The NBA trade deadline has come and gone, and the Chicago Bulls’ roster looks just the way it did a week ago. Although the team’s inaction has provoked its share of grumbling (including some from Derrick Rose’s brother), Chicago will reap the benefits of its patience down the road.
In the first place, making a move for the sake of making a move would hardly have changed the outcome of the Bulls’ 2012-13 season. Chicago is already safely in the playoff picture at 31-23, and whether or not Derrick Rose returns, the Bulls will not be ready to dethrone the Heat in this year’s postseason.
Nothing the Bulls could realistically have done this week would have altered either of those situations.
Looking at the longer-term picture, the primary incentive for Chicago to make a deal was to cut salary to get under the luxury tax threshold. Smart though that option would’ve been from a financial perspective, it’s hardly a big enough gain to justify trading a useful contributor at a loss.
Richard Hamilton was the name most often mentioned as a potential salary dump, but Hamilton is under contract for next season at the not-exorbitant price of $5 million. By holding onto the playoff veteran, the Bulls keep their options open, allowing them to deal his expiring contract next year (when he’ll bring a far better return) or keep him around for another postseason push.
When it comes to potential additions, the Bulls were heavily rumored to be in the mix for the biggest name who did move at this year’s deadline: Orlando sniper J.J. Redick, now a Milwaukee Buck. Much as Chicago could use a scorer of Redick’s talents, though, his atrocious defense would’ve made him an impossibly bad fit on Tom Thibodeau’s roster.
Indeed, the mere fact that Redick was the most coveted shooting guard available says a lot about the quality of players to be had this season.
If there had been a move worth making, Gar Forman and company would certainly have done well to pursue it, but in a dead trade market, that was never a sure thing. Better to stick with a winning team rather than try to “show a desire to win” by making a deal that would only make winning that much harder.