With the excitement of the World Cup finally dwindling down after Germany's thrilling extra-time win against Argentina, the world can now spend its time obsessing over the latest NBA moves. Of course, we all know that LeBron James has decided to return home and take his talents back to Cleveland, the place where he was born and raised. However, there are several other teams that are making big-time moves to better their rosters for the upcoming 2014-15 NBA season. Coming off of a successful, yet still slightly disappointing, season last year, the Chicago Bulls are one such team looking to reinvigorate its roster with some new acquisitions.
The latest news from the Bulls's camp is the signing of two key, low-post players: Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic.
It hasn't been easy. After meditating it a lot I've chosen to play with the Chicago Bulls. Looking forward to this new chapter of my career
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) July 12, 2014
— Nikola Mirotic (@nikolamirotic12) July 13, 2014
Gasol comes to the Bulls via the Lakers, where he won back-to-back NBA championships in 2009 and 2010. Despite still playing with All-Star potential, averaging 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, Gasol found himself on the outside-looking-in on a Lakers team that is trying to rebuild itself around Kobe Bryant through newer, fresher faces than injury-plagued and aging Gasol.
Mirotic was first acquired by the Bulls in the 2011 draft, but the organization has selected to keep the stretch-four player in Spain for the past three seasons, allowing the 6'10' forward - and arguably the best basketball player in Europe - to develop his game to NBA level.
With the acquisition of two new big men, though, comes the loss of someone currently in the Bulls organization - Carlos Boozer. While nothing has yet been confirmed, most sources agree that the Bulls are going to use the amnesty clause of the collective bargaining agreement to waive Boozer and his $16.8 million contract for his final year in order to clear more space under the salary cap. The amnesty clause means that the Bulls will still have to guarantee Boozer his contracted money, but that Boozer's salary will not count against the Bulls's overall salary cap.
Chicago Bulls expected to use the Amnesty Clause on Carlos Boozer to get below the salary cap to be able to sign Pau Gasol + Nikola Mirotic.
— Chicago Bulls Rumors (@chicagobullsbot) July 12, 2014
The acquisitions of both Gasol and Mirotic will take up most of the room created by the release of Boozer. There will be some room still left under the salary cap, though, leaving many to wonder who the Bulls will go after next. Much speculation has been made about the Bulls pursuing Carmelo Anthony. However, with the latest news reporting that Anthony has agreed to stay in New York for $120+ million, the odds are not in the Bulls favor.
Which leaves one, big name left on the table - Dwayne Wade. The Miami Heat guard has never played for a team besides the Heat throughout his entire NBA career, but with the loss of James and potentially Bosh (both to their respective home town teams), the prospect of taking his talents to Chicago may be more tempting now than never - despite the fact that a person close to Wade has said he shows no interest in returning:
On Bulls reported interest in Wade.Person close to Wade told me"He has no interest in returning to Chicago and recently sold his home there"
— MarkJonesESPN (@MarkJonesESPN) July 11, 2014
With the return of Derrick Rose, though, and the addition of a great passing center in Gasol and a stretch-four in Mirotic, the Bulls may have no room for Wade in a theoretically stacked roster. And, with the Bulls already sporting an injury-prone roster (Rose, Gasol, and Noah), Wade may not be the right fit anyways.
Image via YouTube