Was Chicago's inaction wise? Were there any potential moves they should have made?
With Derrick Rose's return likely on the horizon, the Bulls definitely didn't need to make any unnecessary maneuvers, in which they would've made a move "just to make a move." Mortgaging their future in such a manner would've featured no logic.
However, there were a few potential scenarios that would've made a great deal of sense if they were available. The following three trades are deals the Bulls should've made at the deadline if the partners were willing.
Truthfully, each of these deals would've not only helped the Bulls this year, but also enhanced their future outlook. This is the chief reason why these moves should've been explored prior to the deadline's buzzer.
Trade 1 (See it on Trade Machine):
Bulls get: C Zaza Pachulia, future first-round pick (lottery-protected)
Atlanta Hawks get: SG Richard Hamilton, PG Marquis Teague, 2013 second-round pick
This minor move would've netted the Bulls' second unit a serviceable center. Pachulia is nothing special, but he is a competent rebounder and finisher near the bucket. His per-36 rebounding output of 10.9 rebounds per game, according to Real GM Sports, amplifies his activity on the boards.
Pachulia would've given the Bulls a much more reliable backup big man than Nazr Mohammed, whose age and ineffectiveness is evident. If Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer or Taj Gibson suffer an injury down the stretch (or merely encounter foul trouble in pivotal games), the Bulls are in trouble.
Pachulia would've given them depth and insurance, something distinctly valuable in the grind of the playoffs.
From Atlanta's perspective, they would've nabbed veteran Rip Hamilton to replace the injured Lou Williams. More importantly, the addition of Teague (whose brother, Jeff, already plays for the Hawks) could've provided a promising guard for the future.
The first-round pick would've made this deal a go for Chicago, because it would've provided reason to bid farewell to Teague.
Trade 2 (See it on Trade Machine):
Bulls get: C Enes Kanter, PG Jamaal Tinsley
This trade may appear "minor" at first glance, but Enes Kanter, the third overall pick in the 2011 Draft, has an All-Star caliber upside.
Quite frankly, he's already a proven low-post threat, evidenced by his eye-popping per-36 numbers (according to Real GM Sports): 16.2 points per game, 10.2 RPG and 1.4 blocks per game. He also possesses impressive percentages: 54.1 percent from the field and 75.3 percent from the free-throw line.
So, why would the Jazz have been willing to part with their 20-year-old budding star?
Well, they already boast a strong front line featuring Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors. Both Jefferson and Millsap will be free agents this summer, but Utah's decision to not trade either prior to the deadline gives reason to wonder if their plan is to re-sign both (or at least Jefferson).
With this in view, perhaps the Bulls could've snuck in and made a play for Kanter. A package featuring Teague and two first-round picks would've certainly been compelling. Utah is in dire need of more production in their backcourt, and Teague would've provided a floor general for the future while the picks could've addressed further holes.
For the Bulls, this deal would've been wondrous. Kanter could've evolved into a fitting sidekick next to D-Rose. He would've most certainly been a welcome addition.
Trade 3 (See it on Trade Machine):
Bulls get: SG Eric Gordon, PF Ryan Anderson
New Orleans Hornets get: SF Luol Deng, SG Richard Hamilton, PG Kirk Hinrich, PG Marquis Teague, future Charlotte Bobcats protected first-round pick
The Hornets made Eric Gordon available at the deadline, but concerns over his health halted any developments from occurring.
His health concerns are undeniably valid, as he endured an injury-riddled 2011-12 and these woes have continued this season (has only played in 20 games).
While this move would've carried great risk, it would've also come with an extremely high reward.
Gordon's potent offensive abilities are undeniable. When healthy, he would've given the Bulls an elite weapon who can create his own shot. In 2010-11 with the Los Angeles Clippers, he averaged 22.3 PPG as a 22-year-old. This is ample evidence of how productive he can be.
What's more, the Bulls not only would've notched a top-notch shooting guard, they would've also acquired one of the game's premier three-point shooters in the 6'10'' Anderson.
The Bulls are a lacking three-point shooting team, and Anderson's 40 percent mark from long range coupled with his 16.8 PPG average would've filled a clear void in their offense. Can you imagine how Anderson would've created driving lanes for Rose and Gordon? The Bulls' offensive attack would've suddenly become seemingly unstoppable.
Acquiring these high-caliber players would've surely come with a cost, with the main item being back-to-back All-Star Luol Deng. Furthermore, Teague and the first-round pick from Charlotte would've given New Orleans assets for the coming years.
From the Hornets' perspective, they are apparently content to cast off Gordon while recognizing that his injury concerns dwindle his value.
In regards to Anderson, the Hornets already possess rookie stud Anthony Davis and Robin Lopez in their frontcourt (Anderson is listed as a power forward). While they did just sign Anderson in the offseason, they could've justified trading him if it meant their lineup would feature Deng, Davis, Lopez and emerging point guard Greivis Vasquez. That would've bode well for their future as the New Orleans "Pelicans."
If the Bulls would've pulled the trigger on any of these deals, they would've not only been in a better position for the season's climax, but they would've also sparked more excitement concerning their long-term outlook.
There was no need for Chicago to "force" a deadline deal, but perhaps they should've done a bit more exploring. If they rattled off a move like the ones listed above, the United Center would've soon been buzzing with the return of D-Rose and new faces who would've solidified their roster.