1. Welcome! Please take a few seconds to create your free account to post threads, make some friends, remove a few ads while surfing and much more. ClutchFans has been bringing fans together to talk Houston Sports since 1996. Join us!

[ESPN/Chad Ford] How to fix the bulls

Discussion in 'NBA Dish' started by Deuce, Dec 2, 2004.

  1. Deuce

    Deuce Context & Nuance

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2001
    Messages:
    26,569
    Likes Received:
    35,620
    Time to trade Curry, Chandler
    By Chad Ford
    ESPN Insider
    http://proxy.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=ford_chad&id=1936780

    Now you know how the Bulls inherited that pungent odor over the years.

    After six years of misery and the league's worst record over that time, the real question is … can the Bulls be fixed?

    New GM John Paxson has taken some positive steps in that direction over the past year. But has it been enough? Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry are still on the Bulls roster. They represent the dark days and seem to have the ability to take down anyone else that Paxson has on the roster.

    As tough as it is to trade two 22-year-old 7-footers with such upside … it's probably time. You can only say, "Wait until next year" so many times.

    However, how the Bulls do it is critical. Fire sales won't save the franchise. They have to get the right pieces back in return.

    Insider poured over depth charts and salary-cap information and sought the advice of a few NBA general managers to give you the five things the Bulls must do to turn the franchise around.

    FORD'S BULLS FIXER-UPPER

    STEP 1: Trade Tyson Chandler
    Putting Chandler on the top of the list might be controversial, but hear me out. The Bulls need to trade Chandler first because, in certain situations, he may have more value. Chandler has the size and the work ethic GMs want. Skill-wise, he's behind Curry considerably, but many GMs and coaches believe those things can still be taught as long as the attitude is right.

    There are several places that would be good homes for Chandler.

    * The Nuggets have to be at the top of the list. Nuggets GM Kiki Vandeweghe has a thing for Chandler and he's proven over the years (just ask Dirk Nowitzki) that he knows how to help big men hone their skills. Though Vandeweghe denies he's had in trade talks with the Bulls concerning Chandler, that doesn't mean it won't happen in the near future.

    Swapping Chandler for Nene Hilario and Voshon Lenard (whose contract expires at the end of the season) makes sense for both teams. It gives the Bulls a tough, blue-collar big man who has huge upside and gives the Nuggets a bigger, longer center who can run the floor and crash the boards. Nene, for all of his upside, is a little undersized to play the five in the West. Chandler, especially if he continues to add pounds, isn't. Chandler also seems more willing than Nene to come off the bench at this point in his career.

    * The Clippers are willing to part with Chris Wilcox. Put him in a trade with Zeljko Rebraca for Chandler (or Curry for that matter) and the Bulls walk out of this with an athletic big man who was averaging 17 points and 8 rebounds a game before Chris Kaman came back.

    * The Sixers have buried Samuel Dalembert on the bench because he doesn't fit new head coach Jim O'Brien's defensive schemes. A Dalembert-and-Kenny Thomas (whom O'Brien is also not fond of) for Chandler-and-Othella Harrington deal works under the cap.

    STEP 2: Trade Eddy Curry
    By now you know the drill. Why trade a 6-foot-11 center with upside when his trade value has never been lower? Here's why: The folks who are making that argument have made it for two straight seasons. Curry can lose weight and attend practice all he wants. He can't change who he is. The draft report on Curry was dead on. He's a talented low-post scorer with highly questionable motivation. Those are the two constants that have never changed and won't change as long as he's in Chicago.

    He's a big man who doesn't rebound because he doesn't try. He doesn't defend because of effort, not a lack of talent. Curry hasn't gotten the message these last four years. If he can't get it in a contract year – when exactly is it going to happen?

    Waiting around for Curry to increase his trade value isn't how Paxson needs to approach rebuilding his team. The Bulls can't wait that long. Besides, someone desperate for a big man will offer Curry too much money next summer. The Bulls rightfully will balk at matching it – but then they would lose him with nothing to show for it..

    Curry might have more upside than Chandler, but his trade value is lower because teams worry that a change of scenery won't be enough. So don't expect them to land a dominant big man in return.

    Almost all the trade scenarios that we suggest for Chandler could also apply to Curry, but there are a few others that bear mentioning.

    * The Warriors could use some low-post scoring. Adonal Foyle is only good for rebounding and shot blocking and Troy Murphy scores most of his buckets 10 or more feet away from the basket. Now that the Warriors have committed to Jason Richardson, they could offer Mickael Pietrus (whom the Bulls almost selected instead of Kirk Hinrich) and rookie Andris Biedrins to the Bulls in a deal I'm pretty sure the Bulls would jump at. Pietrus is the type of aggressive backcourt defender head coach Scott Skiles is pining for. Biedrins is an intriguing young big man from Latvia who shows toughness and rebounding in the paint.

    * The Sonics have needed a big guy who could draw a double team in the post for a while. As good as the Sonics shooters are, they usually have to take shots with hands in their faces. Would a combo of Jerome James, Vladimir Radmanovic, Nick Collison and Ronald Murray for Curry, Eric Piatkowski and Othella Harrington be enough to persuade Paxson? That's a lot for the Sonics to give up, but until they find a legit center, it's tough to imagine how this team continues to be a contender in the West. Nate McMillan would be the perfect type of coach for Curry. Plus, Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis would handle the burden of carrying the team, not Curry.

    * The Grizzlies have been the team most openly courting Curry. The Bulls could get Bonzi Wells for him, but that kind of defeats the point. Because of contract issues Mike Miller and Shane Battier are much more difficult to include in any deal and Stromile Swift is untradeable this year since he's on a one-year tender contract.


    STEP 3: Trade Ben Gordon
    This is a really tough call. After a miserable preseason, Gordon finally is coming around. He had back-to-back 20-point games last week and was big in the fourth quarter Wednesday night against the Lakers. In other words, Gordon is showing signs that he'll be as good as the Bulls thought he would be when they drafted him with the No. 3 overall pick last summer.

    The issue with Gordon is this: He's not a great fit in the Bulls backcourt with Hinrich. He needs to be on the floor with a big point guard or he needs to make the transition from a 'two' to a 'one'. Neither is likely to happen as long as Hinrich is around.

    Rookies can't be traded until Dec. 15th, but after that they're fair game.

    If the Bulls take the first option in Step One (Chandler to Denver for Nene) and the first option of Step Two (Curry to Golden State for Pietrus and Biedrins), they're left pretty thin in the frontcourt and pretty stacked in the backcourt.

    The Clippers were very interested in Gordon during the draft and are still looking for a long-term replacement for Quentin Richardson, who fled to the Suns in free agency. Gordon would be a perfect fit. The Clippers' pair of point guards, Marko Jaric and Shaun Livingston, are both big enough to guard 'twos' on the other end making, Gordon less of a liability. The Clippers could use Gordon's scoring and shooting in the backcourt.

    As we mentioned in the Chandler part of the piece, the Clippers' Wilcox is available and would be a great fit on the Bulls front line. A trade of Gordon and Frank Williams for Wilcox, Rebraca and the Clippers' No. 1 next year works under the cap. Again, this isn't as crucial as trading Curry and Chandler, but it would help balance out the team.

    STEP 4: Bring back Toni Kukoc
    One of the most critical mistakes former GM Jerry Krause made during his tenure was trading away all of his veterans and leaving the rookies to fend for themselves. The 1999 Bulls had seven rookies on the team. This year's version has six.

    Paxson has done his best to bring in veterans like Antonio Davis and Scottie Pippen. However, Pippen retired prematurely this summer and Davis can't do it alone. This year, the Bulls aren't in much better shape. They are the third-youngest team in the league and in desperate need of a veteran voice or two in the huddle.

    Seasoned veterans are in high demand these days, but there is one voice from the past that could work out – the Bucks' Kukoc. Kukoc is on a team going nowhere. Kukoc is injured at the moment with a right hip strain, but the injury isn't considered serious.

    Kukoc is one of the few remaining voices from the Bulls' invincible years. Although he doesn't have much left to add on the court, he could still be a valuable mentor to the rest of the team. The Bucks might jump on a swap that gave them a live body like Othella Harrington.

    If the Bulls made the moves we suggested here, they could end up with a roster that looks like this.

    * Point Guard: Kirk Hinrich, Chris Duhon
    * Shooting Guard: Mickael Pietrus, Eric Piatkowski
    * Small Forward: Luol Deng, Andres Nocioni, Adrian Griffin
    * Power Forward: Chris Wilcox, Toni Kukoc
    * Center: Nene, Antonio Davis, Andris Biedrins

    STEP 5: Stick with a plan
    If Paxson could pull off those moves, the Bulls would still be very young, but at least they'd have all the elements you look for in a team on the rise. All of their players would be good defenders with athleticism and excellent work ethics. Most of them come from winning situations.

    They'd have a legit point guard in Hinrich. One of the better on the ball defenders in the league in Pietrus. Backcourt depth with Duhon and Piatkowski (and Deng who can play the two in a pinch). And perimeter shooting from both Hinrich and Gordon.

    The frontcourt also has promise. Deng not only can score, but he can rebound and defend at the small forward position. He's also got great size. Nocioni can play three positions and is probably a better fit coming off the bench to spell Deng and Wilcox. He's so tough around the basket that he'll be able to make up for some of his size issues.

    Wilcox has shown signs that he could turn into a big time power forward this year. He's got good size, great athleticism and plays with tremendous energy.

    Nene has the length, athleticism and toughness to be a star. He might be a little undersized to play center, but in the East it shouldn't matter much. He's so long and explosive that he plays much bigger than he really is.

    Davis doesn't have a lot left in his tank &but he's still good for 20 minutes a night. Ditto for Kukoc. Biedrins will take time to develop, but he eventually would allow Nene to move to the 'four' and give the Bulls a more formidable front line.

    None of these moves will be easy to consummate. The Nuggets might decide they can't take the risk on Chandler. The Warriors, who are trying to instill the proper attitude and work ethic on their young team, might feel that they can't gamble on Curry. The Clippers, who are always trying to save a buck or two are more likely to bite, in part, because it will be three more years before Gordon asks for another contract.

    Making all of these moves won't solve all the Bulls' problems. The team is still young and will go through growing pains. But at least Paxson has the chance to set the proper foundation for the first time in years. The team we're proposing has toughness, character and balance – something the Bulls just haven't had the last six years.

    It might take a year or two for them to realize their potential … but when the do, the days of laughing at the Bulls will be over for a long, long time.
     
  2. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2003
    Messages:
    58,486
    Likes Received:
    35,860
    Why would the Nuggets trade Nene for Chandler when they can barely put together enough big-man minutes for Martin, Camby, Elson, and Nene? Replacing Nene with Chandler doesn't seem to solve this problem much at all - and to throw in Lenard (is his injury that bad?) - one of their few G's on a team that is loaded with F's, means that your starting 2 guard platoon is Demarr Johnson and Greg Buckner for the rest of the season?

    That trade has little if any upside for the Nuggets - Chandler would be redundant and they further deplete their weakest area.

    Sorry, Chadwick, back to realGM for you.
     
  3. Nuggets4

    Nuggets4 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 1999
    Messages:
    2,928
    Likes Received:
    32
    I won't comment on the Nene - Chandler potential swap (I'm torn on it), but the reason Vo would be traded is because he's out for the year, and a free agent at the end of the year. Translation: cap deal. Also in this deal, we would get Piatkowski as well.
     
  4. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2003
    Messages:
    58,486
    Likes Received:
    35,860
    OK, I didn't know if he was out for the year or not.
     
  5. thumbs

    thumbs Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2002
    Messages:
    10,225
    Likes Received:
    237
    If the Bulls get fixed, wouldn't they be the Chicago Steers?:D
     
  6. Nuggets4

    Nuggets4 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 1999
    Messages:
    2,928
    Likes Received:
    32
    Sadly for us, yes. Hence the Johnson/Buckner/Russell trio we have going at the 2.
     
  7. Fegwu

    Fegwu Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2002
    Messages:
    5,162
    Likes Received:
    4
    Nice :)
     
  8. gucci888

    gucci888 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2002
    Messages:
    17,027
    Likes Received:
    6,228
    Is Chad Ford joking? This lineup would get killed night in night out, and no team gets better by getting killed every single night.

    However, if the Clips are looking to unload Wilcox, I wonder if the Rockets could get him.
     

Share This Page