The Chicago Bulls have been the center of plenty of trade rumors this draft, and my guess is that the group of fans demanding action will likely end up disappointed in the end. Chicago is, theoretically, shopping Luol Deng and involved in a few trade scenarios.
However, let's note for the record that Luol Deng has been shopped at least four or five different seasons if you believe the rumor mill, and yet he remains. The problem [or perhaps the non-problem depending on your perspective] is that the Bulls aren't willing to trade Deng for peanuts and no one wants to offer more than peanuts.
I expect that to be the case again this season. He's had his name bandied about in rumors for the #1 and #3 picks in the draft, and despite the lack of star studded talent in the draft, Chicago would be nuts not to jump on either offer if it's on the table. That said, I'd be shocked if either offer is on the table unless an extension could be worked out as part of a trade, and there's not enough time for that to happen.
The rumors about the Bulls trading for Thomas Robinson make little sense to me unless they're part of a much larger package. I can't imagine that the Bulls want to add his 3.5 million dollars in salary, and it's hard to imagine the scenario involving a third team not sending Chicago back a similar salary package because if that team could take Robinson they'd trade for him directly.
Maybe this fits as part of the Wizards deal for the 3rd pick in the draft, that's about the only scenario that makes sense to me, but speaking of that scenario, the Bulls still take on considerable extra salary, and I wonder if they're really open to doing it. The salary slot for the 3rd pick is nearly 4.5 million, which means around 10 million in extra payout for Chicago this season, not to mention that Okafor makes a couple hundred k more than Deng.
Of course, I don't see us getting past the point where Washington just doesn't want to do this deal anyway.
When thinking about who the Bulls might select with the #20 pick, the only way this guy plays is if he takes on the fourth big man role. I know many people feel the Bulls have a hole on the perimeter, but they really don't. Five of our eight players under contract are wing guys (Rose, Hinrich, Teague, Butler, Deng) and three of those five should be very high minute players.
There's probably room for one more guy back there, but it's not necessarily a pressing need next season, and unless a rookie came in and played REALLY well, I don't think they'd find an immediate spot in the rotation. The Bulls will likely find someone who's simply a shooter at the vet minimum to come in and play 5-10 minutes a night purely as a floor spacer.
I see a much greater opportunity for someone to come in as the fourth big man than someone to come in as the sixth perimeter player. Especially since big men at the vet minimum typically promise to suck a lot more than perimeter players at the vet minimum. I think it's easier to find a vet minimum perimeter guy who can simply shoot or defend (but not both) than it is to find a big man at the vet minimum who can do anything other than be tall and foul.
However, one nice thing about this draft is that even if the talent level seems fairly low, the fits seem pretty good. There are a ton of seven footers who might be available around the Bulls pick who look like hustle players that could block some shots and play some defense. There are also quite a few shooting guards with holes in their games but who can shoot the rock.
It feels like Chicago should be able to find a player that fits their niche this year in the draft. Also worth noting, the Bulls have been unbelievably awesome in the draft. I know doubters of the front office won't want to admit this, but if you compare the Bulls draft record under the Forman/Paxson regime, it crushes pretty much everyone else in the league.
The one thing I'll note about that is director of college scouting Matt Lloyd left the organization last season to take a position with the Magic, and I'd have to imagine that he was fairly instrumental in their draft analysis. However, the Bulls clearly have an excellent scouting department and have done a great job of finding value with late picks.
I can't say I have enough draft knowledge to speculate on whom I'd want the Bulls to take, but I can say that I have enough faith in the Bulls drafting to be quite happy with whatever they end up doing and figuring it will work out.
Side note, I'm hosting an NBA draft gathering at my house tonight, if you're interested in going, feel free to shoot me your email address over twitter, and I'll email you back the relevant information [the party is out in Schaumburg, but I'm happy to pick people up/drop off at the metra station if you live downtown].
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