OK, the season is young, but I wanted to commemorate the season's first trade (the awesome former Bull Hakim Warrick was traded to the Bobcats today for the stellar Matt Carroll) by looking ahead to see what teams ought to be thinking about trading, and what opportunities there are for the Bulls.
First, understand what type of trades get made. There's a basic typology.
1. The low-risk, financially neutral deal for short-term positional gain. The Carroll for Warrick deal is just such a deal. The Hornets have bigs but needed a shooter. The Bobcats have lots of guards but need a PF not named Tyrus Thomas. The contracts are both expiring (technically Warrick has a TO, but whatever...). Neither of these guys is a difference maker, but they might slightly help their new team in some way more than their old team. Somewhat better players on expiring deals might fit in here too. Devin Harris, Jose Calderon, David West come to mind. Or they could be chips in other deals like...
1(b). A variant of this deal would be the type where the short-term positional gain is a financial position instead of an on court position. Eg, we trade Rip Hamilton (making $5M) for a guy making $4M, because we'd like to save $2M ($1M in LT and $1M in salary)
2. The shit or get off the pot trade, because a guy's contract is up soon. This is also the high-risk deal you make because doing nothing is also high risk. This is like the Harden deal, or the Darren Collison deal, or the Ray Allen for Gary Payton deal a while back. Impending free agents are traded for each other, or a guy with a longish deal is traded to a destination that couldn't possibly attract him and knows it likely won't keep its own impending free agent. If you look around the league, there's quite a few guys and teams who might be in this position: Brandon Jennings with the Bucks. Al Jefferson and Paul Milsap with the Jazz (who have invested heavily in Derrick Favors and Enis Kanter. Alternatively, one of those guys might go if they keep the older set). Tyreke Evans. Jeff Teague. Basically, a team decides that someone else's problem is better than their problem, or that they're losing a guy for nothing.
3. The superstar demanding to not play for a team that's screwed things up horribly deal. Like Dwight Howard. There don't look to be any of these trades going on (yet).
4. The GM is going to get fired if he doesn't made the playoffs deal. Whereupon he acquires a middling player with a cap killing contract, or gives up the farm in terms of future assets to get a middling player who's on a short term contract that he'll then sign to a cap killing contract after they sneak into the playoffs. This is the Bulls best chance to unload Carlos Boozer and/or Rip Hamilton. Keep an eye on the Raptors, Pistons and Nets!
5. The GM is going to get fired for spending a gazillion dollars of the owners money and not winning. Maybe this is the Bulls, and they'll figure out a way to get under the LT and/or unload Carlos Boozer without having to amnesty him and pay him to go way.
6. The Team realizes it made a bad deal and panics to get out from under it. This would be the Nuggets trading Nene last year, only a few months after signing him long-term only a few months before. Looking at this summer's FA deals, Roy Hibbert might be the obvious player here, although I doubt the Pacers have quite given up entirely yet because of various extenuating circumstances. For that matter, all of their other signings (Gerald Green, Ian Mahinmi, DJ Augustin) look just as regretable. The Suns would probably drop Michael Beasley in a heartbeat.
7. Cashing in a bust of a pick for a future pick. See the trades of Tyrus Thomas or Thabo Sefalosha or James Johnson. Or Wes Johnson. Likely candidates this year might be Derrick Williams, Tristan Thompson, Jimmer Freddette. John Wall?
So... any of those guys seem helpful to the Bulls? Would any of those teams want what we want to be rid of?