There aren't many people in sports who are more identified with a position and a team than Michael Jordan was for the Bulls. He made playing shooting guard for the Bulls right up there with playing center-field for the Yankees, or quarterback for the Cowboys. However, I don't think Tony Romo is the solution to this one.
Presently the Bulls roster is pretty set, and it looks ready to contend for years to come. With Derrick Rose leading the way, Carlos Boozer as the big free agent acquisition, Luol Deng starting to live up to his contract, and Joakim Noah starting to play like an All-Star after the Bulls signed him to an extension, four of the five positions are between solid and stellar.
However, the shooting guard position is drawing the controversy. The most storied position in Bulls history is the weakest right now, and Chi-Town ain't none to happy about it. The masses are gathering and rattling cages and the demand is, "Get us a shooting guard."
The problem is that what usually follows are a series of ludicrous trade suggestions that violate sensibility. Certain rules are in play. When I say sensible scenarios, I mean that these rules are kept in play.
- Reason: The team Chicago trades to has to have a reason to want the trade. In considering trade options you have to understand, the goal of every team in the NBA is not to make the Bulls a better team. They want to be better. Ergo, if a trade scenario is considered, it has to be mutually beneficial, and just saying "it's good for Memphis" doesn't make it so. It has to be good enough that Chris Wallace thinks it's good. There has to be quantified reasons and incentives for both sides.
- Replacements: In a multiple player deal you have to consider what you're giving away and how you're going to replace them. If good players were available in the D' League, we would just get a shooting guard from there. When considering multiple players for single players, you can't just pretend the solution is simple as just grabbing someone out of the D-League. If you give away Noah, you can't just say Asik and Thomas can handle it—they can't.
- Depth: Depth matters. If you deal away four bench players to get one starter, it's going to hurt more than it helps. No one wins NBA Championships with their bench, but no one wins without one either. A basketball game is 48 minutes long, and you have to be able to compete for every one of them if you expect to win it all.
- Salary: There is a salary cap. You can't just add players willy-nilly. You have to consider the cost of what you're acquiring as well. The Bulls are about 1.2 million under the cap at present, plus they can terminate Lucas' contract at any time. That means they have about 2 million dollars of give in a trade scenario. Therefore, any trade scenario must be within 2 million of what they're giving. Of course they could go over, and pay the tax for it, but the Bulls don't have a history of that.
- Balance: If they acquire a new shooting-guard that means they have to make the present situation better. We already have a guy who can score, Korver, and a guy who can play defense. In other words, we can choose between the "shooting" and the "guard" but we don't have a "shooting-guard" so to speak. Acquiring a player who has talent on only one side of the equation doesn't give us something we don't already have.
- Competition: Eastern Conference teams are going to be disinclined to want to trade with Chicago if they have realistic playoff hopes. Division opponents even more so. The further they hope to advance, the more true this becomes. A team not realistically believing they will make it past the first round may be more willing to part with real starting talent than a team that plans to go deep into the playoff. No one wants to get beaten in the playoffs by the player they traded away.
Taking into consideration all of these things, I've gone through the contracts and rosters of every NBA team and come up with what I think are the seven scenarios to solve the shooting guard situation in Chicago.