Two of the most disappointing teams in the Eastern Conference this past season were the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls.
The Heat, obviously, suffered mightily when LeBron chose to return to Cleveland, but their problems went beyond The Decision Part II. Chris Bosh’s blood clot in his lungs set the team back, but failing to reach the playoffs was still never even imaginable with or without LBJ. Dwyane Wade played in 62 regular season games, which was pretty good for him given many just were nights off for rest. Goran Dragic was added to the mix from Phoenix for practically nothing but draft picks from Miami’s standpoint. And who could forget the emergence of Hassan Whiteside?
The Bulls were more successful seeing they made the playoffs, but absolutely fell short of expectations. You may recall Chicago was the sexy preseason pick to come out of the east. However, the potential contenders found themselves beat up, leading to a second-round exit at the hands of the Cavs. It was a season filled with injuries, seemingly yanking one of their main crew members away for 20 games at a time here and there. Derrick Rose showed us that he may very well be as close to back as he’s every going to be, while also proving there will be more knee issues along the way. But you can’t dispute the fact that Pau Gasol wound up being a perfect fit, while Jimmy Butler elevated his game to a whole new stratosphere.
The point is, these teams could use a shakeup, and not just any average summer of free agency. I’m talking a BIG shakeup … so why not try this?
Shocking to look at, I know. But when it comes down to it, most of the shock factor is how much we associate these two players with these particular franchises. So let’s talk about why this trade could actually work.
Yes, Wade has brought three championships to South Beach. He seemingly IS Miami Heat basketball. But that era is over. Wade has been battling injuries of his own for a few years now, so it’s not like the Heat are accepting a huge health risk with Rose. He was still able to make it back and preform in the playoffs this season.
The main win for Miami is that they get younger. Wade is 33-years old, while Rose is still just 26. Bosh, although not as great a talent as D-Wade, seems to have much more left in the tank at only 31 with a less wear and tear. A Rose/Bosh combo should keep Miami contending longer in theory (given good health). Rose would then share the backcourt with the 29-year old Dragic, which aside from the obvious talent, could relinquish some ball-handling duties and keep Rose fresher as the seasons go on.
Let’s also remember Whiteside is even younger than Rose (only 25-years old), and figures to be another key piece to the puzzle if Pat Riley can find a way to make the money work … and Pat Riley always finds a way to make the money work. The cherry on top? Rose reunites with one of his favorite teammates in Luol Deng down in Miami for comfort purposes (this would be his first year living outside of Chicago besides nine months in Memphis for his freshman season).
A starting lineup of Rose-Dragic-Deng-Bosh-Whiteside could potentially keep the Heat contending for five years if they could keep it in tact. Not a bad plan at all.
The big question in this whole trade is this: Why the hell do the Bulls trade their 26-year old home-grown superstar? It’s a great question. The best answer is that they’re rolling the dice to win a championship right now, because what they’ve been doing isn’t working. Maybe if it makes them feel better, Riley would consider throwing in a draft pick to make up for the age difference.
Wade would be leaving the only franchise he knows, but he would be going to the city that raised him. Yes, Wade is a Chicago product too, so there’s a feel good aspect to that part of the story as well. But make no mistake about it, Wade’s here to get his fourth ring.
The Bulls would have no problem filling in the PG role. Kirk Hinrich is there for starters – a great defensive player to put alongside Wade and Butler. Wade himself would likely take on a lot of ball-handling duties, and maybe a player like Aaron Brooks decides to return.
As well as Gasol fits in Chicago, they need more championship pedigree, and that’s exactly what Wade is. Wade and Gasol may be old, but they still have game, and more importantly, knowledge of what it takes to get this team over the hump. Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson would still be there to hold down the paint, but the difference is that the reigns are not in the hands of Jimmy Butler.
Assuming the 25-year old restricted free agent is retained, it’s his team now. With the help of Wade, Gasol and the others, Butler may be able to carry it further than Rose ever was able to.
Crazy? Sure. But this is definitely a fun trade to talk about.
For comments find me on Twitter @julianedlow