Although he couldn’t shoot the ball, we all know that James Johnson could kick you square in the balls if he needed to. Yesterday the Bulls traded away MMA superstar forward James Johnson to the Toronto Raptors for Miami’s 2011 first round pick. Needless to say I was one of the few fans who thought Johnson had potential and should’ve seen more tick off the bench for the Bulls. Hopefully he’ll see a lot more time with the Raptors even though they had three small forwards before Johnson was acquired (Kleiza, Wright, Weems). The trade opens up cap space and gives the Bulls some trade bait for the deadline to acquire the coveted shooting guard we’ve been needing.
Rumor has it that the baby Bulls are looking to snag either the Houston Rockets’ Courtney Lee, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Anthony Parker (a hometown kid to boot), or Memphis Grizzlies’ O.J. Mayo. In my opinion, O.J. Mayo will cost the Bulls way too much, possibly one of our key role players like Taj Gibson. Going the cheaper route leaves Courtney Lee, who is definitely an upgrade, and Anthony Parker, who is an aging shooter. Frankly, I don’t think Parker is a good fit considering he’s 35 years old, and does what Kyle Korver does: shoot 3’s. Lee is an explosive, young talent who can drop 15-20 a night given some time to mature and the right circumstances. This guy hasn’t stayed on a single team for more than a year his whole career, and I believe in a Bulls uniform he’d flourish. Also, the Rockets are a rebuilding franchise so it wouldn’t take much more than a first round pick to get him in red and black.
Other options that have been explored are the Nuggets’ J.R. Smith, who has as much talent as anyone in the league, but his inconsistency kills him. He can range from as low as 3 points to 30 points any given night, but unless the Nuggets want to get burned again like they did with Melo he’s not going anywhere.
Joakim Noah is due back for the Bulls tonight against the Raptors. It will be interesting to see how he fares and how much time he gets in his first game action since -believe it or not- December 15 against the Raptors. This game should be a cake walk for the Bulls so limiting Noah’s time won’t be a big deal.
Going from one bad team to another is former University of Illinois star Deron Williams. The New Jersey Nets acquired the high-caliber point guard in a deal that sends PG Devin Harris, forward Derrick Favors, and two first round draft picks to the Utah Jazz for Williams. In my opinion the Nets get away with grand larceny if Williams decides to stay and re-sign with them come free agency. Harris is having one of his worst years of his career and Favors has looked anything but special thus far. Granted, he’s only 19 years old, he has a long career ahead of him to prove his worth alongside big men Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson.
The Sacramento Kings have swapped forward Carl Landry for the New Orleans Hornets’ Marcus Thornton. Both of these teams basically have given up underachievers here.
Look for a complete analysis of the trade deadline in a panel-style debate, including a few guest writers in the upcoming days.