Welcome to the Bulls Confidential Mailbag series. Thanks to those who submitted questions! We got a couple of good ones on twitter, and hopefully, if this goes well, we will continue to get more!
— James Giuffre (@giuff11) January 13, 2016
Answer: First off, do the Bulls want Victor Oladipo? He's a young, talented defender, with the ability to get to the rim off the bounce, to be sure, but really lacks any sort of outside shooting touch. Would adding another non-shooting, ball-dominant guard be beneficial? I'm not so sure. Even if Oladipo improves his 34 percent three-point touch, he doesn't have the reputation of floor spacing that would directly open up lanes for Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose.
The next question is, at what cost? Oladipo has lost his starting spot in Orlando (in part because he offers no spacing next to Elfrid Payton) and thus his production has dropped. If the Magic were shopping him, I doubt they make a move without the Kings pick and Nikola Mirotic and I'm not doing that. If they want Pau Gasol for Oladipo straight up, of course I'll do that, but that isn't happening.
Ultimately, I'm not sure Oladipo puts the Bulls over the edge for this season - he certainly doesn't fit the "win-now" timeline. Though his contract will be incredibly valuable until the end of the 2017-2018 season, the Bulls, for better or worse, still think they can contend with this roster, so I doubt they make a move for him, as there isn't a deal that helps both sides.
#BullsConfQs What would it take to get Jae Crowder from Boston? I think he'd be a great fit for the Bulls.
— Rudens Senat (@Rudens23) January 13, 2016
Answer: Jae Crowder is having a fantastic season. Unlike Oladipo, if Crowder were to join the Bulls, he would have an immediate, positive impact. He is a ferocious defender who brings passion and intensity every night - something the Bulls sorely lack. He doesn't shoot the three ball that much better than Oladipo, but his size and strength to guard multiple positions up (2, 3, 4) whereas Oladipo can really only guard 1s and 2s. This would take a huge defensive load off of Butler, in a way that having Oladipo might not.
The big reason why I would prefer having Crowder over Oladipo is the fact that he is so much less ball dominant. Crowder's usage is only 18.1 percent compared to Oladipo's 23.5. That's Crowder's career high vs. Oladpio's career low. That is huge, next to Butler and Rose who necessarily need the ball to be effective.
But getting him would come at a huge price. Crowder is signed through 2020, under 7 million dollars each year. That is less than half of what the average starter is projected to make after the salary cap spikes this summer. Frankly, I don't see any way the Bulls could pry Crowder from the Celtics barring Kevin Durant choosing the Celtics in Free Agency, rendering Crowder less valuable to them. Even still, the Bulls would have to pay up in the form of future picks, Mirotic and/or Bobby Portis among other asset. I can't see the Bulls going through with it, especially considering their propesity avoid making trades.
#BullsConfQs Instead of trading for a traditional SF, wouldn't Tyreke Evans fit? Plays 3 spots including PG. His 3pt% looks better too.
— Kenneth Barfield (@kbar17) January 13, 2016
Answer: Evans, while I've been a big fan of his since his college days, wouldn't be the right fit for the Bulls. A sub-average defender, miserable career shooter, and a ball dominant tweener with constant knee injuries, is simply not what the Bulls need.
Yes, Evans is shooting much better this year, but only 71 attempts is not enough to convince me that his 10 percent bump over his 28 percent career three point shooting is sustainable.
I like the idea of thinking outside the box, but what the Bulls really need is a low-usage 3-and-D wing who can shift defensively to cover multiple positions, with whom the ball doesn't stick on offense. Evans isn't that guy. His teammate, and former Derrick Rose AAU teammate, Eric Gordon, might be a better and more realistic fit.
Thanks to Coach Bik, aka Jacob Bikshorn, one of our good buddies at (D)Roses and Thorns for Question 4:
@BullsConf what will be the starting lineup next October?
— Coach Bik (@OldManBikshorn) January 14, 2016
Answer: Derrick Rose, Victor Oladipo, Tyreke Evans, Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder, of course :)
In all seriousness, that's a really tough question because a lot of it does depends on what happens at the trade deadline. Despite a history of not making trades, the Bulls Front Office, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski, has been looking to trade Taj Gibson, Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah in order to upgrade the wing position.
Barring any big moves in February, I project the 2016-2017 starting five to be Rose, Butler, Dunleavy, Mirotic and Noah. That's right, no Gasol, no Gibson. First, I think Gibson moves back to a bench role. He will still have a year left on his deal, but the Bulls need to optimize Mirotic and prepare him to be the power forward of the future.
Assuming Gasol opts out of his contract (which he has said he will) I would be shocked if the Bulls brought him back simply because he will have a high asking price and multiple years as it will likely be his last contract. It would be against all logic to shell out for a will-be 36 year old.
Now, the Noah situation is especially tricky given the injury last night and the fact that his contract is up after this year. That said, I do believe they will bring back Noah for three reasons.
1. Since I highly doubt they bring back Gasol, they will need a starting center. He wants a starting role and without the restriction of Gasol starting, he will return to the starting 5, where he belongs.
2. Considering the aforementioned trickiness with regard to his injury status, the Bulls may be able to bring him back relatively cheaply. He still loves the city of Chicago and wants to be a part of the Bulls organization, but under the right circumstances (that being starting).
3. With the cap rising, the Bulls will need to reach the cap floor, and bringing back Noah (I would guess on a one-year deal to sync timelines with Rose's and Gibson's contract) is smarter than overpaying in other, perhaps less deserving places. The Bulls likely won't get Kevin Durant, so they will need to spend money on multiple lower-level players.
Thanks again for submitting your questions, and be on the look out for more Mailbags to come!