K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes: “When the Bulls refused to include Omer Asik in trade discussions with the Rockets for Courtney Lee, it was thought management tiptoed past Thursday’s NBA trade deadline. But according to multiple league sources, the Bulls aggressively pursued Grizzlies shooting guard O.J. Mayo, offering Ronnie Brewer, two first-round picks and one second-round pick. The Grizzlies rebuffed the offer.”
But…the Grizzlies were willing (if unable) to trade Mayo to the Pacers for Josh McRoberts and a first rounder? Really? And why?
Johnson continues: “There’s a longstanding theory Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley, who has a home in the St. Charles area, doesn’t like doing business with the Bulls for competitive reasons. Whether that factored into the Grizzlies turning down what appears to be a more substantial offer than that of the Pacers is unknown.”
So, despite the all the hand-wringing and teeth-nashing by Bulls fans (myself included), it would appear management did their due diligence in pursuing an upgrade at the SG position. I mean, Brewer (whose contract expires in 2012) and three draft picks (including two first rounders) would have been a pretty solid return for Mayo.
Oh well. It’s not all doom and gloom.
Johnson added: “What is known is the Bulls move forward with their core of young assets intact and roughly $2.9 million of salary-cap space. They will monitor players whose contracts are bought out and must be added by March 1 to be playoff-eligible. They also could sign some Development League players. At this June’s draft, the Bulls will be in position with four first-round picks, cap space and contracts that expire in 2012 for Brewer, C.J. Watson and Kyle Korver (who has a partial guarantee for his third contractual year). They also will be able financially to make a move once a new collective bargaining agreement is set.”
I know it’s not easy to accept. It’s natural to have wanted an upgrade over Keith Bogans. But, really, this is smart management, folks. Forward thinking. Instant gratification isn’t always a good thing, even if it does provide, uhm, instant gratification.
Said Bulls GM Gar Forman: “Every year there seems to be two or three guys who are excellent players and teams are looking for expiring contracts, multiple draft picks and young assets. We didn’t want to make a deal just to make a deal. We want to make the right deal. We don’t know what we’re facing going forward (with a new CBA). Our feeling was we didn’t want to give up a young asset when you don’t know what’s on the horizon. We want to see what the playing field is going to look like. When you look at our roster and our books, we’re going to have opportunities.”
I still can’t say I’m totally happy with how things turned out. But I’m feeling better about them.