The Bulls and Young Talent

I wasn't as high on Tyrus as some, but I would've never, ever guessed he'd be in the doghouse 3 games into the season.  Now I wouldn't be surprised if we trade him for next to nothing.

With this coming on the heels of letting Gordon walk, it's easy to see a trend developing.  But the sad thing is this has been going on for years.  Here's the long line of talented young players the Bulls have traded for pennies on the dollar, or let go for nothing:


  • Bulls Performance: Two 20/10 seasons on the Bulls
  • Bulls' Publicized Concern:  Elton wasn't happy, there were rumors he didn't want to extend, Krause didn't think he was a superstar.
  • Trade and Aftermath: Brand for Chandler, Brand goes on to make two all-star games during six straight 18/9 seasons.
  • String o' Trades: Brand -> Chandler ... Chandler -> PJ Brown, JR Smith ... JR Smith -> Aaron Gray.


  • Bulls Performance: Started nearly every game over 2.5 years playing 31mpg.  Terrible shooter, but defensive star with the ability to penetrate and pass.
  • Bulls' Publicized Concern: Artest's maturity, and like Brand, Jerry Krause didn't think Artest was a superstar to build around.
  • Trade and Aftermath: Artest and 26-year old Brad Miller for Jalen Rose.  Artest became crazy, but also one of the league's elite complementary players, making an all-star team.  Miller made two all-star teams.  Jalen fizzled immediately and was traded two years later for Antonio Davis.
  • String o' Trades: Artest, Miller -> Rose ... Rose, Donyell Marshall -> Antonio Davis.


  • Bulls Performance: Averaged 25mpg from ages 19-23, starting 50 games his final year with the Bulls.  He was below average offensively, but gained a reputation as a top rebounder and defender while anchoring the 2nd rated defense in 2005.
  • Bulls' Publicized Concern:  Endurance issues made him tire late in games and limited his minutes.  And at the time, he wasn't Ben Wallace.
  • Trade and Aftermath: Chandler for PJ Brown and JR Smith.  Chandler finished top-10 in the league in DReb% the next two seasons before injuries limited him last season.  He's still just 27.
  • String o' Trades: Chandler -> PJ Brown, JR Smith ... JR Smith -> Aaron Gray


  • Bulls Performance: None.
  • Bulls Publicized Concerns: Bulls coaches didn't like him.
  • Trade and Aftermath: Smith for what turned out to be Aaron Gray.  Smith is still a poor defender with legitimate maturity issues, but he scored 16ppg in the playoffs over the past two years.  He's grown into one of the league's best 3pt shooters, making 40% while attempting 9 per 36min.


  • Bulls Performance: Averaged 18ppg for five seasons as a top sharpshooter, led the Bulls in points scored all five years.
  • Bulls Publicized Concern: Rumored "me-first" attitude, rift with VDN, below average defense, debatable fit with Derrick Rose.
  • Trade and Aftermath: Bulls let him walk for nothing.


Jamal Crawford - Averaged 17ppg for us at age 23 before we traded him essentially for Othella Harrington after Paxson cited improving team defense and commitment.

Matt Bonner - Now the starting PF for the Spurs.  We traded him for Chris Duhon.

Chris Duhon - Now the starting PG for the Knicks.  Played 25mpg for us for four years. We lost him for nothing after numerous reports that he missed team meetings.

Roger Mason - Was never given a shot here.  Started 71 games for the Spurs last year, making 42% of 3s.  We lost him for nothing.

Thabo Sefolosha - Decent defender, good rebounder, terrible offensively, but still just 24 years old when we traded him for Taj Gibson.  Currently starts for the Thunder.

!!!!!!Eddy Curry!!!!!!! - The one time we've actually benefited from identifying a guy was going to suck!  Traded him for Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah. 


The Eddy Curry ripping of Isiah Thomas aside...

We've Traded/Let Go: 

Elton Brand
Ron Artest
Brad Miller
Tyson Chandler
Ben Gordon
JR Smith
Jamal Crawford
Matt Bonner
Chris Duhon
Roger Mason
Thabo Sefolosha

And Got in Return: 

Tyson Chandler
JR Smith
PJ Brown
Jalen Rose
Aaron Gray
Othella Harrington
Chris Duhon
Taj Gibson

Which Turned Out To Be: 
PJ Brown
Antonio Davis
Aaron Gray
Othella Harrington
Taj Gibson

Which Currently Is:
Aaron Gray
Taj Gibson

No wonder VDN wants to play Taj so bad! Since the Brand/Chandler trade, we've posted a combined record of 287-373, with two winning seasons and one playoff series victory.


Now another young, talented player looks to be halfway out the door before getting a chance to develop.  Like Brand's happiness, Artest's maturity, the staff's not liking Smith, Gordon, Crawford (weird how often this happens), there are concerns, some probably legitimate.

But to me in these situations, there should be two options.  

1) Play the guy a ton, recognize internally that he's not going to develop into a star, then move him for better young talent (like we did with Eddy Curry and tried to do with Brand), or

2) Play the guy a ton, and extend him.

The worst, worst, WORST thing to do is bench him, leak your concerns about him to the press, and then try to trade him or let him walk.  Especially with a guy like Tyrus who, with his filled box scores and highlight reel plays, would make some GMs salivate.

In my $20 fantasy football league, this tactic is obvious to everyone - when you want to trade someone, put him in your starting lineup and say you like the guy, then when you make him available good offers will pour in.  You'd think a $500 million dollar franchise would figure out the same.

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