Eric Gordon, Josh Smith, and J.J. Redick are available, are the Bulls interested?

With the trade deadline approaching, the Bulls should look at the potential to achieve any one of three or four different goals. A failure to achieve a goal isn’t a failure by the front office though as frequently there’s no possible method to achieve your goals. If there was then 30 teams would hoist the championship trophy every year.

Add the missing piece

The goal every season for pretty much every team is to add the missing piece that gives the squad a major boost in performance. Typically a high priced player demanding out from his present team or possibly leaving the next year in free agency or maybe a guy on a dicey contract. This year, the missing piece candidates are Dwight Howard (looks like the Lakers won’t trade), Rudy Gay (already traded to Toronto), Eric Gordon, and Josh Smith.

Crossing out the first two names, the Bulls can look at Gordon/Smith and decide if either guy is likely to put them over the top or give them a considerable improvement relative to what it would cost to get them. Eric Gordon has three years left at 15 million a year and has had significant injuries virtually every season of his career.

He’s an undersized SG who can drive the lane and despite excellent shooting in college has been only a pedestrian three point shooter in the NBA. He was a guy that everyone drooled over three years ago creating a sentiment that the Bulls should continue to pursue him despite having multiple serious knee injuries since then which has caused his game to seriously regress in the little time he has played on the court.

Eric Gordon’s probably not worth his 15 million dollars a year when healthy nor has he shown any ability to stay healthy. New Orleans has said they’re open to shopping him and because he’s still young (and healthy right now) there should be plenty of interest. A Bulls package would likely need to include Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, or Joakim Noah to make the salaries work.

I’m sure Bulls fans would fall all over themselves to dump Boozer in this deal, but New Orleans isn’t saying yes to that for obvious reasons, and I’m saying no personally to anything including Deng or Noah. The team gets significantly worse if it dumps Noah for Gordon and with Deng the team probably stays around the same level except it adds more salary and far more injury risk to it.

Eric Gordon effectively has SG version of Carlos Boozer potential, and so you don’t give up one of your very good players to get him 16 games after he’s effectively missed a season and a half and still hasn’t shown an ability to get back to 100%.

As for Josh Smith, the only trade really makes sense for Smith is Boozer for Smith, but the Hawks aren’t going to touch that, so it seems unlikely something would get done. Smith is expiring, so the Hawks are likely looking for another expiring (or quality player) back and a draft pick to unload him and prep for next season.

The Bulls can’t really get their salaries high enough to match for Smith in any practical way, so he’s more or less off the table unless the Hawks want Boozer in which case let me help pack his bags to ensure he doesn’t trip and blow the whole deal.

It doesn’t look good this year (like most years for most teams) for adding the missing piece.

Adding the key role player

If you can’t add the missing star then frequently you look to add the role player that you can use. The Bulls could definitely use another big man in their rotation, but they’re kind of caught in big man limbo because any big man worth having will cost way more than the Bulls want to pay. I’ve mentioned options like Timofey Mozgov or Samuel Dalembert before, but Dalembert probably has played his way out of consideration recently and Mozgov probably isn’t worth giving up an asset for.

The Bulls best bet to add a fourth big man might be to dump some salary through another trade (if possible) and then pick up one of the big men floating around on a minimum salary deal somewhere or simply wait until they have enough salary room to afford someone for the rest of the year (probably another 10-15 games or so).

J.J. Redick also fits the key role player role, and Alex Kennedy reported the Bulls had interest in adding the SG whom they signed to an offer sheet two and a half years ago. Redick is in the final year of his deal and doesn’t figure to be coming back to Orlando. A move of Hamilton + Belinelli + draft pick for Redick may work for both teams. The Bulls probably send Orlando $1 million in cash as well in order to facilitate Rip’s buyout next season.

Redick would considerably improve the Bulls SG rotation. Jimmy Butler would then back up the two and the three, at least temporarily, with Kirk Hinrich sliding over to play some two when Derrick Rose comes back. They’d also have three point specialist Daequon cook available to fill in emergency minutes there as well.

The move makes plenty of sense for Chicago, the question really is whether or not it makes enough sense for the Magic to pull the trigger. If you’re the Bulls you don’t give up more than your first rounder this summer for Redick who may simply be a rental player. There’s no telling what kind of offer he’ll get in free agency next summer.

Of all the trades I can think of this one makes the most sense, but it really relies on whether or not the Magic find the offer of 1st rounder in the 20s worth the trouble of trading J.J. for.

Improve the salary structure/flexibility of the team

Chicago’s presently set to pay the luxury tax, and you know they’d really rather not. I don’t think the Bulls have a get under the tax at any cost mentality, but I do think they have a very strong desire to get under the threshold and will sacrifice some team performance to get there.

In an ideal world, the Bulls could save money by shipping out Hamilton for nothing to some other team. I don’t think any Bulls fans would mind seeing Rip go, and the trade exception earned could be used as an excuse to give up a 1st round draft pick even if the team isn’t likely to ever use the exception later.

Chicago would also like to move Carlos Boozer in order to save money, but a few Boozer trades that make any sense since Chicago needs to bring back a big man in this scenario, and they’d still need to expand the deal to get under the tax unless they trade with someone under the cap (unlikely in this scenario).

The Bulls could also move Boozer to clear up long term salary rather than as a tax saving move this year and would likely love to achieve that goal too. That’s where the Bargnani for Boozer rumors come from. While it hasn’t been rumored in the press, a Kris Humphries for Boozer trade would fulfill the same goals of both lowering present salary by a few million and future salary by a few million next season and takes one year off the books (the Bulls could amnesty Boozer to save that year from the tax but would then still have to pay him).

A Boozer for Josh Smith trade would do much the same, but I don’t think the Bulls could add enough sweeteners to make the Hawks bite.

Expect a quiet deadline

It’s always been interesting to me that Bulls fans frequently lament Chicago not doing more at the trade deadline when they’ve actually done at least something in most year, and that something ha turned out well in virtually all of them.

Noc + Gooden for Miller + Salmons
Thabo for pick that turns into Taj Gibson
James Johnson for the pick that was traded for Nikola Mirotic
Tyrus Thomas for the Bobcats future pick
Kirk Hinrich + pick to get a shot at cap space for two max FAs

Probably a few more in recent memory, but all in all, the Bulls have generally made at least one tweak at the deadline every year, and it’s always been a nice move that helped forward the organizations goals.

This year I think the most likely scenario is no trade at all. The Bulls have too little financial flexibility to make much happen.


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  • The FO has no creativity so no I don't see any trades being made by the Bulls. If anything they will let more players leave for nothing in return cause we all know the owner has to get his White Sox ready for their upcoming season, spending the money on them that he's made from the Bulls by not going over the luxury tax.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Oh and I forgot to mention that baseball is religion and sacred while basketball is just a sport... Quotes from the owner of the Bulls an White Sox...

  • Reese, you're all over the place. Is the problem the FO lacking creativity? Or is it the owner doesn't care? If it's the former, which move(s) did you want to see the Bulls make? If it's the latter, which move could the Bulls have made that the owner stopped them from making?

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I'm sorry, but how am I all over the place when everything that I mentioned happens to be the truth. It is what it is, no creativity, when have the Bulls FO ever been??? And the owner loves his baseball team better than his basketball team and it shows cause he's willing to spend very well on his baseball team and has never paid the luxury tax for his basketball team even during the Jordan years when they were winning titles. Don't let being a complete homer fan brainwash you sir. Don't fall for the B.S.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Throwing your hands up in the air and saying "it's hopeless" is not helpful to anyone, including yourself. I also don't know what "BS" you're referring to. Doug listed several solid trades that the FO made -- are you calling that BS?. The Bulls' level of trade-deadline activity with the current FO is among the highest in the NBA in that time period, and it doesn't happen without creativity. Now, would I like to see the FO find a creative way to bring a second big-time star to play with Rose? Absolutely, and it frustrates me that they haven't, but that doesn't mean they have no creativity -- it's a tall order that very few teams have managed to pull off.

    As for the owner, he's not Jerry Buss but compares favorably to pretty much all NBA owners other than Buss. Ask a room full of NBA fans to shout if they like their owner and you'll hear nothing but crickets. It does frustrate me as well as you, that the owner refuses to pay the luxury tax, but at the same time, I've never seen that fact stand in the way of the Bulls winning a championship. Unless you see it stopping them from making a championship-winning move, there's no sense whining about it.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    All I can say is good luck to you and any other Bulls fan who thinks the Bulls will make a significant move to get them past the Heat this year, I hope you had a chance to watch the Heat dismantle the Clippers and beat up on the Lakers to end the game over the weekend. Bulls are not coming close to that without any major moves being made. I've said since the beginning of the season that this Bulls tea goes no where with the team that's put on the floor this year and I will stand by that. Just like I was complaining a couple years ago that this tea needed better perimeter scorers and that's where they are now. You can callit whining or wwhatever... butthe truth hurts ssometimes, so again it is what it is, sorry bout that.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    All I can say back is good luck to you if you think arguing that the Bulls are not going to win the championship this year, and arguing that the FO has no creativity and the owner doesn't care, is the same thing. If you're going to complain about the FO and owner each and every year the Bulls don't win the championship then, yes I will call it whining. It is what it is, the truth hurts sometimes, sorry about that.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I think the front office has shown quite a bit of creativity. Their use of non guaranteed contracts with Korver/Brewer/Watson was a good example that no one else was really doing in volume at the time.

    Most of their deadline moves in the past five years have hedged out minor benefits without hurting the team. They haven't made the big move yet, but there are a variety of reasons for that.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    So they're creative in saving themselves money?

    What did those unguaranteed deals get us except more millions in Reinsdorf's pocket? Oh that's right, a $5mil Trade Exception we can't use because we hard capped ourselves (another creative move).

  • Most likely trades:
    1) Rip, Belli, cash and a pick for JJ Redick. Makes the Bulls better for the rest of this season. However, Bulls pay the tax.
    2) Rip, minor stuff for a backup C. Probably Bulls still pay the tax.
    3) Rip and pick for nada. Salary dump. Bulls avoid tax.

    Guess which of these is most likely. And, really, might make the most sense long term.

    If the FO could get both Redick and a decent backup C, that would be significant. Those 2 moves combined would likely move the Bulls another round deeper into the playoffs. Could they get the Bulls past Miami? Possible, but certainly no lock.

    The problem is, the Bulls would likely have to include Nate in one of the trades, which would be a significant downgrade. Nate will win the Bulls more games than a backup C. Now if the Bulls could move Rip in one trade and Kirk in the other, from a personnel standpoint that would appear to be ideal.

    Obviously, Rose is a key here. How well is he really progressing? Hopefully, the FO knows the answer to that. If he has become a better shooter, then he may return at an Allstar playing level this year, even if he is a step slower. In that case, the #1 or #2 trade above make the most sense, probably #2. It marginally improves their shot to win it all this year, maybe up to 10-15%.

    If Rose is only coming back at 75%, then the Bulls have no chance to even win the ECF this year, so #3 may be the most reasonable.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I think they can move either Nate or Beli without losing too much, as there may not be minutes for both once Rose comes back, and they fill a similar role. They just can't move both.

  • I believe Kirk was traded on draft night, as part of the make room for Lebron summer. That doesn't really matter for the context of what your saying, but I thought of it, so there you go.

  • I don't think Josh Smith deal makes much sense for the Bulls other than as a salary dump. I like him a lot but his game is quite similar to Tajs and he is seeking a max deal.

    Eric Gordon is interesting but so many knee injuries is a huge flag as to wether he can stay healthy and also if he will ever be the same player he was. I don't think I would go after him as the likely answer will be no especially on our team. He would require kid glove type management and we use the sledge hammer approach to injury management.

    First rounder seems a bit steep for a few months of a Reddick rental. Not sure its worth the cost. Although that would mean we could resign him without using our MLE? He would be a nice floor spacer and pure shooter that we have lacked since Korver. I don't think they have a realistic shot at the title so I would keep the pick.

  • In reply to Chad:

    All great points.

    Obviously we see the talent in all these guys, but like you said...Smoove wants a max, If he isn't I hired, Thibs will run Gordon until he does, and Redick is not worth giving up an asset to overpay him to stay.

  • it seems as if the objectives for the front office are get under the tax and get rid of "big mouth" nate robinson. thats just the impression i get since they were even talking about cutting him last month. A chicago writer even referred to john lucas the turd as a "fan favorite". NO sir, Nate Robinson is a fan favorite and a very capable 6th man scorer despite his small size. Personally, I feel if they want to dump salary, they should start with Kirk Hinrich and that ridiculous 4 million a year contract which is comparable to the bad contract of Rip Hamilton......both of them need to go if you ask me. Shave off that 9 million and you can get equal production by cheaper options.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    I wanted to dump Rip+Hinrich after the first month to get Dalembert. At the time Hinrich was healthy, Rip was averaging 17pts, and Dalembert was buried on the bench. Now; everything has flipped and that's not happening anymore.

    I didn't read 'fan favorite' but I did see 'coach favorite': either one doesn't matter because Lucas was being thrown in for Nate to make it appear we wouldn't be losing much in that swap.

    I don't have a problem with Lucas, especially not to call him a turd. There was a lot of exciting moments last year with him here, including game winning jumper over Lebron.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    Who has the highest PER on the team? Nate Rob!

    At least last time I checked... He was really the only summer signing in which I approved. Marco a bit but Klank, Vlad Rad and Nazr all hated. As expected Vlad Rad and Nazr are useless and have no roles and Kirk is scrappy defender that is very inefficient scorer due to his lack of ability to create his own shot.

    Still think Bayless would have been a better fit at PG for us and cost half as much while providing more size and consistency than Nate.

  • Eric Gordon is still so young, and a lot of that knee debacle was because there were some things going on inside that organization after he wanted to go to Phoenix. If you can get Eric Gordon for Luol Deng, its an absolute NO BRAINER!! We already have Deng's replacement in Jimmy Butler. Deng is consistently shooting poorly and looks like he's being rundown a little bit. Whereas, Jimmy Butler is cheap and more athletic, showing real promise, so you could cash in Deng for Gordon to play next to Rose, which is a substantial upgrade.

  • In reply to gbus7:

    As much as i love Gordon, We can't in good faith make this trade. Deng has proven he is somewhat of an ironman now...willing to play through injuries.

    Even if you were to disregard his last 2 years, Gordon's LAC run wasn't Injury-free.

    Now if we could move Boozer in a 3 or 4 way trade (with picks and other assets) and get Gordon back, it's a no brainer, but if TOR passed on Boozer for Bargnani, I don't know who would want him.

  • hey, sorry this is off topic a bit, but I'm thinking about getting tickets to the bulls/celts on wednesday in boston. Do you know if they'll be playing Noah and do you think it'll be a good game to watch without the 2 stars?

  • Doug, you surprised me a bit by saying that you would trade bozo for Josh smith in a heartbeat and escort bozo out of town personally.

    Since Smith is looking for a max deal and the Bulls are not giving it to him, the deal would be a straight up salary dump of boozer. You are on the record as not believing in addition by subtraction on this one so does this mean that you think that the Bulls would resign Smith no matter the cost. He is likely in the 5 year $100 million range, would you pay him that, again do we get his Bird rights in a trade.

    It would be hard to say no to a Smith for bozo deal, but Smith is a problem child waiting to happen. Sort of like Bargnani, we would have to hope that Thibs could get Smith to be a different(more disciplined) player than he has been.

    But like you said the team that managed to weasel it way out of the Joe Johnson contract is not taking on the Carlos boozer contract.

    There are several questions that I have on a Redick deal, first and foremost do we get his Bird rights in a trade for him, he is an unrestricted free agent.

    If we don't get his Bird rights then any trade for him is a rental for the playoffs, and not worth a #1 pick, since we are capped and taxed out for next season, and only have the mini MLE to offer to non Bird free agents like Nate and Belli.

    Second question on the Redick deal, is how much better if any is he than Belli is/would be as a starter. By reputation, he is a better 3 point shooter, in reality career 40% vs 39% for Belli. Redick has a higher PER, yet he has never been a regular starter in Orlando, whereas Belli has at least been a starter in the past. Redick would create another small backcourt with the attendant defensive isssues. What is Redick's role going forward, and how much do we pay him(if we do indeed have his Bird rights) He is kind of a better shooting worse defending version of Hinrich. Would he be better or worse for the Bulls than Korver was, how would he perform in the playoffs.

    My sense is that I would do the deal(with Bird rights), but I think that Redick might be somewhat overated, and we might regret any long term money that we give him, i.e. there goes the 2014 plan again. What is he worth? the full MLE 4 years @ $21 million, is he worth more than that.

    and I will mention it again, a boozer for Emeka Okafor deal works for the Bulls purposes, i.e, it gets rid of bozo's last year without having to pay amnesty, is doable straight up, and to me at least doesn't hurt us on the court, I think it actually helps us. The big question as always is would the Wizards take boozer?

    Again, if I wake up on the 22nd and both Bozo and Brick are gone, I am throwing a party and worrying about the consequences later.

  • Oh yea, forgot about Deng for Eric Gordon, Would the Pelli's even do that after all the hoopla they went through to get Gordon. I guess in light of the injuries and enmity, maybe they might.

    Assuming that they would, what about the Bulls. A healthy Gordon is certainly more than the SG version of Bozo the boozer. That is what Ben Gordon was. Prior to his injuries Eric Gordon was a blossoming 25 ppg scorer. Can he still be a 20-25 ppg, that is the question. Could he be that when paired with Rose?

    Trading Deng for Gordon would be like extending Deng for 2 more years but getting younger in the process as Gordon makes Deng money this year and next but has $30 million owed in 2014-15 and 2015-16. There goes the 2014 plan again.

    Obviously, you only do this deal if you are convinced that Jimmy Bulter is ready to be a legitimate starter at small forward right now. It seems to me that we are still debating if he is a better fit at small forward or shooting guard or is he a 6th man tweener swingman wing(my guess).

    I have long felt that Deng is really older than he is(lately he has looked like a 40 yr old Robert Parish), and that he is heading for a big crash, and thus would not resign him going forward. The Bulls however, feel differently and I don't see them doing this deal even though it gives us something that we currently don't have, a true 2nd go to scorer.

    How much better for the Bulls is Gordon than Redick? Are you better off with Gordon and Butler, or Redick, Butler and Deng?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Deng is better for sure, just because he expires in 2014. 1% chance of LeBron is better than 100% of Eric Gordon, even when healthy.

  • Minor nitpick: the Hinrich deal was done pre-draft, not at the trade deadline.

    I agree on Gordon: injury prone as hell and not worth it. But it brings up a general point about 2 guards: other than James Harden (who is obviously unobtainable) there are no young SG stars. If you look around the league individual scoring is down in general, defenses are becoming better at stopping teams that don't move the ball, so the days of the isolation SG who can give you 20+ a game might be done. In that case I think the SG position becomes one for the role players, you want someone who can shoot threes and defend adequately, not spend big money there.

    Can't see anything that works for both sides on Josh Smith. From the Bulls perspective he'd be a rental, no way is he worth the max deal he wants. He'll be 32 by the end of that, and given he's all athleticism and no brains, I don't expect he'll age well at all.

    I'll be happy with doing nothing at the deadline, just keep the future assets intact rather than trying to shake things up for this year. To be honest Rubio and Shumpert aren't giving me high hopes of Rose being 100% this year, so I don't really think the Bulls are blowing anything if they wait until the off season.

  • With all of the Spurs Big 3 out, the MataSnoozer(aka the slugdog millionaire) is leading the way at halftime, minus 17 in 18 first half minutes. While Deng and Noah are minus 2 and plus 2 respectively.

    Tradewise, any steaming pile of shit will do.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    You say trade him for anything, but I think on some level you'd miss posting about him if he was gone though. :)

  • I've like Eric Gordon, and would love to get him without giving up Noah or Deng. He would be a perfect compliment next to Rose.

    CHI Gets: Eric Gordon and Hakim Warrick

    NO Gets: Ben Gordon, CHA Pick from CHI, CHI Pick, BRK Pick

    CHA Gets: Kris Humphries and Rip Hamilton

    BRK Gets: Carlos Boozer

  • In reply to BullsFTW:

    Not giving up the CHA pick for Gordon, save that puppy for KLove! Also, to everyone, there is no 2014 plan! LeBron is going play us again, why in the world would he want to come here after he made us look so stupid the first time, I am assuming he opts out to finally get paid and signs a Bird extention with the Heat. He's not going anywhere. So then who do we blow our cap load on? Andrew Bogut? Andre Iggy? Kyle Lowry? No thanks! Best way to acquire the second banana is to trade for him or hope that Charlotte pick is the #1 pick and there is a bona fide SG, C, or F available.

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