What's a step below limping?
Whatever the word might be, it describes the motion of an injured Chicago Bulls team heading into the All-Star break having lost 4 of their last 5 games, falling to the no. 5 seed in the East.
Factor in the recent development that Derrick Rose may not return this season and what we've got in Chicago is a predicament.
For an organization that was already aggressively shopping the ball-and-chain contract of Carlos Boozer, word is Gar/Pax may be stepping up their efforts in the wake of the news.
ESPN Insider's Chad Ford recently introduced the possibility that Charlotte Bobcats Ben Gordon could return to the BullsÂ—who originally drafted him in 2004Â—as part of a three-team trade that would send Boozer to the Brooklyn Nets and Kris Humphries to the Bobcats.
So is there some substance here?
Let's break down Ford's proposed trade from each team's vantage point.
The positive from the Bulls perspective:
The trade appeals to Chicago because it would help the Bulls out from under Boozer's contract, allowing future salary cap relief while filling a need with the 29-year-old Gordon.
It's been well-documented but bears repeating, the Bulls desperately lack outside shooting.
Say what you will about BG's surly attitude, lackluster defense or the fact that he's undersized at six-foot-three, but the man shoots the lights out, plain and simple.
On the season, Gordon's averaging 40.9% from beyond the arc, better than JJ Redick and just a shade under the great Ray Allen.
[Read all the details on a potential Bulls-Redick trade here.]
In his career, Gordon has been remarkably consistent; averaging 40.6% from 3. Throw out the outlier '09-'10 season, his first in Detroit when BG shot just 32%, and Gordon's career average rises to a sparkling 41.4%.
Allen's career average? 40.1%. Just for some perspective.
At the time Gordon left the Bulls for the Pistons, he and Rose were developing a scary one-two punch. Detroit overpaid the now nine-year pro at the time, but what's remaining on his contract would be a bargain in a swap for Boozer's today. A direct Boozer-Gordon-Humphries deal would conceivably save the Bulls $2.6 million (pro-rated) this season, $2.1 million in '13-'14 and all of Boozer's $16.8 million in '14-'15 when Gordon would become a free agent.
The potential deal, while filling a need, would push an already thin frontline to wet-kleenex levels of thinness. Even though Taj Gibson has shown he's capable in big minutesÂ—averaging 16.0 points, 11.8 rebounds and 43.2 minutes in five games as a starterÂ—the Bulls would be forced to play small. Coach Tom Thibodeau already relies heavily on his banged up All-Star center Joakim Noah, who is suffering from a plantar fasciitis injury that has cost him extended time in the past.
The positive from the Bobcats perspective:
Y! Sports reported that the increasingly disgruntled Gordon was involved in a "bout of disruptive behavior targeted at coach Mike Dunlap."
As a result, the 'Cats have reportedly ramped up their efforts to ship BG out-of-town. Humphries, 28, is a bit undersized at six-foot-nine but is a good rebounder, capable scorer and can hold his own on defense. Under contract for this season and next at $12 million per, Humphries' contract would virtually be a wash with Gordon's, who is set to make $12.4 million and $13.2 million in the next two years respectively. In fact, the proposed deal would put $1.6 million back in team owner Michael Jordan's pocket.
Don't see a negative here. The team isn't going anywhere this season with or without Gordon. In the end the Bobcats get rid of a player they've deemed a bad apple, save a little cash, and all for a nice player in Humphries that figures to help out on the interior this season and next. Win-win.
The positive from a Nets perspective:
As for the Nets, the deal makes sense in theory from a basketball standpoint because it would reunite Boozer and point guard Deron Williams in hopes that the once potent tandem could recapture their Utah Jazz semi-glory days. Add Boozer to the pieces already in place; Brooke Lopez, Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace, and P.J Carlisemo's team would appear to have all the horses for a long playoff ride.
Even Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and his notoriously canyon-deep pockets likely wouldn't be able to stomach the heavy future tax ramifications of committing over $85.5 million to just five players. Taking on Boozer would give him even less financial flexibility over the next three years.
Well, it depends on whether Prokhrov will live up to his anything goes reputation. If the Russian owner thinks Boozer makes the Nets a championship contender, he makes the deal. However unlikely, the Nets might consider a trade formatted this way:
Bulls get: SG Gordon, (from Bobcats)
Nets get: PF Boozer, SF Vladamir Radmanovic, 2nd round pick (from Bulls)
Bobcats get: PF Humphries, SF Mirza Teletovic (from Nets)
Swapping Mirza TeletovicÂ—who recently air-balled three shots in a row for what it's worthÂ—for Vladimir Radmaonvic, would give the Nets around $2 million in savings each of the next three seasons. Sweeten the deal with a Bulls second round draft choice and you may have yourself an agreement.
The Chicago Tribune's K.C Johnson reported that as of two weeks ago, the Raptors have been informed by Chicago that the proposed Boozer and Nate Robinson deal for Andrea Bargnani and John Lucas III was available whenever they wanted it.
[Read all the details on a potential Boozer-Bargnani swap here.]
The NBA trade deadline is February 21st.
Adam Jun covers the Chicago Bulls for Skyword, Inc. a search-driven media website