By the Horns Weekly Mailbag- 12/06/2013

Image from Flickr via Pacdog

Image from Flickr via Pacdog

Welcome back to the Bulls by the Horns weekly mailbag where we will answer some of your reader submitted questions about the Chicago Bulls and the NBA every Friday. If you’d like to submit your question to us please shoot us a message via our contact form or shoot a tweet to @AvikarSaini. Without further ado, let’s get to it:

Since Rose’s injury Chicago has been named as a possible landing spot for Dion Waiters. What do you think of the idea of Waiters in Chicago? What kind of trade would it take to get him?
Aaron J

I’ll start off with the lasts question first. In my mind any trade sending Dion Waiters to the Chicago Bulls would likely involve Luol Deng in some capacity. The Cavs could use a wing player like Deng who can: 1) operate without the ball in his hands, 2) act as a complement to Kyrie Irving, 3) defend the perimeter against players like Lebron James. Because Deng is an expiring contract and could walk at the season’s end, the Bulls may have to include a little something extra like a draft pick. With that kind of price I’m not a fan of bringing Waiters to Chicago. While Waiters is the kind of player who can step onto the floor and control the ball to generate offense his efficiency is lacking, especially compared to Deng. According to Basketball-Reference Waiters is only shooting 41.2% from the floor on roughly 12 shot attempts per game while Deng is shooting 45.8% on about 15 attempts per game. According to Synergy Sports, Deng produces more points per possession than Waiters in the following categories: isolation players, post ups, cuts to the hoop, pick & roll as the ball handler, off of screens, out of hand-offs, and off of offensive rebounds. In addition to the worse offensive output, moving from Deng to Waiters would be a huge step back for Chicago on defense. All of this combined screams trading for Waiters is a bad idea for Chicago and does more harm than good.

Rose said that he may return this season if the conditions are right. What are these conditions and do you think he returns this season?
Ashley M

Under a new NBA rule passed this previous offseason, Derrick Rose had to address the media at a press conference yesterday regarding his injury. During the media event Rose said, “If I’m healthy and the situation is right, I’ll be out there playing,” effectively opening the door to a potential return this season despite the fact the Chicago Bulls front office stated he was done for the season. Presumably the right conditions for a return is heavily dependent on two things: 1) if Rose can play again by the end of March (at the latest) so he can re-integrate himself into the team and shake off the rust; and 2)if the Bulls can avoid the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs to potentially set them up for a deep playoff run. While both things can happen, based off of last season’s return process I can’t imagine Rose potentially rushing his rehab to come back this season. I hope I’m wrong and Rose can play at eventually 100% this year, but as it stands I’m skeptical.

What do you think of this trade? Bulls trade Boozer and their first-rounder to the Raptors for Kyle Lowry and. Tyler Hansbrough. The thinking is this would give Taj a chance to start with Boozer off the books this year and next. It would also fill the Bulls’ biggest need (PG) and make them a possible contender this year. As for the pick, the Bulls would likely still have Charlotte’s pick and Mirotic coming over anyway. Thoughts?
Gordon S

While I’m a huge fan of Kyle Lowry and would like to have him starting over Kirk Hinrich, I’m not a fan of this trade. While Boozer’s play is spotty and his defense can be terrible, moving Taj Gibson into a starting role and going from Boozer to Hansbrough is a major downgrade for the second unit big men. One of Chicago’s major advantages are the various combination of Noah, Boozer, and Gibson in the front court. Trading for Hansbrough gives that up. Also, I feel like moving Gibson into a starting role may be a little premature. While everyone is excited over his recent play it has yet to be seen if Gibson can sustain this kind of performance for an extended period of time. Finally, I don’t like the idea of giving up a pick in the deal. I like Lowry but in all likelihood he’s a rental since he’d move behind Rose on the depth chart if he were to stay. Essentially Chicago would be giving up Carlos Boozer and this year’s first round draft pick for Tyler Hansbrough- hardly a good deal for the Bulls.

When will Thibs [Tom Thibodeau] finally give up the hair battle?
@Moesquare via Twitter

Don’t count on it ever happening. Thibodeau’s motto for the past few seasons has been that the Bulls have enough to win. I’m fairly certain he uses a similar motto for his hair.

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2 Responses to By the Horns Weekly Mailbag- 12/06/2013

    Gordon S December 7, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    Thanks for answering my question. I found it interesting that in response to the Waiters question, you expressed concern about Waiters being a downgrade from Deng, but in my question, you dismissed Lowry as a rental. Isn’t Deng basically a rental too? A rental acquired in December is worth a lot more than a rental acquired in February.

    Before you can really address either trade, you have to decide whether you care about this season or not. Considering that it would be nearly impossible to miss the playoffs, I’d like to see the Bulls try to make the most of this season. How many seasons should we throw away in the hopes of Rose coming back?

    Back to my trade, while I agree that Hansbrough for Boozer downgrades the bench at PF, it upgrades the bench significantly at PG by replacing Teague/James with Hinrich. More importantly, it significantly upgrades the crunch time lineup by replacing Hinrich with Lowry (it seems Gibson has already cemented himself in the crunch time lineup). And if Gibson really isn’t capable of starting, why not find out now and be more informed to make future decisions?

  2. Avi Saini December 7, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

    Hey Gordon,

    The difference between the two rentals lies in that Deng is a player who is more likely to stay with Chicago. Both the front office and Deng have expressed some interest in keeping him on the team though their salary numbers differ. A lot can change between now and June. It’s far more likely that Deng and the Bulls will be able to strike a deal in the middle than the Bulls being able to convince Lowry to take on a backup role. So Deng, while a rental like Lowry, does have the caveat that he is more likely to stay on board with Chicago.

    I agree that it is time we see if Gibson is truly starter material and I think we’re starting to learn a little bit more of that as he plays more and more minutes each night. If Gibson can perform at a starter level consistently than I am on board with moving Boozer and taking a slight downgrade with the bench bigs if it fixes another area of the team. But we don’t know that yet so I do have some concerns giving up Chicago’s major advantage over most teams for what would likely be a temporary fix.

    As far as thinking about this season, I think we’re going to see the Bulls try to make the most of this season with or without your trade. That’s just how Thibodeau operates. But at this point I feel as if the front office is looking more to the upcoming seasons since Rose’s injury has essentially robbed Chicago of their chance to realistically compete for a title. With this kind of situation, the Bulls require some financial flexibility which Boozer actually affords them since they can use the amnesty clause on him. Boozer’s contract will free up big money either in either the 2014 or 2015 offseason which will help Chicago fix the roster to try to compete for several years. While trading for Lowry + Hansborough bring the Bulls closer to being under the luxury tax, it does hurt future financial flexibility since it robs the Bulls of the opportunity to remove a big contract from the books all at once. Having $6 million come off one year and then $3 million come off another puts Chicago in the position where they have to sign lesser players to shorter term contracts. This kind of situation would relegate the Bulls to being nothing more than a playoff team in the East that neither advances nor regresses, something that truly wastes seasons, something you don’t want to see. So wouldn’t it be better to simply waste one season (this year) rather than multiple seasons in the future?

    Hope that clarifies my position and take on everything. If you have any more questions and I’ll be more than happy to continue to discuss this

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