The much rumored Bulls-Raps trade is the first deal that I would make. That isn't specific enough as there are a lot of variations on the deal that have been proposed. The one I would do be this: Bulls send out Noc, Hughes, Gray, and Gooden for JON, Anthony Parker and Joey Graham (all of whom the trade machine tells me have 1 year left on their deals). The Raps get a somewhat competent (I use this term very loosely) big man in Drew Gooden who expires this year back for JON. They have an interest in acquiring Noc on the wing (I have no idea why), and they have to take Hughes and Gray (starting center!) back to make the salaries match up and make the deal worthwhile for us.
Next, in a chat today, Chad Ford speculated on the Blazers' interest in acquiring Luol Deng in light of the fact that they won't have max salary cap space this summer because of Darius Miles's return to basketball.
Jake (Israel): Lovin the chats Chad. How seriously does the Darius Miles situation affect the Blazers? assuming he plays two more games.
Chad Ford: Seriously, which is why the Blazers ended up making that desperate, pathetic threat over the weekend. The plan was to be a major player in the free agent market this summer. While the Blazers will still have room this summer, their better bet, now, is to use Raef LaFrentz's expiring contract (which is really a sweet deal since insurance picks up 80 percent of his salary) and some of his young talent to try to get another big piece or two. Ideally they'd to get a franchise point guard and they need a small forward. There's been interest in Mike Conley and I know they love Luol Deng. All in all, expect the Blazers to be very proactive at the trade deadline. It's the best chance of landing another impact player.
I'll note at the outset that I'm a Deng fan and want him to remain on the team and would be wary of trading him since he's only 23, has shown great potential and production early in his career, and I have his jersey hanging in my closet. However, if the Bulls are going to deal Deng this year, it has to be for an expiring contract and some young talent. He's not a superstar, but he could be an All-Star down the line, so there has to be some return on their investment there. Here's the second trade I'd propose. The Bulls send out Hinrich and Deng and receive back Raef LaFrentz's extremely nice expiring where the insurance pays most of the last year of the deal (sure to entice cheapskate Reinsdorf), Rudy Fernandez (a very good young player on an extremely nice deal), Nicholas Batum (an up and comer at SF who is only 20 and is already a very good defender), and Sergio
Garcia Rodriguez (Spanish comrade to Rudy and scrappy backup PG to work in behind Rose sometimes and let's be honest, salary filler). I'm not sure the Blazers would do this, but they need to consolidate some of that young talent and a Roy / Hinrich starting backcourt would be a great fit and Deng would be perfect out there on the wing for them and they have interest. Any lurking Blazers fan let me know how plausible this deal actually is, in your view.
Finally, the Bulls would left with the following rotation that even Vinny (hopefully) couldn't screw up.
PG - Rose / Sergio
SG - BG / Rudy
SF - Thabo / Batum
PF - Tyrus, Noah
C - O'Neal, Noah, Tyrus (only if they go small ball)
Bench / Crap:
Hunter, Ruffin, Graham, Parker, LaFrentz
This would leave us pretty thin up front and if Vinny can't see the wheat and the chaffe might exarcebate the "guard glut," but in my view, it doesn't do that because I can clearly separate which guys are just contracts (the "Bench / Crap" guys) and which ones are contributors. I'd like to see Tyrus getting 36 minutes a night at PF, Noah getting 12 at PF and 18 at C for 30 minutes, and JON getting the other 30 minutes a night at C when he's healthy.
Other positives about these two deals when combined is that with Graham, Parker, LaFrentz, and JON (I think) all expiring the Bulls would have a ton of capspace this summer to re-sign BG and make a splash with another signing or if BG decides to leave regardless of the Bulls offer, we'll have plenty of cap space to improve the roster and a young, capable replacement in Fernandez (and he's tall!, ack). The big, big downside to it is giving up on Deng when he's just 23 and allowing him to go to Portland and have their fans heckling us as he helps, along with Hinrich, to lead that team to a title within the next two or three years. These deals are basically just emerging out of my desire to blow things up and to get some new blood in here. I like Deng a lot, have defended him a lot and hope he stays, but he's just not making it happen right now, which is more likely than not a function of how he's being utilized by our terrible coaching staff, but he still doesn't have a three-point shot and I think it's pretty important to complement Rose with wings who can shoot the three (Batum already hits 38% from three and Rudy F is a long range bomber).
Let me know what you think, rip on it if you must (I admit to my own misgivings), and feel free to include your own, probably better, suggestions as to how to improve the team.