Bulls fans have clamored for a new shooting guard for the past several months as the Bulls frequently fail to get adequate production out of our starting two guard. Derrick Rose has to do extra work without a second creator, and Keith Bogans isn't spacing the floor any either.
Here's some thoughts on guys the Bulls could attempt to acquire along with rough ideas of what it'd cost to acquire the player in trade, the short term fit, long term fit, and all of the details.
O.J. Mayo likely costs more than he's worth
Projected cost in trade: Gibson, 2011 1st, Charlotte 1st, filler
There are several problems with Mayo, starting with the fact that Gibson's probably equally valuable as Mayo to this team and Mayo will have considerable cost on top of throwing Gibson into the trade. Even the deal outlined above may not be enough.
Mayo has the skills we want in a SG. He can defend, he can shoot, he can become a secondary creator for our team. The problem with Mayo is that he's a high volume option who's worse than the volume options we have now. He's unlikely to be happy with 10 shots a game and more limited ball handling duties. He's not all that happy with his present role in Memphis which is significantly greater than what we'd offer him here.
On top of that, he's likely going to want 10+ million a year in terms of an extension, and for the role we want him to fill, he's certainly not worth it. On a team where he's closer to being the man, he might be, but he's probably the 4th or 5th option in our offense here.
I'd take a chance on Mayo if Gibson could be left out of the package, and we were just offering up picks, but I don't see Memphis jumping up and down cheering a package like that.
J.R. Smith isn't good enough for his baggage and it's hard to figure out an equitable trade
Projected cost: Cash + 1st + ???? + Nuggets have to trade Anthony
The hard thing about the filler salary with J.R. Smith is that Denver likely won't want to take multiple year salary since Smith is expiring. As such, it's going to be difficult to find the appropriate filler salary to make a trade work. If a trade for Smith is made, it's likely going to take a 3rd team who wants to add James Johnson or some of our two year salaries to give Denver an expiring.
In the end, he's a rental player with a ton of baggage and decent skills. He'd give us more offense than Brewer, more defense than Korver, and provide a secondary threat as a shooter. He's playing the same role for Denver that we'd want him to play for us, and while he can win games single handedly, he can lose them too. He'd be an upgrade in terms of skills as long as his attitude doesn't get in the way.
He's a questionable locker room guy, and he'd likely disrupt team chemistry. As a one year rental he's worth a try, but what do the Bulls give up to entice Denver into sending him to us? Cash? Picks? Do you give up the picks for a rental player?
Still, it's a marginal upgrade for the Bulls, a chemistry risk, and hard to figure out the trade that makes sense for both sides without a third team which probably raises the price.
Courtney Lee makes sense as a Bogans replacement but doesn't help you more than just not playing Bogans
Projected Cost: Cash + future 1st
I believe the Bulls have enough cap space if they waive John Lucas to absorb Lee without sending back anything to Houston. Add cash to the deal and maybe the Rockets are willing to give up on Lee because their guard rotation is crowded anyway.
However, the Rockets have been playing Lee over 20 minutes a game, and despite us looking at Houston like a doormat, they're only a game out of the 8th seed in the weakened western conference. Do they really give up a role player who's helping them for 3 million in cash and a late 1st?
Something could work here if Houston likes some of it's other guards. Lee'd be a decent fit for the team as he can shoot and defend better than Bogans and is a step quicker to the hole.
Aaron Afflalo probably isn't available but what if we overpay?
Projected cost: 2 1st rounders + James Johnson
He's young enough to play a long term role for the franchise, probably doesn't cost an unreasonable amount to extend, has a role player mentality, can drills hots from the outside, and defend at a high level.
Afflalo is your prime Raja Bell that the Suns had. He's not the best player out there, but he's a near perfect fit for what the Bulls want. He's probably not as valuable to Denver in a rebuilding effort, but he's still awfully valuable.
Would Denver consider trading him at all? If there's a player I'd go all in for on the trade market it might be Afflalo whom I see as a perfect fit, that said, he's a sub 15 PER guy, and likely costs you multiple picks.
I'd give up the bulls 1st, the Bobcats 1st, and some filler to grab him due to his exceptional fit, but even with those assets, the Nuggets may simply just say no. On the other hand, Afflalo will command a market value contract this off-season once he's making 5+ million a year, he may not look so valuable to them anymore.
Stephen Jackson is a possibility
Projected cost: Ronnie Brewer, James Johnson, Brian Scalabrine + bobcats 1st + Bulls 1st
The Bobcats probably want their pick back in the trade, and otherwise they'll likely look to just shed Jackson's contract. The Bulls don't have pure expirings, so they'll have to send out Brewer or Korver to match salary. I'd guess Brewer is the one to go in this scenario.
Jackson gives the Bulls a second perimeter shot creator, a solid defender, good shooter and positive locker room guy (he's a Rasheed Wallace type where his locker room presence is much better than his public opinion presence). He's played as a star and as a role player and seems likely to accept his role whatever it is with the capability to lead the team when required and play as an option otherwise.
The problem is his age. He's at the point in his career where his ability is about to fall off a cliff. Brewer and Jackson both have three years left, and I think Jackson's an upgrade this year, but next year it could be a wash, and Brewer's probably better in year three. Do you give up possibly two picks for a guy who helps you now and puts you in a worse financial situation and possibly worse on the court in year two and three?
Probably not. Maybe the cost for Jackson won't be so high. Maybe it won't take any picks at all. A lot depends on who else is bidding on Jackson though as they cost could be even more if another team can offer more cash savings by accepting him without sending back any salary via trade exception.
As much as we'd like an upgrade at SG, I find all of these trades unlikely. The Bulls are most likely going to go forward with what they have as it's difficult to come up with a trade that really fits the Bulls needs especially since they'd like an upgrade in both the short and long term but can't offer considerable cash savings to any team to acquire one.