Grading Chicago Bulls' Trade Deadline Performance

Haddon AndersonAnalyst IFebruary 22, 2013

Should the Bulls have more actively shopped Carlos Boozer?
Should the Bulls have more actively shopped Carlos Boozer?Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 trade deadline was rather lifeless, and the Chicago Bulls' inactivity contributed to the lifelessness.

However, despite their inactivity, should the Bulls still receive a positive grade for their trade deadline performance?

The answer to that question is yes, because there weren't any major or minor moves that beckoned the Bulls to pull the trigger. Sometimes the best move is no move at all. Because of this, the Bulls earn a B on their trade deadline report card.

There were potential trade rumblings for the Bulls' consideration. The Carlos Boozer for Andrea Bargnani speculation never gained much footing after creating a buzz a couple weeks ago. There were reports that the Bulls desired this, but the Toronto Raptors never bit on the offer.

Despite the Bulls' enticement with this blockbuster, it's for their best that it didn't work out, for numerous reasons. The main reason is that Bargnani doesn't get Chicago any closer to a championship than Boozer.

Plus, according to ESPN's Nick Friedell, while Bargnani's contract is less pricey compared to Boozer's, acquiring him actually wouldn't create long-term flexibility like one might think.

The pros to this deal definitely didn't outweigh the cons, and it benefits the Bulls that Toronto declined.

Another potential deal featured the Bulls adding J.J. Redick, who ended up landing with the rival Milwaukee Bucks after being dealt by the Orlando Magic.

ESPN Insider Amin Elhassan highlighted an intriguing deal between the Bulls and Magic that would have featured Redick and a second round pick (top-45 protected) coming to Chicago and Richard Hamilton, Marquis Teague, Vladimir Radmanovic, a future first-round pick and cash considerations heading to Orlando.

At first glance, this offer has logic to it for both squads. Chicago inherits the three-point threat they've been craving, and Orlando nabs some quality pieces for the future in Teague and a first-round pick.

However, the kicker is the fact that Redick will be a free agent this summer and is reportedly looking for a four-year, $40 million deal.

The Bulls lack the flexibility to add a contract like that this summer, which would therefore essentially make Redick a rental for the remainder of the season. There's simply no way for Chicago to justify giving up stellar young components for a rental player who likely wouldn't be the final piece to the championship puzzle.

With this in view, it was a success that this deal didn't occur.

Another relative success, from a basketball standpoint, was their decision to hang onto Hamilton, rather than trade him for virtually nothing in an effort to avoid the luxury tax.

A trade involving him would've been logical if it at least contained something of worth in return, but nothing of significance surfaced. This could be a good thing, because Hamilton's playoff experience and ability to utilize screens could be beneficial in Chicago's stretch run.

The chief downside to Chicago's inactive trade deadline is the fact that they didn't add a big man to their depth chart. This is what prevents their grade from reaching an A.

Currently, the Bulls are thin in the frontcourt after Joakim Noah, Boozer and Taj Gibson. Nazr Mohammed has been an inadequate replacement for Omer Asik, and the Bulls will now be hard-pressed to find steady production amongst their big men if one of Noah, Boozer or Gibson suffers an injury.

A minor trade for a serviceable backup center would've been a prudent move, but apparently nothing reasonable was available or Bulls management is content to enter the playoffs thin across their front line.

At any rate, this lack of a move will likely be a non-issue if the Bulls remain healthy and avoid foul trouble. But, that is obviously no guarantee. An untimely injury or foul trouble in critical games could place Chicago in an unwanted position.

A lesser downside is that the Bulls will now pay the luxury tax since they didn't shed salary. Getting under the luxury tax threshold would've saved them a year on the repeater tax rolls. While exceeding the luxury tax is clearly inconvenient, it isn't catastrophic in regards to this season or the future.

Overall, Chicago's main second half maneuver will hopefully be the return of Derrick Rose, who has taken the next step in his rehab and apparently looked "really good" at a recent practice. He's quite the player to throw in the mix around the trade deadline, and his return could enable Chicago to peak at just the right time.

With the excitement of Rose's return building, Bulls fans shouldn't feel any displeasure in regards to Chicago's inaction at the deadline. There were no rational deals that would net Chicago a true superstar to pair next to Rose, nor were there any minor deals that were decidedly convincing. 

As a result, the Bulls' decision to stand pat at the trade deadline is acceptable. They already possess one of the league's top defenses and they are likely to soon regain the league's 2011 Most Valuable Player. This should be enough to situate Chicago as a true contender come May and June.