Here we are in the NBA off-season (and it looks like it's going to be a long one), creating our own trade rumors as if the lockout is nothing but a scary nightmare. First it was Dwight for LeBron (this one seems laughable to me. No way LeBron lets that happen), and that was followed by a Joe Johnson-to-the-Bulls trade that could work.
Yes, the Bulls desperately need a two-guard. Keith "Brogans" Bogans couldn't fill the void last year (Ronnie Brewer is a dark horse for that starting two spot), but is Joe Johnson really the answer?
The Miami Heat exposed the Bulls offense in the Eastern Conference Finals, and forced Derrick Rose to take bad shot after bad shot since no one else on offense was knocking down any down. It became evident that the MVP needed another player to help take the pressure off of him.
Let's take a look at the pros and cons of trading for Joe Johnson.
- Clearly an upgrade in every phase of the game, except possibly defense, over the Bull's shooting guards.
- Provides still much-needed three-point shooting. And when he catches fire, it's beautiful to watch. Keith Bogans became more consistent shooting the ball in the second half of the season, but he isn't an elite threat like Johnson is.
- Can create his own shot whenever he wants, and after the Miami Heat series, the Bulls would welcome that with open arms.
- He's quiet. The Bulls have Joakim and Boozer who scream every chance they get. Johnson is a good fit to balance out the energy on the floor and in the locker room. Also, he's a veteran presence.
- His contract. The Atlanta Hawks signed him to the max contract, and even though the Bulls can make it work with the right trade, Johnson may be in the last year of his prime (if that already hasn't passed). Paxson made a mistake signing Ben Wallace long-term; is he willing to do take a chance with Johnson?
- The ball stops at Joe. He isn't trying to be the vocal leader, but that doesn't mean he won't take his shots on offense. He seems too content to hold the ball for 20 seconds then throw up a wild shot.
- What do the Bulls have to give up? Taj Gibson? Luol Deng? Omer Asik? Say goodbye to our defense and make way for Joe? That doesn't seem like a good idea.
- Will he be okay with going from being "the man" to playing second fiddle to Derrick Rose? He sure better be, because if anyone is going to jack up 30 shots, it's going to be Rose. And if the game comes down to a final play, know who's getting the ball? Not Joe Johnson.
It's a tough call. The Bulls need a shooting guard who has some sort of swagger on offense. Ronnie Brewer has that swagger on defense, but he's best at coming off the bench for Chicago.
I was all for signing Joe Johnson last offseason during free agency because we didn't have to give anyone up. Now I'm skeptical as to how much the Bulls would have to give up to get their man in Joe Johnson. If, like I said earlier, it's Taj, Luol and Asik, although the names aren't as big, Chicago might end up losing more than they gain.
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