The NBA's trade deadline came and went quietly in Chicago, with the Bulls almost begging the Houston Rockets to deal shooting guard Courtney Lee for a handful of draft picks.
While most Bulls fans agree that this year's team could use a better shooting guard, not overpaying for an underwhelming player is in the team's best interests.
In the wake of the trades that did take place, including the shocking deal sending point guard Deron Williams to New Jersey, the Bulls may be in position to launch an epic dynasty. They're just one trade away...
When the selfish, ring-less stars in the NBA started forcing deals, it may have played perfectly into the hands of the Bulls to make a bold statement and make an epic trade that blows the rest of the league out of the water for the next decade.
LeBron James blowing off Cleveland and Chris Bosh blowing off Toronto this past summer made every general manager in a small market look in the mirror. The fact that these two stars would walk away from the team that drafted them - in James case, his hometown - and leave them begging for table scraps is a strong indication of the current reality in the NBA: the asylum is being run by the inmates.
Every small market general manager soiled their shorts at this, and the first team to act on this new fear was the Denver Nuggets. They pimped their superstar, Carmelo Anthony, on the league until they got the best value possible from the New York Knicks.
The return for Anthony ended up being five role players, one 1st round draft pick, one 2nd round draft pick, and $3 million.
This move, and the laughable "negotiations" that took place between the Nuggets, Nets and Knicks, led other GMs to begin evaluating their young stars.
In a shocking move, the Utah Jazz decided to move one of the best point guards in the league, Williams to the Nets after New Jersey had failed to land Anthony.
The return for Williams was a starting point guard, a 2010 lottery pick, two 1st round draft choices and $3 million.
Here is how these two deals create a foundation for the Chicago Bulls to become the next great dynasty in the NBA.
The Bulls have the league's MVP this season in Derrick Rose. He showed that on Thursday night when he led the Bulls to a dramatic win over LeBron, Bosh and the Miami Heat. He's for real.
With Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer on board, the Bulls have some strong pieces in place to be good for quite some time. But moving one of these players could be enough to make all the difference in the world.
One of the big names (and bodies) that is 15 months away from free agency is Orlando's Dwight Howard. Reports are already swirling that he will not re-sign with the Magic after this contract is up after the 2011-12 campaign.
The Bulls have the pieces to make an aggressive play for Howard, putting together a package the Magic would certainly have to at least entertain the idea of accepting.
Howard, 25, is the elite power forward/center in the Eastern conference today. Listed at 6-11 and 265 pounds, Howard is one of the most physically imposing players in the league and one of the most athletic big men of this generation.
The simple dream here is putting the fastest, most athletic point guard in the NBA with the most athletic big man in the game for the next decade.
And it could be a reality.
In the next two years, the Bulls could have four first round draft picks; they acquired Miami's 1st round pick in 2011 when they dealt James Johnson to Toronto earlier this week, and own a protected first round pick from Charlotte that could hit as early as the 2012 draft. They also still possess their own picks in the 1st round in each of the next three years.
The Bulls could package one of their starting big men - either Noah or Boozer - with three first round picks in a deal for Howard.
Consider the value going back to Orlando.
Either Noah or Boozer, both under contract, would be a better player than anyone involved in either the Anthony or Williams trades. Certainly the Magic would have to consider replacing their big man with an NBA starter, especially one the quality of either Noah or Boozer.
Considering his collegiate career at Florida, Noah might be a popular buy in the PR department in Orlando.
The kicker on this deal, though, is the picks.
Denver received one first round pick for Anthony. Utah received two for Williams. If the Magic were offered three first round picks on top of an All Star-caliber player, it would blow away the value either Denver or Utah received.
But take a step back as a Bulls fan. The knee-jerk reaction is to say "OMG! Three first round picks?!? No way!"
Think about it, though. Both the Bulls and Heat's first round picks in 2011 will be in the mid- to late-20s, certainly not where elite talent comes off the board in most drafts. Add to that the reality that the 2011 Draft doesn't appear to be overly strong, and what caliber talent are the Bulls potentially giving up on? Not much.
If the Bulls deal their first round pick in 2012, that would likely be the 30th pick in the first round; adding Howard to Noah/Boozer, Deng, Rose and Helen Keller is good enough to win. That lineup includes two of the top 10 players in the NBA and role players that can get you 18-20 points per night.
And while there may be come concern that Howard wouldn't re-sign in Chicago, any big man would have to be suffering from serious mental issues to not want to play with Rose for the next decade.
This deal is ultimately not asking for the Bulls to sell their souls, as the Knicks and Nets did, to acquire a star. Indeed, the Bulls might be good enough as-is to win a championship in the next couple years.
But adding Howard to a roster with Rose? Oh my!