Rose surgery: He gone, expect Bulls to start tanking

Rose surgery: He gone, expect Bulls to start tanking
Scott Strazzante, Chicago Tribune

While Rose is now officially out for the season after the team chose the long-term version of meniscus repair, Wilbon needs to stop with the Sayers comparisons already. This is just the conservative way to go with an injury that could have carried a return time of ~6 weeks, not another ACL tear.

Not that I blame the Bulls for being conservative instead of wanting him to come back ASAP, next summer's NBA draft class is looking to be one of the best ever. And the Bulls are sitting in a perfect spot to basically take the rest of the season off, win as few games as possible, and try to win the draft lottery and add another superstar talent to the team.

So it's time for the Bulls to look for the best draft pick they can get for Luol Deng, assuming they don't plan to resign him. They have until February's trade deadline, giving them time to find a small-market team that would like to have Deng's Bird Rights because they can't really compete with NYC and LA and Chicago for the elite free agents.

A team that is full of young players already and won't mind giving up a mid-to-late lottery pick for an established All-Star in his prime. Preferably a team in the West, but the only team I see that might have a high pick to deal is Denver (they own the Knicks' pick unconditionally), which doesn't have a single expiring contract on the roster.

The Nuggets are said to be looking to move Kenneth Faried, I guess because they don't want to pay him long-term, so the Bulls might be able to work out a 3-way trade with a team willing to take a contract or two from Denver. The Knicks might recover from their 3-9 start, but with Andrea Bargnani and JR Smith as their 2nd and 3rd leading scorers, that team could certainly implode- making their unprotected draft pick worth taking a gamble on.

They might be able to move Carlos Boozer for an expiring contract to a similar small-market team that isn't tanking, though I wouldn't expect to get much of a draft pick thrown in. Possibly a low 1st-rounder, which would of course be better than nothing. Ditto Taj Gibson, who is a starting quality PF for a team with an offensive-minded center.

The Bulls have just gotten very lucky long-term with this latest Rose setback, let's just hope they can take advantage. Like the Spurs with Tim Duncan and the Colts with Andrew Luck, you have to take the bad of the injury and turn it into a positive for the future.

If the Bulls could somehow land a top-3 pick next summer, while also adding Nikola Mirotic next season, this minor (in the long term) injury to Rose could be the event that transforms this from a veteran team to a younger team with a much longer championship window.

 

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    Don Ellis started covering sports professionally when he was 15. He attended Ball State University, and some of his past credits include InsideHoops (columnist) and ESPN Florida (The Florida Sports Reporters, SportsCenter anchor) . In addition to running Bullsville.net and writing for ChicagoNow, TheSportsBank.net, and SportsBlog.com, he is also a KHSAA and semi-pro baseball umpire. He's a 3rd-generation Cubs fan, a Bulls fan since the days of Van Lier and Sloan, and a life-long New England Patriots fan. Follow Don on Twitter @Bullsville.

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