The Bulls need to trade Luol Deng before the NBA’s Trade Deadline on February 20th.
Before we dive into some potential trading partners for Gar/Pax, Deng deserves some acknowledgement for his success with the organization.
Deng’s breakout season with the Bulls came in 2006-2007, when he averaged a career-high 18.8 points per game. What’s crazy about those stats is he only made one three pointer throughout the whole season. Although Deng is not consistent from long range these days either, he definitely has become a better three point shooter within the past three seasons.
The small forward’s great season in ’06-’07 also brought the Bulls to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. First, they swept the defending champion Miami Heat as Deng started off the series with 33 points in Game One. Then, P.J Brown almost carried the Bulls to a seventh game versus the Pistons in the second round; unfortunately, scoring twenty points in the first half was all the old man could bring to the Bulls upset-minded hopes.
The organization rewarded Deng with a brand new contract after the ugly ’07-’08 Bulls season. The deal guaranteed him $71 million over six years.
Fans complained for the next couple of seasons about Deng’s production and injuries. However, when the 2010-2011 season came along, Deng played all 82 games and averaged 17.4 points per game. He was a key cog to helping the Bulls reach the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to the Heat in five games.
Personally speaking, there was no reason to argue about John Paxson’s decision to give Deng his money. If fans watched what he brought to the table in the ’06-’07 season, they would have seen a raw player, who could transform into a complete one.
Seeing how Deng has taken his game to the next level is truly unbelievable; he can create his own shot and take it to the basket. However, since his value is so high and with his contract up after this season, the Bulls should explore options for a trade as soon as possible.
The first rumor I’ve read is Deng to Cleveland for Dion Waiters. Obviously, the Bulls would not just get Waiters; they would have to receive a pick or an expiring contract to make it work. The shooting guard would be a nice addition, especially since the Bulls would have control of him through the 2016-2017 season. Waiters is averaging 14.9 points per game this season and wants out of Cleveland. The chance to trade for him is now.
The other rumor, which just popped up today, is Deng to the Wizards for Trevor Ariza and Otto Porter. Ariza is playing great this season, averaging 15.2 points per game; Porter is just getting twelve minutes per game, so there isn’t much to analyze with him yet.
Although the ideal situation would be to trade for a two guard and move Jimmy Butler up to the small forward position, this proposed deal doesn’t seem like the worst idea in the world either. Ariza is under control through next season; he could start until Porter is ready to handle big minutes.
If any Bulls fans thinks trading Deng could earn the organization a lottery pick, please take your mind out of the gutter. No organization would give up a high draft pick for a player, who they will have control of for only the rest of this season.
Reports were Derrick Rose is concerned about the Bulls rebuilding plans. Unfortunately, if Deng is traded, we might have to read more of these comments from the superstar, who isn’t even playing.