Chicago Bulls likely quiet at the NBA trade deadline

Chicago Bulls likely quiet at the NBA trade deadline

The NBA trade deadline is looming as teams have until Thursday Feb 19th to submit trades to the league. Available are players the Bulls could use at price tags they can afford, but the salary matching restrictions will likely stop the Bulls from making a move.

Available for a 1st round pick is Arron Afflalo. The Bulls would likely love to have Afflalo for a 1st round pick, but it's the salary they can't find a way to match. Effectively, a trade for Afflalo requires Mike Dunleavy and pieces to get done.

He might help the team more than Dunleavy, but advanced metrics also suggest he might not. He's not the pure shooter Dunleavy is and isn't having a good year. Their PERs are similar, and Dunleavy has shown he really moves the needle for the Bulls. Tough to give up a 1st round pick for a guy that doesn't necessarily move your needle any.

If Chicago had a five million dollar dead contract, I'd almost guarantee Afflalo or Wilson Chandler would end up on the Bulls, but they don't have one. The good news is the Bulls don't presently have any bad/dead salary, the front office has done a nice job putting the team together.

The bad news is they don't have any bad/dead salary which makes it harder to facilitate trades.

Will the Bulls bank on Snell?

Tony Snell has had three outstanding games in his past four efforts, so the question becomes will the Bulls bank on Snell or will they go back to Kirk Hinrich?

Kirk Hinrich defines done.

I appreciate everything Kirk has done here during his career. I appreciate that he's a smart player who makes the right cuts and the right reads. I think he understands the game of basketball at a very high level.

Unfortunately, Kirk Hinrich no longer has the athleticism to impact the game in a positive way. He makes the right read but is too slow to get to the spot. He makes the right cut but he can no longer finish. He's not a particularly reliable shooter, and he's regularly torched on both sides of the court now.

He still gives the Bulls a nice emergency effort player. A guy who won't totally sink the ship if forced to play for awhile, however, he's no longer a guy who should be part of the rotation.

Tony Snell? Well, he's looked great recently, but the question is whether he can keep it up. Snell's three point percentage, up to 38.5% is now in the pretty good range. His defense had picked up long before his shooting, and I expect that aspect to remain solid.

The thing with Snell's performance is that the book on Snell was "leave this dude open, he won't hurt you". Well, if he continues this stretch (and possibly already) that book is closed. Likely gone will be all the wide open threes and quality looks.

He's going to have to work a lot harder for it going forward. The good news is that will open up the court more for other players. While Snell knocking down open shots was big for the Bulls, the fact teams compressed the paint and dared him to shoot caused problems for other players.

With Snell likely demanding more attention, his stats will decrease some but the room that Butler/Rose/Gasol have to work with will increase. I'm not overly concerned with his offensive output as long as he hits a good percentage of the open ones, team's pay attention to him rather than ignore him, and he continues the quality defense.

Can Snell keep it up? I don't know, but I know the odds are better than with Kirk.

The Bulls best trading scenario with the Nuggets revolved around a Dunleavy + Snell + 1st for Afflalo package. With Snell busting out and Dunleavy still providing quality time for Chicago this package just feels like too much right now. However, it's a gamble for Chicago, as we could easily look back at this trading deadline in February and regret standing pat (assuming that's what actually happens).

In the end, the Bulls have picks they'd likely send out, they have needs they'd like to fill, but they don't have salaries to match. The Bulls also go into the deadline full of good vibes after a four game win streak culminating with the blow out win against LeBron James and the Cavs which likely eases any sense of desperation that was forming from that 5-10 stretch.

For better or worse, I'd predict the Bulls today will be the Bulls on February 20th as well.

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  • It is possible to land afflalo or Chandler in a three way trade without giving up both dunlevy or snell? May trade one of the two with help from third team

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    I'm not sure that we have to use either Dunleavy or Snell to match salaries for either Afflalo($7.5) or Chandler($6.75).

    If the 150% plus 100K rule applies then you need only $4.933 to match Afflalo and only $4.5 million to match Chandler.

    the corpsedog, Nazr and Bairstow add up to $4.685 million, enough to match Chandler. the corpsedog, Nazr and Moore add up to $5.126 million, enough to match Afflalo.

    Denver looks to have 14 guys on the roster now, so they would have to dump one guy to make room for a 3 for 1 trade. Do they even want to bother to make room for our garbage to pick up another first in the high teens or low twenties?

    Also, Portland is said to be after one or both of those guys, not sure what their draft pick situation is, but they look to have more and better guys to match salaries with Denver than we do since we're literally giving them garbage.

  • The ideal trade candidate on the Bulls to make any contract work would be Hinrich but it's dampened due to his player option and trade kicker. Furthermore the Bulls GM's have a man-crush on him so it's highly unlikely he gets dealt anyway. Any hope of improving the roster without hurting chemistry would have to include Hinrich. It just boggles my mind the reluctancy of the organization to part ways with this guy even for the sake of winning a championship.

    So there you have it, the Bulls are standing pat at the deadline. I'm not so sure rolling the dice on Snell is such a good idea considering whats all at stake. I think it may be time to take a trip to South Beach and bring Ray Allen some flowers. He really is the answer to all our problems.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    I agree with you, the trade for Afflalo should be Kirk, Nazr, and Bairstow (or Moore if a bit more salary is needed), plus the 1st round pick. This seems like a money-ball trade because it might help win a title. One decent player can make a huge difference, like Mosgov in Cleveland. Afflalo could have even a bigger impact than his stats suggest.

    Would Denver do it? If not,then forget it! I would not trade Dunleavy or Snell for a short term rental. (Tho I might have a few weeks ago!)

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I would definitely give up a No. 1 for Afflalo, but not a No. 1 plus Snell OR Dunleavy.

    If you add Afflalo for Kirk, Nazr and Bairstow (and Moore), the team gets a lot better, IMO. A lot. The starting 5 gets a little better but the bench, with Dunleavy replacing Hinrich, gets leaps and bounds better. That's some sick depth overall.

    Management loves Hinrich but they aren't stupid. They know Afflalo would provide a huge upgrade and would make the deal if available.

    Would Denver do it? Yes, but only if the Bulls No. 1 is the best offer on the table. If there is a better offer, a higher No. 1 to get, they'll take that offer, but you have to figure that the only teams that would deal for Afflalo are the ones who will get low picks. Bulls have to probably give up the GS No. 1. Still, I'd do it.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    GarPax dealt Kirk once before to make room for the LeBron sweepstakes part 1, so I'd guess they'd do it again if they could get an upgrade like Afflalo. I think the difficult part is getting someone to take Kirk in said trade. :-/

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Do you mean the conditional Sacto #1?

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    Don't forget that he has sacrificed millions over the years to come back to the Bulls for less money every single contract that he has signed with us, so we owe him, at least according to his agent and Sam Smith.

  • I have no problem with standing pat given the options. The Bulls do have 1st round picks that are available. But the Bulls need to really improve their defense and offensive spacing. The options out there seem to require too much and don't clearly improve the Bulls on defense or in their spacing.

    I do not clearly see Affalo as a help to this team. He makes Butler move to small forward and the team actually gets smaller. If Dunleavy or Snell are part of the deal you have the same situation with Affalo being the only clear outside offensive threat that forces spacing to open the floor more for Rose and Butler. Unlike Dunleavy, Affalo is not able to help out in recover defense for bigs that Gasol lets get away on defense like Dunleavy can do. Also, I think the Bulls are better with Butler at guard than small forward. And to give up a 1st Round pick just to Affalo for a few months when he is clearly not the answer seems like a reach. I would have liked the Bulls FO to have obtained Jeff Green for Boston when he was available because he is a big and athletic wing who could also play and help against bigs on defense. But Memphis got him.

    I actually like Wilson Chandler more of an energy pick-up to give the Bulls some relief as a back-up to Dunleavy than renting Affalo. But again, the cost for an athletic wing defender off the bench seems like too much. I would like to see the Bulls be completely healthy and stabilize their starting line-up with Rose, Butler, Dunleavy, Pao, and Noah and their bench being primarily Taj, Niko, Brooks, and Snell.

    I absolutely agree about Hinrich. I have respect for what he has contributed to the Bulls over the years. But he is not that guy any more where his defense provides some value despite his offensive limitations and now his athletic limitations. Brooks is the back-up at point guard. And Snell should play more at back-up to Butler at guard. E'Twaun Moore has shown more than Hinrich this year and should get in before Hinrich.

    Let's get this team healthy and get Thibs to focus on a solid rotation balancing minutes less for Butler and Pao and more for Niko and Snell. And if there is an opening, start giving McDermott some opportunity. I hate to rush to a trade now as that ship passed earlier when the Bulls could have made a better deal. Now the cost and needs available don't mesh.

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    Well....I agree with everything you said. The Bulls should stand pat and continue with Rose, Butler, Dunleavy, Noah and Gasol, with the main reserves being Gibson, Snell, Mirotic, and Brooks and include Moore in this mix. Hopefully McBuckets gets more floor time. The more he gets, the better he gets. That would make the Bulls 11 deep without any letdown when the reserves come in. This team seems to finally be getting a groove going. The return of Dunleavy has impacted their game enormously. They simply aren't the same without him. The record speaks for itself. They win with Duns and lose without him.

  • In reply to Larry Brown:

    One problem with this, Larry and Defensewins, and that is that Dunleavy was not signed to be a starter and he is not a starter! He averages under 8ppg! No title with this guy starting, not enough firepower.

    To win a title with the current team, Snell has to become good enough to be the starting SG, with Butler then playing SF. The bench should then be Taj, Niko, Dunleavy, Brooks, and Moore.

    It is possible. Might be as likely as a trade working out. Fairly often an x-factor guy swings a title to a team.

  • Afflalo has regressed this year but I still think he'd help the Bulls tremendously. He'd basically take Kirk's 25-30 minutes per game, plus Moore's few minutes, probably some of Snell's minutes as well. How is that not a massive upgrade?

    The team doesn't get smaller if he replaces Hinrich, just the starting rotation gets smaller and this type has plenty of size anyways, what it lacks is athleticism. Defensively against most wing combos, I'd take Afflalo-Butler over Dunleavy-Butler, despite Dunleavy's height advantage.

    Does that mean you give up a No. 1? Who knows? Maybe it works out, Afflalo returns to form, the starting 5 clicks, the bench clicks with Dunleavy, and the Bulls win the ECF (at least). Or maybe the team gets only incrementally better, the Bulls still don't win the East and now you're out a valuable pick. It's a risk I'd take, but I can certainly understand why others feel differently.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I basically agree with you. Afflalo is a bit of a dice throw, but how valuable is a pick at #22 compared to a better shot at a title?

    However, if it reduces Snell's time, that could cost the Bulls during the playoffs. As I wrote above, for the Bulls to have a title shot with their current roster, Snell has to become good enough to start. He is blossoming at the right time, deadly shooting 3 of the last 4 games, plus strong D. I would hate to see him on the bench much, that might make him regress.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Agree with you on Afflalo/Butler being better defensively than Butler/Dunleavy. But what if there really is something to this floor spacing issue that Dunleavy addresses and neither Butler or Afflalo do. We still haven't proven that Rose and Butler have any synergy when playing together does Afflalo make that even worse? As someone who still doesn't think that Dunleavy is a regular starter on a championship contender I find this hard to believe, but we probably won't find out until after we make the trade.

    Heck, if Snell and Dunleavy was the answer to opening up the floor for Rose and Gasol then Doug's boy Kevin Martin might be a better move than Afflalo.

  • I suggested trading for Green earlier in the season, but since it almost had to involve Gibson nobody seemed very interested. I suppose that we could have made it work with Dunleavy, the corpsedog and Bairstow or Moore again.

    Another guy in that vein, might be Thadeus Young up in Minny now, but he makes over $9 million. there is also Doug's boy Kevin Martin at $6.8 million.

    I wonder how much if any new salary the Bulls are actually willing to take on, or if they even have the cap flexibility to do so.

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    Is it possible the Bulls just aren't interested in Aaron Afflalo? He's sort of regressed too this season with the Denver Nuggets and his 11.77 PER.
    I expect the Bulls to make a minor trade while trying to shore up its' bench.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    The same could have been said for Gasol prior to this season. Sometimes all players need is a change of scenery or to just play in a system they actually fit in. Afflalo's name has been popping up in trade rumors all year long, that outside distraction could be the cause of his regression. If I were the Bulls I'd look to make something happen even if we through in Snell, but Dunleavy is off the table.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    I tend to agree with you that the Bulls might not be that interested in a guy making $7.5 million in a walk year with that kind of performance. But if you can do it for garbage and our #1 pick, its not that big of a deal if it doesn't work out.

  • I doubt the Bulls do any trades. I read some place that they have stayed in contact with Ronnie Brewer. Could easily see them making the safe pickup like that rather than giving anyone up. As for the draft picks, they could give them up in a trade but they could also use them to stash a player. They could draft a guy like George Lucas (a PG) or Timothe Luwawu (a SG) and save them for a year or two. Both seem to have very high potential. I wouldn't throw away draft picks for a rental player unless you are sure that guy puts you over the top.

  • With the deadline approaching two things really concern me right now with respect to the Bulls. 1) Joakim Noah no question has looked better lately, but his overall sub-par numbers and questionable knees/lift/finishing ability has me concerned that he'll be the "good" Joakim we need come playoffs. 2) The other thing is right now I think rather then worry about wins and home court you need to get minutes for Tony Snell and Niko Mirotic. I just don't think you're gonna win and have enough offense as a contender without these two guys becoming more involved.

    As far as trades go I don't think the Bulls viewed as contenders would make major changes. And personally I don't know enough about these guys who are available to definitively say yes to acquiring them. That said, you hear that guys from floundering teams(aka fire sales) like Enes Kanter and Ty Lawson(Brooks would have to be part of a trade and Derrick would have to play some at the two) are available. Why do I mention these guys in particular? Well anytime you have players that are highly efficient on high volume shot attempts with good athleticism that strikes me as quality.

    Problem is Kanter while scouted as a solid defender does not block shots. And Lawson makes starter's money. But those two guys as "available" shearly on talent and production are guys I would be very interested in granted they'd have to check out as solid character/attitude guys as well.

    Of course every player has flaws and with more research either of these guys may be less desirable. And nobody will want to part with serious pieces(making money work) to get trade deadline adds most likely so it's a moot point.

    I will say as for Lawson his excellent A/TO ratio on high volume assists adds to his value as we don't have a guy like that. And Kanter athletically is more then solid. Again, major moves like these would require serious tinkering with the team(moving large contracts) and as perceived contenders you know that trades of core guys like Taj, Noah, Jimmy Butler etc. are not happening.

  • Regarding Kirk, it's not just his falloff physically, it's also mentally. He is making too many foolish plays. The first Dallas game that he lost with the uber stupid foul with 2 seconds left is merely the worst example. The FO overpaid and signed him for an extra year. Not smart money-ball.

    Even a couple of poor signings for 2nd-tier guys can handicap a team in moves needed later.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Yea, Doug basically suggested that he was still a smart or savvy veteran player. But in reality he has mostly played like a moron this season. Is that all physical or has his brain gone to mush also?

    If you actually focus only on him for a few minutes, you see a guy running around like a chicken with its head cut off, constantly out of position and clueless as to where the play is, scrambling like a madman to recover, but not really having any idea where to recover to.

    You could almost live with the physical decline, but combine it with being a basketball retard and it becomes unbearable.

  • It's a shame the Bulls didn't take a chance on Chicago area native Robert Covington when they had a chance. This guy is a 6'9" small forward that loves shooting 3s and has good athleticism. He's shooting 38% from 3s with over 100 made for the Sixers. I agree with the comments that we don't need a shooting guard as we need a legit small forward with good size that can shoot 3s. Just please spare us the suffering and no more Hinrich as a shooting guard with over 27 minutes a game... He's a backup PG that can run a team and that is it. Once again the sg/sf lineups seem to be the Bulls weakspot, what has it been like 5 years now?

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    If Dunleavy isn't a small forward with good size that can shoot 3s, I don't know who is. I think you mean an athletic small forward with good size who can shoot 3s but now you're describing a starting caliber player, those guys are not readily available.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Roman, he has the size but he is under 8 ppg! Dunleavy is simply not a starting caliber SF, as you hinted at. No title with this kind of starting SF - that position has to score.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I've been suggesting an upgrade at SF since the season started, but I think it's possible to win with Dunleavy. It's not like he's bad, just sub-optimal. The rest of the team would have to make up for it, like the Pistons did by winning with Tayshaun Prince starting at SF with 10 ppg.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    My recollection is that Prince was one of, if not the premier wing defender in those days(a kinder/gentler/saner Rodman), so he earned his place on the floor without even scoring a point, 10 ppg was a bonus, you cannot say that about Dunleavy.

  • Time for another Mike James signing !

  • I don't think we need to do anything, as some have said above. Afflalo does not make the Bulls that much better.

    I actually think Dunleavy may have been the missing element because he spaces the floor and moves the ball quickly if he does not have a shot. A great passer.

    But, it's not just because Dunleavy is so good, but because this would mean less minutes for Hinrich. And, just maybe, Snell will eat into Hinrich's minutes. You just have to hope that Hinrich does not eat into Brook's minutes because that would be a travesty.

    Dunleavy/Butler/Snell would equal 32 minutes/game at the SG/SF position if they split equally, which they won't. Hinrich cannot possibly get much run in that lineup if Snell keeps it up.

  • In reply to Granby:

    That would be the best case scenario, God and Thibs willing.

  • Cost of getting Afflalo is just too steep. Why ship out a first for a guy that may not even be better than the guys we throw in? Maybe if he was a solid starting SG but his stats aren't that great this year so it seems stupid to make the deal unless it consists only of scrubs and a first.

    I wouldn't do it if it means Dunleavy or Snell plus a first. Besides this team is way to manic to start throwing away future assets for mediocre players to try and make a run now. I don't know if we will go to the ECF or be first round outs. Shipping out a first for a rent a player only to get bumped in the first or second round would be quite a waste.

  • Any upgrade is put out there that will be taking extensive minutes will result in chemistry issues. Afflalo is not considered a pure shooter, which is what the Bulls need now. A veteran shooter that can give Dunlevey a rest. But, if Snell continues to provide the same efforts on defense and shooting continues at the same rate, I think the rotation is set for the remaining games and playoff. Kirk can take 15 minutes of Rose with the second unit and Snell can give both Dunlevey and Butler's rest. This team already had too many chemistry issues so I don't think Afflalo will be a major upgrade IMO.

  • It's interesting that somebody made the comparison between Mike Dunleavy and Tayshaun Prince as SF's on a championship team. One of course is a 34 year old poor rebounder and marginal defender where in an ECF and NBA Finals with elite athleticism and players that just KILLS you. The other, a young colt and perennial NBA-All Defensive team energy guy. I think this stark contrast as much as anything evidences why some people do not view Dunleavy as a core rotation guy but rather a limited minutes, instant offense bomber where yes I think he could be of value.

  • I may be in the minority but I still don't think Hinrich is as horrible as we've seen. At this stage in his career he should only be played a handful of minutes as a third option at point guard. I think he could still be productive in spot minutes but Thibs plays him like he's still in his prime even in the starting lineup logging 25 minutes a game on average. If you watch Kirk he often looks fatigue and because he's made so many mistakes on the court his confidence is at zero. Not to mention by now i'm sure he's heard people feelings about him being back on the Bulls and all that combined can damage an aging player. Thibs playing him so many minutes only makes it worse.

    The best I've seen Hinrich play this season was when he came back from his 1st injury. He looked energized and refreshed. He played well for the 1st three games but once Dunleavy got injured, Hinrichs minutes went up and that's when I think fatigue set in. If Thibs would just play him in spurts like his contract suggests then he would probably be alright. Just my take on the who Hinrich extravaganza.

  • Not enough has been said about the very questionable wisdom of trading away a 1st round pick for a 3-month rental that will very likely walk at season's end as an unrestricted free agent.

    After Bulls fleeced Cleveland for the Sacramento 1st round pick in the Deng trade, I don't see Bulls anxious to suddenly get on the wrong side of a trade for an unrestricted free agent.

    Plus Afflalo will go for as much money as possible as a free agent as its possibly his last contract. Meanwhile, Bulls must be concerned about resigning UFA Jimmy Butler.

    Afflalo is not a big enough upgrade to waste a 1st round pick on, imo.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Agree. I'm not sure Afflalo or Ray Allan are big enough pickups anymore. I don't know if Afflalo is dependable anymore and how good is a guy who hasn't played all year and wasn't great the last time he did play. I may be for the Kevin Martin pick up if they needed more offense, but defense is their problem and he doesn't help with that. Like you said, the Bulls are going to need a lot of money just to bring back Butler. They probably can't bring back anyone they bring in. As I said before, Ronnie Brewer may be the most reasonable choice. Plus, I doubt anyone will want to trade for Hinrich since he is under contract for another year.

  • While I think Dunleavy is not an all-star or even close, if DRose returns to all-star level, Butler is an all-star, Gasol is an all-star, and Noah was one last year, then too much is being placed on Dunleavy not being a star. Name a championship team that had five starters all capable of being all stars. Tiago Splitter and Danny Green? Mario Chalmers and Birdman? Kendrick Perkins? Derrick Fisher? Rick Fox? If the Bulls competed for a championship, they would probably have the best 4 out of 5 starters since Boston won it or if you want to include Ginobili with Parker, Duncan, and Leonard last year.

    And so far with Dunleavy's return from injury, the Bulls have played much better after that horrible draught when Dunleavy was hurt. He is just a good fit for this team. He is a three-ball threat, he takes charges, he is big enough to fall in on help defense when a centers or power forwards get lost by Pao. He moves the ball and spaces the offense. If Snell and Niko develop more they can play similar roles with more of Dunleavy's minutes going to them.

    Someone has to do the dirty work among the starters while hitting open shots and still being a threat. That is what Dunleavy does. Giving up a first round draft pick for Affalo or Chandler or moving Dunleavy or Snell for them just moves the problem around and makes even newer chemistry to get used to right now. If there was clearly someone who would make the Bulls better I would be for a trade. I just don't see giving up the assets they have for what is out there. And I agree, Ronnie Brewer sounds more likely if he can give Dunleavy a blow while also helping to reduce Butler's minutes, that is fine as a pure defensive replacement instead of Hinrich. Looking forward to seeing how this all pans out.

  • I agree that Affalo may not be the answer for all the reasons expressed here. The Bulls hereon must avoid having two major problems: team chemistry and injuries. With Ronny Brewer they can improve defensively without hurting chemistry and he give Butler some significant rest and Thibs would play him at guard. Snell and Dunleavy could secure time at SF. If any big gets hurt still the season is over. A bigman pickup is necessity--someone solid defensive sound. The odd man out is McDermitt who could supply some needed offense--giving minutes to Tsnee, Mirotic, and McDermit may now be critical.

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    Personally, I'd prefer the Bulls 'hold pat' versus moving players to get Chandler or Affalo. Both are quality players but neither are worth Snell AND Dunleavey, particularly given that both players are having down years (below career averages).

    That said, either player for Dunleavy + a 1st round pick is acceptable.....though I'd rather they'd pick up Chandler as he is, at least, a true SF.

    Regarding Tony Snell.....it's way too early in his career to give up on him, especially given his defensive skills and his emerging offensive game. Remember, he's a 2nd year, 23 year old player who, if he'd stayed in college, would only be a rookie this season.

    Dealing him at this stage in his career would be foolish. I'm glad that the Bulls had the sense to NOT trade Butler at the same point in his career, two years back. I mean, that non-decision turned out pretty well.

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