Anthony Parker. Arron Afflalo. Courtney Lee. J.R. Smith. O.J. Mayo.
These are some of the names bloggers, Bulls fans and various experts have mentioned as potential answers to Chicago’s problem at the shooting guard position. The “problem” being Keith Bogans.
So, even as the Bulls nip at the heels of the Celtics and Heat for the best record in the Eastern Conference, and as they eagerly await the return of Joakim Noah, the biggest question heading toward the trade deadline (February 24 at 3:00 p.m.) is: Will the team trade up at the two spot?
Bulls executive vice president John Paxson was a guest on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000 Friday. Here’s what he said: “What we would be looking for as this trade deadline approaches is a little more scoring if we can find it, but we aren’t going to do anything to disrupt the chemistry of this team. We’ve made huge strides this year, and we still think our best basketball is yet to come.
“If we continue to get a guy like Keith Bogans playing well, knocking down two or three 3-pointers a game, and we bring guys like Ronnie Brewer off the bench and C.J. [Watson], we’re real comfortable with that,” Paxson said. “The bottom line is [Derrick Rose] is going to have the basketball in his hands the majority of the time.
“We’re not going to compromise our chemistry, because it’s an underrated thing in this league when you have a group that plays well together and fits together. And we’re not going to compromise what we believe we can do in the future to make us a championship team, not just for a year, but for a long period of time with Derrick Rose being just 22 years old. We’ll be cautious. We talked to a lot of teams. We listen, and throw ideas out there. And you never know, things can happen before the deadline … but we feel good where we’re at.”
I see where Paxson is coming from. At this point, the Bulls have very few tradeable assets. And by “tradeable asset” I mean something they are willing and able to give up and something other teams actually want. Because of this, it could be dangerous to make a knee-jerk move.
For instance, a lot of people are talking about Anthony Parker. Why not give up, say, Omer Asik and/or a first round draft pick or two to bring in a savvy vet who plays solid D and has shot better than 41 percent on threes over his career? Well, for starters, Parker is 35 years old and will turn 36 on June 19. So, obviously, he’s not going to be part of Chicago’s future plans. Furthermore, his Player Efficiency Rating (11.0) isn’t that much better than Bogans’ (8.1). So while he does represent an upgrade, it really is a relatively minor one.
The Bulls have limited cap space and very little to work with trade-wise. And, considering how well the season has gone so far despite the injuries to Noah and Carlos Boozer, it’s hard to imagine management making a move unless the perfect opportunity presents itself.