With no draft-day trade, Bulls waiting for new CBA

I'm giving the Bulls a F-minus-minus-minus for their draft, until Mirotic actually comes and plays here. Could've been a worse mark if I didn't kinda-like the Jimmy Butler selection!

(Keep in mind: draft grades are profoundly stupid.)

I think what didn't happen on draft night was just as interesting. Before the draft I was a bit skeptical towards Gar Forman's comments, which suggested that mostly due to the looming CBA negotiations he didn't expect a lot of movement on draft night. But he turned out to be proven mostly correct. A few players were moved, and some that could've interested the Bulls, (including Rudy Fernandez, Stephen Jackson, and Raymond Felton) but Iguodala wasn't traded, Monta Ellis either, the Pistons only added another guard instead of dealing one, and no contending teams took on a lot of future money. Even the most active (and a poster-child for mistaking that for accomplishment...) GM out there today, David Kahn, said on Bill Simmons podcast last week that he sensed a stagnant trading environment.

And trades take partners, so maybe it's best to make sure there's a full breadth of options. KC Johnson spent a lot of last week bypassing the bucket and going straight for the firehose of cold water on every potential trade target, effectively saying the Bulls weren't interested in any, for basketball reasons.

Which could be legitimate. The Bulls have few holes and don't want to potentially sacrifice too much of their existing team to fill them. I would've given more thought to acquiring Rudy Fernandez if all it potentially cost was their pick, but maybe he wasn't even seen to be worth rolling the dice (in terms of a roster spot and guaranteed minutes...maybe he's less 'Moody Fernandez' if he's told he's the starting SG?), and any of the veterans who will be available (via trade or free agency) are going to have flaws. Being careful isn't a problem.

But if it's just smoke to slag every possible acquisition as a bad fit, when the real reason for inactivity was that increasing future financial obligations wasn't even considered (whether it helped the team or not), that stinks. We'll never know either way, so one can hope one way and fear another. But to me it remains a lingering thought whenever hearing about what the Bulls aren't interested in.

The Bulls did catch a break when learning that they can still use their non-guaranteed deals in a trade after the new CBA is in effect. But they had other advantages on draft night they may not going forward. Their draft picks are less valuable now as actual selections than they were before draft night. And as open-ended as the speculation could be about the new CBA, what's looking quite likely is that it's going to be harder for teams to add salary than it used to be (will there even be an MLE to acquire Richardson or Smith, for instance?), and perhaps harder for big-market high-revenue teams to flex their might.

It does take more than one team to trade, and the 'smart' teams seemed to have circled the wagons a bit on draft night, as Forman suggested would happen. But the Bulls never had to behave like San Antonio if they didn't want to. Maybe in the new CBA they will, which means draft night could've indeed been a blown opportunity. And you can make a case that it's more accurate to say it's been 10 years of wasted chances. They've been a pretty good front office, especially after the lottery miracle, and they've now got to be even better.

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