Bulls Rumors: Why Trading C.J. Watson Is a Bad Move for Chicago

Bob BajekAnalyst IIIMarch 6, 2012

While C.J. Watson has been drawing some trade interest from the Los Angeles Lakers for Pau Gasol, trading away Watson would be a huge mistake for the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls are a bit thin at the guard positions right now and need Watson's scoring and passing contributions to remain competitive in the playoffs.

For the millionth time this NBA season, shooting guard Richard Hamilton is down with an injury. What began as a savvy signing by the Bulls seems to have turned into a bad investment. Maybe the Detroit Pistons knew Hamilton was a brittle as glass and that's why they quickly bought him out.

With Hamilton down, reserve swingman Ronnie Brewer will once again fill in at the starting 2-guard position with Kyle Korver also seeing an expanded role. Brewer is a solid defender, yet he doesn't provide the same offensive punch as Hamilton does. 

Rip averages 11.3 points to Brewer's 7.8 points, but is also a better jump shooter and creates better spacing with his off-the-ball movement.

Not only is Hamilton injured, but the Bulls recently elected to cut Mike James and kept John Lucas III as a backup point guard. James was a tenacious defender and passer with more basketball IQ and length than the beleaguered Lucas, who has been a journeyman D-Leaguer and NBA benchwarmer his entire career.

If Watson were traded away to the Lakers (while that is unlikely) or to another NBA team in need of an effective guard, the Bulls wouldn't have a competent backup for Derrick Rose during the playoffs.

Lucas has proven that his short stature can be easily exploited by aggressive baseline cutters like the Miami Heat's LeBron James or post up moves from short guards like the Boston Celtics' Rajon Rondo.

Does Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau want Lucas to play in the playoffs? The answer is a strong, "Heck no."

Watson is an extremely valuable member of the Bulls' Bench Mob. Despite missing some time with injuries of his own, the Tennessee product 9.8 points and 3.9 assists per game.

Rose missed 10 games with a bad toe and back, so Thibodeau called on Watson for eight of those contest. As a starter, 6'2" Watson collected 13.8 points, 4.9 assists and just 1.8 turnovers and led the Bulls to a 6-2 mark.

Without Watson, the Bulls would definitely struggle to score points off the bench, especially when Rose is on the pinewood. Omer Asik can't score. Taj Gibson and Korver are offensively streaky, while Lucas isn't a good distributor. And Brewer will be a starter, so the bench production takes another hit.

The Bulls offense already struggles, so taking away Watson would be a mistake when the combo-guard has proven he is a valuable asset to Chicago.


Bob Bajek is a featured columnist for the Chicago Bulls. He is also a freelance reporter and can be followed on Patch.com and Twitter.