Derrick Rose should have been the neon sign of superstars, attracting every possible free agent to the shores of Lake Michigan. After his MVP season in 2011, it was Rose being touted as the greatest player in the game. Fast forward to 2013 and knee injuries to each leg have prevented Rose from playing in all but 49 games over the past two seasons.
With Rose's career starting to resemble Grant Hill, not Michael Jordan, we have to wonder whether free agents will soon be scared off and no longer see Chicago as a viable destination for any player who wants to win.
The Bulls' salary situation is a mess. Chicago paid $13 in luxury tax this season to load up and go for the title now, but Rose's injuries have made the 2013-2014 a very expensive lottery season.
Next year, the Bulls will have a lot of tough decisions to make. Rose is still under contract for three more years at just over $60 million, but accounting for 30% of the salary cap makes building a team around Rose very difficult -- particularly if Rose's continued availability remains in question.
Carlos Boozer is scheduled to earn $16.8 million in 2014, but rumors suggest Chicago could choose to use their one-time amnesty clause and drop their starting power forward.
Loul Deng will be a free agent at year's end and will demand a max contract of his own. Given his own battle with injuries, signing Deng to a long-term contract would put Chicago's entire future into the hands of two players who have been unable to stay on the court.
Without Deng and Boozer, the Bulls will have roughly $47 million of the $58.679 million salary cap already tied up with player contracts, with the luxury tax limit at just over $71 million. This doesn't leave a lot of room for the Bulls to maneuver in the future.