The Chicago Bulls will look to improve their club in the 2013 NBA Draft, but it doesn’t appear that they will trade for one of the top picks on Thursday. Despite rumors that stated the team was talking to the Washington Wizards about acquiring the No.3 selection, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports that a deal won’t happen.
On Monday, multiple reports stated the two clubs discussed a trade that would send Emeka Okafor and the Wizard’s first-round pick in the draft to Chicago in exchange for Luol Deng. According to The Washington Post, the Bulls measured the trade value of their forward by holding “exploratory discussions” with the Wizards.
Chicago has considered trading Deng because of his contract situation. He’s owed $14.3 million this season and will become a free agent in 2014. Since the team devotes a large portion of their payroll to Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer, they might not give Deng the offer that he is looking for. With a potential trade off the table, however, Yahoo! Sports is reporting that the two sides are having discussions about a contract extension.
Even if the two can’t come to an agreement, the Bulls will likely hold onto Deng so they can make a run at the title in 2014. With Derrick Rose set to return at the start of next season, the Bulls are the favorite in the East to unseat the defending champion Miami Heat. Without Rose, Chicago was competitive against Miami. Assuming he’s healthy next season, the Bulls have a chance to thwart the Heat’s attempt at a three-peat.
If the Bulls stand pat by the time the draft gets underway on Thursday, they will have the No.20 pick in the first round. Multiple mock drafts have projected the organization will select Tim Hardaway Jr. at that spot. The guard could help improve a backcourt that needs to be revamped this offseason. The Bulls are expected to be without both Nate Robinson and Richard Hamilton next season.
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Hardaway could be a solid addition to play alongside Rose. He averaged 14.5 points per game in his final season at Michigan and his ability to hit spot-up jumpers might make him a good pairing with the former MVP.
If the Bulls decide to go big in the first-round, Mason Plumlee might be their best option. The former Duke star could be a good backup to Noah. He enters the league with a lot of experience and shot just under 60 percent from the field in 2012-2013.
The Bulls also hold the No.49 overall pick in the second round. It is unlikely to find an impact player at that spot.