Rebuild, for whatever reason this word seems to be a dirty word in the eyes of some Bulls fans and the Reisndorf bank account. Right now Chicago is sitting at 7th in the East, which for most teams this would be okay. But, Chicago has been stuck in mediocrity ever since the pressure of the entire city blew out Derrick’s knees. Clearly fans aren’t too interested as the local TV rating is the lowest in 8 years (2.12) and with all the highest ranked games coming in 2016 that number should be expected to drop even further. So, if the Bulls are losing money (relatively speaking, they’re still making $232 million per year) and the product on the court stinks, what can they do?
Option 1: Trade every piece you can
This option probably doesn’t appeal to the casual fan or the Bulls’ management, but it is something that needs to be looked at. With a loaded 2017 draft class, trading away establishes pieces for picks and young, unproven talent would be a very good option, basketball wise. From the business side of things, it would be a terrible move and with corporate sponsors breathing down the titular duo of Gar and John (#fireGarPax) it would be career suicide. and Signing Wade was not a basketball move, it was a cute homecoming story that got eyes to TVs for about 10 games. The Chicago product is averaging 19.1 PPG on 43% shooting (career worse). The other signing in the off season was Rajon Rondo, and that speaks for itself. But what pieces do the bulls have, other than Jimmy Butler? Basically nothing. Niko, Taj, and Doug, and there really isn’t much they could get from any of these guys. Jimmy Butler seems like the obvious choice but with reports circulating that the Bulls are not willing to part with him So with struggling old pieces and not many young pieces that would draw much of a market, there isn’t many trades that could be made. However, we will look at a few options.
Trade 1: Jimmy Butler to the Celtics
The rumors have been circulating ever since Isaiah Thomas sent out this tweet:
— Isaiah Thomas (@Isaiah_Thomas) February 21, 2017
The last time tweeted that? Boston signed Al Horford, so basically Jimmy Butler 100% confirmed trade to the C’s. In all seriousness there have been confirmed talks between the teams as far back as last summer’s draft. The talks now have basically come to a complete stop with the Bulls wanting to keep Jimmy. But, as we saw with the Vlade Divac flop and Boogie teaming up with AD, anything is possible!!!
Bulls Receive: Jae Crowder, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, unprotected 2017 Brooklyn pick, and 2018 protected top 3 Brooklyn pick Celtics Receive: Jimmy Butler
Trade 2: Nikola Mirotic to the Clippers
Apparently, the Bulls are pushing hard for a Niko trade and Clippers have expressed a little sniff of interest (via ESPN). On the Bulls side of things they most likely won’t be bringing him back this off season so getting literally anything out of him will be a plus. But, this wouldn’t just be good for the Bulls it would be good for Niko. He is an extremely streaky player who does have the tools to be a solid NBA contributor. Right now what he needs is a change of scenery and a change of scheme to save his NBA career. This move will also make more room for Bobby Portis in the rotation and he looked good when he got time, 19 points in 25 minutes. Bobby will never be an overly skilled player but he will be a fantastic energy player who can give us quality minutes in the future. This is really the only trade I can see possibly happening.
Bulls Receive: Wesley Johnson and a 2nd Round pick Clippers Receive: Nikola Mirotic
Trade 3: Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott to ???
Toronto seemed like the obvious place for Taj to go to but now with the Serge Ibaka trade, it isn’t going to happen. With the Bulls asking for a lottery pick for Taj it for sure isn’t going to happen anywhere now. He is a fantastic 4 man who will give you energy and a good low post option, but he just isn’t worth this. But, the Bulls should not just trade him away for nothing because if they really are on a push for the playoffs he is a valuable piece. There are also reports that the Bulls want a first round pick for Doug and although I do love him, he’s not worth that. The only place I can see them going is maybe Sacramento because that’s the only place stupid enough to give up those picks for them.
Trade 4: Dwyane Wade to the Cavs
The Cavs GM LeBron James trades Wade for Irving straight up, Jimmy did say he’d love to play with Kyrie. LeBron also wants a play maker so we’ll throw in Valentine because that’s what he’s known for his play making, I guess?
Option 2: Build around Jimmy Butler
Shooting, shooting, and more shooting. Jimmy himself said this during the all star break is what we need, he mentioned the likes of Kyle Korver but we don’t even need an elite shooter. Just a guy who shoots about 35% and plays some solid D. After one of the all time greatest games in basketball history I am tempted to say Jimmer, but I think he’s the hero China needs right now. Scrolling down the list of free agents I began to get more and more depressed, every so often seeing a name that I recognized and vaguely remember them being good in college. A few names that did jump off the list though were: Dorrell Wright, Gary Neal, Pablo Pirgioni, and yes the one and only Lance Stephenson. The first three I mentioned are all solid, above 35% shooters but with lack of cap space and not a chance to move any pieces around to gain this cap space, it’s unlikely to happen. I just threw Lance in there because he’s a legend and I need some entertainment back in my Bulls basketball.
So, if there isn’t many pieces out there to sign, what can the Bulls do? They can ride out the season on mediocrity and maybe get a late/fringe lottery pick. The Bulls currently own the 11th (via Kings top 10 protected) and 17th picks. With the absolute travesty that was the Boogie trade the Bulls will most likely just have that one 1st round pick so they better make it count.
OG Anunoby Sophomore Indiana 6′ 8″ 215 lb SF/SG
John Collins Sophomore Wake Forest 6′ 10 ” 225 lb PF
Rodions Kurcus (good luck Stacey) 19 Yr Old Barcelona-2 (International) 6′ 8″ 190 SF
I will not get too in depth as that will come later when the draft comes around but these are the players Draft Express has listed around the 17th pick.
Option 3: Coaching Change
This one will most likely not happen as long as GarPax (#fireGarPax) are still on their thrones. They have Freddie right in their back pocket which is right where they want him as they could never control Thibs like that. Don’t get me wrong Hoiberg was a fantastic college coach at Iowa State and could still most likely be a quality NBA coach, with the right players who fit his system. Many of these players were trained to be coached hard which is not Fred’s forte and the others are players such as Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade, so basically Fred’s job kind of sucks. But, at times he seems lost out there, has zero control of his team, and is sporadic and spastic with his rotations. Looking at some coaches who are on the market there just really isn’t any names that could come in here and turn it around. Sure some Bulls fans may want to see a guy like Mark Jackson and I may want to see George Karl for sheer entertainment, but nothing is going to happen to good, old Fred. You can’t put the blame on him as he has an absolute mess of a roster to deal with and sorry to say Hoiberg Haters but he is most likely in it for the long haul.
(Via Portland Tribune)
Option 4 (and most likely): Do absolutely nothing
No Bulls fan should be surprised at this last one because at the end of the day the 3 Stooges (Gar, John, and Mitch) will do what they do best. I wouldn’t even be surprised if they actually resigned Rose in the off season just to bump ticket sales back up. The Chicago Bulls are in a state of disarray and whether management or sponsors like it, they need to rebuild. The longer they wait to pull the trigger the longer we float in mediocrity. This current roster is going nowhere but the lottery or even worse, another loss to LeBron in the playoffs. But, we all know the trigger will never be pulled and another star player will take the entire load of a team and a city on his back.
-Riley Van Egdom