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Bulls should deal picks to make room for LeBron, Carmelo, others

2014 Mock NBA Draft
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Updated: July 27, 2014 8:24AM



Thank you, Tyrus Thomas.

Maybe, just maybe, the poster boy for Bulls trades gone bad finally can deliver something to the franchise that sent future All-Star big man LaMarcus Aldridge to the Portland Trail Blazers for him on draft night in 2006.

Better late than never ever.

After three-plus seasons of bad basketball, Thomas was traded from the Bulls to the Charlotte Bobcats for Flip Murray, Acie Law and a future first-round pick during the 2009-10 season. In other words, the Bulls found a sucker more gullible than themselves. So much for that high basketball IQ Michael Jordan allegedly had.

And that future pick? The future is now, as the Bulls have the Hornets’ No. 16 selection to go with their own pick at No. 19
in the NBA draft Thursday. Those are key assets in an offseason in which assets
carry weight.

So what to do?

What not to do is much simpler. If the Bulls use both picks on talent they plan to keep for the long term and they aren’t overseas players they can stash away for a few years, something went very wrong.

That means no Carmelo Anthony, no Kevin Love, not even the fantasy of having LeBron James in Chicago. It means the window for a possible Finals appearance will be closed for at least another four years.

Offseasons like this don’t come around very often. The last one like this was in 2010, when the Bulls lost out on James and Dwyane Wade and landed a consolation prize in Carlos Boozer.

Now James and Anthony are free agents, and the Minnesota Timberwolves are shopping Love. The Bulls can use their picks to acquire Love or trade them to make sure the salary-cap deck has more space for a big-name free agent.

The NBA is a pass/fail business, and it’s time for general manager Gar Forman and vice president of basketball operations John Paxson to go all in. This is the type of offseason that builds a résumé for front-office suits — or gets them fired.

And lost in all the pressure on Bulls management is the free pass Derrick Rose has been riding each offseason. He doesn’t recruit players to the Bulls, something fans ignorantly embraced a few years ago, beating their chests alongside Rose with that mentality.

James has turned the league into his own personal pickup game. If Rose thinks he can show up to the playground with the same core that has been bowing out of the playoffs in recent years, then it’s time to question how much winning means to him.

If Joakim Noah came to the realization that he had to recruit — the same Noah who once called the Heat ‘‘Hollywood as hell’’ for their collection of star power — why is Rose above it? That’s small-minded thinking if it continues.

As for the failed experiment that was Thomas, he is out of the NBA now. With the draft, the Bulls are hoping he has one last assist left in him.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @suntimes_hoops



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