Chicago is in good position to finish the regular season on a strong note with or without Rose, but its backcourt could benefit greatly from adding another scorer.
According to Adrian Wojnarowksi of Yahoo! Sports, the Bulls are among the teams that have contacted the Orlando Magic about acquiring sharpshooter J.J. Redick via trade before the deadline. While Chicago may not have the pieces the Magic want in exchange for the guard, making a concerted effort to land him would go a long way toward loading up for a title run this season:
Indiana, Milwaukee, Chicago and Minnesota have expressed interest in trading for Redick, but teams have been reluctant to give up a first-round pick and a good young player for a player who could turn into a rental for the rest of the season.
As Wojnarowski pointed out, Redick would likely come as a 20-plus game rental for any team willing to trade for him. His current contract cannot be extended (per Orlando Sentinel beat writer Josh Robbins):
J.J. Redick is not eligible for a contract extension because his deal is for 3 years & deals under 4 can't be extended, per Larry Coon FAQ.— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) February 20, 2013
The Bulls can afford to make an offer for Redick, and doing so would be a logical solution to the lack of consistent scoring in their backcourt. Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli and Rip Hamilton are all averaging 9.6 points per game or better this season, but there’s a chance Hamilton won’t be with the team after Thursday’s deadline (per Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld):
RT @usblues23: do the bulls do anything before deadline? ---> They would like to shed Rip Hamilton, not sure they can.— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) February 20, 2013
Rose’s absence as an elite perimeter scorer has been felt in Chicago. Luol Deng has taken the role as the team’s leading scorer (16.8 PPG), followed by Carlos Boozer with 15.7 points per contest. Redick wouldn’t exactly fill Rose’s shoes, but his 15.2 points per game would significantly improve the Bulls backcourt, and add another consistent scoring threat from the perimeter.
The Bulls are 31-22, 6.5 games out of first place in the Eastern Conference. While overtaking the Heat for the No. 1 seed seems highly unlikely, just 2.5 games separate the Bulls from the second-place Knicks. The final 29 games will present Chicago with a terrific opportunity to gain ground in the playoff race, and potentially make a run at the championship should Rose return this season.
Redick probably won’t be a long-term option in Chicago given his contract demands going forward (per NBA Rumors), but if the Bulls are serious about making a push for the championship this season, adding him via trade as a short-term scoring boost would be a solid option.
J.J. Redick will be looking for a four-year, $40 millon contract on the free agent market, according to sources.— NBA Rumors (@NBARUMORS) February 20, 2013
Rose’s return could ultimately decide what the Bulls do in the remaining 24 hours before the deadline. According to Zach Harper of CBS Sports, Rose won’t return until he feels he is fully healthy, but head coach Tom Thibodeau is ready to move forward whether Rose is back in action or not.
You can bet that Thibodeau still has his eyes on a championship, and the Bulls aren’t in a position to sit idly by while the deadline passes. He’s not Rose, but Redick would certainly increase the Bulls’ chances of making a deep playoff run in the spring.