Well, I'm back, thanks for all the well-wishes. They all, in their unique way, affirmed my suspicion that I'm a huge dork.
The Bulls are still looking like less of a force without Luol Deng in the lineup, losing a close one at San Antonio and collapsing in Milwaukee before pulling out a win at home against those same Bucks. Tonight they face Portland in a semi-winnable game. The Blazers are a mess right now (even moreso than usual), so thing are looking good. Unfortunately the game starts at 9pm CST and shortly after is when I'll be having my Nyquil cocktail....
So on to other things. As games against Milwaukee remind us, the Bulls have trouble guarding wing players. In Milwaukee's case they have Michael Redd, but there are obviously several others around the league to give the Bulls trouble. Right now the Bulls really only have Kirk Hinrich to put up any kind of resistance to such players, and he does an admirable job. The guy needs help though, especially since he's counted on for so many other responsibilities on the offensive end. None of this information is new to Bulls fans, and now that the trade deadline has passed the free agent market is now open for browsing
Chad Ford (sub reqd) compiled a list of this summer's free agents, and at an early glance there are a lot of 'big guards' out there. I'm assuming the Bulls will have little (if any) cap space this summer, and armed with only their mid level exception available, fancy prizes like Redd, Ray Allen, Larry Hughes, and Joe Johnson are not within reason. Two clear candidates that could fit the price range are Bobby Simmons of the Clippers and Raja Bell of the Jazz.
While it's possible that some of the bigger names would blind rival GMs to these two, I'm not so sure, especially in the case of Simmons. He's ranked 10th by Ford among free agents, and Forum Blue and Gold also has taken notice:
Playing the three (or maybe the two). He’s got a PER of 16.81 and a is averaging 17.7 points per 40 minutes, he scores 1.12 per shot attempt, has an eFG% of 49.7% and can create his own shot. And he’s only 24. He’s going to get a lot of interest because those numbers show he can play, but he’s not going to break the bank.
Maybe not break the bank, but I think any chance of him slipping through the
cracks in the world of spend-happy NBA GMs is slight. Bell's not a bad fallback
though. Either way this is but an early look, there are a lot of factors that
could play into who is available and for which price. Most importantly, the
decision of how much money to give (if any) to Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler.