Out of nowhere, it looked like the Chicago Bulls, riding on Tom Thibodeau and Derrick Rose, might become a title contender a little earlier than planned. Then the injury happened, and everything was delayed. Looking ahead at the 2014 summer, the Chicago Bulls are hoping they can get either LeBron James or Dwyane Wade, maybe even both, to create a title-caliber team once again.
To be honest, with a healthy rose and a few improvements to the bench, the Bulls should be title contenders next season as well. Rose is good to go right now, only he’s afraid of making it a futile comeback. No one really knows how good he’ll be as well. But it seems that unless something very weird happens in this postseason, which somehow dissolves the core the Miami Heat have right now, the East is theirs for the next couple of seasons. And the Bulls, like a lot of other teams will be waiting for an opportunity.
A few things happen in the summer of 2014: Luol Deng’s contract expires, which means about $14.3 million of cap space. Carlos Boozer’s contract can be lopped off the Bulls’ cap number either this July or next with the amnesty clause. Kirk Hinrich and Rip Hamilton become free agents, which leaves the Buls with this: Seven players locked for the 2014-2015 season. Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler, Marquis Teague and two more first round picks, not to mention the possiblity of getting Nikola Mirotic from Europe, hoping the Real Madrid star decided he’s had enough of Europe.
And then there’s the prospect of breaking up the Miami Heat. After the 2013-2014 season, both James and Wade can opt out of their contract. Chris Bosh can to, but the Bulls are more loaded, and will be then as well, at his position, not to mention Bosh isn’t as highly valued as he was in 2010 when he left the Toronto Raptors. While it’s likely the three would like to stay together, it also depends on how successful they’ll be up to this point. Two NBA titles? Three on their fingers? Maybe still the one from 2012?
The Bulls are hoping that money and maybe thinking of a new challenge finally becomes an issue, especially for James. Wade will be 32 by that time and despite being a Chicagoian, James is the real prize, for almost every other team in the NBA, with the Cavs (no chance) and the Houston Rockets strongly thinking about the possibility of adding the best basketball player in the world.
While Wade possibly isn’t as likely to opt out of his contract, because no one will give him the $42 million for two years at that point he would make by staying, James has every financial reason to opt out and maybe give another team an build another dynasty elsewhere. The maximum deal will be over $20 million at that point, and the Bulls, who will have around $46.3 million in cap space eaten up, leaving them plenty of money to go after the man they see, at the moment, as the thing that’s stopping them from becoming the number one team in the East and possibly the NBA.