Chicago Bulls: Time for a fire sale


Derrick Rose

Bill Murray and Derrick Rose have something in common now.

The Chicago Bulls are officially without Derrick Rose for the remainder of the 2013-14 season following surgery to repair a turn meniscus in his right knee. In hindsight, missing the season is probably the best. The timetable suggests that he had the meniscus repaired and reattached. A shorter expected recovery time would have meant that the surgery would have been to remove or partially remove the meniscus.

Another year is lost for a team seeing its championship window closing quickly. At this point it is shut, and changes should be, have to be made. There are numerous players that probably won’t fit into the team’s future plans and should be sold off to the highest bidder. The Chicago Bulls have to consider trading Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, and Joakim Noah.

Let’s start with Boozer, who is more than likely planted in Chicago until the end of this season. He is due $15.3 million this season, and $16.8 million in 2014-15 (HoopsHype). Boozer is the king of empty double-doubles and does his best turtle impersonation when games get important. A team that is somehow willing to trade for Boozer would be looking to expel their own albatross of a contract. The Chicago Bulls, namely co-general managers Gar Forman and John Paxson, would not be in the business of trading crap for crap even with their option to amnesty a player within the latest collective bargaining agreement. Boozer would likely be amnestied if he made it past this season on the west side, anyways.

Luol Deng is in the last year of a five-year deal. Deng is not the sexiest player that could be on the trading block, but he has been a model of consistency that has earned him the respect of players and coaches around the league. The two-time All-Star has a little over $14.3 million left on his deal. A team looking to add a piece to push them over the edge may look into adding Deng, but at what price? A team may be willing to trade a draft pick or picks, but how good would they be if the team acquiring Deng is a playoff team? Finding great players late in the first round or second round is much tougher than earlier in the draft. There is no guarantee that any player lives up to their projection, but we all know that LeBron James-type player does not fall off trees.

There is a little more hope of moving Deng than Boozer, with a return that could help the Chicago Bulls rebuild.

Fan favorite Joakim Noah would easily bring back the most value of any player on the Bulls’ roster. Plantar fasciitis aside, Noah is a premier defensive center that has been improving offensively each of the past three seasons. The 28-year old is under contract through the 2015-16 season at which point he maxes out at $14.2 million for his services. Every team in the league would be interested if Noah became available.

Looking at teams with picks in the Western Conference, the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, and maybe the Denver Nuggets have players and picks that could move. Denver has the New York Knicks’ first round pick for the 2014 draft as well as their own. Denver could choose to trade their pick to Chicago with a player such as Timofey Mozgov for Noah. JaVale McGee is still in Denver, but Noah is less of a head case and just as cheap as McGee.

Utah needs everything. The Jazz could trade their rights to the Golden State Warriors’ top pick in 2014, which is unprotected, for Noah. This is all speculation and has no validity, but they are options.

Phoenix has three protected draft picks that could be moved. Two of the three picks are from playoff teams, so keeping all of them does not benefit them if short of a major collapse from any of those teams. Only one pick that the Suns have, from the Washington Wizards, could have value just outside the lottery in the immediate future. Noah would be better than majority of the players drafted between 14 and 30 in a draft, so Phoenix would be best off at least kicking the tires on a deal for him.

It is tough to imagine the Chicago Bulls trading Noah within the Eastern Conference. If they did look within the conference, Boston, Orlando, and Washington could have assets to move.

What was once a promising season crashed and burned with the weight of the Chicago basketball world on Derrick Rose’s shoulders. His legs, speed, and quickness will never be the same, and neither should the Chicago Bulls roster if and when he takes the court during the 2014-15 NBA season.

Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffrotull44 for more sports and entertainment ramblings. If you play fantasy sports, check out The Fantasy Fix, where Jeff covers your add/drop/watch needs during baseball and hockey season, and does weekly podcasts, as well.

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