Saturday, February 17, 2007

Decision Time

Okay, so I've heard a lot of talk about the Chicago Bulls possibly trading for Pau Gasol. At first I didn't know how serious the rumors were, but now it seems that Bulls' GM John Paxson is seriously considering a deal. Here's a passage from a Sam Smith article that sums up the dilemma:

Drew in Chicago asks, "Could you give me your list of Bulls, among Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, Andres Nocioni and Tyrus Thomas, whom you would trade?"

This is a great question I'm sure John Paxson is asking as well now that there's talk the Bulls could get Pau Gasol. Ben Gordon is invaluable with his scoring, but doesn't do that much else. He doesn't really run the offense, pass or defend. But they do count the points at the end of the game and no one on the Bulls does it better. Hinrich isn't quite the scorer, but is a better defender but probably doesn't quite have the point guard mentality of Duhon. Deng is the most consistent, able to do a little bit of everything. I know I still haven't answered. Nocioni is a nice specialist, tough guy and good shooter and Thomas is the best athlete of all but a bit away in skills.

I'd put Hinrich, Gordon and Deng together at the top and find them almost inseparable in value. If I had to I'd probably keep Gordon because of his unique scoring ability and Hinrich because he defends the best and can play point and score, though he's more an old-time guard like Danny Ainge. Good guards are harder to come by than good small forwards, which makes it tough because Deng might have a higher ceiling than Hinrich and Gordon and could improve the most...

Personally, I think the Bulls absolutely have to hang onto Luol Deng. He can do a little bit of everything and is fast improving... we really don't know what type of player he'll be in two years. There's a chance the Bulls could package Deng with another player and a first round draft pick for Gasol, only to find out that Deng was the best player in the whole deal.

Of course, if Chicago's goal is to be a serious championship contender in 2008, then I don't like the idea of parting with Hinrich or Gordon either. It's a tough call though because they need to add somebody like Gasol to even have a chance at getting to that next level. Right now I think the Bulls could squeak into the NBA Finals, but then they'd be roadkill for whichever Western Conference team they faced (barring injury).

John Paxson has a tough decision to make. We'll see what happens.

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