Poetry often offers parallels with real life. In the case of the Chicago Bulls, Robert Frost offers a key insight. “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”
There are two distinct roads that the Bulls, mired in mediocrity at this point in the season, can travel; clean house and rebuild, or bite the bullet and leverage the future to win now by making a move. For Gar Foreman, John Paxson and the Bulls, the latter is clearly the less traveled path, and right now, I believe this to be the path the Bulls need to take.
Too many times as a Bulls fan, has false hope of a blockbuster deal been provided to fans, whether it be Kobe Bryant or Kevin Love. These deals have consistently been squandered by GarPax’s unwillingness to risk letting go of draft picks and young talent for an individual player. This mindset needs to end now.
Since Michael Jordan left town, the Bulls haven’t reached the finals a single time, so it is clear something must change. The current Bulls team is wasting the prime of one of the NBA’s rising stars in Jimmy Butler. But people forget Butler is already 27, and if his prowess is to be taken advantage of, the team needs to make a move.
I know it seems obvious and has been talked about for years, but DeMarcus Cousins could be the solution to much of the issues that this Bulls team has.
Amidst all of the Jimmy Butler trade talks, I believe the Bulls would be remiss to let go of such a unique and prodigal talent. Rather they should improve on what we already have, because as the first month or so of the season proved, there is something here that could work. In my opinion, to the contrary of the belief that our back-court needs to be improved, I see a lot of potential for improvement in the front-court.
Don’t get me wrong, Robin Lopez is a nice center. He grabs rebounds, defends with energy, and has a soft touch in the paint, yet he lacks the passing vision that Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol were able to use with such effectiveness, and he doesn’t have much of a jump shot.
Cousins on the other hand has actually developed quite a consistent 3-point shot, something the Bulls are clearly lacking. He also provides everything Lopez, Noah, and Gasol have had, but to a more effective, and superior extent. Boogie is one of the most effective players in the NBA, yet his talent is being wasted much like Butler’s. He’s an absolute monster in the paint, offensively and defensively, and has court vision that you very rarely see in big men.
The question that remains is how the Bulls front-office could acquire such a star. I believe with a package of 2 or 3 draft picks, and a few promising young players, the Bulls could offer an enticing enough package for the Kings to seriously consider pulling the trigger.
A package consisting of Gibson, Mirotic and Valentine along with a couple of first round picks would excel the Kings’ rebuild while providing them with potential key contributors. This is a very similar deal to the deal that sent Carmelo Anthony from the Nuggets to the Knicks.
While trading young talent may seem counter intuitive in terms of what Foreman and Paxson have set out to do, the Bulls are still getting Cousins, and change. Cousins is a 26-year-old mega-star who would change the direction that the franchise is heading in.
Maybe I’m naive in thinking that the Bulls’ management would be so bold to attempt to make such a move, as the aforementioned history has shown they are not inclined to do so. Maybe Cousins isn’t the answer.
But, just maybe, if GarPax and the Bulls take a step back and look at where they’re heading right now, they’ll realize that it’s the beaten path the franchise has always taken, one that has always lead to mediocrity. Taking a risk and leveraging the future might just be the thing that could push the Bulls towards greatness.