Celtics Need LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Stay Far Away From Chicago

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Celtics Need LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Stay Far Away From Chicago While Stephen A. Smith may firmly believe that LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade will all end up on the Miami Heat as the free agent frenzy begins to sort itself out, the smart money seems to still be on King James and Bosh landing in Chicago.

Unlike the everyone-to-Miami scenario, which could be a blessing in disguise for the Celtics, it would be difficult to envision the Celtics maintaining their Eastern Conference crown with competition from a star-laden Bulls squad.

Sure, if Lebron and Bosh leave Cleveland and Toronto, those two teams will regress dramatically. Also, it still remains to be seen whether Bosh is just a 2010 version of Shareef Abdur-Rahim, a good-but-not-great player who put up great stats for bad teams. A LeBron-Bosh Chicago team, though, would likely start the season as title favorites.

What makes this hypothetical Bulls team so deadly is not just their star power, but their balance, chemistry and depth. Let?s consider their lineup.

Starters

  • Derrick Rose
  • LeBron James
  • Luol Deng
  • Chris Bosh
  • Joakim Noah

Bench

  • Taj Gibson
  • James Johnson
  • Flip Murray
  • Hakeem Warrick
  • Jannero Pargo

The latter three are free agents, but if Bosh and LeBron sign, Chicago would be hard pressed to find significant bench upgrades. They also have a few contracts to move.

In this situation, it would make sense to move Luol Deng, a small forward, in a sign-and-trade to clear space for James at the three. Furthermore, Chicago would have a gaping hole at shooting guard and entirely lack perimeter specialists. But a J.J. Redick-type player will likely be available and eager to join such a team. Whoever this shooter ends up being, he will certainly have a field day receiving kick-outs against defenses that are constantly forced to collapse on dribble penetration from the league?s most athletic players.

Having Bosh, a stretch power forward, on the floor would create space for dribble penetration, perfect for players like LeBron and D-Rose. Additionally, Joakim Noah, an athletic but undersized center who rebounds actively and makes himself available for backdoor cuts, would take this advantage to nearly unfair levels. To give the team versatility, Taj Gibson, who quietly developed into a poor man?s Glen Davis this past season, would provide a heftier option below the rim for the Bulls.

Derrick Rose
, a phenomenal athlete but mediocre jump shooter, could defer offensively as one of King James? two second bananas, to instead focus on using his physical gifts on the defensive end and as the league?s best slashing distributor.

As for LeBron himself, it?s hard to imagine him not thriving in such a context, and that may be a massive understatement.

But how would the C?s match up against such a team?

At point guard, the matchup is a near wash, as Rose and Rajon Rondo are rather similar players. Perhaps Rondo is the better shooter (slightly, given his stroke's development down the stretch this past season) and better defender, but Rose is the more explosive player.

The matchup at power forward, Kevin Garnett versus Bosh, can likewise be considered a stalemate, with Bosh perhaps the better offensive player at this point, but with KG still a stronger defender.

If Ray Allen and Paul Pierce do stay in Boston, the expected matchup would be Pierce on James, a battle that shifts further and further against the Celtics? favor as the years go by. Allen would be guarding a shooter/defensive guard to be named later. If the Bulls opt for a shooter, this could create an opening for Allen to be productive offensively, but perhaps the Bulls would be better suited to opt for a defensive-minded player given how many points the rest of the team would be capable of putting up.

At center, Kendrick Perkins would be facing the smaller Noah, a likely advantage at the offensive end, but with so much speed on the floor for Chicago, he would be very lucky to avoid foul trouble, a concern for the now Rasheed Wallace-less C's frontcourt.

Avery Bradley
may well turn out to be a budding star, and Boston may well win second quarters against the Bulls, but Chicago would surely have the advantage when each team?s starting five is on the floor.

The coaching matchup would be just as intriguing, pitting student Tom Thibodeau against teacher Doc Rivers. But Rivers has no clue what Thibodeau will do with this Bulls team, whereas Thibodeau knows exactly what Doc does with the current troupe of Celtics.

While the Celtics are aging and free agency has left the future of the franchise?s core up in the air, their window as one of the league?s elite teams is far from closed. With that said, we should hope that LeBron and company stay as far from Chicago as possible in the coming days.

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