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Chicago Bulls: Why 5 Trades Make Them Favorites to Win NBA Championship

Nicholas HoeftCorrespondent IIIOctober 24, 2016

Chicago Bulls: Why 5 Trades Make Them Favorites to Win NBA Championship

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    With free agents beginning to find new homes and the market starting to dwindle, here are 5 moves that the Chicago front office must make to improve the Bulls this year and over the next few years. Being able to pull the right strings and make shrewd free agent moves (even if the market is starting to shrink) will catapult the Bulls to the elite of the NBA.

    I have outlined 5 scenarios that Chicago management needs to consider and pursue even if it might not ultimately work out (think about odds of landing Dwight Howard). The front office must make some signings, utilize the amnesty cut (and its not on who you think) and pull off a big trade to make the 2011 off-season a memorable one.

    In regards to available free agents, let me first say that I would have loved the Bulls to sign Tracy McGrady to a veteran minimum contract, but ESPN is reporting that Atlanta has already done so. Shane Battier would have been another very nice taxpayer MLE contract, but he recently tweeted he has reached an agreement with the Heat (this is another very strong reason the Bulls need to do something big to fill the shooting guard spot with a star caliber player). Grant Hill would have also made a great addition at a very reasonable price, but it looks as though that his decision is down to the Suns or Knicks (when thinking of NYC getting Hill, be reminded of my suggestion referring to why the Battier signing increases the importance of landing a star at the shooting guard spot). ESPN is reporting taht Caron Butler has been signed by the Clippers on a 3 year $24M contract.

    That free agent background being clear, I give you the 5 dream trade scenarios for the Chicago Bulls in particular order.

Scenario 1: The OJ Mayo Trade

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    Scenario #1:

    Keep: Carlos Boozer ($13.5M), Luol Deng ($12.34M), Joakim Noah ($10M), Derrick Rose ($6.99M), C.J. Watson ($3.4M), Omer Asik ($1.85M), Taj Gibson ($1.2M) and Jimmy Butler ($900k)

    Cut: Keith Bogans ($1.7M), John Lucas ($950k) and Jannero Pargo ($1.26M)

    Amnesty: Kyle Korver ($5M)

    Sign: Kurt Thomas (veteran minimum), Michael Redd (veteran minimum ) and Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson Steveson or Josh Howard (MLE)

    Trade: Ronnie Brewer ($4.71M), Charlotte's 2012 First Rounder and Chicago's 2012 and 2014 second round picks for OJ Mayo ($5.63M).

    Reasoning: Korver's job can be done by Redd at a fraction of the price and Redd brings the possibility of being able to create his own shot which Korver can't. Butler would be a huge addition as the sixth man at the MLE because he could backup Mayo at shooting guard and Deng at small forward. Mayo is the well-rounded star the Bulls need. He is a dynamic scorer when he has to be, he is a solid three point shooter and showed in last year's playoffs that he could play great defense.

    If Memphis ownership can get past its issues with Chicago ownership and pull this trade off, Memphis could play Brewer this year at a cheaper price than Mayo and then look to trade him as an expiring contract next year. That ability coupled with three draft picks would help Memphis cut down its payroll on the players making up the supporting cast to the large contracts of Mike Conley, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and soon to be Marc Gasol. Those young players on rookie scale contracts would give Memphis good players to surround their core with. Chicago, on the other hand, would get its coveted young shooting guard through this trade, sign C. Butler (or Stevenson or Howard) to back up the shooting guard and small forward spots and sign Redd to be the Korver replacement as the long range sniper.

    The final 12-man roster would look like this:

    PG: Rose, Watson and Redd

    SG: Mayo, C. Butler (or Stevenson or Howard) and Redd

    SF: Deng, C. Butler and J. Butler

    PF: Boozer and Gibson

    C: Noah, Asik and Thomas

Scenario 2: The Dwight Howard Trade

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    Scenario #2:

    Keep: Derrick Rose ($6.99M), Ronnie Brewer ($4.71M) C.J. Watson ($3.4M), Omer Asik ($1.85M), Taj Gibson ($1.2M) and Jimmy Butler ($900k)

    Cut: Keith Bogans ($1.7M), John Lucas ($950k) and Jannero Pargo ($1.26M)

    Amnesty: Kyle Korver ($5M)

    Sign: Michael Redd (veteran minimum) and Troy Murphy (veteran minimum)

    Trade: Joakim Noah ($10M), Carlos Boozer ($13.5M), Luol Deng ($12.34M), Charlotte 2012 First Round Pick, Bulls 2012 First Round Pick and Bulls 2014 Second Round Pick to Orlando for Dwight Howard ($17.8M), Hidayet Turkoglu ($10.6M), Brandon Bass ($4M), a sign and trade Jason Richardson ($6M) and the Magic's 2012 Second Round Pick.

    Reasoning: This trade would begin Orlando's makeover process. The Magic could amnesty Gilbert Arenas (which it is anticipated they will regardless) and save a lot of money to assist in the rebuild. The Magic would get a young center in Noah to replace Howard's defense, a scoring power forward to replace Bass in Boozer, a player in Deng that is an upgrade over Turkoglu both talent wise and contract friendliness. Orlando would also get a pair of first round picks to help the rebuilding and upgrade the backcourt.

    The Bulls would love this trade because they would land the biggest fish in all the sea in Howard and would shed the contract of Boozer. Although the Bulls would be taking back the contract of Turkoglu which is higher than Dengs, they would have the benefit of forcing the sign and trade of Jason Richardson as part of the deal to fill the starting shooting guard void. Bass would be an adequate replacement for Boozer in a rotation with Gibson. In a year, the Bulls could decide who they prefer to make a long term commitment to at power forward. Chicago would have to give up two first round picks, but the swap of the second round picks will allow the Bulls to fill out the roster next year with two second round low dollar rookie contracts since they will have no first round picks. The Bulls should sign Redd because Korver's job can be done by Redd at a fraction of the price and Redd brings the possibility of being able to create his own shot. The final signing would be Troy Murphy as the backup power forward to add depth in the front court and a player who can spread the floor at the four.

    The final 12-man roster would look like this:

    PG: Rose, Watson and Redd

    SG: Richardson, Brewer and Redd

    SF: Turkoglu, Brewer and J. Butler

    PF: Gibson, Bass and Murphy

    C: Howard and Asik

Scenario 3: The Detroit Trade

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    Scenario #3:

    Keep: Luol Deng ($12.34M), Joakim Noah ($10M), Derrick Rose ($6.99M), C.J. Watson ($3.4M), Omer Asik ($1.85M), and Taj Gibson ($1.2M) and Jimmy Butler ($900k)

    Cut: Keith Bogans ($1.7M), John Lucas ($950k) and Jannero Pargo ($1.26M)

    Sign: Kurt Thomas (veteran minimum), Michael Redd (veteran minimum) and Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson Steveson or Josh Howard (MLE)

    Trade: Ronnie Brewer ($4.71M), Carlos Boozer ($13.5M), Kyle Korver ($5M) and Charlotte's 2012 First Round Pick to Detroit for Richard Hamilton ($12.65M), Charlie Villanueva ($7.54M) and Greg Monroe ($3.5M)

    Reasoning: This would be a tough sell to Detroit, but it does provide them with some interesting room to rebuild. They may take it because they would have Brewer and Korver under contract for less $20M for the next two years when Hamilton would cost $25M over the same time. Yes, the Pistons would take on Boozer's big contract, but they could get more for their money with his deal than they would with the dead weight contract of Villanueva. Also, this trade would allow Detroit to begin with a total remodel. After shedding the contracts of Hamilton and Villanueva and by using the amnesty provision to dump the contract of Ben Gordon, a ton of committed cap can be cleared and Detroit could rebuild from the bottom up with Boozer as the only player with a long term commitment. They could use expiring contracts of Brewer and Korver next year to trade for assets and can draft a young star with the Charlotte draft pick.

    Chicago would love this deal because it would bring in Rip Hamilton for two years. He is a player who would fit in the starting shooting guard spot right away and has been considered a good fit for a while now. The Bulls would trade away the bad contract of Boozer for a budding young star power forward in Greg Monroe even though it would also require them to take on the horrible three year contract of Villanueva since the contracts of Villanueva and Monroe would be a few million less than Boozer and because Monroe has very good potential. Chicago would also want to sign C. Butler (or Stevenson or Howard) for the MLE and bring in Thomas at the veteran minimum.

    The final 12-man roster would look like this:

    PG: Rose, Watson

    SG: Hamilton and C. Butler (or Stevenson or Howard)

    SF: Deng, C. Butler (or Stevenson or Howard) and J. Butler

    PF: Gibson, Monroe and C. Villanueva

    C: Noah, Asik and Thomas

Scenario 4: The Arron Afflalo Trade

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    Scenario 4:

    Keep: Carlos Boozer ($13.5M), Luol Deng ($12.34M), Joakim Noah ($10M), Derrick Rose ($6.99M), C.J. Watson ($3.4M), Taj Gibson ($1.2M) and Jimmy Butler (900K).

    Cut: Keith Bogans ($1.7M), John Lucas ($950k) and Jannero Pargo ($1.26M)

    Amnesty: Kyle Korver ($5M)

    Sign: Kurt Thomas (veteran minimum), Michael Redd (veteran minimum), Jeff Foster (veteran minimum) and C Butler (or Stevenson or Howard) (MLE)

    Trade: Ronnie Brewer ($4.71M) and Omer Asik ($1.85M) along with Charlotte's 2012 first-round pick and Chicago's 2012 and 2013 second-round picks to Denver for Arron Afflalo ($7M)

    Reasoning: A swap of Brewer for Afflalo will give Denver a player they can plug into their system right away to play both the shooting guard and small forward positions. Getting Asik would be a huge win for Denver and the reason why they make this trade, especially if it doesn't resign Nene. The future first-round and two future second-round picks will give Denver the assets in needs to continue rebuilding through the draft. Alternatively, those picks will give their management a stockpile of draft choices in the next two years to package along with an expiring contract like Andre Miller or a bad contract like Al Harrington for a player in Denver's long-term plans.

    For the Bulls, they get one of the players that they covet most in Afflalo. He is a great all around player and would be an ideal backcourt partner with Rose for the next five years. Losing Asik would be a tough pill to swallow, but the Bulls will have to make a choice to invest in either Asik or Gibson next year so they are just making the decision now. The Bulls would make Korver amnesty an amnesty casualty for the savings Redd would bring signing at the veteran minimum. Redd and Korver are both deadly shooters, but Redd can create his own shot better than Korver. Chicago could then sign one of the shooting guard-small forward combo players like C. Butler (of Stevenson or Howard) with the MLE to back up Afflalo and Deng.. Finally, management would sign the a savvy veteran center in Thomas to back up Noah and last year's playoff villain in Foster as the third center.

    The final 12-man roster would look like this:

    PG: Rose, Watson and Redd

    SG: Afflalo, C Butler (or Stevenson or Howard) and Redd

    SF: Deng, C Butler (or Stevenson or Howard) and J. Butler

    PF: Boozer, Gibson

    C: Noah, Thomas and Foster

Scenario 5: The Monta Ellis and David Lee Trade

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    Scenario 5:

    Keep: , Luol Deng ($12.34M), Joakim Noah ($10M), Derrick Rose ($6.99M), C.J. Watson ($3.4M), Taj Gibson ($1.2M), Omer Asik ($1.85M) and Jimmy Butler (900K).

    Cut: Keith Bogans ($1.7M), John Lucas ($950k) and Jannero Pargo ($1.26M)

    Sign: Kurt Thomas (veteran minimum), Michael Redd (veteran minimum) and C Butler (or Stevenson or Howard) (MLE)

    Trade: Carlos Boozer ($13.5M), Kyle Korver ($5M) and Ronnie Brewer ($4.71M) along with Charlotte's 2012 first-round pick and Chicago's 2012 and 2013 second-round picks to Golden State for Davide Lee ($11.6M) and Monta Ellis ($11M)

    Reasoning: Trading Ellis to the Bulls would help Golden State remove the backlog at the shooting guard position and take away the backcourt leader issue from being a potential clubhouse distraction. The team would officially be Curry's team going forward. Swapping Ellis for Korver and Brewer would save Golden State one million dollars per year for the next two years and would allow them them to extend Dorell Wright's contract when Korver and Brewer's are up to keep him in town (Ellis would have a player option that 3rd year). The Warriors would swap Boozer for Lee which would cost more per year, but his contract wouldn't be on their books as long. With Boozer, they would have a true low post presence which Lee doesn't really provide. Golden State would also receive a first round and two second round picks to help rebuild their team through the draft or as trade bait next year along with the expiring contracts of Brewer and Korver.

    The Bulls would jump at this trade because it lands them a premier scorer and play-maker to align in the backcourt beside Rose. It would also take some of the annual sting out of Boozer's contract since Lee's contract is for millions less per year even if it is for an extra year. Lee is a good mid range shooter and would space the floor for Rose nicely. Chicago would use its MLE to sign C. Butler, Stevenson or J. Howard to backup Ellis and provide a larger shooting guard option with the backcourt of Rose and Ellis is too small. The Bulls would also want to sign Thomas for front court depth and Redd as the sharpshooter replacement for Korver.

    The final 12-man roster would look like this:

    PG: Rose, Watson and Redd

    SG: Ellis, C. Butler (or Stevenson or Howard) and Redd

    SF: Deng, C. Butler (or Stevenson or Howard) and J. Butler

    PF: Lee, Gibson

    C: Noah, Asik and Thomas

Go Big or Go Home

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    No matter how the Bulls decide to maneuver through 2011 free agency, management must do something drastic to fill the shooting guard vacancy and to make sure Chicago stays an elite team and perennial championship contender.

    Whether its Howard, Afflalo, Mayo, Ellis or Hamilton, the Bulls must make a splash in the trade market to counter moves being made by Miami, New York and Boston and to make sure that the City of Chicago has a championship caliber team to play with Derrick Rose for the next half decade.

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