The Chicago Bulls came out as the winners (???) of the Dwyane Wade free agency twists and turns, signing the Chicago native on a two-year deal, adding him to Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler, in what could completely transform the outlook for their season, or result in more changes and who knows, maybe a disaster on the court.
Wade signed a two-year, $47 million deal with the Bulls. He turned down the two-year, $40 million offer from the Heat, surprising everyone by actually leaving Miami, but as it turns out, the recent tear between the two sides was too difficult to mend. The Nuggets offered Wade $52 million over two years, and the Bucks were back in the picture too, but they couldn’t meet his asking price. It seems the Nuggets were used to help leverage a bigger deal, but Wade was willing to give the Bulls a hometown discount, once they realized the deals they can make in order to add Wade to the team.
So what deals did they make? Jose Calderon, acquired in the Derrick Rose trade from the New York Knicks, joined the Los Angeles Lakers, along with two future second round picks, without which the Bulls wouldn’t be able to move the almost $8 million per season deal on Calderon’s slate. Then they moved Mike Dunleavy to the Cleveland Cavaliers, opening almost $5 million more in cap space to open up the final room needed to sign Wade.
Rumors have been emerging of the Bulls now looking to trade Jimmy Butler, but take those with a grain of salt. Chicago are probably in for the ride with Butler, at least for this season. It’s not his team yet, with two dominant personalities like Wade and Rondo, especially with Wade coming back to his hometown. The Bulls sent out a Chicago-born player with knee problems due to his salary (or something else), and signed someone older, with knee problems, with the same Chicago connection, who makes a bit more money, on a 1+1 deal.
So, will the lineup be Rondo, Wade, Butler at small forward, while Taj Gibson and Robin Lopez man the frontcourt? That’s a very big lineup, one that could be very good defensively against certain teams, but very vulnerable against others. The Bulls need shooters (have them on the bench) and players who can move quickly on the perimeter, besides Butler and maybe a motivated Rondo. Wade is on and off defensively, but there’s the need to manage his minutes and games to keep his knees from putting him on the DL. Is this the kind of team Fred Hoiberg wanted to see?
This isn’t tanking, it’s retooling, and bringing over a player many Bulls fans thought would come over in 2010, during the first LeBron James bonanza. Wade comes to Chicago as three-time champion and quite happy he got the deal he was sort of looking for. The Bulls won’t be good enough to win a championship or contend for one, but they have a short term solution to being competitive, without hampering their long term future and prospect of adding to what might work out quite nicely. If it does fail, trading Butler goes back on the table, and Wade probably won’t want to stay anyway.