Trade-a-Bulls: Two alluring post options

By Mike Rodriguez

As I sat and watched the Bulls’ ugly 94-86 victory over the lowly Atlanta Hawks Tuesday, I couldn’t help but contemplate some questions I’ve had about the Bulls’ performances of late.

How good would the offense look with a competent big man? Why should we have to struggle to beat sub-.500 teams when our guards get into foul trouble or Ben Gordon doesn’t drop 25 in the fourth quarter?

So I put the game on mute and started running some trade scenarios through the NBA Trade Machine on ESPN.com. This feature, if you’re not aware of its existence, allows fans to propose their own trades and see if they would be accepted under the NBA’s salary cap policy and individual contractual restrictions. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, you can’t just throw any two bench players and expect to get LeBron James, the scenarios have to be legitimate.

The scenarios that I ran through the Trade Machine centered on Chicago’s glaring need for a big man who can score from the low post with his back to the basket. Someone to complement Ben Wallace in the offense; who can run the strong side of the pick-and-roll so Ben doesn’t have to fumble through important plays, especially late in games.

So here are my two possible solutions to the Bulls’ problems, in order of how likely they are to actually happen.

Trade One: Chicago Bulls & Memphis Grizzlies

This trade is one that has been recently talked about in the media. It has been reported that Pau Gasol is unhappy with how horrifically bad his team is (and possibly also that his parents forgot the “L” at the end of his first name) and has requested a trade.

The Bulls would be delighted by a 7-footer who averages 20 points and eight rebounds a game but at what price? In my trade I offered P.J. Brown, Chris Duhon, Andres Nocioni and the Bulls’ 1st round pick next year for Gasol and guard Chucky Atkins.

Memphis is desperately in need of a point guard due to the fact that “Dinosaur” Damon Stoudamire is somehow still in the NBA. As much as it personally pains me to give up my favorite Bull – Nocioni – I believe the Bulls would be a much improved team with Gasol in the lineup. He is a scoring threat, a strong defensive player and could be the final piece to the playoff puzzle.

Gasol’s salary is a concern for the Bulls, who at the end of this season are facing the expiring contracts of Gordon, Nocioni and Luol Deng. If the Bulls make a deal for any big man with a large price tag, expect at least one of those three to be included in the deal.

I think this is a really good trade for the Bulls and even for the Grizzlies too, but let’s not worry about anything that goes on in Tennessee.

Final verdict from the Trade Machine: Trade Succeeded

Trade Two: Chicago Bulls & Minnesota Timberwolves That’s right, I went there. Give me Kevin Garnett and I will be the happiest person with a 2.0 grade point average. My time will be solely spent on anticipating, analyzing or dreaming about how great our chances of winning the NBA Finals are.

I figured it would take the departure of Brown, Duhon, Michael Sweetney, Tyrus Thomas and the 2008 1st round pick to persuade the T-wolves to send K.G. back to his home city.

I didn’t include anyone else from Minnesota in the deal, but more than likely someone would be thrown to the Bulls if this deal is made, simply because they’d be in need of bodies to fill roster spots.

Although the Gasol trade is more likely to happen, this would be the ultimate deal that would send fans to the United Center every game with the anticipation of the Bulls embarrassing their opponent. The trade would certainly make us an even bigger threat in the East, if not the immediate favorite to win the division.

Final verdict from the Trade Machine: Trade Succeeded

So there you go, two options for the Bulls to vastly improve their offensive needs while not getting rid of too much of their core of young players. Other possible trades that I briefly thought about focused on Utah’s Andrei Kirilenko and Portland’s Zach Randolph.

While Randolph is not the stereotypical fit into the Bulls system and certainly would not get along with head coach Scott Skiles, he does average a double-double every night.

Kirilenko would actually fuse really well into our system and would probably like a good deal that would send him out of Utah. He has lost his role as a scorer on the team thanks to the development of both Mehmet Okur and Deron Williams this season. The only drawback to Kirilenko is the question of whether he is truly our long-lost low post answer.

But I’ll leave that thinking up to you. I still can’t get my mind off the possibility of the K.G. deal.

Mike Rodriguez is a senior in LAS. He can be reached at [email protected]