we're going to have a really good team this year with all that we have, and I'm glad to be part of the building year, or whatever you want to call it."

On paper the Bulls will have more versatility than a year ago. Valentine is capable of playing either wing position and can handle the ball, though he doesn't project as a point guard. Butler can play and defend four positions, and Grant is capable of playing either guard spot. Bringing back E'Twaun Moore would benefit that versatility greatly, as he's capable of playing on or off the ball.

In the frontcourt, the Bulls will need to replace Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah, neither of whom provided much versatility. Robin Lopez is entrenched at center, which will give the Bulls' stretch forwards Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis more room to roam the perimeter.

Wherever Valentine plays, and however Hoiberg uses him in Year 1, the Michigan State rookie said he's ready to do what's asked of him from a franchise known for winning.

"My job is to just come in, do what I can do best and just work on my game and try to lead as best as I can," he said on SportsTalk Live (in the video above). "I'm not coming in to step on anybody's toes but I'm going to do what I can to lead and be a good teammate and try to win some games."