NBA Trade Rumors: Chicago Bulls Would Be Foolish to Deal Luol Deng, Joakim Noah
The NBA is a league of overreactions and none would be bigger this offseason than the Chicago Bulls trading away Luol Deng, Joakim Noah or both. Yet this is exactly what the New York Daily News' Mitch Lawrence suggests, that Gar Forman and the Chicago brass are thinking about doing.
Part of the reason that Chicago wants to do so, according to Lawrence at least, is to clear up room for re-signing Omer Asik and Taj Gibson.
There's still an underlying motive here though: Chicago is overreacting to their first-round exit from the playoffs and the injury to Derrick Rose.
With their star point guard rehabbing a torn ACL that will most likely keep him out until after the All-Star break and possibly for the entire 2012-2013 season, Chicago isn't fond of its chances to win a title next year. That situation intensifies because Luol Deng might not be ready for the start of the season if he chooses to wait until after the Olympics to surgically repair his torn wrist ligament.
Even with Deng out for a bit at the start of the season and Rose missing a significant portion of time, these Chicago Bulls would still be a favorite to at least grab a playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. Then, when everyone is fully healthy once more, they might be able to make a run through the postseason.
It's not a guarantee. It's a "might."
That said, if the Bulls trade away Deng and Noah, that "might" becomes a "won't." The new rookie addition to the team won't be able to carry the squad, no matter how good he may be. We haven't a rookie as a major contributor to a championship team since Magic Johnson in 1980.
There's absolutely no guarantee that whichever player Chicago would manage to pick up in the draft with a higher pick would ever be as good as either Deng or Noah. Both players are on the fringe of being top 50 players in the Association at the moment and neither has reached his full potential.
Players like that, especially ones that fit perfectly into the Chicago system and have established chemistry with the teammates in place, are not easy to find.
Asik and Gibson have both looked like solid players in limited roles, but there's no guarantees there either. Who's to say that both will become as good as Deng and Noah?
What should Chicago do?
Teams in large markets that are used to competing—like the Bulls—aren't patient entities. They want to chase a title every year.
If there's one season with the potential to go south, the world explodes, the sky falls and Chicken Little runs crying and screaming. This is that season because of the devastating injury to Derrick Rose.
It's hard to keep the long-term goal in mind, but it's necessary here. Trading Deng or Noah would set this franchise back a number of years and hinder the progress of the team significantly.
While Chicago would be foolish to not at least listen to the offers, they'd be even more foolish to settle for a trade that doesn't actually help.
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