The Chicago Bulls did not pull off a trade at the 3pm ET deadline today, despite the fact they were rumored to be adding a shooting guard to the roster. Technically the team did make a trade in giving James Johnson away for a late draft pick, but more on that later.
Since the start of the season and the Keith Bogans era, fans have been clamoring for his replacement. Backup shooting guards Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver do have their respective strengths, but neither are a complete guard. Korver is one of the top shooters is the league, but has no defensive ability and isn't good in transition. Brewer is almost the exact opposite, as he cannot shoot but is good in transition and a good defender.
Fans had been clamoring for a new SG, myself included. Dozens have been listed, such as JR Smith, OJ Mayo, Anthony Parker, Rudy Fernandez and Courtney Lee. As the deadline came around, the three names the team was interested in were Parker, Mayo and Lee. And yet, the team did not make a trade.
Anthony Parker was probably viewed as a "worst case scenario" because he is almost 36 years old. He is a deadly shooter, though, and with Derrick Rose consistently driving the lane, Parker would get many open shot opportunities. With an expiring contract, Parker would have been a "rental" player for only this season.
Due to his old age, the Bulls probably could have acquired him with at most a first-round draft pick. Heck, it's not like the Bulls have four of those the next two years.
Mayo was always the best possible player the Bulls could trade for. He is a young player with athletic ability and is a shooter. As a rookie, he averaged over eighteen points a game and could regain that form if he played alongside MVP Derrick Rose. Throw in likely Coach of the Year Tom Thibodeau working with Mayo and developing his game, and Mayo could have become a great player for the Bulls.
Although his attitude problems are well documented, Thibs likely could have handled that situation. Look at what he did in Boston. He worked with Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and KG and got all three to coexist peacefully. All three have not been the perfect locker room guy for their whole careers. He, along with the help of veteran locker room leader Kurt Thomas, could have managed one potentially hostile character in Mayo.
Mayo might have been traded right at the deadline to the Pacers. I use "might" because there is currently uncertainty with the deal. But the agreed upon deal stated that he was to be traded for a lottery draft pick and a big who averages a career high in seven PPG. You might remember him as the guy Ronnie Brewer destroyed when he dunked over him.
If the Grizzlies agreed to trade OJ for one pick, although high, and a player who doesn't produce on the offensive end, what would the Bulls have to have given up? Two picks and Bogans? Maybe three picks and Bogans? Either one would have been worth it.
Courtney Lee has always been a target of the Bulls, but the Bulls flat out refused to trade their now third string center in exchange for Courtney Lee. I am a fan of Asik and I support that decision, but then why not change track and offer two first-round draft picks? Any team would have to think long and hard about such an offer, and probably would be inclined to take it.
As mentioned, the Bulls did make a minor trade is sending James Johnson to the Raptors for a late first-round draft pick. Coincidentally, the Bulls played the Raptors right after that. And without any timing or chemistry with his new teammates, JJ dropped nine points and got five rebounds. Not bad for a player who did not get any time with the Bulls.
The Bulls might have traded away a promising young player. And they certainly traded away a huge security blanket because if injury-prone Luol Deng falls, the Bulls will be in trouble. Not a good move by the front office here.
The Bulls probably did not make a move due to chemistry concerns. But this roster is currently not good enough to win an NBA Championship. Other players will have to be eventually added, and disrupt chemistry. Since players will have to be added and the chemistry will get disrupted, it would make sense to make the move sooner rather than later. And with plenty of ammunition for a trade with several draft picks, the Bulls made a mistake.
So what happens now?
Well, Keith Bogans will probably remain the starter for the rest of the season. Thibs hasn't found an excuse to replace him so far this season, and without a new player added to the rotation, Bogans will remain as the starter. The Bulls will make the playoffs as at least a top three seed, and could make a run. But they will not win a championship this year. And one will wonder how good this team could have been if they had made a trade for a shooting guard.