Is it too early to be thinking about the Summer?

With the Bulls current season beginning to stagnate due to injuries, heavy minutes, and the emotional roller coaster that is "The Return" (if you buy that), my mind has begun to think ahead to this summer and what moves the Bulls could/should make in the draft, free agency, etc.

The idea of trading Deng has been tossed around here for the last couple of weeks, and I am in support of this. I feel that the idea of trading Luol for a lottery pick that others have put forth is plausible, but I'm not overly confident that would happen.

The best trade I can think of that includes Deng is to trade him, Taj, and the Bobcats pick to ATL for Al Horford. This will shave about 10 million from our payroll and I believe give us some exceptions to try and sign a FA SG or bolster the bench (Kover will be available for example). Overall, I think it's a good move for the Bulls:

1.It gives us a solid frontcourt of Jimmy, Horford and Noah (who we know have played well together in the past) 2. There's been some speculation that Rose would like to play with Horford. 3. We know that quality Bigs is a way to beat the Heat. 4. We can bring Boozer off the bench for the next two years, where he should be able to bum-slay most of his 2nd unit counterparts around the league. And can give the 2nd unit a much needed scoring option.

Why would ATL agree to this? I'm guessing that if Josh Smith leaves to go elsewhere, the Hawks aren't going to be able to land either Dwight Howard or Chris Paul and seeing there aren't many other max players available this summer, the Hawks may want to start going into rebuilding mode. They could fill out their roster with one-year deals for 2013-14 and Deng and Taj should keep them semi-competitive for a year. Once Deng comes off the Books, they'll have options to go after Wade, Bosh, or James, or go into the lottery and have Taj as a solid player on a reasonable contract to anchor a young rebuilding team. Or they should easily be able to trade Taj for expirigs and/or picks. Plus they'd have the Bobcats pick as an asset/building block. But I digress.

I'm curious as to what folks out there think we should select with our draft pick this year and who you think the Bulls will target in Free Agency on cheap deals for Basketball Reasons.

Personally I'd like to see the Bulls draft a center. Rudy Gobert is my frontrunner. He's a bit of a beanpole now, but should be able to add some weight. Regardless he reportedly has a 7'9 wingspan, which to me equates to potential shot blocker/alterer coming off the bench to spell Noah. You can see some photos of Rudy and his go-go gadget arms here..

After Rudy, my second choice would be Dieng from Louisville. I believe he has a 7'4 wingspan and probably a little more polished offensive game than Asik had in his time here.

I know we have a big need at SG, and I've heard the names Archie Goodwin and Jamal Franklin tossed around. I'm not opposed to drafting a young, athletic SG, but we may be better served filling that need through a trade or through Free Agency if we have a MLE or MMLE to use. But if you have a guy you think would be a good fit, list him in below.

That leaves Roster spots to fill out the bench with. If Deng is traded and we have some money to spend, I think we should try to bring back Korver. I know he's not the best defender ever, but he's one of the best 3pt shooters in the league, has familiarity with this team and it's staff/system, and would help spread the floor for Rose. In addition, I think we should consider bringing Brewer back on a vet min contract, especially if we move Deng. If the Bulls pulled off the trade for Horford, our second unit could be Hinrich, Korver, Brewer, Boozer, and Gobert/Dieng. I think that could give us the best bench in the league again. I'd also would be for re-signing Nate to be the new JLIII and Malcom Thomas to be the 5th emergency big.

Last, what to do with Teague? At this point I'd be willing to trade him for a 2nd round pick or two and use those to draft a good spot-up shooter. Seth Curry should be available in the 2nd round and shot about 40% from distance for his collegiate career.

I'm just spitballing here, but if you have anyone in mind that you'd like to see the Bulls draft, trade for, etc. Feel free to post it in the comments.

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