The New Era In Chicago Bulls Basketball

Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, and Jimmy Butler - Chicago Bulls
Photo Credit: Bleacher Report
It all started when the bombshell was dropped on Twitter and Derrick Rose was being traded from the Bulls.  Since 2008, Derrick Rose had been the franchise, the guy, and the rock of this team.  When he was traded, this was management saying, “It’s a new era” but it didn’t feel new.  It felt like a necessary move given the way last season played out, but then Bulls fans were left perplexed.  Calderon, Lopez, and Grant? That’s it?  Then Noah walked, E’Twaun Moore turned the Bulls down, and the Bulls sat silent the first few days of free agency before dropping another bombshell: Rajon Rondo was joining the team to mixed reviews from the fans.  And now tonight…tonight, I’m still stunned.  The Bulls just stunned the basketball world and landed future Hall of Famer and one of the best shooting guards ever, Dwyane Wade, on a two year deal.  Indeed, a new era of Bulls basketball is upon us.
Is this really happening?  It feels surreal. Gar Forman and John Paxson actually landed two name free agents.  Chicago, for all its big market appeal, has routinely struck out on big name free agents and this summer, they’ve landed two.  I know they’re older, but Wade looked awesome in the postseason and these two will be complementary pieces alongside Jimmy Butler.  Oh, by the way, he’s still here and he’s still the alpha dog of this franchise.  It won’t be Wade and it won’t be Rondo.  This is still Butler’s team and for this team to have some sort of success, he has to take another leap (which I believe he is capable of).

Will these three work together?  We’ve seen multiple examples recently of stars being aligned together on the same team only to implode and not work out (think the Lakers with Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, and Pau Gasol).   How will three guys who aren’t consistent with the three ball work in the modern NBA?  Rondo did shoot a career high 36% from three last year and just two years ago, Butler shot nearly 38% from three and did shoot 38% from three in 2012-2013.  Maybe getting better looks will help maintain those percentages and help create space.

The Bulls also have other options.  Luckily, the Bulls have some big men who can shoot from the perimeter in Nikola Mirotic, Bobby Portis, and Taj Gibson has also shown some range.  Typically, having your big men around the perimeter hinders you from being able to rebound the ball, but Rondo, Butler, and Wade are excellent offensive rebounders ranking 3rd, 19th, and 11th respectively amongst guards last year.  They should be able to help control the glass and the big men can help spread the floor.  Factor in other shooters like McDermott, rookie Denzel Valentine, and even Tony Snell, the Bulls should have enough shooting and versatility for Fred Hoiberg create some interesting lineups.  One thing I’d like to see him try is rolling with Jimmy Butler at power forward for stretches.  I’m not saying it could work every time or even for prolonged periods, but I think for some stretches and against the right opponent, Jimmy Butler could lead an extremely small lineup at power forward and maybe you surround him with tons of shooting in Valentine, McDermott, Mirotic, and maybe play Felicio at center.  The Bulls certainly have some interesting combinations to play with and I have a feeling Hoiberg is going to enjoy it.

The plan here is obvious: Having Butler and Wade on your roster makes you an appealing free agent destination next season when multiple big names enter the market.  According to early projections, the Bulls could have two max slots on their roster and still keep Butler, Wade, McDermott, Valentine,  Jerian Grant, Portis, and whomever they draft.  That’s a pretty nice start towards a potential contender IF the young talent develops as projected.  Imagine if the Kings are good enough to convey their pick to the Bulls in the coming draft and the Bulls receive a late lottery pick in this nice draft.  The Bulls could really be onto something.

This truly is astonishing.  Just days ago, we were mourning the end of the Rose/Noah era and today, we’re celebrating the dawn of a new day.  The Bulls have a big three in Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, and Rajon Rondo.  I’m not sure how this will play out this year, but the next few seasons could really be huge for the Chicago Bulls franchise.  It’s a new era and it’s an exciting one.

Brandon Pence is the founder and former editor of the Chicago Bulls blog “The Bulls Charge.”  You can follow him on Twitter.

Colossians 2:6

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