Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls are going to get better. The question is if that is enough to overcome the only real obstacle in their way in the Miami Heat.
Because contrary to the belief of some, Miami will also get better.
It took them a while to mesh, but once they did, the Heat were too much for the Bulls to overcome.
Does anyone actually think they’re not going to be more cohesive their second year together? Isn’t Miami an attractive destination, with no state income tax, the sights in South Beach and the possibility of winning a ring?
There could be some veterans willing to give the Heat a discount, just for those reasons.
Miami was also without Udonis Haslem for most of the season. That hurt them more than most observers realized, thinking the Heat were just a three-man team.
Chicago needs to focus on doing whatever is necessary to beat Miami in the playoffs. The season is insignificant, as last year proved.
Despite having home-court advantage, the Bulls still succumbed to the Heat 4-1, and if they don’t make the right moves, that’s going to become a recurring nightmare.
They can’t just rely on Derrick Rose getting better, even though he will. Carlos Boozer will hopefully avoid tripping over something in his house, and earn his money this year. Luol Deng will be Luol Deng, and Joakim Noah will still be one of the best centers in the league not named Dwight Howard.
But is that enough to beat the Heat? Not in my mind.
That’s why I’m suggesting a fool-proof plan to guarantee the Heat sulking for another long summer, while “We Are the Champions” once again blares from the speakers at the United Center.
The first step is getting a shooting guard to replace Keith Bogans. Jason Richardson is the likeliest candidate, and would be my choice. They could probably get him for the mid-level exception, but for anyone who thinks that will be enough, I’m not buying it.
Next, convince Caron Butler to come on board for the veteran minimum and the chance to get measured for some jewelry. He’s been working out in Chicago and has said that he hopes he doesn’t have to leave.
If money doesn’t matter and it shouldn’t, since he has earned over $53 million in his career, he gives the Bulls an excellent backup to Luol Deng at the small forward position. For those thinking he’s the answer at shooting guard, you’re asking the wrong question.
Now you’re ready to beat Miami, right? Wrong!
If both Butler and Richardson come to Chicago, the team is a more worthy opponent for Miami, but that still might not be enough to beat them four times in the playoffs, because Miami will be better and adding players too.
With my suggestion, it doesn’t matter what Miami does.
Whoever the Bulls end up with now will be the team they start the season with, but they can change things dramatically at the trade deadline.
Butler is the key piece to make this happen. Having him frees you to trade Deng along with Noah to the Orlando Magic for Dwight Howard.
Why does Orlando make this move? Because it’s the best deal they can get for Howard before he likely leaves for nothing next year.
What puts this trade over the top of what anybody else can offer is the Bulls owning the rights to Charlotte’s first round pick. In 2016, that pick no longer has any restrictions and could end up being the top pick in the draft.
In 2014, the pick is top-10 protected, and top-eight protected in 2015, so it’s still attractive even then.
Looking at the Bobcats’ current roster, this could be the worst team in the league right now. Unless they get a transcendent player in the next year or two, the 2016 pick is looking real good.
Isn’t Noah, Deng and that pick better than anyone else can offer?
Would you rather have Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom from the Lakers, along with their first round picks? Those are realistically second-round picks, because they will be near the top of the league every year record-wise with Howard.
New Jersey is supposedly another suitor, but is Brook Lopez and a couple of first round picks that attractive in return with Howard making the picks nothing special?
The LA Clippers have also been mentioned as a possible destination, but what do they have to offer? Blake Griffin won’t be traded, and I don’t see them trading Eric Gordan either.
So does Chris Kaman, Eric Bledsoe and the pick they have from the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2005 Sam Cassell trade super-cede the Bulls’ possible offer? That pick could also be a possible top pick, but the rest of the package doesn’t compare to Chicago’s.
That again shows the value of the pick the Bulls can offer via Charlotte, because good things come to those who wait, and that pick is a very valuable trade commodity. Minnesota was bad when they made that trade and proceeded to get worse.
Deng and Noah are only 26 years old, so they still have plenty of upside. That pick is the cherry on top of the best offer Orlando can possibly hope for before losing Howard for nothing.
A starting lineup of Howard at center, Carlos Boozer at PF, Butler at SF, Richardson at SG and the indomitable Derrick Rose at the point puts Chicago over the top.
Two of the best players in the league and scorers at every position make the Bulls a very scary proposition for anyone facing them in the playoffs; even LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and the rest of their crew.
Not only will they never accomplish their dream of a possible seven-peat, but they might not even win one if they have to go up against that Bulls team every year.
The Bulls will become another dynasty if they pull off the moves outlined here. The only question is if they have the foresight to do it.
Does anyone disagree?