NBA Sunday: Bulls Considering Noah Trade?
Bulls Considering Options For Next Season
Here’s what we know about the Chicago Bulls’ 2012-2013 season, even before it starts: the team’s star, Derrick Rose, isn’t likely to play a game until after the All-Star break, and might not play at all next season depending on how his rehab goes. Chicago also has about $56 million committed to Rose, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, and Joakim Noah next year, and considering the cap is probably going to be set at right around $58 million, that’s going to make it hard to institute major changes to the team via free agency. Finally, Omer Asik and Taj Gibson are going to be eligible to receive extensions soon, but Chicago might not have the financial flexibility to hold onto them.
All that said, it’s no real surprise that Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News dropped a little nugget in a recent write-up claiming that the Bulls will consider trading Deng and/or Noah this offseason in exchange for a top draft pick and/or cap flexibility. For one, there have been rumors for weeks about Chicago shopping Deng to teams with draft picks high enough to select Harrison Barnes, but it shouldn’t take a basketball genius to point out the flaws in those rumblings.
For one, Deng is headed for offseason wrist surgery as soon as the Olympics wrap up, and that means he’s likely to miss an early portion of the season. Not a lot of teams are going to give up a top five draft pick for a guy who’s going to miss a reasonable chunk of a season in which he’s set to earn $13.3 million. Secondly, despite the fact that he’s coming off an All-Star season, nobody considers Deng a franchise player. What young team is going to take on extra salary for a secondary player recovering from surgery, while giving up a top lottery pick that could produce similarly for a fraction of the price?
That’s exactly the kind of thing the Bulls would consider for Deng, but it seems doubtful they’ll get the kind of value they want. Noah, however, might be a more attractive trading chip. He’s about as injury-prone a player as the Bulls have, but he’s also one of the better passing big men in the game, is great defensively, and is a perfect energy guy for a playoff team. Of course, he’ll earn around $50.5 million over the next four seasons, and that’s a tough pill to swallow for a player who has so little value as a scorer, but he’d almost certainly generate more interest than Deng.
Even if it’s Noah who gets moved, however—and Asik has proven himself a capable starting NBA center if they have to ship off Joakim—it’s not a sure thing that he’d warrant a top pick. And are Andre Drummond or Meyers Leonard good enough to appropriately fill out that Chicago frontcourt?
Because the Bulls fell so short of expectations this season, and because Rose will be such a non-factor for most of next season, it was inevitable that we’d hear rumors about Gar Forman and John Paxson shopping around some of those bigger salaries. Carlos Boozer would be their first priority in trade, but nobody’s taking on that salary, so the next step is looking at Deng and Noah. While there are certainly teams that like them as players, liking them as paychecks is a completely different story.
Like it or not, that $56 million committed to those four players may be what the team has to deal with next season. They’ll explore trades for the guys mentioned above, but fair value will be hard to find. That won’t stop them from looking for it, though.
Deron Williams Narrows It Down to Two Teams
Despite the fact that the NBA Finals just wrapped up a few days ago, free agency is only a week away. By this time next Sunday, agents will have made their phone calls and visits to all of the top free agents, and we’ll be well on our way to discussing who’s going to end up where.
For Brooklyn Nets free agent point guard Deron Williams, however, that particular discussion is only going to consist of two teams, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein: the Nets and the Dallas Mavericks.
Those have been the two frontrunners for months, so had Williams signed with somebody other than New Jersey or Dallas it would have come as quite a shock. Despite that, there were a lot of NBA teams hoping to make a pitch to D-Will this offseason, including the Houston Rockets, Phoenix Suns, and Portland Trail Blazers. Even the L.A. Lakers would’ve been interested in a sign-and-trade, though they’d have likely pushed for Pau Gasol to be the centerpiece of that, and the Nets would want Andrew Bynum, who L.A. won’t be trading for anyone other than Dwight Howard.
These organizations never would have been considered frontrunners, but you never know what can happen during a free agency meeting. Signings come out of left field every year, but Williams has reportedly instructed his agent to fend off other suitors, that he’s only meeting with Brooklyn and Dallas.
So much for playing the field, right?
But it’s not like he’d be able to leverage an offer from another organization into more dough. Dallas is already prepared to offer him the maximum four-year deal allowed by the new CBA, valued at around $75 million. That’s exactly the same amount of money he’d get from anybody else except Brooklyn, who could give him 5 years and nearly $100 million.
As for which team he’d choose, money aside, the two each have their pros and cons. Brooklyn has a ton of work to do on their roster but plenty of cap space with which to do it and an owner willing to spend, while Dallas has a similarly deep-pocketed (if more involved) owner in Mark Cuban, but better surrounding teammates like Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion. Williams and Jason Kidd are also friends, but there’s been no indication that Kidd, a free agent, will be back next season.
Dallas also has the added bonus of being home for Williams, and his mother has already gone on record in saying how nice it would be to have her son back home. Not that mothers make decisions their grown kids, but let’s not underestimate the importance of what the guy’s family is pulling for.
$25 extra million and a guaranteed extra year is a big deal, though, and at the end of the day money could be the deciding factor.
Whomever he chooses, it won’t be the Lakers, Suns, or Blazers. We expected the decision to come down to Dallas or Brooklyn, just maybe not so officially this early on. In about a week, we’ll find out which one he chooses.
Sixers Considering Swapping Iguodala for Gasol?
This offseason is going to mean some changes for the Philadelphia 76ers, and unless they handle that fact very delicately there’s a chance that this overachieving group could actually lose talent and take a step backwards in ’12-’13. Nobody in Philadelphia wants that, but when Lou Williams, Spencer Hawes, and Lavoy Allen are all headed for unrestricted free agency and Elton Brand (and his $18 million contract) could potentially get amnestied, you’re clearly in for a challenging summer.
Philly has three picks in this Thursday’s draft (#15, #45, and #54), so they’re hoping to find some impact guys with those selections. But beyond that at re-signing their free agents, the best way to shake up this team might be to trade small forward Andre Iguodala.
That’s nothing new, obviously, but the fact that he’s been mentioned in rumors for Lakers power forward Pau Gasol, is. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s John N. Mitchell, that’s a real possibility, and the Sixers front office predictably would neither confirm nor deny interest in Gasol.
Philadelphia’s draft plans may affect that and other moves the Sixers end up making. According to Philly GM Rod Thorn, “It’s clear to me that if someone has more talent and has a bigger upside than someone else who might fill that need, you take the guy with the bigger upside. It’s very difficult to pass that up.”
That means size, the Sixers most pressing immediate need, particularly if they lose Hawes and/or Allen and/or Brand, might not be the direction Philadelphia goes in the draft. If they select a swingman at #15, which is highly likely considering the top talent expected to be available there, switching out their All-Star small forward for an All-Star big man might not be the craziest thing.
So there is some merit to the idea, and of all the potential deals we’ve heard bandied about for Iguodala, a Gasol swap would have to be considered among the most desirable. It’s about as fair a deal for Iguodala as Sixers fans could expect, and it could solve a need the team wouldn’t necessarily be able to solve in free agency or the draft.
It’s not a done deal, obviously—just a rumor at this point—but it’s a trade that would make sense for both teams. That’s as good a reason an any for the Lakers and Sixers to eventually make the thing happen.