Bulls Trade Rumors: Luke Ridnour Would Be Perfect Replacement for C.J. Watson

Stephen Babb@@StephenBabbFeatured ColumnistJuly 12, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 1: Luke Ridnour #13 of the Minnesota Timberwolves drives to the basket against the Miami Heat during the first half of a basketball game at Target Center on April 1, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Heat defeated the Timberwolves 111- 92. 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 Hannah Foslien /Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls have known for a while they would need to make up the difference for the loss of Derrick Rose to a protracted recovery from knee surgery.

Replacing the former MVP will apparently be a process with several steps, especially without C.J. Watson around.

According to HOOPSWORLD's Alex Kennedy, Chicago waived the backup point guard in a somewhat surprising move:

C.J. Watson was waived by the Bulls last night. Under-the-cap teams can now claim him. If unclaimed, he'll be an unrestricted free agent.

— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 11, 2012

Watson is a fine defender, but he struggled mightily to score in the postseason with a 24 percent shooting percentage in six games. That's clearly not going to cut it in Rose's absence, however long it may be.

It's not a surprise, then, that the Bulls are already looking in a different direction.

Minnesota sports news anchor Darren Wolfson suggests the Timberwolves' Luke Ridnour could be on Chicago's shortlist of targets:

Two agents are suggesting the Korver talk involves Ridnour. I have not heard that from #Twolves side.

— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) July 11, 2012

Ridnour is a better shooter than Watson, and he's a more skilled all-around floor general as well.

In short, he's better suited to serving as a temporary starter, just as he did in Ricky Rubio's absence last season. The 31-year-old only has two years left on his current deal, so he'd also be a relatively safe investment.

The Bulls could afford to part with Korver given the development of 22-year-old Jimmy Butler, and there's no question the point guard position is a more immediate need at the moment.

Though selecting Kentucky's Marquis Teague in the first round was a step in the right direction, it's still unclear what kind of impact he'll be able to make in his rookie campaign.

A veteran like Ridnour would minimize the need to find out.

Additionally, Ridnour has experience coming off the bench, which bodes well for the postseason and beyond. When Rose returns, there wouldn't be any drama about returning to a reserve role–allowing Chicago the best of both worlds.

For now, a Ridnour deal is just one of many rumors swirling about the trade winds. If it turns out to be something more, all the better for Chicago's playoff hopes in a year otherwise at risk of becoming a lost cause.