NBA Trade Rumors: How Bulls Can Control Damage from D-Rose Injury
The Chicago Bulls recently learned Derrick Rose's timetable recovery is better than expected, but that's not saying much for a guy originally believed to be out of order for 8-12 months after his April 28 knee surgery.
While the Bulls are surely reluctant to overreact to the temporary absence, now is as good a time as any to reshuffle the roster for the future. Better to tweak the roster now than when Rose is back at full health and ready to contend.
It's still too soon to tell whether this will be a lost season, but the Bulls have at least two roster priorities before them: adding a backcourt presence to soften the immediate blow of Rose's loss and putting together a supporting cast that will help Rose keep pace with the Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers and whomever else emerges in the East.
The New York Daily News' Mitch Lawrence suggests that Chicago is looking to get younger while improving its cap flexibility at the same time:
The Bulls want to give Omer Asik and Taj Gibson new deals, so they’re exploring ways to trade Luol Deng and/or Joakim Noah to teams that can send them a trade exception and a No. 1 pick.
One way or another, it would behoove the Bulls to do some damage control and plan for the future at the same time. Gar Forman should certainly consider such a move.
One variation of a deal might involve sending Joakim Noah to the Portland Trail Blazers for a cap exception and some combination of either the sixth or 11th pick and a veteran (like Wesley Matthews, perhaps).
The Bulls might have to throw in some extras like Jimmy Butler or Ronnie Brewer to sweeten the deal, but it would give Chicago the chance to either land Damian Lillard with the sixth-overall pick or Kendall Marshall with the 11th pick.
Should Chicago trade Deng or Noah for a pick?
Of course, the question in these kind of scenarios is what to do with a promising young player once Rose comes back. In the short term, either would make for a solid backup and insurance policy. In the near future, having some premium trade assets wouldn't hurt either.
Alternatively, the Bulls could look to acquire a scoring guard, especially at the 11-spot. Guys like Dion Waiters or Austin Rivers may very well still be on the board, and they'd fit into Chicago's short-term and long-term plans alike.
In any event, because Portland is under the cap, it could potentially absorb Noah's contract without sending commensurate salary back to the Bulls in return. The energetic big man would be an excellent solution in the middle and would allow LaMarcus Aldridge to focus on scoring rather than defending the post.
If the Bulls don't look to the draft for backcourt help, there are options on the free-agent market as well.
Unrestricted options include former Bull Kirk Hinrich, two-time MVP Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Andre Miller, Chauncey Billups, Ramon Sessions, Jameer Nelson, Gilbert Arenas and – of course – Deron Williams.
Some of those options will be out of Chicago's price range, and of course there's no chance the club could land a restricted free agent like Jeremy Lin.
Veterans like Hinrich, Nash, Kidd, Miller or Billups may be the most likely to take a pay cut and help the Bulls out on a temporary basis. If the draft doesn't net a better option, expect Forman to take on a rental instead.
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