The NBA trade deadline has come and gone with the Chicago Bulls actually making a move. Unfortunately, the Chicago Bulls did not make the team altering trade, which many people expected. The NBA trade that the Bulls made was a minor one. The Bulls sent guard Kirk Hinrich to the Atlanta Hawks for a second round pick and swingman Justin Holiday. The trade was part of a three-team deal reported by ESPN.
Not the NBA trade you expected the Chicago Bulls to make? You are not alone. With the names of Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic, and Tony Snell all being bandied about, everyone foresaw the Bulls making a trade of significance.
One NBA trade fans thought the Bulls would make was the reported Pau Gasol to the Sacramento Kings for Ben McLemore deal that Yahoo! Sports mentioned. That a deal was not reached by the Bulls and Kings and it left observers stunned.
Everyone who follows the Chicago Bulls believe that Pau Gasol will enter free agency once the season is complete. It is the Bulls who believe they have an inside track on re-signing him. If they cannot agree to terms on a contract, not moving him at the trade deadline will prove to be a disaster.
That is the risk the Bulls are willing to take. Somehow they feel that they have a good enough team to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference playoffs. As long as they get healthy that is.
Anyone who is a Bulls fan will tell you just how frustrating that is. Health has become the story, excuse, or whatever you want to dismiss it has for the past four seasons. The last three years were spent waiting for Derrick Rose to get healthy. Now the reason are injuries to Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler, and Nikola Mirotic.
Injuries can hit a team at any given time. Some teams have contingency plans. Others do not.
To prove this theory, take a look at last season’s Cavalier’s team. They lost all-star power forward Kevin Love for two playoff rounds, yet they still made it to the NBA Finals. After reaching the championship round, they lost all-star guard Kyrie Irving in Game 1. They still pushed the eventual champion Golden State Warriors to six games.
How did the Cavs accomplish that feat? Some will say LeBron James was the difference. Any team with James will always have a chance. It was a couple of shrewd business decisions by Cavaliers management that set them up.
Those decisions included the acquisitions of center Timofey Mozgov and guards JR Smith and Iman Shumpert.
Cleveland gave up much of nothing in those NBA trades. What sparked them to make changes though, was that they were not satisfied with their team. The Cavaliers did what they felt necessary to truly compete for a championship, even with three all-stars in their prime.
This year Cleveland added Channing Frye for seldom used Anderson Varejao. Frye, a stretch power forward, will help spread the floor and add shooting. Did they need Frye? Absolutely not. Sometimes it is about tweaking what you have and not resting on your laurels as this current Bulls organization has done.
It is the vision of the Chicago Bulls’ front office that Pau Gasol is one of their core guys. Even if they re-sign him to a multi-year contract, there is a need for the Bulls to get younger and more athletic. Bringing back Pau Gasol is a decent idea, but he is 35-years-old and not getting younger. To many observers that is a recipe for disaster. The Bulls whiffed on a chance to grab a younger player. If they want to run the way that the Bulls swear that they do, holding on to the hope that a soon-to-be 36-year-old will right the ship is foolish, but that is what the Chicago Bulls want to do.
History should suggest that is not the way to build a winning team, virtually standing pat that is. The only thing the Chicago Bulls did was set themselves back for a few more years.
If you are a fan of the Chicago Bulls, that is not what you want to hear. Many of you are probably comfortable with a rebuilding team, while Bulls management seems okay with just making the playoffs. It is a disappointing time that will most likely end with ping-pong balls in the Bulls future. If that was originally the point of not getting help for the postseason run was to bottom out of the playoffs then it would have served them better to move Pau Gasol for now and re-sign him later. True contending teams make that move. It is hard to figure out what the Chicago Bulls are these days.
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