Chicago thought that it had an Eastern Conference contender. Chicago has been hungry for basketball champion. The Bulls ruled the 1990s and so far this millenium has been an utter disaster. They haven’t been able to draw A-list free agent talent, only some of the draft picks have worked out and almost none of the coaches have.
Ben Wallace was thought by many to be the final piece to the puzzle. With Ben the younger, quicker shooters would be lethal and out score most of the opponents in the Eastern Conference of the NBA. The Bulls were young and deep and had yet another lottery pick coming. After making the playoffs in 2007 there was only one way to go…up.
However it has been just the opposite. The lottery picks, Noah and Thomas specifically, are not working out. Big Ben has been a monumental disappointment with injuries and lack of effort. Luol Deng has had a terrible Achillies injury that is keeping him out of games. Due to this Hinrich and Gordon have been launching wild shot after wild shot in hopes of keeping them close. In reality this strategy is helping aid in their downfall.
So, an answer to this problem was to fire firey coach Scott Skiles. I am not sure if this turns into the Doug Collins kind of firing when everyone screams bloody murder and then a championship later they say, “Doug who, this Phil guy is awesome.”
I think the inmates got the warden fired and now all hell is breaking loose. Paxson has let this get way out of control. He passed up on extensions for Deng and Gordon and now players like Thomas and Noah are acting out. This is not a good situation and it is not one to be easily fixed by simply putting a bench coach in charge and riding out the season.
Destroying the current team through trade is the only way to go. The first trade would be Ben Gordon (who we may lose in FA anyway) and Ben Wallace to New Jersey for Vince Carter and Jason Collins. New Jersey would get the Bens which improve NJ’s low post game and team defense. Kidd and Jefferson with the Ben’s would be good enough to get to the playoffs and compete. Carter is a new beginning for the Bulls and Collins is a bench center. He is essentially a throw in.
Finally I launch a bunch at once sending Joakim Noah, Andres Nocioni, Tyrus Thomas and Thabo Sefalosha to injury plagued Phoenix for Center Amare Stoudamire and a 1st Round pick in 2009. Phoenix might be hesitant but at some point they have to look to the future because this configuration of Suns have been together for several years and 3rd or 4th best in the West is about as good as they can do.
Sure the Bulls seem to be giving up the farm giving Phoenix mulitple lottery picks but think of the starting 5 if the Bulls accomplish the two trades mentioned above.
PG Kirk Hinrich, SG Vince Carter, SF Luol Deng, PF Joe Smith and C Amare Stoudamire. That is a playoff starting 5 that leave the bench pretty thin. However, if memory serves, that didn’t stop Boston from cleaning house and now being one of the 2 or 3 best teams in the NBA.
However, the Bulls are really building for a run in 2009 so there should be no pressure to make these moves. It might also be easier to add those couple of role players necessary for a championship run in the off season with a new coach like Stan Van Gundy or Del Harris.
So while this season is essentially lost there is no reason 2009 and 2010 need to be lost too. All Paxson has to do is deal the kids, get a few stud veterans like Stoudamire and Carter and hire a talented coach to put it all together.