By Mike McGraw
Sure, Reggie Rose doesn’t speak for younger brother Derrick, and he probably chose the wrong avenue for venting frustration this week.
Does he have a point, though? It’s possible Reggie Rose voiced criticism of the Bulls that Derrick shares, but is too polite to express.
For starters, these issues are deeper than the Bulls making no moves on trade deadline day. It’s also about cutting the “Bench Mob” loose and refusing to match the Omer Asik offer sheet.
It’s about large-market teams like the Lakers, New York and Brooklyn going well into luxury-tax territory, while the Bulls act like they’re in danger of going out of business if the tax bill gets too high.
There’s a good case on the other side, too. Asik was a tough loss, but Bulls management could argue that Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli and Jimmy Butler have been better than C.J. Watson, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer.
The Bulls built a team that was the No. 1 overall playoff seed in the NBA two years running. And forget the notion they don’t have enough to compete with Miami. They could have easily been up 3-2 in the 2011 Eastern Conference finals. A couple of missed free throws by Rose played a big role.
Now the Bulls are dealing with some tough circumstances because the 2011 collective bargaining agreement increased the money they could give Rose, while also creating severe penalties for teams exceeding the luxury tax.
Reggie Rose and Gar Forman probably agree on this point — the Bulls need a serious scoring threat to support Rose. Luol Deng and Joakim Noah are all-stars, but neither has really been a go-to scorer.
Bulls management is taking a patient approach, eyeing the possibility of cap room in 2014, along with a couple of long-term assets — Charlotte’s protected first-round draft pick and the rights to Euro phenom Nikola Mirotic — working to create a championship contender in a few years.
Reggie Rose seems to be saying there’s no time like the present. He might even have a secondary scorer in mind — New Orleans shooting guard Eric Gordon, a former AAU teammate of Derrick Rose.
Gordon has missed time with a knee injury the past two seasons and has a big contract, but there were rumors he was available. One conceivable trade would be Deng for Gordon. It’s hard to imagine New Orleans turning that one down, since it would erase about $29 million in future salary. But the Bulls wouldn’t know if they’d be getting damaged goods or the rising star who averaged 22.3 points for the Clippers in 2010-11.
What about a player who was definitely available at the trade deadline, J.J. Redick? Orlando sent him to Milwaukee on Thursday and didn’t get a whole lot back in return: Beno Udrih, Doron Lamb and Tobias Harris.
The Bulls probably could have gotten a deal done if they combined Richard Hamilton’s expiring deal with either Jimmy Butler, Marco Belinelli or Marquis Teague and maybe next year’s No. 1 pick.
By trading for Redick, they’d also acquire his Bird Rights, which means they’d be able to pay whatever it takes to re-sign him this summer. Of course, that would require going deeper into the luxury tax.
Redick isn’t an all-star, but he has improved and could have set up an interesting roster. Let’s say the Bulls could re-sign Redick at $9 million per year, re-sign Deng in 2014 at $11 million per year and use the amnesty provision on Carlos Boozer. They would have a nucleus of Rose, Redick, Deng, Noah and Taj Gibson at a cost of about $60 million, still $10 million beneath the current luxury tax threshold.
Maybe the Bulls could have done something. Maybe the patient approach will produce better results. It would certainly help, though, if Bulls management and Team Rose understand each other.
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