LAS VEGAS — With the numbers starting to trickle in and only final decisions to make, it appears that the highly-anticipated Bulls offseason is starting to reach a conclusion.
The signings of Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic haven’t been officially announced yet, but the veteran big man is reportedly closing in on a three-year, $22-million agreement — with a player option on the third season — and the 2011 draft pick’s deal will be for three years and $17 million, both according to Yahoo! Sports, while veteran floor general Kirk Hinrich returned to the Bulls for a price of two years and $5.6 million, as stated by multiple reports.
Meanwhile, after trading big man Greg Smith’s nearly $1-million salary to Dallas for cap space, it’s expected that the Bulls also attempt to offload Anthony Randolph — the journeyman forward was acquired in the draft-day trade for first-round pick Doug McDermott — and of course, the team has until Wednesday to exercise the amnesty provision on power forward Carlos Boozer.
Between Derrick Rose and Hinrich manning the point-guard position, returning starter Jimmy Butler and second-year swingman Tony Snell providing size at shooting guard, veteran sharpshooter Mike Dunleavy Jr. and McDermott at small forward and a deep big-man rotation of Gasol, All-Star center Joakim Noah, Sixth Man of the Year runner-up Taj Gibson, Mirotic and second-round draft pick Cameron Bairstow, the Bulls will have 11 players on the roster entering training camp, assuming no moves other than the expected are made. It’s likely the team acquires additional backcourt help and perhaps another true center as free agency wraps up.
Rose, Noah, Butler, Gasol and Dunleavy can be penciled in as starters, with Gibson and Hinrich considered almost pseudo-starters, while Snell, Mirotic and McDermott will get opportunities off the bench. Depending on the talent, fit and experience level of whomever the organization acquires before training camp, it’s probable that those players could also receive spot minutes.
But barring the unexpected, the aforementioned players are probably your 2014-15 Chicago Bulls, giving the team a big, deep, more offensively-potent look, though aside from Rose, shot creation might be somewhat of an issue and managing the minutes of the post players could be a difficult, if not completely unpleasant, challenge.