According to sources, the most recent team to enter the Kevin Love sweepstakes is the Chicago Bulls. With the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors being the front-runners to acquire Love’s services, Chicago has apparently offered a pretty tempting package to the Minnesota Timberwolves. However, a potential acquisition of Love for the upcoming NBA season does not make total sense for the Bulls.
Let’s take a look at what Chicago’s roster will look like if they complete a trade for Love and also if they keep what they have right now. The supposed, proposed package to Minnesota includes Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic. Let’s assume that Chicago is not getting another player back in the deal, besides Love, as well. With the addition of Pau Gasol, adding Love would cause an unnecessary cluster at the power forward and center positions.
To this point in the offseason, Gasol has been Chicago’s prize. Love would of course change that, but the Bulls need to understand that if they field a team that consists of Love, Gasol and Joakim Noah, they will never be able to play the three of them on the floor together at the same time. None of these stars have the ability to play the small forward position, and trading McDermott would hurt the team’s depth significantly.
Yes, the Bulls have Jimmy Butler, Kirk Hinrich and Tony Snell. Yet these three players are classified more as a shooting guard or point guard, leaving Mike Dunleavy as the only true small forward on the roster. Not only would Chicago’s depth be limited, but also bringing in Love would force Gasol to come off the bench. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but when combined with not having the ability to play Love, Gasol and Noah at the same time, this limits Tom Thibodeau‘s options.
Now, if Chicago keeps their current roster as is, their depth will be solid. Gibson will maintain his sixth man role and Thibodeau will not be faced with the dilemma on who to sit at the end of the game. Over the past few seasons, he had no issue replacing Carlos Boozer with Gibson during crunch time. However, Gasol and Noah are better players at this point in their careers, so sitting one of them will be much more difficult.
Chicago needs to look at the full picture and determine if it is worth it to trade valuable assets for a player they may not ultimately need. Of course, Love is a superstar talent, and it is tough to pass up an opportunity to acquire a player of that level. However, Chicago will compete for the Eastern Conference title if their roster remains in place right now. To go along with that, if the team stands pat, they will also hold onto assets to potentially acquire another superstar who becomes available within the next year or two and plays a position where they do not already have a logjam.
The Bulls need to think long and hard. They ultimately may need to make the tough decision and say no to a proven superstar in order to help their team for not only the long-term, but also the short-term as well.