The Chicago Bulls definitely have their shares of woes offensively at the shooting guard position. The team has been subjected to trade rumors and GM Gar Forman is said to be very active in scoping out potential trade deals.
Among the names, which appear to be two of the most sought by the Bulls’ front-office, are Richard Hamilton and J.R. Smith.
While it may seem tempting to go after a veteran wing scorer, there are also plenty of reasons why the Chicago Bulls should avoid these two players.
- Financial Problems
The Bulls should not go out and get Richard Hamilton and shoot themselves in the foot financially. Rip has over 25 million dollars remaining on his deal for after this year. Just in order to make a trade for Hamilton, the Bulls would likely need to include Taj Gibson in the package.
As for J.R. Smith, even though his six million dollar per-year salary would be coming off-the-books for Chicago after this season, Smith will likely demand more money if Chicago was to re-sign him. And signing Smith in a contract year may not be such a great idea— especially considering that it is a contract year for Smith, and that he already loves to chuck up shots whenever he has the ball in his hands.
J.R. Smith may only be 25 years-old, but he is already in his 7th season in the NBA. He has not showed much progress in becoming a team player since that time.
He has found himself at the end of George Karl’s bench a number of times because of not displaying a higher maturity level. He often plays out-of-control with the basketball and dribbles into bad situations. Smith is also unstable in an offense because of his bad shot selection.
The 32 year-old Richard Hamilton is nowhere near the player which he once was.
Hamilton has had a number of leg injuries that have slowed him down considerably since he entered the league. He is still a serviceable player in limited playing time, but why should the Bulls commit 2-3 years to a player that has already been on the downside of his career for the past two seasons?
While Derrick Rose is only 22 years-old, he has displayed a high maturity level and dedication to leading the Chicago Bulls.
Adding a veteran player like Hamilton or Smith would likely only hold Rose back as he continues to become a more vocal leader in the locker room and on the court in the 2010-11 season and moving forward.
Back in the late 80’s, the Bulls had to make an unpopular move in order to give Michael Jordan free reign in the locker room: trading Charles Oakley to the N.Y. Knicks for Bill Cartwright. Jordan, who was close with Oakley (in the same sense that Rose is close with Joakim Noah), was infuriated by the move, but then the Bulls picked up two talented forwards in the 1987 Draft in the form of Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant.
Jordan was definitely became the alpha male on the team, and the franchise never looked back.
Now, obviously, this does not mean that the Bulls should trade the injured Noah. But perhaps they should consider not bringing in a bunch of older guys onto the team with big egos— who have already had a taste of individual success.
- Character Issues
It is hard to blame Richard Hamilton for wanting to leave Detroit. But whining until you get your wish is not the high road to take in that regard. Rip missed a game last week because of an “upset stomach.” But team sources seem to believe that Hamilton has quit on them, and wants to be moved elsewhere.
J.R. Smith has had some issues, as well. He has been suspended in the past and has served jail time while with the Nuggets. His dance moves, when he goes on a shooting streak, can be described as unsportsmanlike and overexuberant— and, in the modern NBA, definitely as a technical foul magnet.
- Ronnie Brewer
The Bulls’ 25 year-old shooting guard, Ronnie Brewer, may not be the most potent scorer in the NBA—to say the least. But he takes high percentage shots and finishes well around the rim by effectively using the baseline. He is shooting 53% from the field and averaging six points per-game.
Rip Hamilton and J.R. Smith would not be on the floor for their defense, while Ronnie Brewer certainly is. He is a quick defender and active in the passing lanes. Brewer currently averages 1.5 steals per-game despite only 22 minutes of playing time.
Brewer is an instrumental reason why the Bulls’ defense is amongst the best in the NBA, and has been a key part of the Bulls winning 11 of their last 13 games.
The main question for General Manager Gar Forman and the Bulls might be, why mess with something if it isn’t broken?
- In Conclusion:
The Bulls may have missed out by passing up on Shannon Brown this summer. But they should not make a desperate move just to try to fill a hole at a relatively weak position, and especially if it will cost the team at other spots.
J.R. Smith and Richard Hamilton are flawed players and teammates. Adding them will only cause problems, as opposed to making them a title contender.
This team currently stands at third in the East, even after a rough schedule and two key injures to Carlos Boozer and now Joakim Noah.
Maybe Chicago should start solving their shooting guard woes from within before doing anything drastic. For instance, Tom Thibodeau could increase C.J. Watson’s minutes and cut those of the offensively-passive Keith Bogans.
This could be a good alternative to making a move for a washed-up veteran player.