The Chicago Bulls are 9-16 and have lost seven of eight games at the moment. General manager Gar Forman says trading Luol Deng is not an option and, realistically, that means he thinks the Bulls are good with who they’ve got — I’m not buying it. While many Bulls fans are split on the idea of trading Deng, it just might be the best thing to do right now.
I have seen an overwhelming amount of fans lauding the Bulls for losing so many games recently, stating that the season can’t get much better at this point without a healthy Derrick Rose and that they might as well grab the best draft pick possible. After all, Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins might look real nice in that black and red.
I can’t imagine a Tom Thibodeau-coached team in the “tanking” mindset, but is that what they might be doing? Hear me out. Intentionally, I don’t believe it’s happening. But, at the moment, nobody looks like they want to — or can — step up to score like Rose did. They don’t have enough firepower on offense, so they continue to lose games while maintaining a top-3 defense — that’s unfortunate.
For Chicago, I don’t see why trading Deng is a bad option. He’s a free agent next summer and, if Forman is smart, he won’t bring Deng back for more than $7 million per year — which Deng will likely want more than. If the Bulls can at least get another expiring contract or two to play around with or even a draft pick, why not give it a shot?
As for tanking, I don’t see this team going anywhere in the postseason — so, what’s the hold up? Sure, it may take giving up their pride. But, like I said, these Bulls may very well be “tanking” without even trying. They’re simply not good enough to beat the majority of teams in the league right now. They’re not — it’s that clear-cut.
If Chicago can unload Deng, grab themselves a top-5 pick and somehow get rid of Carlos Boozer next summer via amnesty or trade, these guys could do some damage on that free agent market. But, again, those types of moves aren’t “Chicago Bulls moves,” unfortunately. Though I’d like to see a team compete until the end, I don’t see anything wrong with sacrificing a bit now in order to reap a much greater benefit later.