Reassessing Chicago Bulls' Title Odds Post-NBA Trade Deadline

Mike B.Correspondent IFebruary 23, 2013

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 13: Luol Deng #9 and Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls walk off of the court following their 71-69 loss against the Boston Celtics during the game on February 13, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. 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 Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Following the NBA trade deadline, did the Chicago Bulls’ title odds increase, decrease or stay the same?

It’s safe to say the odds stayed exactly the same.

This was undoubtedly one of the most boring and disappointing trade deadlines in recent memory.

The Bulls didn’t make a single move. No, Carlos Boozer and Nate Robinson weren’t traded to the Toronto Raptors for Andrea Bargnani and John Lucas III. And no, Richard Hamilton wasn’t shipped out of town in exchange for a reserve big man.

While the Bulls failed to make a big-time trade, none of their Eastern conference competitors made one either.

The only move the Miami Heat (first place in the East) made was to send Dexter Pittman to the Memphis Grizzlies for basically nothing. Dexter who? You have to be the world’s biggest NBA fanatic to know who he is.

The Indiana Pacers did nothing. 

All the New York Knicks did was trade Ronnie Brewer to the Oklahoma City Thunder and sign Kenyon Martin.  K-mart was an All-Star years ago, but he’s not going to have major impact now.

New York’s other NBA team, the Brooklyn Nets, failed to make a splash as well. They couldn’t acquire Josh Smith from the Atlanta Hawks or Paul Pierce from the Boston Celtics.

Speaking of the Celtics, the rumored deal that had Kevin Garnett going to the Los Angeles Clippers never materialized. The Celtics did, however, pick up Jordan Crawford from the Washington Wizards.            

The Milwaukee Bucks acquired sharpshooter J.J. Redick from the Orlando Magic. The former Duke superstar is no NBA superstar, but he’ll make the Bucks a better team.  

Do the Bulls have a realistic shot at winning it all this year? Can they capture their first title since 1998, back when Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were leading the way?

Well, if they’re going to accomplish such a feat, superstar point guard Derrick Rose must return to the lineup this season.  

Unless you’ve been living under a rock—a really huge rock—you’re aware that Rose suffered a torn ACL in last year’s playoffs and hasn’t played a single minute since.

A healthy Rose is arguably one of the league’s top-five players. He’s lightning quick, ridiculously athletic and capable of producing 25 points a night.  He’s unstoppable, to say the least.

Rose was expected to return in either late February or early March. However, there’s a chance that the former MVP won’t play until next season. Hopefully he comes back soon and does an Adrian Peterson impersonation.  Or, in other words, hopefully he plays as if he never injured his knee.  

The Bulls have overachieved without Rose this season, posting a 32-23 record, good for fifth in the East.

Gritty defense is the main reason for the team’s success. As long as coach Tom Thibodeau is around, it’s basically a given that the Bulls are going to shut down opponents on a nightly basis.

The Bulls are obviously a quality team without Rose. So just image how good they would be with him. Referring to them as title contenders wouldn’t be inappropriate.

A healthy Rose, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah would form an excellent trio in Chicago. D-Rose is a three-time All-Star, while both Deng and Noah made the team this year.

Deng is currently leading the Bulls in scoring and is playing his usual lockdown defense. Meanwhile, Noah has emerged as a rare “point center” and demonstrates his all-around talent every time he touches the hardwood.

Power forward Carlos Boozer is also having a sensation year for the Bulls. Often criticized since he took his talents to the Windy City, Boozer was clearly worthy of consideration for this year's All-Star Game given how he's played this season.

Chicago’s roster includes several other talented players like Nate Robinson, Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler and Marco Belinelli.

The Bulls could have the talent needed to win a title. And you know the saying “defense wins championships.”

But in order to get out of the East, they’re going to have to beat LeBron James and the Heat, which isn’t an easy task. Even if they do get past Miami, could Chicago knock off the Thunder, Clippers or San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals? It remains to be seen.

Will this be the year we see championship banner No. 7?     



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