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NBA Moving Day

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jul 1, 2005 2:51PM

While Chicago's moving days tend to be May 1 and October 1 (does anyone know why?), today begins moving day for NBA free agents. Their previous seasons' contracts expired at midnight and they are now free to negotiate with other teams.

The Bulls are in relatively good shape heading into the free agency period with only minor roll players having unrestricted free agent status. The most notable are Adrian Griffen and Othella Harrington -- neither of whom are hot commodities around the league. With both finding nice roles for themselves within the Bulls' improving system, Chicagoist thinks both are likely to remain with the Bulls.

The Bulls also have four restricted free agents this off-season, and some of those may cost a pretty penny to keep in town. But the Bulls have the final say, and if money's no object they can bring them all back. Those four are Eddy Curry, Tyson Chandler, Chris Duhon and Janerro Pargo.

Bulls GM John Paxon has said repeatedly that he plans to bring back the team's core, and that is likely. Tyson, while a great defender and rebounder, hasn't developed the all-around game many fantasized when he was drafted. Likewise, Eddy Curry, even before his heart issues. Whereas many saw them as the future pairing of Kevin Garnett and Shaq, they haven't yet reached that level. So while they should expect some qualifying offers from other teams the Bulls probably won't need to offer maximum contracts to retain them.

While there has been no official word from the Bulls yet it sounds as if Curry has been OKed to resume physical activity following his appointment with L.A. cardiologist Dr. David Cannom yesterday. While supposedly free to resume play, the Bulls are taking things cautiously both in terms of his workouts and contract offers. Their initial qualifying offer to Curry is shorter term and has numerous clauses factoring his weight and health into the deal.

Should some team offer a big, long-term deal, Paxon might entertain the idea of a sign-and-trade deal similar to last year's deal that sent Jamal Crawford to the Knicks. But is that likely? Cleveland seemed to have its eyes on Curry after LaBron requested his close friend, but the Cavs new management seems to be backing off.

Chris Duhon surprised many last season, not only making the team but eventually staking claim to the starting point guard position. A second round pick with no guaranteed long-term deal like the first rounders get, Duhon has the opportunity to greatly boost his pay. He made $385,000 last season -- the league rookie minimum -- but now wants a deal close to what Duke teammate Loul Deng received last year. The Bulls want to keep him and he want to remain with the Bulls, so expect a fair middle ground to be found. Say 3 years at $2 million each.

While Chicagoist liked Pargo's spark off the bench at times, we feel he is expendable. His shoot-first mentality was harmful when his shooting touch wasn't there, yet he rerel stopped shooting when in the game. If they bring him back, fine. If not, we'll sign another shooter.

Clearly, John Paxon's first order of business is re-signing his existing roster. There are a few free agents out there that would fit nicely with the Bulls, but it's a matter of whether they'd be willing to come in for the mid-cap exception of approx. $5 million. If so, maybe Sharif Abdur Rahim could be a possibility. And was Donyell Marshall serious about wanting to return? Or was that just a local media sound bite? Either way, look for the Bulls to lay low this off season and become big spenders following next season, when a number of big contracts come off their salary cap.