The Chicago Bulls need help at the General Manager position to turn their team’s future around. They have been helped by the horrible management and judgement of the New York Knicks, but still can’t get over the hump.
The Chicago Bulls seemed poised to make the jump from rebuilding team to perennial contender for the Eastern Conference championship after the 2004 and 2005 seasons, as they made the playoffs two years in a row and showcased their young talent.
Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, Chris Duhon, and Kirk Hinrich made the fans and management believe the Bulls had turned the corner and were ready to make the jump to the next level. After their 2005 playoff run, John Paxon made a bold move that should have put the Bulls in a position to get everything they needed.
He traded Eddy Curry to the Knicks for Michael Sweetney, Tim Thomas, Jermaine Jackson, a first-round pick, and two second-round picks. The net result of all of Paxon’s wheeling and dealing with the Knicks over the years was two first-round picks in which they could switch positions with New York.
With Chicago’s best players being perimeter players, this was their opportunity to upgrade their front line with a proven post-up scorer and add a serious front line presence. While the league laughed at the Knicks, the joke was on Chicago—as they turned a plethora of draft picks and trades into a dysfunctional and confused team.
In the 2006 draft, Chicago drafted LaMarcus Aldridge, which was a good move and filled a definite need—but they proceeded to trade him for Tyrus Thomas, who has no concrete offensive game and is a tween-er. That move made no sense at all.
Chicago was one of the best defensive teams in the Eastern Conference, but they made another mistake in trading Tyson Chandler to the Hornets for P.J. Brown and J.R. Smith. Chandler may not have been a go-to low-post option, but he guarded the basket and rebounded the ball very well. Big mistake.
The worst mistake of all was violating the Jason Williams rule (former New Jersey Nets power forward who had no offense, but was a good defender). They foolishly gave Ben Wallace a larger-than-life contract, even though he was an offensive liability and couldn’t shoot free throws.
I know he was a great defender, rebounder, and played excellent team defence, but my rule is to never, never, ever pay that kind of money to someone that offensively challenged. I cringed when the news came out about the signing.
With the other first-round pick they got from the Knicks, the Bulls took Joakim Noah. Another offensively-challenged big man that couldn’t help them on the offensive end. What Chicago should have been looking to do is package that pick with one of their perimeter players, and trade them for a power forward who can score, adding players to make up any dollar difference.
What the Bulls became this past year was an over-rated team with malcontents that didn’t fit well together. Scott Skiles paid for that with his job, but Paxon was the one that caused it.
One last miscalculation for the Bulls.
With Kobe wanting a trade and Kevin Garnett on the table to be had, supposedly Chicago didn’t want to include Deng in a hefty package for either. How can that happen? How can you not trade Deng, either Gordon or Hinrich, and a pick or another young player for Garnett or Kobe?
They were afraid to pull the trigger, and instead had to watch Garnett help Boston win a championship. Now that they have Derrick Rose, here is what I would do. They still need an inside presence, and veterans like Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess may be available.
I would also call Houston and see if Yao Ming would be available. He may not be, but you have to make the call. Houston hasn’t gotten out of the first round with him, and he can’t seem to stay healthy for a whole season, so I would at least inquire about him.
Carlos Boozer is someone else I would find out about. Andres Nocioni and Ben Gordon would be nice sign-and trade bait for the soon-to-be free agent power forward.
Presently constructed, the Bulls don’t work. Rose will make them a little better, but in order to contend they need a stud up front. Deng won’t be enough. Every one on the team should be considered expendable except for Rose.
Paxson balked at moving pieces that he should have moved to get star quality players. I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t play fantasy basketball like Isiah Thomas, but as long as I don’t compromise my defensive philosophy, I wouldn’t be afraid to upgrade my roster.
Are you listening, Chicago?