July is upon us, and that point where the NBA Finals are more memory than reality is setting in. Teams are now looking forward to the fall, the time when their off-season moves will settle in and prove whether they were good ideas or complete busts.
While teams were mulling over trade proposals in preparation for the draft, the real shuffling has only just begun now that the draft has finished. The Los Angeles Clippers acquired Lamar Odom through a four-team trade with Utah, Houston, and Dallas. Kevin Garnett felt he didn't want to be like Dwight Howard and finally recommitted to Boston. Houston is throwing Luis Scola out as trade bait, and the Heat are looking to nab sharpshooter Ray Allen. There are also valuable veterans like Steve Nash and Jason Kidd looking for new homes this off-season. Speaking of point guards, Deron Williams is also trying to decide whether to stay in (move to) Brooklyn, or go back home to Dallas.
And it's barely July 1st.
But the Chicago Bulls, who have a notoriously cautious and slow moving front office, have been particularly quiet concerning their roster issues after their first round exit in this year's playoffs. Aside from drafting Marquis Teague Thursday night, they have yet to decide on any of the many issues they must resolve within the next few months.
Will they pick up any of the options for CJ Watson, Ronnie Brewer, or Kyle Korver, essentially their entire “Bench Mob”? What about John Lucas III, who played a larger role this past season and proved he is a viable backup point guard? Are they still looking to upgrade at shooting guard? Is Luol Deng still on the trading block? Was he ever?
And what about Brian Scalabrine, perhaps the Bulls’ biggest contributor?
Perhaps the most notable development for the Bulls so far has been their interest in recently retired shooting guard Brandon Roy.
Roy, who retired before last season because of ongoing issues with his knees, averaged 19 PPG and shot 46% from the field (35% from 3-point range) in the five seasons he was active. However, because of those knees injuries he only played an average of 64 games per season.
Ostensibly, he’s a good addition for the Bulls, whose backcourt could definitely use some extra punch. Roy has much better ball handling skills than Richard Hamilton, their current starting shooting guard, and could score easily in isolation situations (that is, if his body lets him). He’s had ample time to rest and hasn’t logged many miles on those legs (think about it, the guy has only played 5 professional seasons. That’s one more season than Rose), so maybe he could comeback as Brandon Roy 2.0.
But as the Bulls have been absolutely hobbled by injuries the past two seasons, signing Roy seems too tall an order for them to swallow. Hamilton played only 28 games this season, so the Bulls have no way of knowing he’ll be reliable next season. And if Roy’s knees start to act up after they sign him, who will play shooting guard?
Roy’s injuries are the obvious issue, but his locker room presence must also be assessed. When his body started breaking down during his time with the Portland Trailblazers, then head coach Nate McMillan pondered the idea of brining Roy off the bench because of his reduced athleticism. Roy apparently took it as a slight (though he denied it had anything to do with ego). If the Bulls were to acquire him, would he demand Hamilton’s starting position in a vain attempt to prove he hasn’t lost his step? Would he be able to handle backing up a player six years his senior?
While Roy is an enticing prospect because of his production when he first came into the league, his physical and emotional baggage may prove to be too costly. And since the Bulls have had so many issues with injuries in the past, that cost is definitely one they cannot afford to gamble on.