By Ryan Thomas
The everlasting dramatic see-saw ride known only as the NBA Free Agency period has taken an unexpected twist. After analysts, bloggers, and fans alike had written off the Los Angeles Lakers as serious championship contenders, the front office exhibited a certain amount of patience that seems to have finally paid off.
The Lakers did it again, piecing together another blockbuster deal that will surely shift the balance of power in the NBA. After agreeing to a sign-and-trade deal with the Phoenix Suns that will bring in All-Star point guard Steve Nash to play alongside Kobe Bryant, Bulls fans can only sit and wonder at how this effects their own championship window.
The arrival of Nash in Hollywood only makes the Bulls' situation more difficult, who at one point this off-season were courting the two-time MVP. Dealing with a grocery list stock-full of injuries and unproven rookies, one can only hope that Bulls general manager Gar Forman has something up his sleeve. Trade rumors surrounding the team have seemed too cool, and after the Houston Rockets lavish investment in Omer Asik, there's a real possibility that the Bulls' fan favorite may be on his way out.
What now? After missing out on coveted scoring options such as Jason Terry and Ray Allen on the market, the only remaining solutions at this point seem to be on the trading block, if the Bulls are willing to part ways with a core piece, or a second-tiered free agent. Pending luxury taxes have hitteams around the league hard, as a result of back-loaded long-term contracts. At a time where most teams like to take an aggressive approach towards the open market, the Bulls have been forced to play the waiting game.