Now that the Chicago Bulls have a coach in Vinnie Del Negro, GM John Paxson can focus his time and effort on the 2008 NBA Draft to take place on June 26th.
The wheels of Del Negro’s appointment were greased by the relationship between his former boss and former Bull, Steve Kerr, and Paxson. For Chicago’s sake hopefully Kerr does better with this move than the recent gaffe with the Shaq signing.
Paxson needs to satisfy two needs for the Bulls: post presence and maturity.
Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, and Kirk Hinrich make up a solid nucleus for a team that could, with some post play, challenge for the Eastern title next year.
Hinrich will not have a repeat of last season. Deng is a future all-star. Gordon is instant offense.
The threesome needs support that Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley can’t supply. Put either of those guys in a Bulls’ uniform, and their second contract in the league will be with another team. Both Rose and Beasley need to go somewhere that will allow them to grow.
Chicago is not that place.
With that in mind – Paxson has some alternatives:
Choice A: The Bulls can trade the first pick of the draft to Los Angeles. In return the Lakers would send Ronnie Turiaf, Andrew Bynum, and either their second round pick of this year’s draft (they don’t have a first round pick) or next year’s first round pick.
The Bulls would get some post presence. While Bynum is not exactly mature, he has at least played three years in the league – besides, getting away from Kobe’s ‘motivation techniques’ would feel like a weight from his 20 year-old shoulders. Turiaf could be ready to start on a team like the Bulls. Before you scoff at the second round pick, remember that is when Carlos Boozer was taken.
Mitch Kupchak would be drooling at the chance to either put Beasley opposite Gasol in the post, or have Derek Fisher mentor the young Rose.
Choice B: The Bulls trade the first pick of the draft to Boston. The C’s send Kendrick Perkins, Leon Powe, and their first round pick to the Windy City.
Other than Perkins’s tendency to pick up silly technical fouls because he can’t stop running his mouth, the guy has a mature game. He is ready to play a larger role than what he has behind the Big 3 in Boston. Powe could add some levity to the Bulls lineup. Courtney Lee (this draft’s version of Tayshaun Prince) could still be available with the Celtics’ pick.
Can you imagine Beasley in the lineup with Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce?
Choice C: The Bulls trade the first pick of the draft to San Antonio. The Spurs ship Kurt Thomas, Ime Udoka, and their first round pick north to Chi-town.
Okay so this one isn’t as sexy of a deal as the others. Thomas would add as much maturity as anyone could. Udoka showed some flashes this year. Roy Hibbert could still be available when the Spurs have their pick.
Like David Robinson taught him, Timmy Duncan could pass on his knowledge of the gnomes (you remember the razor commercial don’cha? ‘The gnomes Tim; the gnomes’) to Michael Beasley.
Choice D: The Bulls send the first pick of the draft to Houston. In return the Rockets send Shane Battier, Luis Scola and their first round pick.
Battier would make instant impact on the Bulls. Scola averaged ten points and six rebounds for the Rockets. Hibbert, Lee, and/or JJ Hickson could be available with the Rockets pick.
Beasley might break a whole lotta rookie records playing opposite Yao and grabbing T-Mac’s crumbs.
Time is ticking. What will GM Paxson do?