The Chicago Bulls opted to stand pat at the trading deadline Thursday, with the only move coming Wednesday when they signed forward Jarvis Varnado to a 10-day contract.
That put the Bulls roster at 13 players … at least for the 10 days or so Varnado is around. But there are some interesting options out there—or who may soon be out there—as teams and players begin negotiating buyouts.
Forwards Antawn Jamison, Glen Davis and Earl Clark are already available. Jamison was waived by the Atlanta Hawks shortly after he was acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers and the Philadelphia 76ers jettisoned Clark almost immediately after getting him back in the deal that sent Spencer Hawes to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Orlando Magic, meanwhile, bought out Davis on Friday.
There are other players who may soon join the free-agent list. The 76ers also added Danny Granger from the Indiana Pacers and he may be a candidate for a buyout, although general manager Sam Hinkie might want to try and convince Granger to stay on for the last couple of months of a lost season in Philadelphia as a sign-and-trade option for the summer.
Former Bull Ben Gordon is nearing a buyout from the Charlotte Bobcats, the Milwaukee Bucks may pursue a buyout of Caron Butler and the Detroit Pistons might consider the same with Charlie Villanueva. Roger Mason Jr. is another candidate, as it is expected the Sacramento Kings will not keep Mason around after acquiring him from the Miami Heat in a trade for a second-round pick so highly protected it might take an act of Congress for it to actually change hands.
Miami was obviously looking to free a roster spot in hopes of adding a bought out player for the stretch run, something Chicago might consider, as well.
There’s another recently waived player out there to consider as well. Former Bull Ronnie Brewer was waived by the Houston Rockets on Friday. Mason nearly signed with Chicago last summer before opting for the Heat.
Coach Tom Thibodeau is known to favor mid-season additions who are familiar with him and the system. But Gordon and/or Mason could fill a huge need for the Bulls as a shooter. Chicago is tied for 25th in the NBA, shooting 34.3 percent from 3-point range, and a guy like Mason—a career 38 percent shooter from deep—could help that in much the same way D.J. Augustin has done since coming to Chicago in December.
The Bulls have had a bit of an uptick in their 3-point shooting since Augustin’s arrival; Chicago is at 35.1 percent since Augustin was signed as a free agent on Dec. 13. That compares to 32.4 percent before he arrived.
Augustin is hitting 44.5 percent of his 3s and he’s taking a lot of them, averaging 5.1 attempts per game, adding a dimension the Bulls didn’t have while getting off to a 8-12 start. Chicago is 21-13 since Augustin signed.
In any event, adding another shooter would create better spacing on the offensive end; better spacing leads to more room and better entry angles for the interior players—Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Carlos Boozer—as well as the slashing of shooting guard Jimmy Butler.
Chicago was 2-0 last week coming out of the All-Star break, running their overall winning streak to five games while winning at Toronto on Wednesday and blasting the Nuggets at home on Friday.
The Bulls are now 29-25, the best they have been in relation to the .500 mark all season. That is good for fourth in the Eastern Conference, seven games clear of the ninth-place Pistons and 2½ games ahead of Washington for home-court advantage in the first round. Chicago trails the third-place Raptors by just a half-game while trailing the Central Division-leading Pacers by 12½ games.
Here is the week that was, including game reviews, some news and notes, the rookie watch, injury updates, and player of the week selection, as well as a look ahead to next week’s action (all statistical information from NBA.com/Stats):