With Derrick Rose firmly supplanted as the catalyst for everything, the Bulls have a solid formula to defend but a less than solid formula for the Playoffs. And, with Chicago surprisingly in the top-half of the Eastern Conference playoff picture and Rose now traveling with the team and getting close to a return to the floor, the team may be looking to solidify itself and make a surprise push in the Playoffs.
Bulls general manager Gar Forman is stoking the fires some to find that offensive boost.
Chicago currently ranks 18th in the league in offensive rating, scoring 100.5 points per 100 possessions. However, even without Rose, the Bulls are third in the league in defensive rating, giving up 97.3 points per 100 possessions. The Bulls, again assuming Rose gets back to some form of health, could very well have the same problems they always have deep in the Playoffs.
So Chicago, knowing the Playoffs are coming, know the team has to find a shooter to spread the floor and help generate offense. That might be what is fueling the two latest rumors involving the Bulls.
First, reports came out attaching the Bulls to beleaguered Raptors forward Andrea Bargnani.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported Friday that the Bulls were in "exploratory" talks with the Raptors on a package centering around Andrea Bargnani and Carlos Boozer. Both teams would like to be clear of each player's salary as neither seems like a good fit at this point.
Boozer has taken the brunt of the blame for the Bulls' shortcomings despite fitting in well to the team's defensive schemes. There is no arguing with the results for Chicago the last few years on the defensive end of the floor. Of course, the thinking might be that Tom Thibodeau can fit anyone in to his system and make it work.
Bargnani is certainly not known for his defense. And this year he has not been known for much.
The former No.1 overall pick is averaging 15.8 points per game, but has played in only 23 games this season and is shooting just 30.6 percent from beyond the arc and 41.0 percent from the floor. Bargnani is not known for either his rebounding or his defense. So the concerns about him fitting in with the Bulls' defensive ethos is something they should consider.
The other rumor that popped up this weekend was courtesy of Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld reporting that the Bulls were trying to enter the J.J. Redick sweepstakes with Orlando:
Source says the Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls are among the teams pursuing Orlando Magic guard J.J. Redick.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February 10, 2013
Chicago originally signed Redick to an offer sheet three years ago, hoping he would be able to fill that shooter's role they need now. However, the Magic matched it at the time. With Orlando now trying to figure out what to do with Redick and whether he would resign with the team as a free agent this summer, Chicago appears to be interested again.
Redick is posting career-best numbers, averaging 15.3 points per game and 5.1 assists per game while shooting 39.9 percent from beyond the arc and 45.2 percent from the floor. He would be exactly the kind of player the Bulls would want to add to boost the offense and he is a solid team defender.
Whether either of these two deals go down is another question entirely.
What is clear at this point is that the Bulls are looking for a 3-point shooter who can help space the floor for when Rose comes back and boost the offense. That has long been missing the element in Chicago, and it seems the team feels now is the point to address it.
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