By Shawn Muller–
To say the Bulls are clicking on all cylinders right now would be a bit of an understatement.
Chicago has won six straight games, and look to make it seven in a row tomorrow night, when the team travels to Oakland, California, to square off against the Golden State Warriors. The hottest team in the Eastern Conference is slowly creeping ever so close to the Boston Celtics, sitting a mere three games behind them in the standings, and find themselves just a half game behind the Miami Heat for the second spot.
The surprising part of the Bulls season–up to this point anyway–is not the fact that they are one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, or the entire league, for that matter. It is the fact that they have been able to play at such a high level without the benefit of having their projected starting lineup—when the season began—healthy and together for more than six games all year.
With the trade deadline approaching fast, should Chicago look to make a move in hopes of bolstering their chances at making a run at the title? Or should the front office stand firm with the personnel they have in place, already, and hope for the best?
These are the questions general manager, Gar Forman needs to consider as the Bulls look to make their final push toward the playoffs.
I don’t see any reason why the Bulls should feel that they need to make any type of “blockbuster” deal at the deadline. Obviously, the biggest name out there, which may be a possibility (albeit a slim one), is disgruntled Denver Nuggets star, Carmelo Anthony…but at what price? Denver has been very interested in Joakim Noah for quite some time, so we all know he would have to be a part of any package to land Anthony. One would think Luol Deng would also be a part of the deal, but he has thrived in Tom Thibodeau’s system. Deng is having a career-type year for the Bulls and has stepped up this season when the Bulls have needed him.
I don’t want the Bulls to go anywhere near the Carmelo Anthony drama. He has made it quite clear that he wants to play in New York with the Knicks next year, so at best, Chicago would likely have him for the rest of this season and that is it. You don’t give up one of your best young players in Noah and a player like Luol Deng, for a prima donna/short-term lease. So get the Anthony dream out of your heads people! He is a player that doesn’t fit in well with what the Bulls are about under Tom Thibodeau, and what has made them so successful up to this point in the season. A player needs to be willing to play defense if they expect to see the floor for coach “Thibs.” I don’t think Carmelo Anthony even knows what that word means.
Before his recent 10 game-suspension by the league for using a banned-substance, I would have said O.J. Mayo might—and I do stress might–have been an interesting option. He has all the potential in the world to become a big-time scorer, and, maybe a change of scenery would be the best thing for the former number three pick in the draft. But who do you give up for such a risk? If he didn’t have all the baggage, I would have said, maybe Luol Deng…but then I came back to reality. Mayo also has the “me first” attitude like Anthony, and that does not fit what this Bulls team represents.
The best thing Chicago can do at the trade deadline is stand firm with what they already have. Joakim Noah is set to return to the lineup at the end of this month, and that is comparable to making a deal at the deadline. Bulls fans have been clamoring to see this team at full strength all season long. People are excited to see what Derrick Rose can do with players like Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, together on the floor at the same time (well, for more than six games, anyway)…and soon, we will finally get that chance. This is a solid defensive team with high-energy, and a cohesiveness that we have not seen in Chicago since the Jordan-era.
Why potentially mess this up now?
Sometimes, the best deals are the ones that you don’t make…and the Bulls would be wise to stand firm with the roster they have, and see what happens when Joakim Noah returns in a couple of weeks.
Do you agree with Shawn? Post your comments below.
Shawn Muller has lived in Chicago for 7 years. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and just recently received his certificate in radio broadcasting in October of 2010. Sports have always been a passion of Shawn’s. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, “Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” at www.blogtalkradio.com/spmuller24.