Many thought the idea of trading All-Star small forward Luol Deng was just hot air from the Chicago Bulls. Recent rumors say otherwise. Which teams might grant Chicago its wish for a lottery draft pick?
Golden State Warriors have Deng on their list of veteran players
One team that has stayed linked with Chicago in trade ideas is the Golden State Warriors. For years the franchise has worked to climb out of the Western Conference cellar to compete with teams like the Lakers and Mavericks. With a solid roster in place, they now have the number 7 overall pick in the upcoming draft. Common sense says they should use it on a player in what many consider a very deep group coming out of college. On the other hand, such a pick can prove very valuable to teams willing to trade up. It would give Golden State a player they want and still allow them a pick in the first round. That's why connections with Chicago stay hot. The Bulls made it clear weeks ago they have interest in trading up for a chance to draft North Carolina star Harrison Barnes. Their offer is All-Star Luol Deng and their number 29 pick in the first round. One major roadblock is his injured wrist. Any team that takes Deng risks losing him for the first half of next season if he gets surgery. On the other hand, once healed the Warriors would have a premier defender and three-point shooter along with whatever talent they draft.
Bulls already had designs on pairing Derrick Rose and Nikola Mirotic
Rumors like Golden State are still a shock to many Chicago Bulls fans. They thought Deng was a key piece to the championship puzzle. However, experts were quick to point out the team has had a plan all along to form their title hopes around point guard Derrick Rose and European star Nikola Mirotic who is due to come over in 2015. By that time Deng will turn 30 and on the tail end of his career. Trading him while his value is high means the Bulls can stay young and get more athletic at the same time. Rose will likely miss most of the 2013 season because of a torn ACL, so no one would fault Chicago for preparing ahead of time to make a run later. That's why interest from teams like Golden State or the Sacramento Kings are so important. If everything goes to plan and Chicago trades Deng and gets Harrison Barnes, they will have a talent-packed roster waiting for when Rose returns.
For all the Steve Nash and Dwight Howard hoopla, building through the draft is how Chicago will get past the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder. Luol Deng has done great things for the team, but trading him may become part of the bigger picture. If the Golden State Warriors get active, then it's time for fans to await the Derrick Rose and Nikola Mirotic union.