The Chicago Bulls season came to and end in the worst way possible for the franchise, as All-Star point guard Derrick Rose tore his ACL in the first game of their opening round series against the Philadelphia 76ers. Without having the former NBA MVP running their offense and after losing center Joakim Noah to injury, the top-seeded Bulls went home for the summer after losing the match-up to the Sixers.
Chicago’s problems did not disappear at the end of their short Playoff run, as the club’s franchise player will be out at least until next season’s All-Star break and very well could miss the entire campaign. Back-up point guard C.J. Watson did a nice job subbing for D-Rose during this past season, however he is not a starting point guard for a team that has Championship aspirations. That leaves the Bulls with two choices heading into October; stand pat and fall back in the Association pack, or go and acquire another starter at the point for next season.
It would not make any sense for Chicago to try to sign New Jersey Nets Free Agent Deron Williams, as Rose is expected to make a full recovery from the procedure and Williams is going to be looking for a big money, long-term deal. There will be two veteran Free Agents available as Jason Kidd and Steve Nash, will both be looking for new deals come July 1. Kidd most likely will re-sign with the Mavericks however and Nash is most going to want more money and a longer contract than the Bulls would be willing to offer him.
A better option for Chicago may come via a trade; specifically with the Portland Trail Blazers for their current starter Raymond Felton. Felton has one more year to go on his contract until he becomes a Free Agent and his numbers were way down this past season after getting traded to the Blazers in a pre-season deal with the Denver Nuggets for veteran guard Andre Miller. The Portland starter only averaged 11.4 points, 6.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds in this past campaign; dropping from 17.1 points, 9.0 assists and 3.6 rebounds that he averaged in 54 games with the New York Knicks, who traded him to the Nuggets in mid-season the year before.
Felton has done a lot of traveling since the completion of the 2009-2010 season, leaving the only team he had ever played for in the Association, the Charlotte Hornets to sign a Free Agent deal with New York. Felton and the club’s other Free Agent acquisition Amar’e Stoudemire, had the Knicks playing their best ball in years, when New York traded Felton and a group of talented young players to the Nuggets for Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. Felton played off the bench for Denver as the team made Ty Lawson the starter after the trade went down. Nuggets coach George Karl welcomed the chance to get Andre Miller back on his roster and Felton was now with his fourth team in just over a year.
Heading into another season when he will become a Free Agent at the end of the campaign, will give Felton extra motivation to play at his best and showcase his talents. This could be a win/win situation for both player and team, as it gives the point guard a very talented team to play for while the Bulls would be renting a better than average point guard to fill their void for a year. Whether Felton decides to move on, or stay with the team after the season is a detail that can be resolved next summer.
Felton most likely does not fit into the Blazers long-term plans, as new General Manager Neil Olshey did not mention him as a foundation player along with LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum when he spoke with the media on Tuesday. That would mean a deal to acquire the Portland starter is probably very possible and will not cost Chicago a lot in assets to get him on board. Bulls General Manager Gar Forman may just want to pick up the phone and give Olshey a call; it may prove to be very productive.