Back by the popular demand of pretty much only myself, it’s the second annual edition of Around the NBA in 15 Trades. We’re taking all 30 teams in the lead up to the Feb. 7 trade deadline and finding a happy middle ground for prosperous barterdom.
As far as messy franchises go, few can top the Bulls over the last half-decade. They never recovered after the Tom Thibodeau-Derrick Rose-Joakim Noah-Luol Deng team crumbled. Chicago played front office hokey pokey, opting for partial rebuilds while trying to maintain middling competitiveness.
If there’s one thing I learned over the years it’s that you never half-ass two things, you whole-ass one thing. GarPax clearly didn’t watch enough Parks and Rec.
Then, we have San Antonio, the beacon of idyllic stability. They’re currently a few games out of a home court playoff spot after dipping as low as 14th in the West barely two months ago.
The Spurs have come to life ever since Gregg Popovich wrote his letter to Boris Diaw. They’re consistently a team that overachieves beyond the sum of their parts. However, they can definitely use some help in raising their talent ceiling.
F/C, Pau Gasol; F, Davis Bertans; F, Dante Cunningham; G/F, Quincy Pondexter; 2019 1st round pick via Toronto
F, Jabari Parker; C, Robin Lopez
Why the Bulls do it:
Chicago has shown to be perennially cheap, selling their draft picks for cash and whathaveyou. While Jabari Parker’s second year is a team option, Pau Gasol’s is only partially guaranteed at $6.7 million. The Bulls already said they’re unwilling to buyout Robin Lopez, so shipping him out becomes a win-win.
Getting a solid bench piece in Davis Bertans at his reasonable salary and the late first round pick from Toronto — which they can sell, of course — are both victories as well.
Why the Spurs do it:
So much of what causes a player to thrive depends on their situation. Maybe those first few seasons with the Bucks weren’t conducive to Parker succeeding. The pair of ACL tears certainly didn’t help matters any. And I’m gonna go out on a limb and say signing with a Bulls team in dismay with a crowded frontcourt rotation wasn’t the best choice.
If anyone can extract the most out of a former No. 2 pick who’s completely fallen from grace, it’s Popovich. I’m fairly convinced Coach Pop could throw me into the Spurs’ system and I’d be putting up at least 6 and 4 off the bench.
Lopez already has a rapport with LaMarcus Aldridge from their time together in Portland. While he’d bolster San Antonio’s defensive frontline, he’d be at constant odds with their crackhead coyote. We’ll call it a wash.