The Chicago Bulls need to make a significant upgrade in the backcourt in order to improve the squad to get past Miami. They'll also be facing a far stiffer cap system when basketball finally rolls around again. One solution to those problems is trading big for small.
It's important to realize that the Bulls need to maximize their assets. They presently have four high quality front court players, and while having four high quality front court players is ideal, the Bulls will pay around 40 million per year four the four of them in three seasons when Gibson and Asik are both on extensions.
With Rose making 15 million or so after his extension and Deng approaching that number, the Bulls will have virtually no salary room left to fill out a starting SG, backup PG, and backup SF positions on the roster.
The Bulls could wait another two seasons before getting completely pressed for salary, but Asik will be on an extension already and have less value while Gibson will then require a S&T likely yielding little in return.
If the Bulls look to trade Asik or Gibson now, they'll maximize value on the trade while shifting some of the talent from the front court to the back court.
Asik has one more cheap year left on his deal while Gibson has two, the new CBA should make it more reasonable for the new team to keep either one, and both will be restricted free agents. Both players should have solid trade value.
The Bulls need a dynamic backcourt player, and O.J. Mayo was available rumored to be available for Omer Asik last trade deadline. Trading for Mayo represents its own headaches, because he'll require an extension, but it shifts money from the front court to the backcourt more evenly distributing the Bulls funds among the positions on the court.
A trade of Asik and the Bulls non guaranteed trio (JL3, Pargo, and Bogans) for Mayo will work under the cap and save Memphis around 2.5 million in salary as well.
From a long term salary perspective, Mayo's new contract would replace the combination of Korver/Watson/Brewer, and the Bulls would likely look for a cheap backup PG [vet min] to help spell Rose. In the case of a Rose injury, Mayo could become the primary offensive facilitator.
The hope would then be that Nikola Mirotic comes to the team in two seasons to play the role of cheap fourth big man, while the Bulls would look to bring back Kurt Thomas for one more round or possibly sign Kenyon Martin for the playoffs when his CBA stint is over. They'd also need to look to swap out Brewer or Korver for a big man with some other team as well just to manage minutes and roster design.
The Bulls don't need to trade Asik, nor does Mayo need to be the target. They could also target Aaron Afflalo in a S&T with Denver, or possibly hope to get involved for Monta Ellis from Golden State [though salary becomes trickier there for the Bulls long term].
The point is, if you've already recognized that you can't keep everyone, because it's an inefficient use of funds, then plugging a hole now by using a guy who will be gone in a year or two makes a lot of sense.
Filed under: Trade rumors