The Chicago Bulls have sensible trade options if they are creative...Here is a potential one..
The Bulls will make a huge mistake if they stand pat AGAIN at the trade deadline. Not because they are not good enough to beat the Miami Heat. I think the case can be made that they are a better team and it is something I whole heartedly believe. But the problem with the argument for doing nothing is that it accepts complacency and history is riddled with examples of situations where the cost of complacency was huge including last year’s Chicago Bulls team. In that instance, it was understandable that the Bulls believed going into the playoffs they were in a good position since not only did they have the best record in the NBA but they had swept the Miami Heat in the regular season. But if the Bulls have not learned from history they are doomed to repeat it. This year the Bulls have already lost to Miami (and I understand why) - but it shows just how close the teams are. Why take the chance that the Heat defeat Chicago again since they are very much capable of doing so? The responsibility for the Bulls front office is to create as much of an advantage in talent as possible so that they are more likely to come out victorious and to be financially responsible in doing so.
So the question is …how the team does it? It is absolutely POSSIBLE to do WITHOUT making the team worse. In just one scenario I propose below (a four team trade with Houston, Portland and the LA Clippers) the Bulls would lose Omer Asik, Richard Hamilton, and Jimmy Butler. The significance of those players is that only Asik has played enough to be missed. Secondly, the proposal would return a backup center (Jordan Hill) with slightly more scoring ability and slightly less defensive ability and size than Asik. It would also bring Courtney Lee to the Bulls as well as return Kurt Thomas who was a significant help to the Bulls last year. Some believe that Courtney Lee could not be the answer at shooting guard but that assertion is simply not supported by facts. Lee excels in one of the areas that a weakness for the Miami Heat – three-point shooting. He has a higher PER than Hamilton, he is younger, more athletic and most of all has been a durable player for the majority of his career. All of that and the proposed trade WOULD NOT COST THE BULLS ANY MORE SALARY. In fact, it would slightly decrease it. Last year the Bulls had the opportunity to make a trade deal at the deadline and did not and I partially predicted they would be bounced in the ECF (I was wrong about the team). This year they have the rare opportunity for a redo and they need to learn the lesson of history so as to increase the odds of success otherwise the outcome of the ECF is a coin flip.
As a Bulls fan it is imperative that Chicago be creative if they want to improve their team. The following trade idea is fair not only for the teams involved but in some cases for the players as well. If the Bulls can pull off this trade then all would be right in the world
Jordan Hill – Center (Houston)
Courtney Lee – Shooting Guard (Houston)
Kurt Thomas - Center (Portland)
This works for Chicago because the net result would be that they add an additional center and pick up a durable and skilled shooting guard with very good three point range and excellent defense. The return of Kurt Thomas would be a better situation not only for the Bulls but for Thomas who has seen his minutes gradually decline especially with the addition Joel Prybilla to Portland. The Bulls lose size and a bit of defense at the back-up center position, the passing/facilitation of Hamilton and the promise of up and coming player Jimmy Butler (although he has not played enough to be missed).
Richard Hamilton – Shooting Guard (Chicago)
Jamal Crawford – Shooting Guard (Portland)
Los Angeles perhaps makes out the best picking up a two starting caliber shooting guards. Even though Richard Hamilton may be injury prone, with Crawford in the line-up, the Clippers can easily afford to wait on his return. What makes it even better for them is that if they keep Chauncey Billups that will give them three different weapons at shooting guard which would drastically change their situation from a weak position when they lost Billups to a very strong one. Hamilton may enjoy playing for not only a contender in a large market but being reunited with his former Detroit running mate Chauncey Billups. The Clippers would also rid themselves of Mo Williams who was being paid too much to be a backup point guard.
Randy Foye – Shooting Guard (Los Angeles)
Omer Asik – Center (Chicago)
Jimmy Butler – Shooting Guard (Chicago)
Houston would FINALLY get the defensive presence in the middle with-out really giving up much. The loss of their backup shooting guard is “a wash” with the pick-up of Randy Foye AND they get a nice young talent in Jimmy Butler who did everything he was asked to do in Chicago. While it does not seem fair to Butler on the bright side is that he is from Houston, so if he could carve out a position on the roster, he could turn into popular hometown player.
Mo Williams - Point Guard (Los Angeles)
Patrick Patterson – Power Forward (Houston)
Portland gets a seasoned point guard which they have been shopping for to either start or back up Raymond Felton giving them pretty good depth at the position. They also get a younger power forward to back up Lamarcus Aldridge.