Sunday, February 24, 2008

Trading Day Review: Chicago Bulls

Instead of doing one big monster post on the trades, we're going to tackle them one at a time. Here's my take on the Chicago side of the mega-trade and the implications on the playoffs...

Real quick. A small graphical example of this trade.

Note that the grays are better than the blue, and that the most important area is that little space underneath the basket for "big men."

So there's that.
Here's what I wrote to Shoals after the first game post-trade for the Bulls.

Ben Wallace represented a gigantic combination lock. One of those huge ones you bought to put on your bike, even though it's way too heavy to keep in your backpack. The kind they use to lock up the gates on the old football stadium. He was perfectly designed to keep everything under control. He was the personification of a sense of security. Not just in size and defensive capabilities, but in the fact that he provided the always over-lauded "veteran presence." He was safe, understood. A known quantity. And he sucked the life out of the bulls athleticism and talent.

And now he's gone.

In his place is a fascinating staple of players thrust into rotation. Young. Unkempt. And suddenly, without expectation, without restriction, without security, they exploded tonight. Noah and Thomas playing to potential, making plays, producing success, and playing without fear.

I am loathe to quote Fight Club, but it is far too apt at this point.

"It's only after we've lost everything, that we're free to do anything."

The locks are off. Whatever was inside is now out.

Now, that said, it still doesn't solve the primary issue that remains. They need a leader and a scorer, in one package. If there was one trade I wish would have happened before the break, it would have been to trade a collection of players for T-Mac. They're probably still missing one dynamic component, and neither Ben Gordon nor Nocioni is the answer. If they could compliment the young kids down low, and Deng's all-around game (when healthy) with a scorer to go around with Kirk Hinrich (back from the dead), they could be back in contention.

The trade was necessary, however. After giving Wallace that behemoth of a contract, getting it off the books was the most important thing. If they'll continue giving Thomas and Noah the minutes the deserve, they'll keep getting better. The biggest thing to note is that the Bulls don't need to rebuild, they need to retool. They have a lot of the pieces, they just need an engine to make them go. And while the trade didn't give them that, it did give them the assets to acquire one.

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