The Chicago Bulls are one of the favorites to win the 2012 NBA title, but that has not prevented rumors from circulating that the club may deal for one of two high-profile players.
Dwight Howard has been linked with several teams, and the Bulls remain one of them. Though Derrick Rose has stated that he would love to play with Howard, the MVP guard also said he likes the team the way it is now.
According to ESPN, a deal that might be on the table is Howard, along with the bloated contract of Hedo Turkoglu, and Ryan Anderson for Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Jimmy Butler, as well as draft picks and cash considerations.
From Orlando's perspective, they would be dumping salary by unloading Turkoglu to possibly land a free agent in the off-season while strengthening their front court, and adding youth.
Chicago would have a superstar next to Rose, and still have Boozer to help out, but the Bulls would probably be paralyzed by the salary cap for quite sometime, and would surrender a great deal of depth in the process.
This trade has a chance, because the Magic don't seem to want to trade with the Lakers, which have the best trade bait available in Andrew Bynum, and aren't too keen on Brook Lopez, who is coming off a foot injury and isn't in the same class as Howard. The Magic probably need to move Howard, but their choices are limited.
Another deal that the Bulls could look into is a swap with Golden State involving Deng and Monta Ellis. Over the past three years, Ellis has proven to be an elite scorer. This season, the shooting guard has averaged 22.4 points per game, which is down from the last two seasons, but is still very good for a rather under-sized shooter.
Deng has never averaged 20 or more points per game, but has been a valuable part of the Bulls organization since being traded to Chicago on Draft day in 2004.
At 6'9, Deng offers length in the front court for a team that is rather under-sized at center. It may not make much sense for a defensive-minded squad like Chicago to find another scorer at the expense of letting go of one of their better defensive players.
However, a deal for Ellis might be a key move for the Bulls to get past the Heat in the playoffs. Miami is perhaps the hungriest team in the NBA, and Chicago may need to mix up their offense a bit to get to the Finals.
The trade deadline is Mar. 15, so there might be plenty more possible moves for Chicago and other aspiring NBA teams in the coming weeks.