The Chicago Bulls are looking at a few more players, veterans in particular. According to an NBA rumor, the Bulls have a keen eye on adding one of the following three elements: shooting, defense, and toughness. In a perfect world, the Bulls will find a player with all three traits, but they will settle for someone with one of them.
Earlier in the week, 38 year-old NBA veteran Stephen Jackson told Hoops Hype that guards Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo had been on the telephone, recruiting him to the Bulls. Jackson, who is listed at 6’8″, fits the description of what the Bulls are seeking. The downside is Jackson’s age.
Most NBA players are either retired or looking at retirement at his age. Jackson, Ray Allen, and several former players are contemplating their NBA returns. Most of the available players are over the age of 35. The Bulls should consider someone a lot younger.
Lance Stephenson needs a new basketball home, and there are rumors swirling that the Chicago Bulls being one of the few teams that may look to sign him. Could the Bulls pull off a move for the controversial guard?
It would be a shrewd maneuver on the Bulls part to throw money at Stephenson, who CBS Sports is reporting may look at playing overseas next season. In the same breath, it could be well worth the risk.
The Chicago Bulls are one of those teams in the middle of the pack in terms of contention. Significant growth from a couple of players, coupled with one more move will prove to be the difference. This is one of the reasons why the Bulls have been linked to several NBA rumors this offseason.
Where there is smoke, there should be fire. The Bulls seem primed to do something big. They want to build a super-team. That was not the case prior to any offseason move that could take place.
What the Bulls originally set out to do this offseason was get younger. Construction of a lineup in the vein of head coach Fred Hoiberg was the top priority. At the time of announcing their offseason plans, the Bulls, like the rest of the NBA, actually assumed that Dwyane Wade was staying with the Miami Heat. Once it appeared Wade was open to leaving Miami things changed.
Interest in the Bulls came, went, then returned immediately once they signed Wade and Rajon Rondo. There is no surer sign of that than the amount of nationally televised games they will have.
The NBA released the schedule (courtesy of CSN Chicago) for the 2016-17 season, and the Bulls are featured in several high-profile games, including a Christmas Day matchup with the San Antonio Spurs.
The NBA schedule makers and television networks believe that the Bulls will at least be an intriguing team. Perhaps they can afford to be daring also.
The Bulls adding Lance Stephenson would be a make or break move for both parties involved.
Stephenson, though extremely talented, is a strong personality. Some people have called him a me-first player. They point to the fact that he clashed with teammates when he was with the Indiana Pacers. Is he a troubled player, or just misunderstood?
What no one will question is how good he can be when he is focused. Unfortunately, what stays on everyone’s mind are his exploits, one of which includes Stephenson blowing in LeBron James’ ear a couple of seasons ago.
The biggest fear some teams have when it comes to bringing in Lance Stephenson is that he is the second coming of Metta World Peace. Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, had his share of troubles on and off the court. He was involved in an infamous brawl 12 years ago (via USA Today) when the Pacers were playing the Detroit Pistons.
While it is unlikely that Lance Stephenson would take part in behavior such as what took place in 2004, the fear is there.
Personalities are already going to be strong on the Bulls. Taking on Stephenson could make the mix even more combustible. That said, he is a player that meets two of the Bulls criteria, plus he is young.
Lance Stephenson’s jump shot is streaky, but he is a defender and he is tough. Facing the prospects of no longer being welcomed in an NBA locker room could work as motivation for Stephenson to do everything he can to reverse those feelings. Playing with a team overseas as Stephenson is rumored to be considering is out of necessity. Several teams are reluctant to chance it, but if a team such as the Bulls were to offer him a “prove it” type of deal, the guard may change his mind.
There is a concern about the salary and how a potential signing would affect the Bulls. The Bulls still have an exception worth $2.9 million. They would use it if they have to bid for someone’s service.
For instance, if the Bulls are in the running for Ray Allen, they could entice him with the exception, which is potentially more money than a team like the Golden State Warriors can offer. Signing Lance Stephenson may not require the $2.9 million exception, but at least the Bulls have it at their disposal.
Although there are some strong personalities on the Bulls, the right players are in place to take on Lance Stephenson. This is where the addition of Dwyane Wade is most important.
Players listen to those whom they respect. Wade has gravitas. He is well received around the NBA. As a proven winner, Wade offers something that Stephenson would only benefit from. The clash of characters may be too much for a coach to handle, but for players who have a pedigree, that is lessened as long as everyone wants to win.
No one doubts that Lance Stephenson wants to win. His competitive drive has been too much over the years that he has played in the NBA, but he needs structure in place to contribute. It is likely that the Chicago Bulls have structure in place with Wade, Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo. Each player has won, or will eventually win an NBA title, gold medal, etc.
As of now, Stephenson is without an NBA home. His next landing spot must have some things in place. It just happens that the Chicago Bulls have something brewing. Could the Bulls and Lance Stephenson have a match?
[Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]