Arron Afflalo could wind up wearing a Chicago Bulls uniform next season.
With NBA free agency underway, teams are positioning themselves for a run at this year’s class of players. As is the case in your typical offseason, the top free agents control the fate and destinations of the players below them. That is unless some of the interested teams are only looking for a certain level of free agents. Case in point: What Kevin Durant decides to will directly affect the status of Harrison Barnes of the Golden State Warriors, the Bulls’ Pau Gasol, and others.
The first significant NBA free agency signings include the Charlotte Hornets re-signing Nic Batum and Hassan Whiteside remaining with the Miami Heat. Those moves will have force teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers, who, according to ESPN, add Timofey Mozgov and the Dallas Mavericks to look elsewhere.
In the case of the Chicago Bulls, no one knows where they truly stand.
There are rumblings that they are in on a few free agents. The Inquisitr reported the Bulls having interest in the Portland Trailblazers’ Moe Harkless. Rumors of Harrison Barnes spending time in Chicago have also begun circulating. There are Twitter posts from reputable sources placing Barnes milling about in downtown Chicago, perhaps getting ready to meet with representatives from the Bulls. If the Warriors are to sign Kevin Durant, that will signal that Barnes will sign elsewhere.
In another scenario, the Warriors have a considerable amount of interest in Pau Gasol. And that domino also will dictate many of the corresponding moves that will take place afterward. A couple of smaller moves will perhaps be made just to have a few pieces in place. For the Bulls, this would explain their interest in free agent shooting guard Arron Afflalo.
Afflalo has been on the Bulls’ radar for at least four years now. His ability to defend and shoot the three-point shot, as well as his midrange game, entices the Bulls. For one reason or another, there has never been a match until now. After all of the NBA trade rumors that had Afflalo landing in Chicago with the Bulls, nothing materialized. Now, the Bulls can outright sign him as long as the money is right.
The Bulls are not looking into giving away money in this year’s NBA free agency. In fact, they would not even be participating much if it were not for the rules requiring every team to spend a certain amount. Unless a trade of Taj Gibson takes place, the Bulls will have somewhere between $23 million and $25 million to spend. Since they want to re-sign East Chicago native E’Twaun Moore, that figure could decrease significantly. It will be tough to keep him from going to another team.
One of the rumors going around is that the Minnesota Timberwolves are among five other teams vying for E’Twaun Moore’s services. Since the Bulls are intent on being frugal, or so they say this offseason, it might make sense to let him go elsewhere and focus on slightly younger and talented players with interesting upsides.
Again, that would mean signing Moe Harkless, Allen Crabbe, and Solomon Hill and simply just giving point guard Jerian Grant a shot at the starting job. At this point, the Bulls are rebuilding, so there is nothing to lose. They have nothing but time on their hands to develop talent. The Bulls can do that and add Arron Afflalo.
Adding Arron Afflalo sounds a bit oxymoronic, but his inclusion on the Bulls’ roster buys some time. Also, he is an upgrade over E’Twaun Moore, whom the Bulls and may come at a lesser price.
Afflalo is 30-years-old. He is the player who he is going to be for the next three seasons. There is nothing great to his game that would propel the Bulls to the upper echelon of Eastern Conference teams. He is also not terrible enough where the Bulls would completely fall to the dregs of the NBA. A team that is interested in signing Arron Afflalo is one looking to finalize their starting lineup. Capable starters are what the Bulls are looking for.
The Chicago Bulls enter NBA free agency with a lot of decisions to make. What is unknown is the direction of their free agency shopping. The Bulls could go all in for Harrison Barnes — something that might actually happen to force the hand of the Golden State Warriors — or they can bring in two young and talented players with huge ceilings. Whatever the Chicago Bulls choose to do, their interest in adding Arron Afflalo will not wane unless he lands with another team.
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