When the curtain dropped on the Chicago Bulls’ season, the work out of Chi-Town was that the Bulls were not going to be making any major changes over the offseason. They would make a tweak here and there, try and ride out the loss of Derrick Rose until he could return, and hope to make a deep playoff run once Rose was healthy and back in the mix.
The closer we get to free agency, however, the more unlikely that scenario is starting to sound.
Over the weekend the news surfaced that the Bulls were, indeed, considering a major shakeup, potentially putting starting center Joakim Noah on the market along with Luol Deng. While some sources are saying that Noah is being dangled as a means to move Deng, and that the Bulls are interested in keeping Omer Asik and potentially CJ Watson and looking for the cap space to do it, it hardly seems logical for a team hoping to compete for a championship.
Frankly, the only way it makes sense for the Bulls to trade Noah is if they are getting a starting center in return, and the only star-caliber starting center who is potentially available this summer is Orlando’s Dwight Howard. if the Bulls were packaging Noah with Deng and taking back Howard and Hedo Turkoglu, or perhaps got involved in a bigger package that brought back JJ Redick, as well, it all makes perfect sense. Howard could carry the team while they waited for Rose to get healthy, and together they could lead the Bulls to postseason glory.
That would be the plan, anyway.
Anything short of such a bold move would be a huge risk for the Bulls, who owned the East’s best record even without Derrick Rose for long stretches of games in 2011-12. There’s no reason to believe they couldn’t win multiple championships in their current form once everyone was healthy, and giving up that chance for anything short of a homerun swing would likely derail the team and send them off in the wrong direction.
Is Joakim Noah really available via trade? Perhaps. But rest assured that it will take nothing less than a headline-grabbing trade to get Noah out of Chicago.