Bulls fans will wonder whether it could have been us. I'm sure there will be calls for the front office to be sacked for not topping an offer that ultimately gave the Magic Aaron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Moe Harkless, and 3 future 1st rounders. Could the Bulls have beat the offer? Should they have taken the risk?
From what I had heard earlier, the Magic weren't particularly interested in veteran players that could keep them afloat but lacked high upside which makes the trade seem all the more crazy for the Magic. Aaron Afflalo is a solid player, but he's not a star potential player. Al Harrington's an aging scorer with a selfish game with three years left [though final two are only 50% guaranteed]. The Magic didn't appear to shed all that much negative salary either only parting with Jason Richardson which is offset considerably by taking on Harrington.
In the end, we'll see what they get out of the 3 1sts, but they basically got crap back for Dwight Howard and only moderately helped their financial situation. When I thought the Magic required young guys with star potential then I thought the bulls were probably out in the cold, but this deal? How do you not take Luol Deng and Joakim Noah + Rip Hamilton + 2 1sts for Jason Richardson and Dwight Howard if you're the Magic? How do the Bulls not make that offer?
There will always be the argument that Dwight Howard wouldn't have signed an extension, but presuming the Bulls refuse a sign and trade, where the hell else was he really going to go next year? Adidas may have been upset about him residing in the same city as Derrick Rose, but they'd be unlikely to want to destroy his image even more by encouraging him to move and negatively impact their other key star.
You have to wonder if the Bulls were starting this season with a healthy Rose if this deal gets done, and if the Bulls would have felt that with a healthy Derrick that they could convince Dwight to stay but with an unhealthy one it was a toss up. We'll never find out.
This was one of those very rare opportunities to swing for the fences though. It was a chance to have a dynasty. There were many ways it could have failed, perhaps epically. However, the path the Bulls are on is also likely to lead to failure as is every other path they're likely to take. Odds are always highest that you fail in this league.
The Howard move, while it may have become an epic failure if Howard split town, had the potential to also create a dynasty. It had the potential to bring a championship back to Chicago. There are no other moves I can think of [that the Bulls actually have a chance of pulling off] that have that upside. When you're an ECF/2nd round team that can make a move that's 50/50 going to make you a champion/finals caliber team if it works and a 1st round team if it fails then you take the chance.
It's much harder to move from where the Bulls are to the team holding the trophy than it is to move from the 1st round back up to where they are now. In the end though, it wasn't in the cards for Chicago. That's simply too bad, another opportunity like this likely won't come along soon.