Why Chicago Bulls Should Go All in on Andrea Bargnani

Kelly Scaletta@@KellyScalettaFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2013

December 3, 2012; Denver, CO, USA;  Toronto Raptors forward Andrea Bargnani (7) during the first half against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.  The Nuggets won 113-110.  Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Marc Stein of ESPN is reporting that the Bulls are looking at swapping Carlos Boozer for Andrea Bargnanni and change. According to Stein, 

From Chicago's perspective, sources said, Bargnani's arrival could help address its glaring lack of 3-point shooting and brighten the overall look of its payroll, given the Italian forward makes $5 million less than Boozer this season.

There are a few reasons this makes a lot more long-term sense for the Chicago Bulls, not the least of which is a financial incentive. 

The first incentive is that the Bulls would have a power forward that would work better in the kind of offense they want to run.

Bargnani has a nice offensive game when he's at his best, and Tom Thibodeau brings the best out of his players.

His strength is that he's an excellent shooter, particularly from deep. He has a .442 effective field-goal percentage on his jump shot. He's also quite effective on the catch-and-shoot, which is where Rose is at his most lethal passing. 

With a "stretch 4" like Bargani, the real advantage that comes with it is that it requires the defender to come out and guard him, leaving one less big man to protect the rim. 

With a player like Derrick Rose, the best thing to do is stretch out the court and create space. He can squirt himself through a space the size of a sidewalk crack in the blink of an eye as it is, but if he can get even more space, then he can do even more damage. 

Hopefully it would also mean that Rose would get knocked down less, which means less chance of further injury. 

Imagine the kind of schemes they could run with Joakim Noah and Rose running a pick-and-roll and Bargnani running out to the perimeter. Rose could kick the ball out to Bargnani, drive to the rim or hit a cutting Deng on his way to the basket. The Bulls offense would be much more efficient than it is now.

Or maybe Rose passes the ball to Noah, who can then dish it to Deng or Bargnani behind the arc, or hit a cutting Rose to the basket.

It also bears mentioning that that Bargnani has some skills putting the ball on the floor and driving, as evidence by the video below. 

Bargnani would add a multitude of offensive options for the Bulls.  

Another benefit is that Bargnani is the same type of player that future Bull Nikola Mirotic is. Ergo, when Mirotic arrives, it would be perfect timing. Potentially, they would play one year together and then Mirotic would be able to step into the starting role. 

The third reason this makes sense is money. Namely, it drops the Bulls far enough below the luxury-tax limit next year that they could use the full mid-level exception this offseason without having to amnesty anyone or suffering the kind of hard-cap limitations they are experiencing this year. 

That would enable the Bulls to go out and get a more preferable backup center than Nazr Mohammed. Players that might be available for a full mid-level exception (or less) include the likes of Chris Kaman, Robin Lopez, Samuel Dalembert and Zaza Pachulia. 

Or, it's possible that someone like Aaron Gray would be included in the trade. It's clear the Raptors would have to throw in someone else, but as of now, there is now word on who that might be. 

Also, from a purely managerial standpoint, it makes sense because the Bulls would shed Boozer's contract without having to amnesty him. 

There are some downsides to this. The Bulls would miss Boozer's rebounding, but between Noah and Deng, they would be able to compensate for much of it. Bargnani would have to learn the Bulls' system, which might shut them out of the title picture this year. 

However the long-term benefit seems to outweigh the short-term cost, so the Bulls should pull the trigger on this one. Besides, then Marco Belinelli could have someone to talk Italian with. 


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