Most fans and experts are already looking ahead to 2014 for the Chicago Bulls and their championship hopes. Even so does the franchise have a few moves they could make to help superstar Derrick Rose sooner than later?
Taj Gibson and Marquis Teague give the team young building blocks
The funeral is over for the folk heroes known as the "Bench Mob." Players like Omer Asik, C.J. Watson and Ronnie Brewer that gave Chicago one of the best benches in basketball are with other teams. Fans wonder aloud if the Bulls can survive long enough for their star in Rose to return healthy. All those outside voices haven't shaken the team front office led by Gar Forman and Jon Paxson though. Sensing the first championship window closed for the next year or so the two executives rearranged the roster to become friendlier to the salary cap, bringing in veterans like Kirk Hinrich and cheap specialists like Nate Robinson. However the real core of the plan moving forward rests with young prospects like first round pick Marquis Teague and bench captain Taj Gibson. Each brings valuable leadership and key skills the Bulls will need when Rose returns and the roster goes through another overhaul. Given the short-term contract with most of the recent free agents, it says Chicago isn't settled on waiting too long for throwing their hats back into the championship ring. The question is what else can they do?
Strong showing in Olympics by Luol Deng offers big NBA opportunity
One of the big moneymakers on the Bulls roster is Luol Deng. The team captain chose not to have surgery on his injured left wrist and play for his native Great Britain in the 2012 London Olympics. Chicago fans feared this move would keep him out for the first half of the season because his injury likely required surgery. A few though have said it might not have to go that far. Also there is a silver lining for the Bulls with Deng playing in the Olympics. While not otherworldly because of the weak roster around him, Luol has played a very impressive series at the Games, averaging 15 points per game and playing his trademark solid defense. What makes that good for Chicago is it shows he might not need surgery after all, but it also opens a door into the NBA market. Rumors swirled months ago that the Bulls put out feelers for teams interested in trading for Deng. Obviously they didn't get many hits because of his wrist problems. Now that he can avoid surgery and still play at his All-Star level means Chicago could find an interested partner in trading for him. In return the Bulls could get a lottery draft pick and take loads of money off their salary cap.
The Chicago Bulls know they need Derrick Rose to win a championship but if recent NBA history offers any truth it's that he needs a wingman. While Taj Gibson and Marquis Teague are great role players, the team should seriously consider exploring a Luol Deng trade one more time.