Much to the relief of many, Tony Snell's time in Chicago will soon be over.
According to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Zach Lowe, the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks are on the verge of completing a trade that will see the Bulls acquire out of favor point guard Michael Carter-Williams for the outgoing Snell.
Realistically, a straight swap of Tony Snell for Michael Carter-Williams means little for either the Bulls or Bucks if winning is of concern. Neither player impacts the game enough to offer credible rotational minutes, with their flaws outweighing any potential benefits.
Though the trade may be considered minor, the reported deal represents a broader issue that the Bulls have repeatedly ignored: the need for floor spacing and multiple 3-point shooters.
For a moment, forget the names and resumes of the players included in this pending transaction. Forget the frustration caused by Snell's timid competitive spirit. This trade isn't about who was dealt or the price that was paid. It's not about who won or lost the deal. It's about a front office wheeling, dealing and remodeling a roster without considering the functional sense of their actions. We saw that during free agency, and it has continued with this move.
Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler needed to be separated. Both are poor shooters who like to score from similar dimensions on the court, who also like to control and own the ball. Rightly, the front office removed Rose from the equation, dealing him (and Justin Holiday) to the Knicks for Robin Lopez, Jerian Grant and Jose Calderon.
In isolation, that move was sound, but it was short lived. Rose left, but was replaced by not one, but two players who mimicked many of his flaws. Adding Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade didn't make sense at the time due to their own shooting inaccuracies, and it made even less sense considering their presence was only possible due to Rose's departure.
Two poor shooting, ball-dominant guards became three. If that wasn't enough, adding three point guards behind Rondo, two of which are worse shooters from 3-point line than Rondo's ever been, only compounded the Bulls' growing shooting problem.
Jerian Grant and Spencer Dinwiddie have never shown the knack of making buckets from behind the 3-point line. Both are among the worst shooters in the league from deep, making only 22.0 percent and 17.3 percent of their three's respectively. Suddenly, Rondo's career 28.9 percent 3-point percentage doesn't look so bad.
Now, with Carter-Williams being added to the team, his career 25.5 percent 3-point mark will only exacerbate the shooting woes.
Poor shooters aplenty, perhaps the most baffling fact other than the lack of shooting within the point guard rotation is the sheer number of point guards actually vying for minutes.
Adding Carter-Williams means the Bulls now have five point guards on the roster. Rondo will start, and safe money is on the newly acquired Bull being his primary reserve. That being so, Grant and Dinwiddie will see their opportunities reduce as they slide down the rotation and past Isaiah Canaan, who now must play meaningful minutes in order to provide some semblance of floor spacing. We also mustn't forget Wade and Butler, both of whom are good options as pseudo backups.
Should that be the rotation Hoiberg chooses, it begs the question: is there any point in Grant and Dinwiddie taking up roster spots when other holes exist, particularly on the perimeter defensively?
Ironically, what the Bulls need is the player Tony Snell projected to be; someone who could shoot three's while giving Butler a defensive reprieve as the secondary perimeter stopper. Though he never truly grasped the opportunities he was given -- and he likely wouldn't have received many minutes this season, anyway -- moving him for a player that fills a position already flooded with options isn't a solution, even if Carter-Williams proven to be a better individual talent.
Fetching something, hell, anything for Snell via trade is commendable, but none of that matters. What does matter is the Bulls continue to operate on a whim, bringing in any player with a recognizable name whilst avoiding the issue of fit.
It also matters that the current roster build has been shaped with no consideration at all to the philosophies coach Fred Hoiberg was to bring with him from Iowa State to Chicago.
Tom Thibodeau was usurped for his inability to modernize the Bulls and their offense. Hoiberg and his pace and space principles were to be the remedy. At least that's what was sold during his introduction as head coach.
"We had the second fastest pace of play in all of college basketball last year," Hoiberg said. "We like to get out and play with pace and play with spacing, I think we ran more pick-and-roll than anybody in college basketball last year. We really like to flow into an offense as opposed to coming down and getting set on every possession. It’s something that has always been my philosophy. We led the Big 12 in three point shooting, the nation in three point shooting a few years back"
The Bulls have no chance at being that team. Not that it's Hoiberg fault. There's simply too many poor shooting perimeter players needing the ball to be effective.
If the goal was to create a functional and modern NBA offense, the Bulls have diverted from trend in favor of an archaic approach that no longer fits into current concepts. In a league that heavily weights the power of the 3-point shot, the Bulls have given it little credence. If their actions are anything to go by, they've actively avoided it.
Trading Tony Snell for Michael Carter-Williams, one of the worst shooters in the league, didn't enable that fact. But it does reinforce it.