Looking at the landscape in the NBA East many teams are determined to make changes to their lineups. The Celtics, Nets, Knicks and Bucks have made moves that will improve their playoff chances. The Bulls have stood pat.
The latter does not surprise me.
It is just like the Bulls as an organization to stand and watch as other teams around them shake up things. This is why the Bulls should make a push at trading for the Lakers’ Pau Gasol now!
The Lakers may or may not reenter in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes. If they do, Andrew Bynum’s name will be sure to come up. If so, I have an idea for a four-team trade that is more than feasible for all the teams involved.
In my proposal C.J. Watson would get a fresh start in Orlando.
My four-team trade includes:
The Bulls would receive Pau Gasol from the Lakers.
The Magic receives Joakim Noah, C.J. Watson, the rights of Darius Johnson-Odom, and two first-round picks from the Lakers. The Lakers can also throw in their $8.9 million trade exception from their Lamar Odom deal last offseason.
The Hawks receive Andrew Bynum.
While the Lakers get Dwight Howard and Josh Smith.
Noah would be a fan-favorite for the Magic.
It works for the Magic because they get a much better return for Howard than they would in any deal with the Nets. Noah is one of the top five centers in the NBA and played his college ball for the Florida Gators. He would be a fan favorite for the Magic.
The inclusion of Watson and Johnson-Odom make sense for depth purposes. Watson would be insurance for the Magic if they do not re-sign Jameer Nelson. Johnson-Odom is a hustle-hard type of player who could the Magic energy off of the bench.
With the draft picks that the Magic would receive, they will have future assets. Those picks would be similar to that in which they would get in any deal with the Nets.
Good friends could become teammates in this proposal.
For the Lakers this move gives them the proper ammunition to battle the Thunder for supremacy out in the west. Any lineup that features Kobe Bryant, Meta World Peace, Howard and Smith would be championship contending one no matter who the point guard is.
If the worry is whether or not Howard will be willing to re-sign with the Lakers, need not worry at all. Winning is a universal cure that can be spread around just like that disease known as "getting paid." Howard playing with one of his best friends in Smith could also be the ideal lure that trumps his desire to play for Brooklyn.
For the Lakers it is worth the risk.
Bynum would finally become the "guy" if traded to the Hawks.
The Hawks would get the second best center in the NBA in Bynum. Bynum, who has had his moments of greatness for the Lakers, would benefit playing against the smaller post players in the east.
This would also complete the total reshaping of the Hawks franchise. They would be able to move Al Horford to his more natural power forward position. It would also give the Hawks a strong frontcourt that would be unmatched by any team in the east.
Name a frontcourt in the Eastern Conference that would have greater promise than the Hawks if this deal ever were to happen. I will wait!
The Bulls could afford to match the offer for Asik in this proposal.
The Bulls would finally get a second top-tier scorer with Gasol who needs the change of scenery. Financially the strain would be as damning as many would think. Gasol can play 30-35 minutes a game and he is a good defender when he is involved in the game.
He and Boozer would make for a potent offensive frontcourt. While the Bulls may suffer on the defensive end, keep in mind that the Bulls rely on team defense versus individual defense. It is about their rotations more than shot-blocking for the Bulls. That is why I would not worry about how the Bulls would fare on the defensive end.
Sending Noah in any deal involving Gasol would also help the Bulls hold on to Omer Asik. When you look at the contractual status for Noah, he has four more seasons left whereas Gasol only has two.
Asik’s $14 million cap figure in the third year of the deal is not as egregious with Noah’s contract gone to another team. Also in that third year Gasol’s contract is off of the books, along with the contracts of Luol Deng and Boozer. The Bulls could then amnesty Asik if necessary.
This would make the Bulls major players in the 2014 free-agent class that could include the following names: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Serge Ibaka and James Harden. Thus the idea of making this deal should not be considered far-fetched. Once you consider the true benefits, it really is not.
I will now rest my general manager’s cap and patiently wait for the Bulls to wake up from their malaise. The idea is on the table. I wish they would consider it.