Can the Chicago Bulls acquire a backup center at the trade deadline?

With Joakim Noah suffering from plantar fasciitis and Carlos Boozer still showing some lingering effects of the sore hamstring, the Bulls sure look like they could use another big man. Nazr Mohammed and Vladamir Radmanovic haven’t shown even a glimmer of hope in terms of contributing, and the Bulls lack the money to sign someone to the veteran minimum right now [at least as best I can calculate].

That leaves the trade deadline as their best chance to obtain someone, however the Bulls cap situation presently means they need to send out nearly the identical money they take back or send out more than they take back. This vastly limits their possibilities, and the most likely scenario is that Chicago lets the deadline pass without finding a way to improve the team.

It’s always tough to find trades that both sides want to do, and given that the Bulls want to improve talent but can’t offer another team financial relief their odds are especially long. There have been two trades I’ve seen discussed frequently. The first is to look to acquire Sammuel Dalembert from the Milwaukee Bucks and the second is to acquire Timofey Mozgov from the Denver Nuggets.

To acquire Dalembert, the Bulls would swap Rip Hamilton, Vladamir Radmanovic and Nazr Mohammed + cash. The Bucks would then need to waive a player on the end of their bench to meet the league’s roster requirements. The problem, of course, becomes convincing the Bucks to do the move. While they don’t use Dalembert much, they also don’t appear to have much need for Hamilton and likely don’t look forward to paying him $1 million next season.

Would $3 million in cash ($1 million goes to the buyout though) be enough incentive to make them pull the trigger on a deal? The Bulls could throw in a second rounder as well, but their second rounders don’t project to have much value and a rental of Dalembert certainly isn’t worth worth throwing a first rounder around for.

In the end, while the framework of the deal isn’t impossible, it’s probably difficult to find the set of assets to swap that makes both teams say yes to the move.

Timofey Mozgov looked like a quality up and coming player in his rookie year with the Knicks, but he never found a role in Denver and has shown no improvement while there. He’s infrequently used, and the Nuggets would certainly don’t seem likely to want to keep him around next season when he’ll be a restricted free agent.

Again, the problem becomes what to trade. The Bulls don’t have enough low salaried players to throw in to match salary in any way that makes sense, and the Nuggets have no reason to take on Rip Hamilton. The Bulls might give them a reason by taking on D-League superstar Anthony Randolph off their hands. Randolph is a poor man’s Tyrus Thomas in terms of potential and development.

He looked like a guy who could develop into a future offensive star, but is shooting well south of 40% in his limited attempts from the field this season. The Nuggets are on the hook with Randolph for two more years and a total of around 3.5 million dollars. His 1.7 million owed next year would more than off-set Hamilton’s buy out, so the Nuggets come out ahead financially in the deal.

As for the Bulls, they are on the hook for an additional 700k next year and probably aren’t too amped about having his 1.8 million on the books the next year when they could potentially have cap room. If the Bulls feel that Randolph can still be rehabilitated into a quality player then the trade makes perfect sense due to his cheap contract.

If they think he’s hot garbage, then they’re better off passing on Randolph and saving the salary space. That said, Randolph has, statistically, been a quality player up until this season with a career PER of 16.9 and is only 23 years old. While he’s a guy who’s not likely worth his stats due to negative on court intangibles defensively, putting him on a team that focuses all about defense has at least some chance of straightening him out, and the Bulls could use more scoring oriented player.

That said, Denver may also look at Randolph and think he’s redeemable and still on a cheap contract and not want to move him despite his poor play and limited playing time thus far.

Alternatively to chasing Mozgov, the Bulls could simply chase Randolph by himself by offering up Nazr Mohammed and Vladimir Radmanovic with the Nuggets waiving a player to make roster room. Randolph isn’t a center and is even slim for a PF, but would give the Bulls another body to throw out there that’s considerably more capable than what they have now behind the big three big men. I could even see Randolph excelling in a role with Chicago off the bench when other players are scared to shoot.

While I expect a quiet deadline for Chicago, the Bulls may have some options for a minor tweak that could help them come playoff time.


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  • I like Dalembert but I find it hard to see why the Bucks do it. On the other hand Mozgov is pretty horrible and I don't really see any point in going after him, Taj Gibson at center for 48 minutes is a better option.

    Backup center is such a tough position to fill, you don't want to pay too much for a guy who might only play 10 minutes a night when Noah is healthy, but on the other hand if you have anyone decent then some team is going to pay them big money to take them away. I think the Bulls need to just live with the problem this season and try to strike lucky in the draft again (ideally a first rounder so they get 4 years of cheap service instead of 2 this time).

  • In reply to Shakes:

    They wouldn't. Not now anyway. Maybe if the Bulls would have made the trade 2 months ago (as I suggested) when he was buried on the bench with Skiles and MIL needed a SG (Rip had a great 1st month).

    Now that injuries have hit Sanders and with Dalembert's stellar play of late, it will cost more than what we want to give up.

  • Any talk of the Bulls making any trades...(NOT) or their financial status of not going over the luxury tax really is a waste time. We all should know by now this team or its owner is not going to do anything else to improve the roster, if they do it would surprise the hell out of me.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I agree. Reinsdorf's only goal this year is to get the Bulls under the salary cap. The only trade the Bulls will make is one where they can dump R.I.P.'s salary for any stiff making $1 mil.

    Maybe they can sign Malcolm Thomas who played for their Summer League team and was just released by his Israeli team. He at least is a live body who can sign two 10-day contracts while Noah and Boozer are recovering.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Thibs won't play him anyways. He doesn't play young players or rookies unless he's desperate. And by desperate I mean Noah, Boozer, AND Taj will have to be out.

  • I think you are mistaken regarding the cap situation...even if the Bulls were to trade Hamilton for nothing (unlikely), they would still be over the cap next season. The big four make nearly $57M next season....

  • In reply to Dionysus:

    But by avoiding paying the cap penalty this year you push forward the escalator penalties.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    The two of you are discussing different things: cap and tax.

    The Bulls can't get under the cap but can get under the tax.

  • Would bulls and magic do this trade?

    Bulls-- jj redick
    magic--m. Teague,rip Hamilton+1mil for buyout next season, and second round pick

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    The Bulls probably do this trade, but it might be a bad deal in the long run. Teague has a lot of potential. Is it doable with the salaries?
    Redick could be a good trading chip this summer if they did not want to keep him.

    Certainly the shooting at G would be upgraded. The backup center would not be resolved. It might be necessary to keep Rip for a trade for a backup big. Hard to see all the scenarios.

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    Without looking up the salaries, I don't think this trade works because I think Redick makes more than Teague + Hamilton.

    That said, I don't think the Bulls should or would do that trade.

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    Teague+1st to rent Redick for 2-3 months?

    ORL probably says yes, CHI says no.

    They won't resign him as he's a UFA and will get more money than the Bulls want to pay.

    Any talk of Redick is just dumb. We had 'Redick' and then we traded him for a $5mil Trade Exception we will never use.

  • Any chance we just get a big man from the D-League? I can't imagine that Nazr is really the best 4th big man we can find.

  • In reply to HINrichPolice:

    I don't think so, Thibs won't play them anyways.

  • Have GarPax shown the competency to pull off any trade that would help the team? This reminds me of when Bogans was the starting 2 a couple years and we all thought they would make a deal because who in their right mind would enter the playoffs with Keith Bogans in the starting lineup?

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    They put together the team with the best record in the NBA the previous two years, and a team that's been sitting with the eighth best record in the league without its superstar.

    I think people who call them incompetent don't have the bar set right.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    You didn't answer my question Doug. Have GarPax shown the competency to pull off any trade that would help the team? I can't recall them making a trade during the season that helped them in the same year.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Unfortunately...That would take some some ingenuity, imagination, and creativity.

    And don't even bring up 3-team trades...their heads would explode.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    1. How about getting John Salmons and Brad Miller for next-to-nothing?
    2. How many teams make great in-season trades? It almost never happens.

  • The Bulls FO never admits it made mistakes(like the signing of nazr mohamed and radmanovic) so they will probably ride out the season until the draft where they should target a backup center. I read somewhere that Minny wanted to get rid of Lou Amundsen, he's not great but he's an active energy body. If the Bulls could get him for some cash consideration they should go for it but again I don't think they would......too much pride in admiting that nazr and radmanovic sucko big time. Hopefully Gar who i read is the genius in scouting draft picks is meausuring up the athletic 7 foot shotblockers the Bulls could develop under thibodeau.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    Really? You think they have too much pride about Nazr or Radmanovic? They realized they made mistakes with Tyrus Thomas, Andres Nocioni, and James Johnson and moved them all while they still had value.

    Those were far more serious and legitimate players to be concerned about. I think it's a silly assumption to say Pax/Forman are going to sit on their hands because they're scared they're wrong. They haven't shown that in the past with far more important pieces.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Maybe it's not pride, but it's something.

    And no, I don't expect them to make any moves to get a competent Big man in.

    Thibs playing Taj 45min the past 3 games with Noah and Boozer out and Nazr+Vlad getting a combined what, 15min, tells everybody Thibs doesn't think Nazr and Vlad can contribute.

    IF those two can't contribute in a REGULAR SEASON GAME when we are desperate for big men, then what is GarPax doing to rectify that problem?

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Sometimes the smartest move is to just live with the problem for now because it would be too costly to rectify. Backup centers who aren't complete crap are in short supply, any team who has one isn't going to sell them cheap.

    Gar & Pax don't strike me as stupid guys, they knew they were going into the season with only 3 decent bigs, but they would have also known that given Rose was out for much of the season and the owner is leaning on them to keep costs down that it's something that they couldn't do a lot about. With Rose out they absolutely had to spend what money they had on shoring up the PG situation this year.

    This off-season I expect we'll see them do something about getting in a backup center.

  • As you intimated the real problem or biggest problem is that there is likely no team in the NBA that sees Brick Hamilton as having any value, other than perhaps as an expiring contract, which would require the Bulls to take on future salary.

    Secondarily, the Bulls are probably more interested in moving Brick to get under this years tax line than they are in improving this years team and/or taking on future salary.

    All of those propositions are basically diametrically opposed.

    Maybe the Bucks do that Dalembert deal for the cash. I don't know how much netting $2 million bucks is worth to an NBA team. Would the Bulls even be willing to spend the money while locking themselves into being a tax payer this season.

    Do the Bulls even recognize that they have a desperate need for a legitimate 4rth big, or will they figure that out in the playoffs when it is too late.

    My guess, is that the Bulls do nothing, because nothing is actually doable. Our last doable deal of significance was matching on Asik, how much will that cost us over the next 2 seasons.

  • What about sending Rip back to Detroit for Jason Maxiell?

  • In reply to Flashsonic:

    I don't think that makes sense for DET, and I don't see CHI doing that to Rip.

  • Why would DEN want Rip when they are set with PG (Lawson, Miller), SG (Iggy, Chandler, and 1stRound pick Fournier), and SF (Gallo, Brewer).

    Dalembert makes $7mil compared to Rip's $5mil and Bulls like the cheapskates they are locked themselves into a $74mil hardcap so they could use the excuse 'we want to add players but we have a hardcap' (as Paxson himself said here*).

    And IF the Bulls wanted to get Dalembert, they should have went after him 2 months ago (as I suggested) when he was buried on MIL's bench and Rip was playing well to start the season. Now Dalembert is putting up big numbers with Sanders out.

    Jermaine O'neal would make some sense, except he just came back from 2 weeks off due to an irregular heartbeat.

    And finally, all these guys would probably cost us a 1stRounder...just to rent them for 2 months. I'm going to pass.

    The Big man we SHOULD be going after is Lou Amundson. An energy/hustle guy who is decently athletic and actually tries on defense. He's about to get traded/waived with MINN picking up 2 other players. He's getting paid he Vet-Min (I believe) and won't cost us any players or draft picks.


  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    At this point, Amundson might be a decent get for the Bulls, However, I don't think that we can even make that work.

    We can't just sign anybody, even a vet minimum guy because of the apron hard cap. We blew whatever space we had by signing Cook, which as Doug pointed out made little to no sense at the time, as we need a big a lot more than we need another guard.

    So even to get Amundson, we would have to trade one of our vet minimum guys to Mini, not sure why they would want any of our guys vs theirs. Mini has to dump bodies, which is why Amundson is available, and we can't take back any money.

    I don't see anyway to make a deal involving Brick Hamilton work, even if Mini wanted him, but it would certainly cost us money & picks.

    Right now, the Dalembert and Mosgov deals seem to be the only ones that are logistically viable, whether or not either team wants to entertain those deals.

  • You are all wrong, we are going to trade Rip, Our #1 pick this year and $1M to a team with cap room for a second round pick. Mark it down, Jerry Reinsdorf will not pay the tax!!! Vive La Resistance!!!!

  • Question: Is there a rule that mandates a set number of veteran players per team?

    I ask, because I can't help but wonder if the Bulls would have been better off with two undrafted free agents as opposed to Nazr and Vlad.
    a). They would have been cheaper
    b). They would, presumably, at least have a pulse being young
    c). They would have been cheaper

    I know Thibs wouldn't have played them except in cases of dire emergency, but the way things have gone, that is no different.

  • In reply to Salvamini:

    No, there is a minimum salary cap though not that would be a problem for the Bulls but just saying you essentially would have to have some veterans on a squad to hit the minimum sallary cap.

    I have no idea why they signed Nazr, Vlad or Klank. Perhaps they have a fetish for over the hill players would be my only guess. Maybe it makes Paxson feel young. I am still surprised they didn't sign Malcom Thomas and opted for an old career long buster like Nazr instead.

  • F.Y.I. Dalembert had 35 & 12 last night on 17-21 from the floor in only 27 minutes. I don't know if the Bucks are showcasing him, or if Sanders got hurt again last night, but it would not surprise me if that performance caught someones attention, like Miami, even though they just picked up the birdman. Maybe we should trade the MataStatue for him.

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