What about the Bulls? The loss of a 20-point scorer hurts them less than you might think. Kirk Hinrich or John Salmons will likely take over the starting shooting guard role, and with the return of Luol Deng from injury there are now four players (Derrick Rose, Salmons, Hinrich and Deng) vying for the minutes at the three perimeter spots. The Bulls are likely to sign a low-cost perimeter player to protect themselves in case of injury, but otherwise their backcourt depth leaves them in largely the same position they were before Gordon left.
And by not inking Gordon to a long-term deal, they've set themselves up to be a major player in the 2010 free-agent market. Chicago's weather is a minus but its big-city status and accompanying nightlife are definite pluses, and it's easy to wonder if the city might be a lure to a certain Chicago native who currently plies his trade in Miami.
Alternatively, the Bulls could play their hand sooner by making a trade with the $30 million in expiring contracts they have between Brad Miller, Jerome James, Tyrus Thomas and Tim Thomas, with first-round picks James Johnson and Taj Gibson also looming as potential assets in a deal. Depending on who is looking to shed contracts at the trade deadline (or even this summer), they look to be a major player in any trade discussion in the next eight months.
John Hollinger writes for ESPN Insider. To e-mail him, click here.
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