While other NBA teams have made free agency splashes or big trades the Chicago Bulls did their best to save money on their salary cap. In an uncertain year can the team and their star Derrick Rose return to championship form?
Former All-Star Tim Hardaway says time off will make Rose better
Everyone who follows NBA basketball has probably heard about the Rose work ethic by now. The point guard practically lives in the gym working on his game. It is that mindset that has most experts convinced the 23-year old will return just as great as he was when he went down. One prominent league name though went so far as to say Rose would come back even better. Former five-time All-Star point guard Tim Hardaway, the uncle of Rose's longtime girlfriend Mieka Reese, went on record saying that Derrick would not only regain his old form but would become a better all-around player. Hardaway explained how he suffered a similar knee injury when he played and since he couldn't move around much the best thing to do was constantly shoot free throws and jump shots every day. When he did return his shooting percentages went up across the board. For the two seasons right after he came back Hardaway finished fourth and sixth in MVP voting. Since Rose has already won that award once, the thought off him coming back with a better offensive game should make Chicago Bulls fans excited.
Much rides on how Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer play during season
The real issue for Chicago isn't if Rose comes back healthy. A bigger problem is the rest of the roster. Everywhere on the starting lineup someone looks is a big contract held by an underwhelming player. Joakim Noah is a scrappy center who can pass and rebound but his injury problems don't match the money he makes. However the two biggest names fans wonder about are Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer. Both expected to help the team win a title. Boozer hasn't lived up to his huge money deal while Deng, for all his good qualities, is inconsistent and injury-prone just like Noah. These two highlight what the Bulls will want to do moving forward. Some rumors came out they wanted to trade Deng before the draft. That didn't go through because of a wrist injury he suffered last season. Boozer is the target of the amnesty clause in which the team would buyout his contract to remove him from the roster. Losing either player would clear cap space for a big move elsewhere. The problem is no teams stand interested at this point. That is why the 2012-2013 season is so important. With a new roster in place it falls to Deng and Boozer to keep the team afloat until Rose gets back. If they succeed, their efforts won't go unnoticed by the league, giving the Bulls valuable chips for later deals.
Tim Hardaway knows a universal truth about success. It takes work. Derrick Rose knows how to work. Until he's healthy it falls to Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer to make sure a bright future for the Bulls franchise is ahead.