Maybe 7 years too late is still better than never, with the Chicago Bulls trying to find a deal that’ll give them a shot at acquiring LaMarcus Aldridge via trade, hoping to use Luol Deng, but probably having to give up more to satisfy the Portland Trail Blazers.
Rumors around the league suggest Aldridge doesn’t want to be part of the rebuilding process in Portland anymore, and finding himself playing for Chicago, the team that drafted him in 2006 but traded him for Tyrus Thomas, is something he’d love for to happen.
Some Bulls fans think the Thomas-Aldridge trade was a huge mistake. Yes, Aldridge has turned into an All-Star caliber player, averaging over 21 points and 8 rebounds in the last three seasons and one of the best power forwards in the NBA. Thomas spent three and a half seasons in Chicago, and averaged 4.8 points per game last season for the Bobcats.
Yet without that pick, the Bulls probably wouldn’t have been so bad that they would need a lottery pick, turning out to be Derrick Rose in 2008. That’s it for Nostalgia.
Aldridge has two years remaining on his current deal: $14.6 million for next season, $15.7 million for the 2014-2015 season. The Bulls have Luol Deng making that kind of money next season ($14.28 million), but it’s unlikely that the Blazers will take only him, considering they already have a younger player at that position, Nicolas Batum.
So how does this deal gets done? The Bulls are going to try and push hard in the hours leading up to the draft to make this happen, possibly using a draft pick along with Deng to make it happen. The Blazers do not want to trade Aldridge, but there are those who suggest that he is trying to push his way out of the team.
Portland want Joakim Noah (making $11.1 million next season), but the Bulls won’t hear it. However, when you start to think about the offensive potential of LaMarcus Aldridge and Derrick Rose playing together, not to mention possibly finally having an out to amnesty Carlos Boozer, making this trade in one way or another makes sense.
The Bulls have other pieces they might be willing to trade – Taj Gibson (making $7.5 million next season) or the option on Nikola Mirotic, who is still playing his basketball in Europe. Yet at the moment, without including Noah in any kind of deal, which might also become a three-way trade, the Blazers aren’t taking the bait.
Getting Aldridge will mean the Bulls can avoid the big free agency splash everyone keeps mentioning in 2014, giving Rose a star to play off of, responding to the theory suggesting that the Bulls need someone who can hold his own offensively next to Rose in order to win the NBA title. Yet at the moment, the pieces needed to acquire such a player seem a bit too much for the Bulls, who don’t want to see Joakim Noah, one of the best defensive centers in the NBA, leave just yet.