Exploring Ways the Chicago Bulls Can Land Eric Gordon
However, the Hornets received Gordon as part of the Chris Paul deal, and it wasn't reasonable that they were just going to let him walk away, especially after playing a mere handful of games with the Big Easy.
"Coincidentally," Gordon also had his knee problems flair up and has yet to see the court this season. Some believe there's a good chance that these problems could magically "heal" on December 15. That's the date he becomes eligible for trade.
Let's presume for a moment that this is true and Eric Gordon will be available. Is there any conceivable way that the Bulls could land him and form the most explosive backcourt in the NBA with Gordon and Derrick Rose?
A Package Around Joakim Noah
Joakim Noah is the most tradeable asset the Bulls have, but it's hard to find a solution that works with the Hornets.
The problem here isn't what Noah is worth. It's whether there is a package that can be worked around him.
There would certainly be an appeal for the Hornets to have him on the court. Pairing Noah and Anthony Davis together would go a long way toward securing the frontcourt. Both players are exceptional shot-blockers and have great speed to rotate and help. Opponents would have difficulty getting into the paint to say the least.
What might work is if the Bulls could take back Robin Lopez in the deal. Lopez is a kind of a poor man's Noah after all. He even has the crazy hair.
To take back Lopez and Gordon, though, the Bulls would have to send back more, even if it's just to make the salaries work. Adding in Richard Hamilton and Marco Belinelli would make the money work, but would the Hornets want it? Furthermore, would the Bulls be willing to send that much?
The other option would be combining Noah, Hamilton and Jimmy Butler, but the Bulls would then be very thin at two positions, center and small forward.
That might be too much to give up in the short term, but the long-term benefit would make it worth considering.
Carlos Boozer in a Multiteam Deal
Carlos Boozer has probably gotten more spite than any present Bull. And by "probably," I mean there is no question whatsoever.
Not all of it is warranted. People often lament that the Bulls did not land Amar'e Stoudemire instead. However, over the last three years, there hasn't been a lot of difference in production between the two.
Stoudemire has provided for about 2.6 percent more production in the time since the two have signed. Of course, Boozer is playing right now and Stoudemire isn't. Oh yeah. Stoudemire costs $5 million a year more than Boozer and also has an uninsured, even more untradeable contract.
And while yes, there are fair criticisms about Boozer disappearing in the postseason and being weak defensively, it's not like Stoudemire has been the poster boy for clutch and defense either.
He actually does have some trade value, but not star trade value.
It's unlikely the Hornets, who are getting the second most from the power forward spot right now, are going to want Boozer. Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis are a pretty nice pairing.
There are other teams, though, who are getting almost nothing from the position and would probably entertain talks.
One such team is the Sacramento Kings, who have a player who could spark New Orleans' interest in Tyreke Evans and fill a real void at the power forward spot.
A three-team trade involving the Kings, Bulls and Hornets isn't entirely unreasonable: Boozer would go to the Kings, John Salmons and Evans would go to the Hornets and Eric Gordon would go to the Bulls.
The Kings trade from a position of strength to fill a position of need. The Hornets get a true starting-caliber point guard who can run their team and create opportunities for his teammates in Evans. They also strengthen their weakest point, small forward, where they are currently dead last in net production.
Luol Deng for Eric Gordon
Perhaps the easiest deal would be a straight-up trade of Luol Deng for Eric Gordon.
There will be some who will insist that this is a nonstarter for the Hornets. Not so fast though.
First, they would automatically be compelled to take less than Gordon's full value in return. The basketball world would know exactly why they are shopping him.
Second, Deng is exactly what they need. The Hornets don't need another superstar—Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers and Ryan Anderson are enough.
They have three big needs right now:
1.) They need an elite perimeter defender.
2.) They need an upgrade at small forward, where they rank dead last in net production.
3.) They need a veteran leader.
When you look at Deng, that's check, check and check.
On the other hand, there's a certain risk the Bulls are taking back with Eric Gordon. What if the knee issue isn't all just trying to get a trade? The Bulls then have a backcourt with two potentially hobbled players.
And if the knee injury is just a ploy to get a trade, the Bulls are trading one of the top character guys in the game for someone who just faked an injury to get traded.
Either way, Gordon's value is at a low while Deng is an All-Star in his prime. There's ample reason to consider that the Bulls are actually giving up too much in this deal.
Well, there's that and the fact that we don't want to see Tom Thibodeau sobbing uncontrollably on the sidelines for the rest of the season.