Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Corey Rockafeler Editor of NBA RAW: Chicago Bulls. " Good is the enemy of great."

In his best selling book, " Good To Great," author and business consultant, Jim Collins extolled the many virtues of a great company. One common thread is vision. That rare ability to see what is not there. Many organizations succumb to the obvious or capitulate to Pyrrhic victories. But the companies "who get it, " are not afraid to think strategically. They will make  tough choices and focus on the proverbial bigger picture. Collins said it best: "good is the enemy of great."  Chicago Bulls emphatically enacted Collins' key tenets today with their blockbuster trade of all-star small forward , Luol Deng. Deng was shipped to the Cleveland Cavaliers for malcontent center, Andrew Bynum and multiple draft picks.

It is never easy to give up home grown talent and such a high character person like Deng.  He has been with Chicago nearly 10 years, and embodied the blue-collar, tough, but smart style of play fans appreciate(and coaches love).  But great organizations are not afraid to step out of the comfort zone and make difficult choices. It also does not hurt when you are owner Jerry Reinsdorf , with six NBA  championship rings, and a legacy of greatness and his own "big three": Jordan, Pippen, and Jackson.

At first glance the trade of Deng, 28, an all star and a superb two-way player in his prime, seems to be a salary cap purge. After all this is a new era of fiscal austerity and punitive luxury tax penalties. Deng is in the final year of a contract  paying him $ 14.3 million, and was seeking a multi-year contact that would exceed eight figures. But with star player, Derrick Rose, out again with another season ending injury, Chicago could ill afford to tie up big money with a very good, but not elite player. A player who can not create his own shot, be Robin to Rose's Batman, and would  financially restrict team from adding that potential game-changing talent needed to win a championship. In trading Deng, Chicago  gets key components needed to retool for a another championship run. The get the Kings 2014 first-round pick( top 12- protected), the Blazers 2015 and 2016 second-round picks, and the right to swap 2015 first-round picks with Cleveland( if the selection falls between 15-30). To sweeten the draft pie, the Bulls also gets the Charlotte Bobcats' 2014 first-round pick if it falls outside the top 10. Nod, if you see where I am going! The Bulls will immediately waive, Bynum and avoid paying $ 6.3 million of his 2013-14 salary, since it was only partially guaranteed. So faster than you can say,"holy Michael Jordan," the Bulls wills save nearly $ 20 million.

Now here is the secret sauce. All signs inexorably point to the Bulls releasing power forward  Carlos Boozer with the amnesty clause looping $ 16.8 million of their salary cap. Fuse that with their own tankapoolza  to secure a lottery pick in this years draft-deemed to be the deepest since 2003( yes, the draft  year of LeBron Wade, Carmelo, Bosch etc....) and you start to see this tabula rasa shapes up very nicely. They already have what every championship team craves- franchise talent with former NBA MVP Derrick Rose. Now add defensive center and rim protecting big, Joakim Noah. Throw in quality depth with athletic big man, Taj Gibson. Sprinkle that  with young deep shooting wing defender, Jimmy Butler. Sitting in the wings, is long, athletic swing man, rookie Tony Snell. I have not even mentioned great European talent Chicago has the rights to, Nikola Mirotic.He is a sweet-shooting stretch power forward currently playing Real Madrid .Now add another franchise cornerstone-who is about to become a free agent this summer and would be a great complementary scorer with Rose-Carmelo Anthony. I think you can see where this train is heading.

This trade was a master stroke by Chicago . It shows why some organizations get it and some do not( see the New York Knicks). If I am a New York Knick fan, it is somber assessment time. Carmelo Anthony takes on big step toward in his quest for his first ring along side D. Rose, and coach Tibs. t. It may be winter in Chi town, but the 2015 forecast us really sunny-as in championship sunny. In New York, get ready for a few very long winters.

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