10 Players The Chicago Bulls Got Rid Of Too Soon And 10 They Kept For Too Long

We could definitely make a list for every NBA team in North America, but in this list, we're going to take a look at a Midwestern team known as the Chicago Bulls. Even if you're not a Bulls fan, you're well-aware that the old-school Bulls rosters were a significant part of professional basketball history. The Bulls obviously put high-caliber players such as Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman on the top of their list, but there were plenty of other Bulls who deserved a little bit more attention from the fans, critics and everyone in between.

Like every other NBA team, Chicago had its good and bad years on the court. The Bulls, however, were a force to be reckoned with in the good old days of Michael Jordan. But, here's some food for thought, the Bulls' organization has made a plethora of bad decisions in the past, which probably hurt the team in one way or another. Since their dismantling of the championship team in 1998, the Bulls have continued to sink, safe for some promising years back when Derrick Rose was an MVP caliber player. However, when Rose's game slipped, so did the Bulls and suddenly their window to contend was slammed shut. The Bulls have since been spinning their wheels trying desperately to return to relevance.

Here are 10 players the Bulls got rid of too soon and 10 they kept for too long. As always, feel free to share your opinions in the comments section.

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21 Got Rid Of Too Soon: Nikola Mirotic

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Nikola Mirotic, an active power forward, is a Montenegrin-Spanish big man who was originally drafted 23rd overall by the Houston Rockets during the 2011 NBA Draft. Mirotic then signed a three-year, $16.6 million contract with the Chicago Bulls in July 2014.

In the midst of a coaching change from Tom Thibodeau to Fred Holberg, Mirotic landed a starting role ahead of Joakim Noah in the 2015 offseason. Mirotic, however, suffered quite a few injuries, including one from a physical argument with fellow teammate Bobby Portis.

Mirotic might've been in the wrong, but he was one of the most important scorers on the Bulls' roster from 2014 to 2018.

20 Kept For Too Long: Derrick Rose

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Don't get us wrong, Derrick Rose was once a star player who shined like a diamond in his hometown of Chicago as a member of the Bulls from 2008 to 2016. But Rose, a former first overall pick, tore his left ACL following his Rookie of the Year, All-Star and MVP/No. 1 seed campaigns, respectively.

After that, Rose continued to suffer injuries, and the Bulls eventually traded the former MVP to the Knicks.

Rose isn't a bad player. Rose just happened to be injury-prone, which pretty much hurt his NBA career. Rose hasn't been the same star point guard since the 2012 season. But the Bulls waited a couple too many year and didn't get the value they could have.

19 Got Rid Of Too Soon: Rajon Rondo

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You may not like Rajon Rondo, but he's sort of a player you'd want if given the chance to pick him up. Rondo, a former 21st overall pick, is a four-time All-Star who has led the NBA in assists per game on three separate seasons on 2012, 2013 and 2016.

Rondo spent the first eight years of his career in Boston, then brief one-year stints in Dallas, Sacramento, Chicago, New Orleans and now Los Angeles as a Laker. Rondo might've been a bad guy in Chicago, but the Bulls were unable to look past his shortcomings. As a result, Chicago lost to Boston in six games in the first round of the 2017 NBA playoffs just days after Rondo broke his right thumb.

18 Kept For Too Long: Marcus Fizer

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Unfortunately, there are some March Madness heroes who were busts in the NBA, and Marcus Fizer is a sad example of that.

Fizer, a former fourth overall pick, never lived up to the hype once he was drafted by the Chicago Bulls. Fizer spent four years in the Windy City from 2000 to 2004 before packing up his bags for his next team. Fizer never really found a place to call home. Fizer last played overseas for Defensor Sporting Club in Montevideo, Uruguay in 2015.

Fizer never averaged more than 12.3 points per game as a Bull. Many analysts suspected the Bulls solely drafted Fizer to trade him for another player, but no such trade ever took place. So it's safe to say Fizer was kind of stuck in Chicago.

17 Got Rid Of Too Soon: Jimmy Butler

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Jimmy Butler has one of those heartwarming, rags-to-riches stories to tell for years to come. But let's focus on Butler, a former 30th overall pick, who was originally selected by the Chicago Bulls. Butler spent six years in Chicago from 2011 to 2017.

Butler had become a staple of the Bulls' rotation by the end of the 2012-13 season.

The former Marquette and Tyler JC player was a four-time All-Star and was also named the 2014-15 NBA Most Improved Player.

The Bulls should've done what they could to keep Butler in Chicago for the long haul. Butler continued his stardom in Minnesota, and it's expected he'll form a superteam somewhere by next season.

16 Kept For Too Long: Eddy Curry

via chicagotribune.com

Eddy Curry, a former fourth overall pick, was originally selected by the Chicago Bulls during the 2001 NBA Draft. Curry spent four years in the Windy City before being traded to the New York Knicks in the Big Apple in October 2005.

Curry, however, had limited minutes during his rookie season with the Bulls in 2001. Curry may have improved in his second year in Chicago, but he was later hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat, which caused him to miss the final 13 games of the regular season as well as the subsequent postseason.

Curry was arguably a subpar center when he was healthy.

15 Got Rid Of Too Soon: Luol Deng

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Luol Deng is currently a free agent, but let's not forget the  small forward was a Duke product who was selected by the Phoenix Suns with the seventh overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft.

Following a trade, Deng spent 10 years in the Windy City from 2004 to 2014. While 10 years is far from a brief stint, the Bulls should've kept Deng around, as Deng was pretty underrated, before seeing his game slip in recent seasons.

Deng was also the Bulls' second leading scorer during the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals against LeBron James and the Miami Heat. It's a shame the Bulls traded Deng for a couple of now-nameless guys.

14 Kept For Too Long: Joakim Noah

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Joakim Noah was born in New York City, but the former Florida Gator relocated to the Windy City after the Chicago Bulls selected him ninth overall during the 2007 NBA Draft.

Noah spent nine years in Chicago from 2007 to 2016.

And frankly, nine years was a little too long, as Noah was off to a great start and also recorded his first career triple-double with 13 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in a game against the Milwaukee Bucks in February 2012. That triple-double was the first by a Bulls center since Artis Gilmore in 1977.

However, Noah's averages began to decline, which eventually led him to lose his starting spot to Nikola Mirotic during the 2015 preseason. The Bulls should've let him go earlier.

13 Got Rid Of Too Soon: Ben Gordon

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Unlike most other NBA players, Ben Gordon is a former shooting guard originally from London, England. Gordon, who played college basketball at Connecticut for three years from 2001 to 2004, was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the third overall pick during the 2004 NBA Draft.

Gordon spent five years in the Windy City from 2004 to 2009. As a Bull, Gordon became the first rookie to receive the NBA Sixth Man award at the end of the 2004-05 season. Gordon was also named the NBA's Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month three times. In addition, Gordon was voted into the NBA All-Rookie First-Team.

Gordon led the Bulls in scoring in the regular season and postseason before he was traded to the Charlotte Bobcats in June 2012.

12 Kept For Too Long: Carlos Boozer

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Carlos Boozer, a former power forward and center, was originally drafted in the second round with the 35th overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the Cavs released him and made him a restricted free agent, which sent him to Salt Lake City before a four-year tenure in Chicago.

Boozer averaged 17.5 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, despite the unfortunate fact that he missed the first 23 games of the 2010-11 season due to an injury.

Boozer, however, saw a decline in his production in 2011-12, as he averaged 15 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Boozer regrouped in 2012-13, but that apparently wasn't enough for the Bulls to keep him around.

The Bulls finally released Boozer in July 2014 through an amnesty clause, but we're pretty sure most other teams would've released him sooner.

11 Got Rid Of Too Soon: Elton Brand

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Elton Brand, a retired power forward and center, once played AAU basketball alongside future NBA players Ron Artest, who's better known as "Metta World Peace," and Lamar  Odom. Brand played college basketball at Duke from 1997 to 1999 and then got selected first overall by the Chicago Bulls.

Brand spent just two years in the Windy City from 1999 to 2001, which is a fact that might've been forgotten by basketball fans everywhere. Brand was once described as the linchpin of a potential brand-new Bulls dynasty in the early 2000s, but the former Duke star never got the attention he rightfully deserved for his performances on the court.

10 Kept For Too Long: Brian Scalabrine

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Brian Scalabrine, a former power forward, played college basketball at Highline College and USC. Scalabrine was part of USC's Elite Eight team in 2001. USC lost to Duke 79-69, but Scalabrine scored 13 points. Scalabrine also graduated from USC with a degree in history.

Scalabrine likely put his degree to good use, as his career was subpar to say the least. The former USC player was drafted 34th overall in the second round of the 2001 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets, where he was decent, but struggled with the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls.

Scalabrine played in just 18 games with the Bulls and averaged 1.1 points and 0.4 rebounds per game. That's pretty darn bad.

9 Got Rid Of Too Soon: Jalen Rose

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Who could forget Jalen Rose, someone who was a member of Michigan's Fab Five that reached the 1992 and 1993 NCAA March Madness Championship Games in back-to-back years.

Rose was originally selected 13th overall by the Denver Nuggets in the 1994 NBA Draft, where he spent two years before traveling to Indianapolis, where he spent six years from 1996 to 2002.

Then, Rose spent two years in Chicago from 2002 to 2004, which was fairly short. 

Rose was once part of the Bulls' much needed step towards respectability and also provided the much-needed veteran leadership the team needed at that time.

8 Kept For Too Long: Brad Sellers

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Brad Sellers, a former power forward and center, was selected ninth overall by the Chicago Bulls during the 1986 NBA Draft. Sellers played college basketball at Wisconsin and Ohio State, respectively.

Sellers was one of those players who never quite sat well with the players and coaches in the NBA. Sellers was reportedly a controversial selection among the Bulls' coaches and players, which was already not a good sign. Sure, Sellers' above average shooting ability was seldom for a player his size—7'0" and 210 lbs, but other players wanted their general manager, Jerry Krause, to draft Johnny Dawkins instead.

Sellers became a part-time starter in Chicago, but never averaged more than 9.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, which was a disappointment. The Bulls held onto their hopes for three years before trading Sellers to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1989.

7 Got Rid Of Too Soon: Taj Gibson

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Let's not forget Taj Gibson was drafted 26th overall by the Chicago Bulls during the 2009 NBA Draft out of USC, where he played college basketball for three years from 2006 to 2009.

Gibson spent eight years in Chicago, which sounds like a lengthy tenure, but at the same time, the Bulls shouldn't have let him reunite with his former coach Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota with the Timberwolves. In case you need a refresher, Gibson was selected to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2010, helped the Bulls take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against the Atlanta Hawks in 2011 and finished in second place for the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Award, losing to Jamal Crawford, in 2014.

6 Kept For Too Long: Dalibor Bagaric

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Dalibor Bagaric, a former center, had a three-year tenure with the Chicago Bulls, which is a fun fact that even diehard Bulls fans forgot about. Bagaric, as you may have guessed, began his career in Germany and Croatia. The Bulls drafted Bagaric with the 24th overall pick during the 2000 NBA Draft.

In case you were wondering why Bagaric was a forgotten Bull, the big man never averaged more than 2.6 points and 2.5 rebounds per game while in Chicago.

Bagaric eventually announced his retirement in June 2016, but some of us have already seen it coming several years before the official news came out.

5 Got Rid Of Too Soon: Pau Gasol

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As you should already know, Pau Gasol is the older brother of Marc Gasol. The Spanish big man hails from Barcelona, Spain, and was originally drafted third overall by the Atlanta Hawks during the 2001 NBA Draft.

Pau is a two-time NBA champion as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers in back-to-back years of 2009 and 2010. The former FC Barcelona player is best known for his time in Memphis as a member of the Grizzlies, but let's look at his brief, two-year tenure in Chicago as a Bull.

While in Chicago, Pau became the 38th NBA player to reach 10,000 career rebounds and the 36th with 10,000 points and rebounds in April 2016. The Bulls shouldn't have let go of a seasoned veteran to the Spurs like that.

4 Kept For Too Long: A.J. Guyton

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A.J. Guyton, a former shooting guard and point guard, was originally drafted 32nd overall in the second round by his hometown Chicago Bulls during the 2000 NBA Draft. Guyton played college basketball at Indiana University from 1996 to 2000.

Guyton was a pretty good player at Indiana, as he became the second Hoosier freshman to record 400 points, 100 assists and 100 steals in the 1996-97 campaign. Guyton's senior season was also successful, as he averaged 19.7 points per game.

Guyton, however, never amounted to much in the NBA. That being said, Guyton's two-year tenure with the Chicago Bulls didn't do him much justice on the court.

3 Got Rid Of Too Soon: Andres Nocioni

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Andres Nocioni, a retired power forward and small forward, probably isn't an NBA player you'll recall for the right reasons. In fact, Nocioni's physical style of defense created controversies around the league, as he committed a few hard fouls and received a suspension for one of them.

Nocioni spent five years in the Windy City as a member of the Chicago Bulls from 2004 to 2009.

The big man was named as the Bulls' Player of the Year in the 2005-06 season, but he was far from an elite player and he later suffered knee tendinitis, which ultimately affected what could've been in the 2008 Olympics, too.

2 Kept For Too Long: Corey Benjamin

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Corey Benjamin, a retired guard, spent just five years in the NBA. Benjamin, a Fontana, Calif. native, attended Fontana High School and played college basketball at Oregon prior to being selected 28th overall by the Chicago Bulls during the 1998 NBA Draft.

Benjamin spent three years in the Windy City from 1998 to 2001, which was sort of a long time for a forgettable draft pick the Bulls shouldn't have made in the first place. Benjamin never averaged more than 7.7 points and 1.1 assists per game as a Bull. Benjamin was pretty much a Bull who was unable to emerge from the stars' shadows.


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