It’s no secret that the Bulls’ primary focus in free agency is Carmelo Anthony, but the organization has been casting a wide net since late Monday night Central time, when NBA teams were allowed to begin making phone calls to free agents.
In advance of their meeting with Anthony later Tuesday, the Bulls reportedly reached out to the likes of Lakers veteran big man long-rumored target Pau Gasol and the Rockets small forward Chandler Parsons, who is viewed by many observers as a Plan B for teams who don’t acquire Anthony or league MVP LeBron James, including Houston, who has the restricted free agent’s Bird rights.
A familiar name of interest to the Bulls is Cavaliers small forward Luol Deng, who is currently traveling in Europe, but whose representatives confirmed that his former team made contact with the two-time All-Star, who was traded to Cleveland in February. Although Anthony is a priority for the Bulls, the franchise is also doing its due diligence with its own free agents, such as point guards Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin.
Meanwhile, there’s uncertainty about the future of 2011 first-round draft pick Nikola Mirotic, the Spanish forward, about whom reports from Europe indicate that not only will he not be back with ACB League team Real Madrid after a disappointing end to the season, but won’t participate on Spain’s national team in the upcoming FIBA World Cup. While there’s been speculation that Mirotic will be in Chicago next season, there’s no guarantee, as he still has a significant buyout this summer (but none in 2015) and as indicated, the Bulls’ free-agent situation is still very fluid, meaning that the 23-year-old is on the back burner for the time being.
Also in limbo are veterans Carlos Boozer and Mike Dunleavy Jr., as the former Duke teammates are being made available via trade, according to multiple league sources. Dunleavy’s trade-friendly contract and skill set is appealing to several NBA teams, and would create further resources for a potential acquisition of Anthony, while trading Boozer would be a preferable option to the Bulls than using the amnesty clause on the much-maligned power forward.