The Bulls had high hopes for the 2014 offseason, hoping to land New York Knicks’ free agent Carmelo Anthony. After Anthony decided to re-sign with the Knicks, the Bulls turned their attention to Los Angeles Lakers’ big man Pau Gasol, signing him to a three-year, $22 million deal. They have also struck a deal to bring Real Madrid forward Nikola Mirotić, who they have held the draft rights to since 2011, over on a three-year, $17 million deal. The Bulls re-signed point guard Kirk Hinrich and added veteran point guard Aaron Brooks. They also traded the rights to their 16th and 19th-overall selections for the rights to the 11th-overall pick, former Creighton Blue Jays’ forward Doug McDermott.
Rod Mahoney of our partner, Sports Illustrated, believes the Bulls had the best non-Cleveland Cavaliers offseason.
Even after missing out on Carmelo Anthony and (perhaps) falling behind in the Kevin Love derby, Chicago has significantly improved its championship prospects. The exchange of an amnestied Carlos Boozer for the recently signed Pau Gasol is a monumental upgrade; not only is Gasol the far more useful offensive player at this stage in their careers, but his defensive issues are more manageable and perhaps more transient. We’ve seen Gasol, when engaged, work to legitimate defensive advantage. He just didn’t have reason to do so with the sinking ship Lakers last season and ran up against injury, positional alignment issues and general discontent the season prior.
Gasol averaged 17.4 points, 9.7 rebounds 3.4 assists and 1.5 blocks per game last season. He shot 48.0% from the field, 28.6% from beyond the arc and 73.6% from the free throw line. Brooks put up 9.0 points, 3.2 assists and 1.9 rebounds per game while shooting 40.1% from the field, 38.7% from three and 87.4% from the free throw line for the Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets last season. Mirotić averaged 13.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game. McDermott averaged a career-high 26.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. He shot 52.6% from the field, 44.9% from beyond the arc and 86.4% from the free throw line.