It is possible that the Chicago Bulls will be zeroing in on a point guard to replace Derrick Rose. Mike Conley is a player on the Bulls’ radar. Adding Mike Conley in free agency would help the Bulls retool much faster than many people expect.
NBA free agency begins on July 1. At least NBA teams will be able to court prospectus free agents. It is certain that the Bulls will talk to their fair share of players. Center Hassan Whiteside, forwards Nic Batum and Harrison Barnes are just a few names who will interest the Bulls. Mike Conley is also on that short list.
Money will be plentiful for most NBA teams, who will try to outspend their rivals. Teams will have a cap figure of over $94 million. Many of them will overpay for talent. In a perfect world teams have to make the roster decisions wisely. That is not the case. Reports are already coming out about teams looking at spending big.
Mitch Lawrence from Sporting News suggested that the Washington Wizards are willing to offer free agent Bulls’ center Joakim Noah a max contract. Noah is a good player when healthy. A healthy Noah is not worth a max deal, but there will be other teams willing pay pay him a starting salary of $15 million.
Mitch Laurence’s report required an immediate response from CSN Mid-Atlantic.
— J. Michael (@JMichaelCSN) June 24, 2016
Do not expect to hear about the Chicago Bulls offering any players a max deal. The Bulls will be frugal during NBA free agency. Frugal as in smart and calculating.
If the Bulls were to go hog wild in free agency, it would be be for Hassan Whiteside. The Bulls will look to make a strong push for a few players.
Mike Conley would be a solid pick-up.
ESPN conducted a “5-on-5” debate about the upcoming free agency period, and Brad Doolittle suggested that a perfect pairing would be Mike Conley and the Chicago Bulls.
Point guard became the biggest question mark when the Bulls traded Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks several days ago. The Bulls received Jerian Grant and Jose Calderon, both lead guards, back from the Knicks. Grant and Calderon have two major flaws — age. One being two young and the other is too old.
Jerian Grant is unofficially a second-year NBA player. His youth and inexperience makes him a virtual unknown to the Bulls. Is Grant a shooter? Is he a facilitator? All of those questions must be answered. And those answers may come soon as Grant will play for the Bulls Summer League team in Las Vegas next week.
Jerian Grant will play summer league for the Bulls.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) June 23, 2016
As for Jose Calderon, he is old in basketball terms. Bulls’ general manager Gar Forman cited getting younger as one of the reasons for trading Derrick Rose. Acquiring a player who will be 35 at the time that the season starts is not the Bulls getting younger.
It would make sense for the Bulls to target Mike Conley because at 29, he is just right.
CBS Sports views the Chicago Bulls as one of the teams in the running for Conley. According to the report, the Bulls may have to compete with the Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers and Houston Rockets, among others for Conley’s services. Mike Conley, like most of the NBA players in the top 10 percent of the free agency, would love a maximum deal. Each of the indicated teams would perhaps put together offers in the range of $17 million per season.
— CBS Sports NBA (@CBSSportsNBA) June 25, 2016
Conley is a good player, and he fits the Bulls’ need of a pass-first point guard. He can stretch the floor with his three-point shot and he has deft dribbling skills to get to the basket. Mike Conley excels defensively. Oftentimes, he is a lockdown attacker on that side of the floor. Two out of three of those abilities are deficiencies for the outgoing Derrick Rose. That would help the Bulls.
Conley provides what the Bulls have needed for the past decade. Lack of a traditional point guard has hurt the Bulls, especially in the postseason. Just having a true table setter on the floor to make some of the on-court decisions is enough to pad the win column. A true point guard could have settled the Bulls when they were faltering.
#Bulls could also go after a Top Point Guard in Free Agency to help replace Derrick Rose on July 1st. Mike Conley Jr is FA CHI may contact.
— Carlos Douglas Jr. (@TheRealC_Los) June 25, 2016
Missing the playoffs would not have happened. Having a dynamic player such as Derrick Rose does not hurt, although his decision-making did come into question at times with the Bulls. Adding Mike Conley eases the loss of Rose, while finally landing a player who can set up an offense and get teammates shots.
Getting the basketball to the hot hand was a failing of the Bulls this past season. Either Derrick Rose or Jimmy Butler would run isolation plays for themselves. Doing such ruined the Bulls offense. Rose is gone, but Butler remains and he will need a running mate to get him shots in the flow of the game. Mike Conley could be the one the Bulls trust to do so.
NBA free agency starts on July 1st and it is a certainty the Chicago Bulls will look to lock a player into a contract. Guard Mike Conley is on the shortlist of players the Bulls are going to talk to.
[Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images]