Look at the payroll and the Bulls appear to have a “Big Four” to compete with Miami’s Power Trio and whatever sort of superteam is being built in Brooklyn.
The Bulls have four players due to make at least $11 million next season: Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah.
The thing is, the Bulls delivered the best regular-season record in the NBA the past two years not with a circle of stars but one superstar (Rose, obviously) and the league’s deepest team.
The depth is taking a hit this summer, though. The Bulls parted ways with Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Watson on Tuesday. Wednesday, backup center Omer Asik is expected to sign a hefty offer sheet from the Houston Rockets that includes a third-year salary of $14.9 million.
Kyle Korver has a different timeline than Brewer and Watson, so no decision on his future was made Tuesday. Korver will get $500,000 regardless, and if he plays for the Bulls next season, he will be paid $5 million.
A league source suggested Korver’s future with the Bulls may depend on whether the team matches the Asik offer.
The only member of the “Bench Mob” who figures to return for sure is forward Taj Gibson. But he’s in the final year of his rookie-scale contract and can become a restricted free agent next summer.
Brewer ($4.37 million) and Watson ($3.2 million) had nonguaranteed deals for the coming season. With the Bulls bumping up against the luxury tax, they amounted to a luxury the team couldn’t afford to keep.
During an appearance on WMVP’s “Waddle and Silvy Show,” Brewer said the Bulls didn’t rule out re-signing him at a smaller salary. The Bulls can sign free agents using only the league’s minimum salary, and if Brewer would take that they’d gladly re-sign him.
But with so many teams with cap room left to spend, he figures to get a better offer. The Bulls are counting on second-year forward Jimmy Butler to fill Brewer’s defensive role.
“I liked the situation I was in with the Bulls,” Brewer said in the radio interview. “I feel like we have a great team. The chemistry was bar none compared to the other teams I’ve been on. We’ve had a lot of success. We’ve won a lot of games in the regular season and had some kind of success in the playoffs.”
NBA teams can officially sign free agents beginning Wednesday. So far, the Bulls have agreed to bring back veteran guard Kirk Hinrich, who was traded to Washington two years ago, for a reported two years and $6 million.
With Asik and Korver in limbo, Hinrich gives the Bulls just eight players on the roster, so there is work to be done. Among the free agents thought to be receiving interest from the Bulls are Suns guard Michael Redd, Nets forward Gerald Green and Jazz guard C.J. Miles.
CSN Chicago reported that point guards Jonny Flynn and Marcus Banks will join the Bulls for rookie-free agent camp at the Berto Center. Flynn was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2009 draft out of Syracuse but has been disappointing in three seasons with Minnesota, Houston and Portland.
Banks, 30, spent eight years in the NBA, mostly as a backup, and played in the D-league last season.
Flynn and Banks are not expected to play for the Bulls’ summer-league team in Las Vegas. That squad is expected to include former Illinois guard Demetri McCamey.
The Bulls will play the first of five games at the Las Vegas Summer League on July 17 against Boston.
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