There's a lot of talk around here about the Bulls adding an impact player to try to compete soon for a title. But we all know it just ain't gonna happen. And the main reason is Luol Deng's contract, which runs through 2014. No team wants to touch it. If the Bulls are going to win a title before 2014, Luol Deng will have to play like a perennial All-Star and transform his career trajectory to borderline Hall of Famer. This also just ain't gonna happen.
"Who says you need 2 superstars to win? Look at the 2004 Pistons," some might say. Time for a little history lesson.
27 of the last 30 NBA titles have been won by 8 guys -- Magic, Bird, Isiah, Jordan, Hakeem, Tim Duncan, Shaq, and Kobe. If you didn't have one of those guys on your team, you couldn't win 90% of the time. The only other 3 teams to win were the 76ers with Dr. J & Moses (who was the reigning 2-time MVP), the '04 Pistons, and the '08 Celtics with the Big 3. Nearly every one of the last 30 teams other than the '04 Pistons had 2 HOFers on the team. The '04 Pistons are the most extreme example of the exception to the rule. In some cases, teams had 2 or more HOFers and still didn't win (most notably the Jazz with Stockton & Malone and the Rockets with Hakeem, Barkley, and Pippen).
So if Rose makes The Leap and pushes himself into Chris Paul/Deron Williams/Dwyane Wade territory, then Deng has to go and the Bulls have to add a serious bona-fide All-Star / superstar type player to the roster in order to win a title. I did not make the rules. This is what must happen for this Bulls team to win.
Allow me to suggest the Bulls retain flexibility to acquire Danny Granger. His remaining contract is almost identical to Deng's, and they both run out in 2014. Since Granger's been stuck on crappy teams his whole career, nobody really knows what his ceiling is. But unlike Deng, Granger seems like a guy who could actually be the 2nd best player on a championship team. Perhaps he can become to Rose what Joe Dumars was to Isiah or what Worthy was to Magic. You have to imagine Granger will want to bolt the Pacers after 2014, and they have given no indication they are willing to trade him for anything reasonable....yet. So the Bulls should make their interest in Granger widely known, have Rose and Noah recruit Granger during the summers, acquire draft picks and attractive players that are signed to reasonable contracts for no longer than 2 or 3 years that the Bulls may be able to offer in a trade if Granger asks out, and keep cap flexibility open for the summer of 2014.
It's not the most appealing plan, but I don't want the Bulls doling out any more big contracts for guys who can't push the team over the top. For that, the Bulls must acquire a perennial All-Star. The last 30 years of NBA history show that is really the only way to build a team that can win titles.