The offseason may be young, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is already coming in hot with some pretty spicy news, which immediately got me thinking about the Bulls’ longer-term plans – or at least, what those plans should look like.
Check it out:
Sources: In calls to front offices, Houston GM Daryl Morey is showing an aggressive desire to improve roster with all players and picks available in talks. Hard to imagine James Harden scenario, but the rest under contract – perhaps even Chris Paul – could be moved in right deal.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 29, 2019
In a story posted shortly following this tweet, Woj explained how Chris Paul and others on the roster could be made available if the price is right. And while the likelihood of the team moving James Harden is probably right around 0.01%, it’s interesting to note that Woj specifically pointed out Paul’s position on the trade block – especially as the Bulls continue their search for a point guard.
Obviously, it’s not difficult to connect Paul (or any available point guard at the moment) to the Bulls, who have a desperate need at the position, at the moment. But you can’t let desperation drive these sort of decisions – not in the middle of a rebuild, when every choice is critical. Paul may well be a nine-time All-Star and eight-time All-NBA performer, but he is also 34 years old, past his prime, and playing on a massive contract that will pay out more than $124 million over the next three seasons. Between his age and contract, a team like the Bulls should be staying far away from any Paul-related trade offer.
So, now I’m shouting this at you: None of that fits what the Bulls should be looking to get right now.
In fact, it’s hard to imagine almost any team going after Paul via trade right now – unless Rockets GM Daryl Morey includes some SERIOUS incentives. But that doesn’t mean the Bulls need to avoid spending money altogether.
In fact, the Bulls probably should look to sign a veteran point guard to help steward their young team into the future, but whomever they choose cannot/should not be looked at as the immediate answer to the Bulls problems. Instead, they need something closer to a bridge guy – someone, ideally an affordable veteran, who can help carry the young Bulls from the middle of this rebuild before dropping them off safely – and better for it – at the end.
And while Paul appears to fit that mold in one sense or another, he falls short in so many others. On top of the more obvious imperfections (re: age and necessary financial investment), Paul has been reported to bring negative energy to each of his last two teams. With a load of young talent sitting on the Bulls roster, the team needs a veteran player that relieves tension, not one that potentially adds to it.
I know it’s easier said than done, but we need to be on the same page, here: The Bulls should be looking for players to buy time for the young core to grow together on the court, while other, younger players are added to the roster through the draft, free agency, and/or trade.
Indeed, this is precisely why the conversation of the Bulls going after Mike Conley has cooled off. Unlike Paul, there’s nothing out there about Conley being a troublesome teammate and he’s got just two years left on his contract, but his age (32) and salary ($67M over the next two years) is, again, exactly what the Bulls need to avoid. Both players represent the sort of short-term, problem-solving solutions that come at the expense of the longer-term plans … which, yeah, no thanks.
So, I guess, if you take anything from this post, let it be this: Every single decision the Bulls make right now needs to be made with the long-term picture in mind. There is just not much use in papering over existing mistakes while attempting to be just better than mediocre for the next 2-3 seasons, when you can plan for the future and create something long-lasting.
That doesn’t mean avoiding free agency or trades altogether, of course. And, hey, if you’re looking for potential free agent point guards that would actually fit the Bulls right now, we got you covered right here.
Michael Cerami and Luis Medina contributed to this post.