That's right, I'm putting on my sweater-vest again, and trying to come up with a midseason trade for the Bulls. Not sure if it's really to make the team better as much as more interesting, as to be honest I can't stomach watching this same group much longer.
As far as why to trade at all, The Bulls aren't losing enough to have true lottery dreams, and with the pick they'll likely get I wouldn't want another young player clogging up the roster. (then again, I said the same thing last year and am pretty happy with Noah) And, as currently constituted they won't do much in the playoffs either. So while I suppose that makes me for the organization's new lowered-expectations of simply making the Eastern Conference playoffs, I still think changes should be made so a playoff run is made with an eye still to the future.
And while the first option would be to deal Wallace, or make some blockbuster acquisition, it just doesn't seem possible.
But the Bulls do have a nice congruence [or confluence, or in congruence, or confusing -ed.] of circumstances: a goal (or should-be goal) of developing Thomas and Noah for this playoff push, and some solid performing veterans in Joe Smith and Andres Nocioni. The Bulls should be doing what they can to see if any value can be had for those vets, as not only will they have the highest value but they're blocking their most important projects.
Which brings me to the most recent trade speculation floating around the league: Jason Kidd's latest trade demand. Kelly Dwyer broke down the limited options:
Making things more complicated are the tradeable (we think) contracts that the Nets won't want. The Lakers could send Lamar Odom and Kwame to New Jersey in a half-second for Kidd, but why would the Nets want to rebuild with Odom's contract on the books? Odom's in his ostensible prime, he's not some young stud who can develop on a rebuilding team, and his contract expires the same year as Kidd's.
It makes sense that a rebuilding team wouldn't want Odom, but as I stated above the Bulls shouldn't be rebuilding just yet, and acquiring Odom can make sense as long as it means dealing out two other veteran big-men.
Here is my proposed 3-team deal with the Bulls/Lakers/Nets.
Lakers (acquire Jason Kidd, Joe Smith, and Jamaal Magloire): Figure that a triumvirate of Bryant/Kidd/Bynum can give them a 2-year championship window. Smith is a veteran having a great season and thus a great role-playing fit for a contender. Magloire (or as later mentioned, Jason Collins) can be the stopgap center (taking Kwame's role) until Bynum returns. Dealing Kwame's monster expiring deal is their best chance to get a player of Kidd's caliber (or perhaps more importantly, stature) around Kobe, so it seems like now is the time to strike.
Nets (acquire Jordan Farmar, Andres Nocioni, Kwame Brown, Chris Duhon, picks and cash): Are likely resigned to not getting much more than expiring deals and mid-level prospects and picks for Kidd at this point. Nocioni's deal is long and mean (though front-loaded, which is less mean), but perhaps their previously reported interest in the 'tough guy' isn't extinguished even though they're dealing Kidd. Getting a point guard prospect seems like a must, and it can be hashed out between them and the Lakers as to whether it's Farmar or Javaris Crittenton. Another negotiating wrinkle could be forcing L.A. to take Jason Collins (another year on his deal) instead of Magloire, and to make up the salary difference the Lakers could deal Chris Mihm's expiring deal (with Mihm's consent) back. In terms of draft picks, I'm not sure they couldn't get either (or both) the Bulls or Lakers first round selections, and as an added asset: by coincidence the Nets owe their 2009 second rounder to Seattle, and both the Bulls (Knicks) and Lakers (Bobcats) have extra 2009 picks to even out that debit.
Bulls (acquire Lamar Odom, Darrell Armstrong, Bostjan Nachbar): I like this deal for the Bulls because even though it's technically 3-for-3, it still serves as roster consolidation, as it'd replace two players ahead of Noah and Thomas with one. And while Odom is highly paid ($13.2m+$14.1m), it's still only one additional season (same as Smith, and three fewer than Noc), and it'll give Paxson 2 straight years of fat expiring deals (Odom and then Wallace) in case the 'right' superstar comes along. And while he's having a poor season (and overall just aint that great), as previously discussed on this site Odom can still help on the court too. As Hollinger says, he's high-volume and medium-efficiency, but, unlike most of the current Bulls roster, is someone who can create shots and has a more diverse offensive game beyond jumpshooting. He rebounds well enough (14.1 rebound rate this year, compared to 12.9 for Smith and 10.4 for Noc) to stay at the PF spot but can play multiple positions. In this deal the Nets stand to simply trade away bodies, so Armstrong is coming over to take Duh's spot as backup point (asking for Marcus Williams is a bit greedy), and the Bulls and Nets can negotiate whether Nachbar or Antoine Wright is their new backup SF.
New Bulls roster (IR: Nichols, Curry, Khryapa):
This new Bulls team would be (most importantly?) different, but also both better suited for this year's playoffs and beyond. None of the Bulls young talent is touched, and in fact they'd get opportunity for a developmental boost simply by having fewer guys in their way. Financially the Bulls are in better shape with a big expiring deal next year, and the long-term commitment to Nocioni off the books.
And the rest of this season becomes a lot more fun to watch.