Everyone's got an opinion on whether the Bulls were right in trading away point guard Derrick Rose.
What's not up for debate is that the deal has benefits for the Bulls. Here are five reasons the Bulls got it right in dealing the former MVP when they did:
1. Rose's stock is in constant flux, and it's high right now
Bulls fans know all too well that Rose is one awkward landing or misstep away from serious injury. Last season he played in 66 games, five more than he played the previous three seasons combined. While not a clean bill of health - Rose will likely never have that again - he's currently as healthy as he's been since before he tore his ACL in the 2012 playoffs. Yes, the Bulls could have gone into the season with Rose and bet on his contract-year status pushing him to play even better than he did a year ago, boosting his trade value. But what if Rose were to re-injure his knee in early November, crushing his trade value as February's trade deadline came and went? Then the Bulls lose him for nothing at season's end. It was a gamble the Bulls rightfully didn't take.
2. The Bulls found their answer to Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah leaving
It's easy to look at Rose's expiring deal and wonder why the Bulls are giving up a talent like him AND taking on more salary. But with Gasol and Noah essentially out of the team's plans, the Bulls were going to need to sign a center this offseason or plug in the No. 14 pick in the middle, always a risky proposition. Instead they get center Robin Lopez, someone who has played in 82 games three of the last four years, provides solid rim protection and can go for a double-double each night. He's signed through 2019 at an average of $13.5 million. That may seem steep, but with the salary cap increasing each of the next two years that'll be the going rate for a starting center. Lopez is a safe bet on a team-friendly deal.
3. If it really was between Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose, this was a no-brainer
Reports surfaced Tuesday night that the Celtics were unable to reach a deal with the Bulls for Jimmy Butler. And for that Bulls fans should breathe a sigh of relief. It's the right move for the Bulls to stick with a 26-year-old, two-time All-Star about to enter his prime. Yes, the return for Butler would have been far greater than what the Bulls received for Rose. But regardless of the kind of leader Butler is or whether he gets along well with head coach Fred Hoiberg, it's unwise for any team to ship out that kind of talent. There's no way the Bulls could have received equal value in any deal, including one with the Celtics that included the No. 3 pick. Butler is locked in to a relatively cheap deal (given the contracts about to be handed out this offseason) and isn't fading anytime soon. If the Bulls had to choose between Rose and Butler, even with the potential return in a Butler deal, this was a no-brainer.
4. The Bulls get the guy they wanted last year in Jerian Grant
The Bulls reportedly were high on Grant before last season's draft, only to see him selected three picks before they their No. 22 slot. Instead, the Bulls were gifted Bobby Portis, who appears to have a bright future in the Windy City. And following Wednesday's trade, the Bulls now get a 23-year-old point guard with the ability to play off the ball. The Bulls are getting younger and more versatile at a position of need, with Aaron Brooks and E'Twaun Moore both free agents. Whatever Jose Calderon is able to provide will be an added bonus after Lopez's and Grant's contributions.
5. They now have more options in Thursday's draft
With Lopez and Grant in tow, the Bulls can approach the draft in a variety of ways. It's not imperative they find a center, or at least one who can play right away. If they want to focus their attention on more of a pure point guard they're able to do so, knowing Grant has the ability to play off the ball. Should they opt for a shooting guard or a wing they can feel good knowing they've got Grant and Calderon as a 1-2 combination at the point. Gar Forman said the Bulls feel as though they added another first-round pick with Grant, so they may be able to roll the dice on a high-upside prospect at No. 14.