The Chicago Bulls' season went up in smoke when Derrick Rose collapsed to the ground at the end of Game One, the very first playoff of the entire season, with a torn ACL. Chicago was game, but hardly the top seed in the East without its spark plug in Rose. No one could carry the offensive load and the 76ers advanced.
ACLs are not the devastating injuries they used to be, but it still takes a while for players to recover, rehabilitate and return to full form.
While Derrick Rose may be progressing in his recovery and rehabilitation nicely, there are still rumors and reports circulating that Rose could miss the entire 2013 season, if not just a huge chunk of it. Rose already had a tough time staying healthy in 2012, playing in only 39 of the team's 66 regular season games (this after missing only six games total in his three previous years).
While the Bulls still have a talented roster, especially on the defensive end, nobody expects them to be able to weather a full season without Rose. Certainly, no one expects them to be able to compete for a championship.
But the Bulls do. Chicago has put a lot of time, effort and money to put this team together and the window for a championship does not stay open very long.
Even without Rose, it seems Chicago wants to make a splashy move to shore up the point guard spot and and compete for a championship again.
With the potential for Rose to be out until after the All-Star Break and Luol Deng likely out for the beginning of the season with a wrist surgery he is delaying until after the Olympics in his adoptive home country of England, Chicago is thinking big as far as replacements to stay in the championship hunt.
How big? Try Steve Nash, Jason Kidd or Andre Miller, according to several reports including one from Aggrey Sam of CSN Chicago.
Chicago's deep bench is going to take a hit this offseason thanks to the salary cap and so Chicago seems to be going after the big fish to feed these replacements and keep the championship dream alive. The Bulls, according to Sam, seem to be hoping that the bait of a championship will reel one of these fish in.
The Bulls roster has a lot of holes to fill and those holes only get bigger with Rose out of the lineup. Rose makes that team go as its only individual shot creator and someone defenses have to be wary of at all times when he has the ball. Plus he is a good defender and the Bulls team defense can be absolutely suffocating. Adding too many new pieces may take that chemistry away.
But Chicago has to do something. A player for the veteran's minimum typically will not make the impact that Chicago will need from that position, especially with so many key players out -- not to mention Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer's nearly annual month on the shelf during the season.
Nash, Kidd and Miller would be good options. All three can still produce and they are veterans and should lend some experience to the roster. More importantly, they know their roles and would likely be pretty accepting of a bench role when Rose is ready. In that case too, they would be able to carry the starting load of minutes while Rose works himself into game shape.
Especially for Nash and Kidd, they also might come cheap or, if not cheap, on short contracts. Nash is probably looking for a three-year deal to finish out his career while Kidd may have one or two more years left in him. Those are not awful deals to hand out for players of their caliber.
The Bulls might be staring down a lost season if they do not strike it rich. That is unfortunate for a team that has really done a nice job building and working their way up the ladder. Injuries are a cruel part of the game, and they appear to be sending this proud franchise into something of a panic mode.
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