Chicago Bulls: Why Andrea Bargnani Could Be the Missing Piece to a Championship

Shehan JeyarajahCorrespondent IFebruary 8, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 09:  Andrea Bargnani #7 of the Toronto Raptors drives to the basket during a 102-83 Los Angeles Clipper win at Staples Center on December 9, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls have managed to stay above water in the Eastern Conference despite missing star point guard Derrick Rose for the entirety of the 2012-13 NBA season.

The Bulls stand at 29-20, tied for fourth in the conference. Because of this, there is a lot of talk surrounding the Bulls' championship chances.

According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Bulls are thinking about trading for Toronto Raptors forward Andrea Bargnani, swapping Carlos Boozer in the deal. 

Intangibly, this trade makes all the sense in the world for Chicago.

Boozer is due to make $32.1 million over the next two years, while Bargnani is set to make $23 million over that period. The salaries could match up for trade purposes if the Raptors were to include Linas Kleiza. 

Boozer is without a doubt an integral part of the Bulls lineup, averaging 15.7 points and 9.4 rebounds on 47.5 percent shooting. He has played at a very high level for Chicago in the absence of Rose.

Bargnani is averaging 15.9 points and 4.3 rebounds on 40.1 percent shooting. He has a tendency to resort to the long-range jumper, does not rebound well and does not play defense.

Despite that, I believe the Bulls would be better off with him.

Bargnani was taken with the first pick overall in 2006, and he hasn't lived up to that. On the Bulls, he could accentuate his strengths while covering up his flaws: defense and rebounding. 

Under Tom Thibodeau, Chicago is known for its grind-it-out-style of play, featuring tight defense and effective rebounding. 

While Boozer is a part of the rebounding, the Bulls also have Luol Deng, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah, who are all elite rebounders for their position. They are also top-tier defenders, which should minimize Bargnani's negative impact on the team. 

Bargnani's positives will add something to the team that Boozer does not.

Bargnani is a much taller player (7'0'' compared to 6'9''), which intrinsically causes mismatches, especially against a team like Miami. Having the ability to pick and pop, attack the basket and post up, he should be able to complement what Rose does better.

Bargnani wouldn't have to be one of the leaders of the Bulls, and he could be the fourth- or even fifth-best player. 

He has a much higher ceiling at this point in his career. Bargs could potentially be around for all of Rose's prime, while Boozer could be out of Chicago in the next few years.

If Bargnani can put it together next to Rose, then he could help catapult Chicago to a title run.