Chicago Bulls: Quietly Frontrunners for Dwight Howard?

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...

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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  • Rumors are that Howard is going to L.A.

    However, rumors also are that Howard is very close to Derrick Rose. Howard to the Bulls seems like a pipedream but I wouldn't completely rule it out.

    First things first, the CBA has to be figured out but once that is, the Bulls should look and see if Howard would be available. But the new CBA could present new problems and issues to make any sort of Howard deal possible.

    The first round picks are useless because as you point out they are all in the late 20's with the exception of maybe the Bobcats pick. I'd trade 3 first round picks, Boozer and Asik for Howard. The salaries should matchup pretty well too. I dont know if the Magic are going to get a better deal than that. Boozer would make up for the scoring at the 4 and Asik would provide a reliable defensive 5.

    For the Bulls, they would immediately be the best rebounding team and best defensive team too. While most teams have their scoring at the SG-SF-PF positions, the Bulls could uniquely have their scoring at the PG-C position and fill their SG-SF-PF spots with long, athletic defensive role players, two of whom would be Deng and Noah.

    Its an easy, no-brainer trade for the Bulls but I just dont think the Magic are going to give up Howard that fast. I think they'll move like the Nuggets and go through the drama rather than proactively like the Jazz. Magic will want to conjure up sympathy and look like the victims. However, if the Magic get taken out in the first round, they and Howard amy think quicker to a potential divorce than if the Magic proceed in the playoffs.

    The main competition would be L.A. who could offer a Bynum-Odom and draft picks package for Howard which would also be a pretty solid and competitive offer.

    Its fun to dream but we'll see...

  • Orlando wouldn't want to trade him to the conference unless they're knocked over with a deal. I expect Orlando to ask for both Noah & Boozer. They'll probably going to throw another guy that we really don't want to make the deal work as far as contracts are concern. I'm sorry Chicago fans but those picks aren't that appealing to anyone. This is not football! Unless you got lottery picks, teams are not interested.

    I don't think the L.A. thing is going to happen because Kobe Bryant is going to be 33 this year & he has a lot of miles on him so no dynasty is going to be happening there for Howard. I expect a team from the west to make a play & then Howard will be a free agent in 2012 & I think he'll going to find his way to NY rather the Knicks or Nets.

  • In reply to GorillaChi:

    I don't see much reason to believe the Bulls are a good chance to land Howard, but Orlando's an odd case with picks. They have one of the highest payrolls in the league and even if a hard cap isn't a term of he new CBA, the luxury tax is going to skyrocket, so they'll be in a frenzy to accumulate picks in bulk -- even if just to flip them to move up in a draft.

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