For those of you who have watched every Bulls game, one huge issue you may have noticed is that throughout most of the 4th quarter, Tom Thibodeau has elected to play reserves Taj Gibson and Omer Asik over starters Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer. This has happened either because the game is close and Thibs would rather have the defense that Taj and Omer provide, or that the Bulls are winning by a lot and therefore wanting to rest the starters. This is an issue that has been highly publicized throughout the Chicago sports media in the last week, mainly because Noah and Boozer are making a combined $25.5 million while Gibson and Asik’s combined salaries adds up to just over $3 million. While the Bench Mob have proved that they are much better defensively, the Bulls will need to figure out how to get Boozer and Noah to be successful on the court together.
One idea that has been proposed is to sit either Boozer or Noah and start either Asik or Gibson instead. Gibson is under contract for this season and the next, but will become a restricted free agent in 2013 and Asik will become a restricted free agent after this season. Gar Forman will face some difficult decisions in the near future about the current players under contract. One option the Bulls have is to wait until after next season for Gibson to become a free agent, and if he continues to progress, the Bulls could elect to use their amnesty clause on Carlos Boozer who will be 33 going on 34. This would give the Bulls an extra $15 million in salary and they would avoid having to pay an aging player who can’t play defense. Regardless of what anyone says, Boozer is an above average offensive player at the bare minimum, but his defense has been a huge liability for the Bulls. Thibs will need to figure this out come playoff time, otherwise the Bulls will probably lose to the Heat for a second straight year.
Another aspect that many Bulls fans have not taken into consideration is their draft day trade for the rising European stud, Nikola Mirotic. He has had a phenomenal season for Real Madrid so far. He is a 6’10, 230 pound power forward/small forward who has a great outside shot and developing post skills, think Danilo Gallinari. Check out his highlights.