Breaking Down the Chicago Bulls' Best Trade Bait

Ernest ShepardAnalyst IIIDecember 18, 2012

Breaking Down the Chicago Bulls' Best Trade Bait

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    Finally, basketball fans, it's time to talk NBA trades! Well, it's time to see if the Chicago Bulls have anything worth trading.

    As a fan, you always want to see your favorite team improve.

    There are a few ways that a team can do this: drafting players, signing free agents or trading. Only in the last scenario does a team have to give up a player.

    Sometimes the player heading out is a starter, other times a prospect. Many trades involve future assets, such as future draft picks or the rights to players that were previously drafted and have yet to play in the NBA.

    Bulls fans are always looking to ship a player off to another team. Let’s find out which players have the most trade value.    

Kirk Hinrich

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    Kirk Hinrich has not played well this season, but that shouldn't hurt his trade value. The fact that he is still solid defensively at point guard makes him attractive to potential bidders.  This is despite Hinrich losing a step.

    Teams that are looking for a steady hand to run their offense would also be interested in Hinrich.

    The Los Angeles Lakers come to mind as a team that needs a capable point guard who can defend and facilitate the offense. The Lakers are rumored to be willing to trade Pau Gasol in the right deal. Could the Bulls unload Hinrich, Carlos Boozer and a draft pick to the Lakers for Gasol? The trade works on the ESPN Trade Machine.

    Hinrich also has a reasonable, cap-friendly NBA contract. Interested teams within the luxury tax threshold would not receive a huge penalty hit if they were to acquire his services.

Jimmy Butler

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    In his second season, Jimmy Butler has become much more than an energy player off the bench. He is a solid player who could be a starting small forward or shooting guard and lead a team to wins.

    Butler is athletic and quick to the ball, and he has improved the range on his shot. He has also flashed the potential of a defensive stopper in the Gerald Wallace mold.

    Those attributes attract interest from other teams.

    Because Butler is in the second year of his rookie contract, I doubt the Bulls will entertain offers for him. The only way they do is if the price is right.

Richard Hamilton

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    The Bulls found no takers for Richard Hamilton when they attempted (from chicagotribune.com) to trade during the offseason.

    With a contract guaranteed for $5 million, can you blame a team for not being interested? Not to mention the fact that Hamilton was in and out of the lineup due to various injuries.

    Under those circumstances, Hamilton would be a hard sell to any general manager.

    Now that the NBA season is in its second quarter, Hamilton looks more attractive to a championship contender.

    Never mind the fact that he is recovering from a torn plantar fascia; when he's healthy, Hamilton can still play. His 13.9 PPG could help a team that needs scoring off the bench.

    His contract is only partially guaranteed next season. Any team that trades for him could offer him a buyout after the season.

Future Draft Picks

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    The Bulls have an ace in the hole to sweeten any trades they make from now until the deadline: They have their draft pick for next season as well as the Charlotte Bobcats' top-12 protected pick.

    Although the Bulls will not look to add salary, future draft picks could help consummate any possible blockbuster deal that can be made,     

    If the season were to end today, the Bulls would have a draft pick in the late teens. Any team looking to add a college player with a chance at being a solid contributor would be interested.

    The Bulls' draft picks will not be dealt alone. The picks will only be dealt in a package that will either ship a high-salaried player out, or bring in a player that can help down the road.

Luol Deng

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    Luol Deng’s trade value continues to rise as his all-around game puts him among the top 25 players in the NBA. He doesn't score 25 points in a game, but he scores when the Bulls need him to.

    Deng is a great shooter from mid-range and can stretch opposing defenses with his reliable three-point shot. It's interesting to watch the Bulls play and count how many (or few) plays they run for him.  He gets many of his points in the flow of the offense.

    Deng is one the premier defenders at the small forward position, a trait that rival general managers crave.

    Despite his big contract ($13.3 million this season and $14.3 million next season), Deng could help a team in need of a third option or veteran leadership.

Nikola Mirotic

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    Future Chicago Bull Nikola Mirotic has the talent to become an NBA star. He can shoot, pass, rebound and defend. Several observers compare him to Dallas Mavericks forward and future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki.

    The only problem is that he won't join the Bulls for at least two seasons due to his contract with Real Madrid.

    Besides Derrick Rose, Mirotic has the highest trade value of any Bulls player.

    I have my doubts about the Bulls trading away the rights to a player with star potential. If they do, it will only be to acquire an NBA player with top-20 talent.