NBA Trade Rumors 2012: Why a Deng-for-Gay Trade Makes Sense for Chicago

Nikhil BaradwajSenior Analyst IJuly 7, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 02:  Rudy Gay #22 of the Memphis Grizzlies against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on February 2, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The 2012 NBA Playoffs ended in agony for the Chicago Bulls and their faithful fans.

Derrick Rose and company were far more talented than their first round opponent, the Philadelphia 76ers, and were on their way to closing out a Game 1 victory.

Then, Rose, their hometown MVP, fell to the ground with a knee injury that turned out to be far more severe than anyone could have imagined: a torn ACL.

The Bulls fell to the 76ers in six games, changing the complexion of the playoffs completely.

Even as a Celtics fan, it was difficult to watch the Bulls crash out of the playoffs because of injuries to arguably their two best players, Rose and Joakim Noah.

In all likelihood, Rose will be out until the All-Star break (eight to twelve months from the time of the injury), hurting Chicago's chances at garnering a top seed in the East.

There is also no guarantee that the former MVP will regain his quickness and first step right away, because he needs to get acclimated once more to the speed of the game.

His absence will likely allow for the Heat and Celtics to control the top two spots of the Eastern Conference.

Don't get me wrong, it is possible that the Bulls can still make the Finals next season, but it is unlikely.

With that in mind, is it time to rebuild in Chicago?

The question has been asked many times, and my answer quite frankly is no. Instead, the Bulls need to re-tool their roster.

Chicago's major issue is their lack of a secondary scorer to complement Rose. While Hamilton has performed admirably as a two-guard, he is not what he used to be.

The Bulls need a player who can carry the load when Rose is cold or if LeBron James is smothering him, like the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals.

The perfect trade that would alleviate these concerns would be one that brings Rudy Gay to Chicago in exchange for Luol Deng.

Deng is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league and has proven to also be one of the better all-around small forwards.

However, he is not the wing scorer, which Chicago desperately needs.

Enter Rudy Gay.

While the Memphis small forward is not close to Deng defensively, he does use his length effectively and has proven to be an above-average player on that end of the floor.

What makes Gay so great is his scoring ability. Against the Clippers in Game 3, the UConn product almost led the Grizzlies back on an improbable comeback, when he took and made big shot after big shot.

While Memphis did end up losing the game, Gay showed everyone how gutsy he can be.

Gay gives the Bulls the instant offense that they will need as Rose rehabs from his ACL tear. When the All-NBA point guard regains his health, he can become the effective secondary scorer which the Bulls need, if they want to get past the Heat.

Defense is important if a team wants to win a title, but I can't think of a team in the modern era that won a title without a wing scorer.

At the end of the day, while Deng might be a better player overall, Gay is the better fit.