The Chicago Bulls have already pulled off two trades this season. Is it imperative that they make another deal before the trade deadline?
On Jan. 6, Chicago dealt two-time All-Star Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum (immediately released) and a package of future draft picks. This transaction basically had to happen for the Bulls, as they received something in return for Deng, who probably would’ve left via free agency this summer.
Then on Jan. 21, the Bulls sent struggling guard Marquis Teague to the Brooklyn Nets for Tornike Shengelia.
The two deals were pretty much salary dumps. Chicago is obviously trying to free up cap space for a free agent like LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony (both players can opt out their current contracts following this season).
Currently, the Bulls own a 23-23 record. That’s not a bad at all, especially since Derrick Rose is out for the season, and Deng plays for another team.
If you believe another trade is necessary, what type of move should the Bulls make?
Parting Ways with Joakim Noah
Ever since Rose suffered his second season-ending knee injury, the word “tank” has been linked to the Bulls. With the 2011 MVP unable to participate, the team has a zero percent chance of winning a title this year. So it makes sense to trade several players and start losing in order to land a higher draft pick.
If management does decide to tank, would dealing Joakim Noah be a foolish idea?
Noah is undoubtedly the Bulls’ emotional leader and has been for quite some time now. Recently named to his second All-Star team, he’s also one of the top centers in the Association.
But the former Florida Gator will make $25.6 million over the next two seasons. Trading him for an expiring contract would help free up cap space to go after James, Anthony or even the Indiana Pacers’ Lance Stephenson.
The Bulls could possibly deal Noah to the Boston Celtics for Kris Humphries’ expiring contract and a first-rounder in this year’s draft (via the Brooklyn Nets). That pick is currently projected to be around No. 20 overall.
A Noah-to-Boston deal would also make the Bulls a worse team, giving them a better chance at landing a future star in the draft. With studs like Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid in the mix, this is definitely the year to tank.
Should Taj Gibson Be Shipped Out of Town?
A few teams are interested in Taj Gibson via Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times:
Hinrich and Mike Dunleavy have been churning in the rumor mill for more than a month. Now Taj Gibson’s name is picking up steam. What the Bulls do with him could determine how serious they are in clearing salary-cap space for a max contract to land a player such as Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James.
Moving Gibson would signify the Bulls’ determination to give Derrick Rose a second superstar to play with.
Gibson is having the best season of his career. Always known as a superb post defender, the fifth-year pro’s offensive game has improved dramatically this year.
But by trading Gibson (signed through 2016-17) and using the amnesty clause on Carlos Boozer this summer, the Bulls would be able to offer a free agent a max contract.
Sending Gibson as well as Mike Dunleavy to the Charlotte Bobcats for Ben Gordon and Jeff Adrien would work, according to ESPN’s Trade Machine. This would be the ultimate salary dump, as Gordon and Adrien’s contracts both expire after the season.
Such a trade would certainly help the Bulls out in terms of tanking. An outstanding scorer years ago, Gordon isn’t much of an impact player nowadays.
Adding two quality pieces in Gibson and Dunleavy, Charlotte wouldn’t have a problem making the playoffs this year, which would be their first appearance since 2009-10.
Does Chicago Really Have to Make Another Trade?
Without a trade, the Bulls are capable of reaching the second round of the playoffs, like they accomplished last season. But there’s nothing great about that at all.
A move or two before the deadline is truly a must. The Bulls need to clear as much cap space as possible and attempt to regain their status as title contenders.
Noah needs to stay put. The energetic big man could team with Rose and a free-agent acquisition to form a fantastic “Big Three” next season in the Windy City.
Guys like Gibson and Dunleavy should be sent packing, though, as the departure of their contracts would help the Bulls immensely.
The Bulls have a history of bad luck when it comes to free agency. During the summer of 2000, they were spurned by the likes of Tim Duncan, Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady. And in 2010, James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all said “thanks, but no thanks.”
Yet, that was in the past. Perhaps this summer will be a totally different story. Maybe King James or ‘Melo will actually choose to take his talents to Illinois.
Gar Forman and John Paxson, pick up the phone and make some calls. It’s trading time!
All stats are from Basketball-Reference.com and accurate as of Feb. 2, 2014.