What Proposed Draft Swap with Denver Nuggets Could Mean for Chicago Bulls

Micky ShakedContributor IIIJune 11, 2014

Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Forman, left, and executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson talk before an NBA basketball game between the Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Cherney)
Charles Cherney/Associated Press

In his latest mock draft (version 7.0), ESPN Insider Chad Ford hinted in both teams' capsules that the Chicago Bulls and Denver Nuggets could swap first round picks in the upcoming NBA draft.

Draft intel: Sixers trying to move up; Kings searching for a PG; Nuggets-Bulls talking swap; more … http://t.co/o75X9WWyWt (insider)

— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 10, 2014

Per Ford's assessment, Chicago would look to add a high caliber shooter such as Nik Stauskas or Gary Harris with Denver's No. 11 pick, in exchange for their 16th and 19th picks.

The rumor is still fresh, but if there's any truth to be found in it this could mean the front office has decided on a summer strategy. Or at least part of one.

Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press/Associated Press

Dig back a few weeks through the mill and every trade scenario bringing Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Love to Chicago involved these two picks. Morphing two first-rounders into a slightly better one would actually make a package less attractive to a trade partner hitting the reset button i.e. Minnesota, especially in such a deep draft.

Though the number is minimal, Chicago would save itself about $808,300 in rookie salary with this trade according to RealGM. This smells like a bid to bring over European stud Nikola Mirotic while adding more shooting and depth through the draft. They could instead go after Anthony as a free agent, but that gets complicated.

It also smells like a gamble on Tom Thibodeau. Trading for Love or Anthony would require the Bulls front office to blow up a well-oiled core Thibs has worked tirelessly to form into the most cohesive "whole is greater than the sum of its parts" group. Goodbye Taj Gibson and/or Jimmy Butler. Probably and.

Rather, Gar Forman and John Paxson could be content giving Thibodeau a Derrick Rose-Stauskas/Harris-Butler-Gibson-Noah starting lineup with Mirotic coming off the bench. All of this assumes they will amnesty Carlos Boozer's $15.8 million off the books, which is all but a sure thing since they probably won't find a trade partner.

The Bulls have reportedly told Taj Gibson to "prepare to start" next season, which may lead to the Bulls using the amnesty clause on Boozer.

— NBA Legion (@MySportsLegion) May 24, 2014

It's a crying shame that so many Bulls fans had their hopes built up for a new superstar to join the Madhouse on Madison, but this route still makes Chicago a competitive team in the East.


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