COMMENTARY | The 2013-14 season is rapidly deteriorating for the Chicago Bulls.
Where do I start? Derrick Rose is lost for the remainder of the season. Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler are all battling injuries. Kirk Hinrich has only hit four of his last 31 shots following the Bulls' most-recent loss to the New York Knicks. And Marquis Teague is … well, Marquis Teague.
Yeah, it's fairly clear that general manager Gar Forman and head coach Tom Thibodeau don't have enough in the tank to make a legitimate run in the playoffs this season. On the bright side, there is room for improvement.
In this aggressive scenario, the Bulls receive Jeremy Lin, Elton Brand, and DeMarre Carroll, the Hawks end up with Omer Asik, and the Rockets acquire Luol Deng and a conditional first-round pick from Bulls
Here is how the trade -- which couldn't be completed until after the December trade restrictions have passed -- would impact each team:
Getting Lin is an upgrade at guard in every way. No, he is not better than Rose, but the current state of affairs in the backcourt is woeful. Lin is athletic, intelligent, and under contract for the 2014-15 season. He is also capable of carrying a team offensively, which is something the Bulls have missed greatly this season.
Also, trading Deng will allow Butler to move over to small forward, which is his natural position anyway. Now, assuming that Carlos Boozer has the amnesty provision of his contract exercised, the addition of Carroll would leave Thibodeau three legitimate forwards to work with, and that is before the possible addition of Nikola Mirotic.
Of course, Brand is an empty contract, but his presence evens out the contract dollars on a trade that improves the Bulls substantially heading into next season.
Asik fills two needs for the Hawks.
First, they need a defensive and rebounding presence in the middle if they hope to surprise either the Miami Heat or the Indiana Pacers this postseason, and Asik provides that. During the 2012-13 season, for example, the Rockets had an offensive rating seven points higher and were plus 6.1 in total rebounding percentage when he was on the floor, according to Basketball-Reference.com.
Second, adding Asik would allow Paul Millsap to slide over to small forward while Al Horford moves to power forward, which is a position he is better suited to play, according to Chris Sheridan from SheridanHoops.com. His addition improves the Hawks' interior defense, ability to rebound, and maximizes personnel groupings, They are simply a more complete team with Asik on board.
Yes, small forward Chandler Parsons is playing fantastic basketball right now, and it looks like Terrence Jones has solved the problem they were having at the power forward position, but Deng is a two-time All-Star who can log as many minutes as head coach Kevin McHale needs and plays notoriously stingy defense.
The bottom line for the Rockets is that Asik is not part of their plan moving forward, and Deng helps them win more basketball games now without impacting the team's salary situation next year.
Now, Gar Forman has stated that he is hopeful that an agreement can be reached this offseason on a deal that will keep Deng in a Bulls uniform for some time, according to ESPN.com's Nick Friedell. That would seem to be rather optimistic considering that the Duke product will have his fair share of suitors, and the Bulls have salary-cap concerns.
Trading Deng this season is almost a necessity, and this is the type of trade Forman is going to have to work out in order to set the Bulls up for a successful run next season.
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- Luol Deng
- Chicago Bulls
- Marquis Teague
- Omer Asik