NBA Rumors: How The Chicago Bulls Can Upgrade At Small Forward


NBA Rumors: As Pau Gasol ages, the Chicago Bulls’ window to win a championship closes. Will they make a move to upgrade at small forward?

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With a new head coach and high expectations (as always), the Chicago Bulls will be a team to keep an eye on this season. As Pau Gasol and others continue to age, Chicago’s championship window is slowly closing, if it hasn’t already. To help the Bulls win a title before that window closes, they may look to upgrade at small forward.

Small forward is Chicago’s weakest position, with Mike Dunleavy starting and sophomore Doug McDermott backing him up. Both could be considered sharpshooters – Dunleavy the vet, and McDermott the young gun. Most teams would be happy with this rotation, but the Bulls – who haven’t won a title since the Michael Jordan era – need an upgrade if they hope to win now.

Two guys who have been talked about as possible trade options are Kings’ Rudy Gay and Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony.

It is only talk, hard to even classify it as a rumor, but the possible interest shows Chicago may want to bolster that starting unit at some point in the season.

Gay to Chicago, Gibson and McBuckets to Sacramento

Both the Kings and Knicks would have good reason to listen to what the Bulls have to say. Gay signed a three-year extension – which kicks in this season – that Sacramento felt comfortable with due to their early season success under Mike Malone. Then, DeMarcus Cousins got sick, Malone got fired and it all went downhill from there.

Veteran leadership is always necessary when building a young core, but Gay is worth more as a trade piece than a player for the Kings. Especially if Chicago offered up a package of something like Taj Gibson, who has become expendable with the drafting of Bobby Portis, and McDermott. A pick may also need to be paired with Gay, and the Bulls would need to dump a small contract on another team to make the money work.

It is only talk, hard to even classify it as a rumor, but the possible interest shows Chicago may want to bolster that starting unit at some point in the season

This would be a fair deal for both sides. Gay has been rather good in Sac-town, and he would produce much more than Dunleavy is expected to. And assuming Dunleavy is kept during this process, having him come off the bench would bring nice depth to Chicago’s rotation. The Kings would add two more good, young pieces to a core that has been under construction for years now.

Gibson is under contract for two more years (Gay is too if he declines his third year player option) and would join rookie Willie Cauley-Stein and Quincy Acy at power forward. McDermott would join veterans Caron Butler and Omri Casspi. Both new additions would probably have the chance to start, an opportunity that they wouldn’t have had without the move.

Melo to Chicago, Gibson, McBuckets and Noah(?) to New York

New York would also probably look into this opportunity, not as much to add certain pieces, but to dump aging, expensive superstar Carmelo Anthony.

Anthony passed up on Chicago last summer to remain in New York for a much larger paycheck. Now, just a year later, both sides may be regretting the deal.

Melo tried to get both money and success with the Knicks, but that wasn’t realistic. He would’ve had a still rather nice contract with the Bulls and a much better shot at a ring, and instead is a rich man on a poor team as far as talent goes.

The Knicks had a nice offseason, but they still are far from being taken very seriously.

With the drafting of Kristaps Porzingis, New York shows to be in a rebuild while they should be looking to win now with Anthony. Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo and depth guys like Jerian Grant (rookie), Kevin Seraphin, Derrick Williams and Kyle O’Quinn will make the Knicks tougher to beat. A playoff team? Probably not. Even if they are, they’re a first round exit, and that’s not good enough for Melo. At this point in his career, he needs to win now.

And Chicago is the place to do that. With Anthony’s huge contract, the Chicago Bulls will probably have to sacrifice some of their bench to make a trade possible. Gibson and McDermott would be involved, and maybe even Joakim Noah. While Gasol won’t be around much longer, he has neutralized Noah in the offense and could take his place at center. That deal would work money wise, although New York would be taking back a little more money than they would be sending out with just Anthony, and might have to include a couple non-guaranteed contracts.

Trading both Gibson and Noah – and moving Gasol to center – would actually clear up a problem at power forward: too much depth. That would allow rookie Bobby Portis and sophomore Nikola Mirotic to play much more than they would with the current roster. Portis would probably start due to his all-around soundness even though he is just a rookie. He does a lot of what Gibson does, part of the reason they are looking to trade him.

A Portis and Mirotic power forward rotation doesn’t scream championship, but anything they have trouble providing would be covered up by their excellent frontcourt partners in Anthony and Gasol.

The bench would be lacking, but who cares with that starting lineup? Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Anthony, Portis/Mirotic, Gasol. Looks like a championship contender to me.

These are just rumors and talk right now, but they could become more serious as the season starts. If Chicago does look to improve at small forward – Gay, Anthony, or whomever they acquire – could really help make a Bulls-Cavs playoff series that much more tight and entertaining. And maybe the Bulls will finally overcome LeBron James in the playoffs, something they’ve failed to do in four of the last six years.

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