The ACL injury to Derrick Rose has made Bulls management explore options this off season that they otherwise might not have. Derrick will not be back till late February to early March. Rumors have been circulating that the Bulls would potentially be interested in moving Luol Deng and/or Joakim Noah before the upcoming draft on Thursday. Some fans may not understand why or think this is crazy, but there is logic in exploring such options. GM Gar Forman said that due to Derricks' injury the Bulls might be forced to take a step back this season. The rumor is the Bulls would be looking for a lottery pick for Deng and high pick for Noah as well.
With no financial flexibility, a huge contract committed to Boozer, and some other pieces needing to be re-signed the Bulls hands are tied. If they don't move a big contract or two they lose all financial flexibility to improve the team. I don't want to Bulls to have to trade players like Deng or Noah, but it may be the right time. The draft is always a gamble and past guaranteed first pick Anthony Davis there is no sure thing. The NBA Finals this season proved that the Bulls don't have enough to compete at that level in my opinion. Derrick is going to need to be surrounded by other players that can create their own shot. Deng is likely at his peak value. If a trade for a top 5 or 6 pick can be made, it could help the Bulls. If the Bulls could
trade and draft North Carolina's Harrison Barnes as his replacement, it may help the teams future. The draft has a lot of small forwards and shooting guards in it. A trade of Noah could net Connecticut's big man Andre Drummond, Dukes guard Austin Rivers, or Syracuse shooting guard Dion Waiters. Bulls management are high on keeping restricted free agent Omer Asik on the team. Taj Gibson is a free agent next season and they would like him in a Bulls uniform for the foreseeable future. Keeping these players takes financial flexibility that the Bulls don't have right now.
So if the Bulls were to trade their two big name players for two guys like Barnes and Rivers, would you be happy? Most won't be immediately. The Bulls are predicted not to make the playoffs this season. If they go young they would likely get a high lottery pick next year as well. The Bulls though would have cap money to get a point guard in the short term while Derrick is out. So let's play fantasy GM. The Bulls sign a veteran like Kirk Hinrich to play point guard. He becomes your backup combo guard when Derrick returns. Rivers and Barnes are inserted into the starting lineup. With Derrick out they get a whole year to develop without expectations. Omer Asik starts at center and you keep Boozer around for one more year at power forward. Next season, you resign Taj and start him while amnestying Boozer. You add some veterans to the bench. Swingman Jimmy Butler gets a bigger role on the team. The Bulls develop young talent and don't make the playoffs. Next season they use their high pick to draft a big man. Derrick returns and they start building the team towards championship. It may sound crazy or pie in the sky, but it may be in the Bulls best interest to retool this roster now. If you want to compete for a championship, the bar has been set and the Bulls aren't there right now.
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