More light is slowly being shed on the situation with LaMarcus Aldridge and the Portland Trail Blazers, as it seems his agency is trying to push for a trade to the Chicago Bulls, who won’t be giving up on Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler.
According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, Aldridge’s agents (Wasserman Media Group) who also represent Derrick Rose are trying to make a push for the deal to be made, and that started the whole rumor of Aldridge asking to be traded.
Aldridge himself has already clarified he isn’t looking to leave the Blazers, and what Portland apparently asked for him: Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler, isn’t something the Bulls are willing to give up.
What the Bulls were willing to give up? Luol Deng, probably. The salaries match, and it seems that it’s getting clearer and clearer that with Jimmy Butler on the rise, there is no longer need for Deng in Chicago, especially with the $14.3 million he’s due to make next year. Butler is pretty much the same player, just on a much lower salary and less wear & tear on his body, which is a significant factor considering the games Deng missed last season.
The Blazers have no need for Deng, as they are already playing an eight-figure salary to a younger and potentially better small forward, Nicolas Batum. If Batum’s graph continues to rise, he should be producing at the same level Deng is by next season.
What about Noah and Butler? The Blazers wouldn’t mind adding one of the best rebounders and defensive centers in the NBA, but taking a power forward whose main attribute is creating points while giving away two excellent defensive players goes against everything they’ve been trying to do for the last three years.
The Bulls are about defense, first and foremost, plus Derrick Rose adding the offensive spark. Carlos Boozer might be overpaid at the $32.1 million left on his deal, but he can still put up points (16.2 per game last season), but the Bulls don’t need Aldridge that badly, especially considering what they’d be giving up, which would create a huge hole in the paint they wouldn’t be able to fill, plus compromising their future as they would give up Butler.
While Aldridge wouldn’t mind joining the Bulls, each piece in this deal works only for one side and not the other, which makes the prospect of seeing Aldridge playing in Chicago in the near future quite unlikely.