Ah, the NBA rumor mill. Out of all the major sports leagues, I'm pretty sure the NBA is untouched when it comes to speculative reports about possible trades/signings/whatever. And honestly, I love it. It's part of what makes writing about the NBA so fun. As long as you realize that much of it is just speculation and not actual fact, you're all good.
With the NBA Draft and free agency period rapidly approaching, it's time for things to start getting a bit hectic again. So without further ado, here are some Chicago Bulls related rumors from the past couple of days.
- We've been discussing the possibility of a Luol Deng trade for a couple of weeks now. In my opinion, it's something that absolutely needs to be explored given the current construction of the roster. Even if the Bulls amnestied Carlos Boozer after next season, the team would still be pretty close to the cap in 2013 if they did not make any other significant moves. Trading Deng – who I believe has reached his ceiling as a Bull – could help free up some cap space (in conjunction with the amnesty of Boozer after 2012-13) in order to acquire a better player to pair with Derrick Rose. Whether there's a market for Deng is a huge question, as his wrist injury and big cap number (owed over $27 million the next two seasons) could squash any interest. But Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald (via HOOPSWORLD) reported over the weekend that the Bulls will likely entertain offers for Deng, and that they would be interested in obtaining a high draft pick in return. The Golden State Warriors (seventh pick), Toronto Raptors (eighth pick) and possibly even the Sacramento Kings (fifth pick) are teams that could be interested in Deng. But again, that wrist injury and big contract could dissuade them from making a deal.
- On a similar note, Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio reported that the Bulls are eyeing some lottery prospects, which of course would require some type of deal that would send out Deng or Joakim Noah. Amico specifically mentioned UConn's Jeremy Lamb, Duke's Austin Rivers and Syracuse's Dion Waiters as Bulls targets. If the Bulls were to move Deng in order to select one of these guys, they could potentially be getting that second scorer to go with Rose while saving a bunch of cash. And even if those players do not pan out as expected, the Bulls would still likely have money to spend on a free agent in 2013.
- Bulls reserve center Omer Asik is sure to attract a lot of attention as a restricted free agent this offseason, and some potential suitors are already coming to light. Several reports have linked the Cleveland Cavaliers (who have a good amount of cap space) to the Turkish big man, but Bulls.com's Sam Smith brought up a more intriguing name: The Boston Celtics. Smith says that the Celtics are "considering a strong offer" to Asik, with the idea being that it could help retain Kevin Garnett. Garnett's play at center was a big part of the Celtics' resurgence this season, but Smith claims that KG does not want to return as a center. Who knows how much of that is true, but there's no doubt that a Garnett/Asik tandem would be quite the defensive force down low.
- Besides the Celtics, Smith also brings up the Houston Rockets as a team that may want Asik. The Rockets have reportedly been interested before, and perhaps they would be again. However, Smith writes that the Bulls could instead shop Noah to the Rockets in order to get bet back a greater return. Some sign-and-trade possibilities mentioned include Kyle Lowry, Goran Dragic and Courtney Lee. I'd say this is quite the long shot and I'm not all that keen on trading Noah unless the Bulls get a big time player in return, but it would be smart to explore all options.
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