Why it's time to tank

Why it's time to tank

Not all Chicago Bulls fans are comfortable playing for ping pong balls. The fans who've been with the team since the Jordan era can give plenty of reasons why playing for draft position isn't always such a hot idea. They go something like this.

1999: Elton Brand #2
2000: Marcus Fizer #4
2001: Tyson Chandler #2
2001: Eddy curry #4
2002: Jay Williams #2

That's five top four picks across four seasons and not enough to push the Bulls past 30 wins ever. I can give you four reasons why tanking is a good idea.

2003: LeBron James #1
2003: Carmelo Anthony #3
2003: Chris bosh #4
2003: Dwyane Wade #5

This draft coming up? It may not be as good as 2003, but it's one of the best in recent memory. Much better than the crap shoot that was the early 2000s where the draft sucked for several straight years and had no true marquee prospects.

The example has already been set. The Chicago Bulls lost a crapload of games when Michael Jordan missed nearly one year. That injury allowed us to get Scottie Pippen and contributed to six titles. I think Jordan, and the Bulls, would have won eventually, but they wouldn't have won six without that injured season.

The San Antonio Spurs lost David Robinson for a year and went full on tank to land Tim Duncan and went on to win four championships including an immediate rebuild into championship contention the following season.

This isn't a "get bad until we get a superstar" effort. This is a get bad by moving guys who aren't part of the future anyway, taking advantage of your superstar player who will miss the season anyway, and reap the rewards of a strong draft class to facilitate an instant rebuild and come back stronger in 2014/15 than you could doing anything else plan.

Now that name lacks the efficiency of "the 2010 plan", but it has as much upside if it's successful.

Aim for 2015/16

That's when the Bulls should aim to strike to win the title.

First, it makes sense that if Derrick Rose will return to superstar form that 2015/16 is more likely to happen than 2013/14 where he'll still be trying to get a feel for the game again.

Second, the Bulls need time to retool and grow together. They're going to need to mix up their roster considerably regardless of whether they tank, and it will take time for the young pieces to integrate into the NBA and find their games. At a minimum, Nikola Mirotic is going to fit that scenario and possibly their draft choices from this season.

Third, the Miami Heat may or may not stay together after this season, but they're unlikely to be the domineering force in 2015/16 that they are today. Dwyane Wade is clearly on the way down, and they'll need to replace their aging cast without having much in the way of assets.

Finally, there aren't any other unstoppable teams being built to replace the Heat when they start to slip.

Given you aim to strike in two seasons...

It's time to evaluate how good every piece on the roster will look in two more seasons. Are Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson guys you want around when they're 30? Can you move one or both for picks now? Do you want Luol Deng on a contract making 14 million per season at age 31 with a couple seasons left?

I'm fairly certain most fans already agree that Carlos Boozer is out.

If you're going to move any player for assets that include draft choices. Now is the time. You want to load up in a stacked draft class where starting caliber players are more likely to be found in the mid rounds and the late picks will still have plenty of rotation guys left.

If you can get that star player in the top few picks by tanking even better, and loading up on more choices makes that even more likely.

The Bulls can't and shouldn't trade everyone. Luol Deng should definitely move if there's any interest at all [as I've noted in several posts]. Noah and Gibson are guys who should be dealt if they value is particularly good, or if the organization doesn't see them holding up well.

An inventory of potential assets at the start of 2015

2014 Bulls pick
2014 Charlotte pick (likely)
2015 Bulls pick
Marquis Teague, 22-24 years old
Tony Snell, 24-26 years old (technically 23-25, but birthday 2 weeks into the season)
Nikola Mirotic 24-26 years old
Jimmy Butler, 26-28 years old
Derrick Rose, 27-29 years old
Joakim Noah, 30-32 years old
Taj Gibson, 30-32 years old
Luol Deng, 30-32 years old

You're looking at building a three year title window starting in this season. It's important to have the right mix of veteran talent and youth when going for it.

Deng is likely gone due to expense anyway. Teague looks like he might be gone due to stinking at basketball, but we'll leave him on the list for now.

Noah, Gibson, Butler, Mirotic, Snell, and Rose make up a pretty good core depending on how Butler and Snell mature and play together. The pair look like they'll complement each other well. That group gives the Bulls a player at every position and a reserve big man.

In order for that group to be the core of a championship team without a significant piece added, Derrick Rose needs to return to superstar form, Nikola Mirotic needs to become a top 15 caliber player in the NBA, and Butler and Snell developed into above average starting caliber players.

Noah and Gibson would need to simply avoid fading out. All in all, not overly likely but not entirely out of the realm of possibility.

If the Bulls tank this year and land a top five pick, trade Luol Deng for a mid round first then the odds shift considerably. Instead of banking solely on Mirotic, the Bulls will have an excellent chance of getting that star player from the draft as well.

Instead of requiring Butler/Snell to become above average players, the Bulls will have three picks to potentially fill out the rotation instead of two.

The nice thing about this is that after the restructure the Bulls situation looks something like this:
1: Derrick Rose (superstar if he can recover)
2: Nikola Mirotic (extremely high upside prospect)
3: 2014 Bulls pick (if tanked) (extremely high upside prospect)
4: Jimmy Butler (versatile high quality forward)
5: Joakim Noah (quality big on decent deal)
6: Taj Gibson (quality big on decent deal)
7: Tony Snell (hopefully rotation caliber player)
8: 2014 Charlotte pick (should be a rotation caliber player)
9: 2014 pick from Deng trade (hopefully a rotation caliber player)
10: 2015 pick (who knows)
11: Marquis Teague (maybe he's around or maybe not)

Looking at that list of assets, the Bulls have no bad salary, tons of guys on rookie contracts, and could easily facilitate a big trade, their own internal rebuild, or potentially sign play the free agency market when Joakim and Taj expire. In short, the Bulls will still have a high quality roster with the potential to compete for a title if things work out, but tons of flexibility to make changes if they don't.

The key is to act now to maximize their potential going forward rather then making the playoffs to get annihilated in a farcical match up. We know it's not happening this year, so it's time to San Antonio this thing and improve for the next decade.

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Tags: chicago bulls, nba, tank

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  • AGREE 100% DOUG, and love the photo!
    That is truly a picture that speaks a thousand words.

    Look at Bulls current roster and every player except Mike James, Nazr, Dunleavey, and Boozer is a Bulls draft pick (9 total). Even our brightest hope, Mirotic, is a Bulls draft pick (10 total). So how can anyone think Bulls have a real shot at creating an NBA Champion any way besides drafting?

    This is not a front office that makes blockbuster trades, nor attracts bigtime free agents. That’s why I agree "Tanking to improve Bulls own pick in the very strong 2014 draft" is the Bulls only hope to add a TRUE STAR to our chronically injured star (Rose) and marginal/fake all-stars (Deng, Noah, Boozer) two of whom are probably exiting anyway..

    TANK HARD 2014 Let's print the t-shirts.

  • In reply to Edward:

    The Bulls are smart enough to make trades for draft picks to get the players they want:

    They traded Eddy Curry for the Noah pick (and the Tyrus pick, which is now the Charlotte pick)

    They traded a future 1st to draft Deng

    The Bulls built a dynasty around draft picks- Jordan, Pippen, Grant, Armstrong, Kukoc.

    I can't for the life of me understand why people want to tank but don't think Mirotic is going to be a 2nd option? He would be a lottery pick easily in this draft, one of the guys teams would be tanking for- and he's coming over much, much more NBA ready than these guys who have played one year of college ball.

    They traded James Johnson for a pick, and traded that pick with another one to draft Mirotic

    They traded Thabo for the Gibson pick

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Sure they are. I think we are in agreement on this. The draft is where Bulls front office excels. And Bulls are good at making small trades like draft day move ups, and salvaging a 1st they aren't completely happy with (such as the Thabo and Johnson trades you mention and don't forget the Tyrus salvage trade), all those players being Bulls draft picks in the first place. Which further proves the point that the draft is the way Bulls can rebuild this team.

    Doug's point is, for 2014 Bulls needn't engineer a trade in a draft where teams will value their picks very highly, they just need to tank their own pick, they control their own destiny. Further, with punitive Luxury and Repeater Taxes it may be more difficult to secure draft picks through trades than in the past, as rookie contracts have become more desirable in this harsh tax environment.

    If Bulls can get a 2014 draft pick for UFA Deng I will be very impressed. Can they get a pick for Teague whom they clearly don't want? Very Doubtful. But they can tank their own first round pick and should do so, imo. This season is pointless and should be used as an opportunity to better prepare for the future.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Yeah we agree, except for the part about the Bulls controlling their own destiny if they tank. They do to a certain point, sure, but not completely.

    They can't control how hard other teams tank, and they can't control how the Ping-Pong balls bounce. I'm sure you remember after the dynasty broke up, the Bulls sucked for 5 straight years but got zero luck in the lottery.

    Just to be clear, I'm all for tanking if they don't plan to keep Deng. Trade him ASAP, even if you get nothing in return (which is the most likely scenario), at least you're in the running for the top of the lottery.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    But those post-dynasty drafts were some of the weaker in history, as Doug pointed out in his article, so not really a good point of comparison with this year's strong and deep draft.

    Since your in, I'll send you a TANK HARD 2014 t-shirt!
    But wait, I need to call Pat Riley's attorney to have him register the trademark.

  • In reply to Edward:

    True, but I was more referring to the bad luck of where our picks wound up..

    The Bulls had the worst record (tied with Golden State) in 2002, but only got the 2nd pick. JayWill instead of Yao, ouch.

    1999, we moved up from 3rd to 1st.

    In 2000, we had the 2nd worst record but only got the 4th pick.

    In 2001 we had the worst record but picked 4th.

    The only player we missed out on was Yao, but every year but one we moved down in the lottery, that was all I meant.

    I think Parker, Wiggins and Randle are all pretty much locks to be better players than Deng, but outside of those 3 there are some future All-Stars, but no sure-fire superstars like the top 3.

    And Riley already trademarked TANK HARD back in 2008, I'm sure his lawyer will argue that the year is irrelevant.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Everyone knows Riley trademarked Threepeat, not Tank Hard, and it was way back in the 80s. If that was an attempt at humor you need work on both your content and delivery...

  • In reply to Edward:

    I guess I can't know all I do about the Bulls and be funny as well...

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Good points, but Yao still was not so great. A few good years only. Jay williams was awesome at Duke... Coach K might just rank him in the top 5 guys that he's coached. It was strange to see him struggle early in his NBA career - and then he got injured so it was a moot point.

    Looking back, some drafts are just brutal and there is nothing that can be done.

    Cleveland seems to have the same problem that the Bulls had in the post-Jordan era... they have drafted at the top of some weak drafts.

    Just goes to show how rare superstars are... while the top 10 of the 2014 draft looks amazing, only a 3-4 guys max will be perennial all-stars.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Yao was at least great for 2-3 years, I think that's more than all the other guys near the top of the 1999-2002 drafts combined.

    The Bulls just picked the wrong 4 years to tank, when a guy who only played 7 seasons (but he was All-NBA in 5 of 6 seasons, so he was great for 5 years anyway) is the best player out of FOUR drafts combined.

    I never like JayDidn't, I wanted Krause to trade down and draft Tayshaun. But, oh well.

    And you nailed the problem with tanking this season - it's a long way down (meaning almost impossible to get to a bottom-3 record), and unless you get Wiggins or Parker or Randle, it's a crap shoot on which other guy becomes a star.

    But assuming we're keeping Deng, I'd still dump Boozer and Dunleavy and give Murphy and Snell (and Teague) all the minutes they can handle.

  • Doug I agree with you 100% but in your honest opinion do you think the bulls are brave enough to do a rebuild and get off their assets

  • In reply to cashofb:

    That's the question. Plus if they trade away, let's say, Deng and Noah, some fans will accuse the Bulls of trying to save money.

    What also matters, though, is whether the rest of the league sees enough value in the Bulls players to part with assets to get them. Nobody outside of Chicago ever seems to value our players as highly as the Bulls do.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Yea well the bulls have always over valued their assets and at this point I think you probably only Get 50 cents on the dollar for deng and 75 if your lucky for Noah everyone is expendable but im fine if we keep Noah and taj but Deng should of been gone yesterday and if boozer can't be traded I'd amnesty him right now

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Ah, as some ancient bard was want to say, Therein lies the rub.

  • Doug’s suggestions and best case scenarios are calculating and well thought out. However, it is highly unrealistic to think the Bulls can land a top 5 pick in this year’s draft. The coach is too good to allow for a poor enough record to accomplish that. The immediate question moving forward is simple. Does management have the guts to stand up to the dopey critics, who would oppose the trading of Deng, Boozer, and Hinrich for pennies on the dollar? These players are not part of the future, and will not fortify the Bulls draft position the longer you keep them around.

  • In reply to RichG:

    In order to get the top 5 pick, you need to move Deng, Hinrich, and one of the bigs for guys who stink and future assets. If you do that and leave the team with a PG rotation of Mike James and Marquis Teague even Thibodeau won't generate many wins.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I know this comment may provoke some criticism, but Bulls tank thus far came about through injuries to Rose and Butler. Bulls are a frontline or Hinrich injury away from tanking under their own weight.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    What it comes down to is: Can Thibodeau, Noah, Butler, Gibson, and a bunch of scrubs be better than Utah, Sacramento, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Boston (with Toronto, Detroit, Charlotte, and Phoenix waiting in the wings)? It's a close call. The trouble is, I'm not sure anyone would take Boozer? Teams would definately take Deng and Hinrich.

  • In reply to RichG:

    Keeping boozer doesn't hurt the tank effect, exactly how many games has he won for us this season, or over the past 3 for that matter. Hint, the number is at best equal to the effort that he puts forth on D, zero.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I'm not a Boozer fan either, but if you look at it realistically, his rebounding and offense will help Chicago win some games this year. If you want to tank, you're better off not having him at all.

  • In reply to RichG:

    Outside of irrational, over-the-top, pure hatred, of course Boozer will help us win a few games this season.

    I'd love to see us trade him for Ben Gordon's expiring- Gordon won't help us win any games, and it would be hilarious when the Bulls didn't resign him next summer. Or they could just Tim Thomas him and tell him we're not interested, we need to develop Butler and Snell at SG so we don't need him chucking for one last contract.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    A few short weeks ago, he was actually the best player on the Bulls. Of course, that couldn't last.

    Don Ellis thinks he could be traded for an expiring. Don't believe that will happen, but cheers if it does. I bet the Bulls FO would even throw in $5 or 6 million of his salary next year.

  • In reply to RichG:

    To play the lottery you got to buy a ticket. Even if you don't get down there to the absolute worst record you can get lucky. 1.7% anyone? And the Bulls wouldn't even need to get 1st pick lucky, any of the top 3 are #1 pick quality this year.

  • But Sam says that if the Bulls follow the Spurs' example it will create a losing culture.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    Sam smith is a clown he writes the most biased bs articles I've ever seen I hope he doesn't really mean the things he says and just says them cause he writes for bulls.com and has to be biased

  • In reply to bjb57:

    I like Sam but he's wrong on this one. A "losing culture" does not carry from year to year unless you have bad talent and/or bad coaching.

  • I think Deng will be gone by the end of the season. How much is Cleveland shopping Waiters? I feel like Shumpbert is a better option for them, but Deng would definitely bring value to their team (problem is he's only a rental).

    I think moving forward the biggest question is whether or not you see the bigs as contributing to the next title window. Does a 30 year old Noah bring the same high level as the current version? If not, who do you replace him with?

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    the answer was obvious to some of us 2 years ago, Asik.

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    Asik isn't nearly as good as Noah, I'm glad for that choice. At least according to every ranking I found on the 1st page of Google (just a random search for "rank NBA centers"):

    USA Today- Noah 3, Asik 12
    Sporting News- Noah 7, Asik not in top 15
    Bleacher Report 2013-14- Noah 5, Asik not in top 5
    Hoopsworld- Noah 5, Asik not in top 11
    Heat Blog- Noah 3, Asik 17
    OrlandoMagic.com- Noah 6, Asik not in top 8
    Bleacher Report April 2013- Noah 6, Asik 16

    One GM was quoted as saying that Houston's asking price for Asik was "delusional". I agree. He was just a FA, and only Houston thought he was even worth 3/25. Teams could have traded for Asik then in a sign and trade, and nobody was interested.

    We shall see what they get for him, teams obviously aren't beating down their door fighting over Omer.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Omer is a situation where Houston overvalues its player kind of like some people think the Bulls do. I think they had the idea of reviving the twin towers marketing they had with Hakeem and Samson. Similar with Lin. Houston made a lot of hay in asia having Yao around, they didn't want to lose that. Both good players, but worth more to Houston than any other squad.

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    Shumpert has potential and showed some of it in NY before he got hurt. Dent for Shumpert would be a good move for the Bulls. Still, there is some risk - he might not work out, but that is also true of most draft picks.

  • Agree 1000%. Again, does Bulls mgt agree? Thibs will not tank, but will GarPax? It's been mum (ie, business as usual) so far from GarPax.

    1. Deng seems to be improving his trade value. If he can be "showcased" and average over 20 ppg on around 45% FG percent while shooting anything close to 30% from deep, he'll have value. It sort of pisses me off seeing him play so well when it does not count, but it will all end well if we can get a decent 1st round pick for him.

    2. Noah and Gibson are tough calls. I go back and forth because 30 is not that old. I think Noah is a bit over-rated and his contract is not that great going forward, as he makes around $14 mil in his last season. Outside of passing and hitting his free throws, he provides no offense. This would be fine if he were a rim protector, but he is average at best in that crucial category. Gibson does not have many miles on his legs and his shooting seems to be improving. I'd lean toward trading Noah because he's worth more than Gibson and I think he's over-rated by GMs, at least I hope! (Assuming you can get a decent 1st, or two firsts...)

    3. Trading Hinrich would be the biggest under-the-radar tank sign. Giving all your minutes to James and Teague could guarantee a bottom 10 finish - even with keeping everyone else! (Hey, so, Teauge does have value after all!)

    Bottom line: I don't care what people say about Deng's trade value. If Ainge was able to trade his washed up stars for 3 draft picks and swapping out a 4th, then why can't Chicago facilitate something similar with it's much younger guys?! I realize that Boston took back a lot of salary and is still in the tax while tanking - and that is one big reason why. But, there must be another team out there that will trade picks - 2014 and/or future picks.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Granby, you hit-the-nail-on-the-head! Those draft picks must be purchased by taking back bad salary, they don't come from player value as much as fans think. Finance often prevails.

    Taking back bad salary (in excess of Deng's contract) is exactly what Bulls refused to do to acquire the Maloof brother's 2012 No.5 pick. Will Bulls do so now? It's expensive for Bulls because they have to pay luxury tax in addition to the excess (greater than Deng's) salary.

  • In reply to Edward:

    This is why I don't actually believe that the bulls will trade Deng, even if they decided to tank. They have to win every trade, financially and basketball wise, so nobody will deal with them.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Boston's old guys were a unique case. Ainge found a filthy rich owner (Prokerov) who was willing to give up all his draft picks for a chance to win this year. It's unlikely the Bulls find another pidgeon like that.

  • In reply to RichG:

    Both funny and true.

  • Great article Doug. Regarding the stacked draft of this year, is there a consensus on where Mirotic would be ranked if he was entering the draft this year with intent on coming over immediately as opposed to being a previously drafted bulls asset? He is a player whose value is very difficult to judge but this can help provide a better range.

  • In reply to AlanJ:

    I think Mirotic would go #1 this year, but likely only Bulls fans think about it.

  • since we're talking about draft, value and trade. the houston rockets are said to be asking for two 1st round picks and more for Omer Asik, the valuable 7 foot center the Bulls let slip away because they didn't do their homework and gave a 2 year deal instead of 3 year deal because probably they had tax and cap concerns on their mind. I just hope the Bulls learned the lesson and retain valuable assets in the future, I liked how they turned James Johnson into Nicola Mirotic, we need more of that and less of Asik blunders.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    The Bulls aren't stupid enough to "not do their homework", they invented some of the things you now see all teams doing (front-loaded contracts, the swapping of first-round picks to get around the trade restriction on them)- they had no reason not to at least get a team option on Asik's 3rd year.

    The team option would have eliminated any of the "tax and cap concerns" they had.

    They signed Nocioni for 3 years when he first came over. They drafted Mirotic knowing that it would take 3 years before they could pay him.

    I'm sure his agent insisted on 2 years, he and Asik knew he wasn't going to be a starter ahead on Noah. He came here to be a starter, plain and simple.

    Hell, there was no reason for the Bulls not to give him 3 guaranteed years, the 3rd year would have been for $2 million. There are no "luxury tax and salary cap concerns" over a deal that small.

    It makes ZERO sense that the Bulls "were stupid" and PERFECT sense that Asik wanted an out as quickly as he could get it. But if people need that badly to hate on the front office, be my guest.

    It is ridiculously stupid to have traded Asik for a draft pick in the middle of a season where we had the best record in the league and were many folks' favorites to win the championship.

    Name one other seriously contending team in NBA history that has traded away a rotation player for a draft pick because they might not be able to resign him, and I'll change my statement that "Asik blunder" is one of the dumbest statements anyone has ever uttered. And so many Bulls fans have uttered it, it's downright freaking comical.

    I'll never understand why so many Bulls fans have their heads so far up their asses that they can't see that 99% of expiring contracts EXPIRE and the players become free agents and their team gets nothing in return. Except, of course, the open roster spot to get another team's player "FOR NOTHING" as that team lost their expiring contracts "FOR NOTHING".

    If someone wanted to be serious in making the "losing for nothing" argument, they'd give all the examples of the return teams get for their expiring contracts. But if they cared about the truth, they'd find out that expiring contracts have pretty much zero value. You can get in return a player who almost certainly isn't as good as you can get in free agency by just letting the contract expire.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Of course the one exception to that scenario is 4th year rookies- they are about to become RFA, and the team that holds their rights has a huge advantage in resigning the player. But it's still pretty rare that one of those guys gets traded.

    Because usually it's a crap player like Tyrus, of course, since teams want to resign their good players coming off rookie contracts.

    You really can't fault the Bulls now that we've seen how Asik acted, he wants out of Houston because he isn't starting and it would have been the same story here. Yes the Bulls could have matched the Houston offer sheet and hoped to trade him, but how big of a distraction would it be once he went public with his trade demands?

    HOU only offered him about $2 million a year more than the Bulls, but people want to be blind and ignore that. They didn't match because Omer didn't want to be here, the extra $2 million a year again isn't much, about 3% of the salary cap.

  • Agree Doug that would be the smart path. Probably doesn't happen as GarPax has long showed a reluctance to trade guys they like ahead of them leaving. I think they hold Deng and he walks or worse resigns...

    Only "recent" trades of players for picks that I recall were ones in which they were basically forced to move a player ala Eddy Curry and Tyrus Thomas. Hinrich if you count sending a pick to get rid of his salary.

    I hope they do take this approach especially with Rose out for sure for the year maybe that will be the difference from how GarPax handled last year. No possible light at the end of this tunnel so might as well make the best of a bad situation and mount a suck for Wiggens or Parker campaign.

  • Seems more like Bulls FO style to trade current assets for assets that are a) more of sure-thing and b) further in the future than one year away. See: mirotic, charlotte pick, etc. etc.

    This seems to me like a prudent way to do things assuming you're in the mode of primarily using your own draft talent which a) the Bulls have always done and b) which most teams, Bulls included, will be forced to do under the current cap restrictions etc.

    Done smartly you could assure yourself of a great pick or asset coming in every year on the cheap. Granted, those assets need to work out, but you'll likely always be competitive as long as you can get some (sucker) team to buy your about-to-be-out-of-their prime assets for future picks etc. that they don't have the foresight to hold onto.

    I expect Gar/Pax (at best) to make some non-splashy move that for the future pick(s) of other teams beyond the 2014 horizon. Everything else feels too risky for them. If they take the risk and it doesn't work out...then what? As for 2014, let's hope Charlotte lands the 11th pick.

  • Very nice article, Doug. I, along with most fans, agree in principle.

    However, reviewing the following:
    "1999: Elton Brand #2
    2000: Marcus Fizer #4
    2001: Tyson Chandler #2
    2001: Eddy curry #4
    2002: Jay Williams #2

    That's five top four picks across four seasons and not enough to push the Bulls past 30 wins ever."

    OK. But Brand was a great pick (at #1 BTW). He became a Rookie of the Year, averaging 20 pts and 10 rbds per game. If his clone was there at #1 this next draft, I would take him. Very, very solid PF for years.

    Chandler was OK with Chicago, took too long to develop, but Bulls messed up giving him away for nothing. Could later have traded Chandler for Gasol.

    Jay Williams would have become an Allstar if he hadn't ruined his body in the motorcycle accident. I'd make the same pick again.

    But it shows clearly that a lot more than one good piece is needed, even if that piece is a MJ or LeBron. Which you said in your podcast comment about Pippen helping bring the Bulls 6 rings.

    Some fans want to hang onto Deng or Noah. I like them too, at least on many nights. Now, however, is the time to go for youth. Two borderline Allstars have proved to be insufficient alongside Rose. Need quite a bit more. The FO needs to go for it!

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Yes, I say go for it. If there are multiple college players that are solid and that could be had inside the top 20, tank and try to attain another pick.

    You hope that a Bulls tank job could get them a top 7 or 8 pick. Then, you hope Charlotte gives you a pick between 11 and 15. Then, you hope to get another pick or two (maybe one for next year, also a strong draft) from unloading one or more of Deng, Noah, Gibson, Hinrich, Dunleavy.

    If Asik is worth 2 #1s, why aren't the Bulls players worth about that amount?

  • In reply to Granby:

    Asik isn't worth 2 #1's.

    I'd take 7 or 8, but I'd rather make the playoffs as the #8 seed and get pick #15. Get Snell and Murphy and Teague and Butler some playoff experience.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I disagree I think Asik is easily worth two firsts. Assuming they are later picks.

    Here is why:
    He is a starter at a position of rarity. (evidence Nazr Mohamed)
    He is a top 5 defender at his position.
    He is on a value contract.

  • In reply to Chad:

    If we're talking two picks in the 20's, possibly.

    But what' does Nazr have to do with it? He makes the minimum, and he isn't a starter. Asik is an average starting center, according to all the unbiased rankings I posted.

    He's a top 5 defender, but a bottom 5 offensive player. Which is why he's ranked around #15 overall among centers.

    His "value contract"- which is actually market value, about what he should be paid, it's no bargain- expires after next season. First round picks can be kept on the actual cheap for four years.

    Speculate away, but all we know now are the facts: Nobody contacted the Bulls about trading for Asik in the summer of 2012, and nobody thought he was worth more than 3/25, so I don't see why 100 games later he is worth two 1st-round picks.

    It seems to me that if 3/25 were a "value" contract, someone would have offered him more.

    Omer is a nice, average starting NBA center. He isn't overpaid at all. But he is far from the god so many Bulls fans make him out to be, at least to every NBA team (outside of HOU).

  • I assume amnestying Boozer very quickly is part of the plan? and I assume you can amnesty in mid-season?

  • In reply to Gunga:

    Nope, only in the off-season.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    One can, however, cut his playing time if you are really serious about tanking. Easy enough to tank without that extreme strategy though.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    True, but you don't want to kill his trade value, either.

    As screwed up as the standings are so far, I can easily see a young team that wants to make the playoffs or avoid Miami/Indy in Round 1 giving up an expiring for Boozer. He can score sometimes for a team that struggles on offense.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I would like to see that happen, but I doubt it -- because of his big salary next year! But I would be glad to be proved wrong on this.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Thibs is cutting his playing time right now, but not to tank, he is doing so because he believes that it gives the Bulls the best chance to win, so I guess that Thibs inadvertantly agrees with me on playing boozer equals tanking equation. I guess that means that Thibs is also not an intelligent basketball mind, at least according to someone around here.

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  • Even with all this talk of tanking and trades and injuries, it is still fun to watch a thriller of a game like this! Lets go Bulls!

  • Don't see why any fan wouldn't want to follow a tanking team, that was intense. Fantastic effort by the Bulls to pull out the loss when it nearly slipped away from them on any number of occasions.

  • The tank rolls on... despite Thibs' and his roster's best efforts.
    When will management realize and act upon the realization that this Bulls roster is not close to contending and needs a major upgrade in STAR TALENT, realistically only available to Bulls in the 2014 draft? Hopefully soon....

    TANK HARD 2014

  • In reply to Edward:

    I think now they do realize it, but how do they fix it? Get higher draft picks the next 2 drafts and HIT with them. Maybe pick up a superstar FA or in a trade, but the cap will prevent that unless they dump a lot of salary. Easier written than done.

  • It's amazing how we have so many experts here who have never won anything? Look at San Antonio and how they were smart enough to keep two or three veteran players to teach the rooks the nuances of the game. That's why the Bulls need to keep at least Deng and Gipson and/or Noah. We need a combination of youth and veteran experience even when tanking is the goal. Besides that, championship teams must have leadership on the floor and also in the locker room. Have you experts overlooked these points?

  • In reply to penwit1:

    You have a valid point but it only goes so far. Because San Antonio's veterans are TRUE STARS not fake/marginal stars like the Bulls players you mention.

    To WIN Championships (not merely contend (which some here mistakenly believe a 2nd round playoff appearance or victory constitutes) TRUE STARS are required and Bulls single true star is chronically injured.

    So the problem with Bulls roster isn't lack of veterans, it is a lack of TRUE STARS combined with paying their fake/marginal stars like they are TRUE STARS instead of the good role players they actually are.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Yeah, that is a problem, isn't it? Some fans want Deng resigned for $12 or so million per year, but a few of those on a roster and the team can never sign a superstar FA to bring them the championship. It is not about how much you wish to spend, it is about how much the rules allow you to spend without the crushing Repeater Tax kicking in.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    The problem isn't Deng, 60% of the max for a multiple-time All-Star and All-Defense player is a bargain.

    The problem is Boozer, once his contract is replaced with Mirotic making less than 1/2 what he does, we'll be fine.

    Rose and Mirotic will make ~$25 million between them, pretty good for a team's #1 and #2. Deng and Noah will make ~$25 million between them, pretty good for 2 All-Stars to be your #3 option on offense (and 2 All-Defense guys).

    That's only $50 million, you have $25 million to spend on the other 9 players before you even get to the Luxury Tax. So ~$30 million if you go $5 million over the LT (which is only $12.5 million in LT, even in the "dreaded repeater tax" zone, which the Bulls won't get into).

    On a side note, how can anyone doubt Mirotic because he's a Euro while at the same time having Asik down their throat? Wasn't Asik one of those Euros? How'd his game translate? Why wouldn't Mirotic's?

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    In 2010 Gerald Wallace was an all star and 1st team all-defense. He was also a year younger than Deng is now. Only 3 1/2 years later he's one of the worst players in the league.

    Time happens. Don't assume that what Deng is doing today makes him good value on his next contract.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Wallace is a nice example of a player who dropped off severely after age 30.

    Of course, I could always counter that with the 23 players who made their first All-Star Game at age 30 or later.

    Wallace was a player whose game relied almost solely on his athleticism- Deng is a cerebral player, he's never been overly quick or strong or vertically blessed. I'm quite confident that he won't drop off much by age 32.

    Wallace also isn't the brightest tool in the shed, Deng knows how to play the game.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    We are in 100% Agreement!

  • Got it!

    Deng and cash to MIN for JJ Barea, Alexey Shved, D. Cunningham, Shabazz Muhammad and a 2014 #1 (picks 1-13 only).

    MIN has to give their #1 away to Phoenix if it is outside the top 13, but if not they can include it in this deal and convey it to us. If not then we get the option to swap in 2015.

    This trade helps Minnesota fill a need in an ultra competitive West, we get luxury tax savings this year, the potential for another lottery pick and Muhammad (a 2013 late lottery pick). The rest is filler/depth.

  • fb_avatar

    That's a great report, it would be fine that Bulls' management thought like you but I'm afraid they will keep quiet, like always, because they always believe that things are going to mend by themselves.

    So don't expect they trade Deng, don't expect they get an extra draft pick or sign a great player such as Melo.

    Next year, they amnesty Boozer and replace him with Mirotic, and they also will replace Deng with a pick. That's that!

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