Chicago Bulls: Analyzing the Impact of James Johnson Trade

Sean O'DowdContributor IIIFebruary 22, 2011

CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 11: James Johnson #16 of the Chicago Bulls defends against the Golden State Warriors at the United Center on November 11, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Warriors 120-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Today, ESPN reported that the Bulls have traded James Johnson to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for a draft pick, ending JJ's disappointing two year stint with the Bulls. Originally selected No. 16 overall in the same draft that brought Taj Gibson to the team six picks later, Gibson has completely outplayed the higher drafted Johnson. 

Johnson was not a part of the rotation that has the Bulls competing for the No. 1 seed in the East, and he has played limited minutes in garbage time. After returning from a stint in the D-League, the Bulls obviously were shopping him around and found a taker in the Raptors. 

In exchange for JJ, the Bulls receive the Heat's first-round draft pick, which was sent to the Raptors for Chris Bosh during the summer. The draft pick will be a rather late first-round pick, and do not expect the Bulls to be the team that uses it. JJ was swapped for a more enticing asset, which could lead to one of two outcomes.

No. 1. The more likely of the two, the Bulls want assets that could entice teams to make a trade without having to sacrifice their depth and bench, specifically Taj Gibson and Omer Asik. As a result, the team could now offer the Miami Heat draft pick with the Bulls' pick this year in exchange for Courtney Lee of the Rockets

No. 2. The Bulls are trying to stockpile their assets for a major trade to drastically improve their record without having to give up the entire bench. This trade could be a prerequisite to a trade that brings a player along the lines of OJ Mayo to the team. The Bulls could conceivably offer the Heat pick, the Bulls '11 pick and the Charlotte pick, which would be enticing to the Grizzlies, and the Bulls could still maintain their bench.

Also, getting rid of JJ saves the Bulls some money, which will allow them to absorb the contract of a higher paid player such as OJ.

Either scenario indicates that this trade is just a prerequisite to a larger trade that will occur later for the needed shooting guard. Either way, expect the Bulls to have a new shooting guard within the next three days