By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Bulls lost a ball-dominant scoring point guard in Derrick Rose to a knee injury for the second straight year. The Sixers have a ball dominant wing player who is thought to be available to the highest bidder in Evan Turner. Naturally, we have a perfect storm of trade speculation.
All I can gather at this point is that any potential trade that would send Turner to the Bulls is speculation, or people saying ‘this might make sense.’ I do not see evidence anywhere of any legitimate trade rumors or talk.
Though on its surface a Turner to the Bulls deal might make some sense, I don’t believe it’s a move the Bulls would make in their right mind. Even though Turner is “from Chicago,” which for some reason is something we always consider when we think about these things (even though Turner and Rose do not like each other).
First, we have to consider what the Bulls envisioned this season, and what it becomes without Rose. They envisioned the team as a championship contender, and now they are not. It’s really that simple. With or without Evan Turner, without Derrick Rose, the Bulls are not a championship contender.
It’s true that Rose was not playing particularly well, but if their vision is that he’d return to form, Turner is not in any way, shape or form a replacement for that.
So the question becomes this; at this point, what is the Bulls’ goal, with championship aspirations out of the picture? And then, how would Evan Turner help them achieve that goal, and what are they willing to trade for it?
Option #1 – The Bulls Want To Shed Salaries And Get Worse
The Bulls would love to trade Carlos Boozer for an expiring contract, or Luol Deng for young assets/expiring deals. This would help them get worse, and would help them shed salary. The Sixers aren’t a particularly good trade partner in this instance. Trading Turner for Deng would make the Sixers better, as Deng is a considerably better player than Turner. The Sixers have no use for Carlos Boozer, or his salary.
The “throw away the season and get what we can get” move is the right one for Chicago. Best case, Rose comes back healthy, and the Bulls add a great young player, Tim Duncan to David Robinson style. Worst case, Rose is never right again, but the Bulls have a building block moving forward.
Option #2 – The Bulls Want To Compete For A Championship
If this happens to be the case, and they feel that Evan Turner would help them accomplish that goal, they would be sorely mistaken.
Option #3 – The Bulls Want To Assure Themselves Of A Playoff Birth For Ticket Revenue
This seems believable, but at what cost? Would the Bulls part with a 2014 or 2015 first round draft pick to try to assure themselves of a playoff birth? That seems unlikely. If they want to do that fantastic, but I can’t see that happening.
Perhaps there would be a third team available to do this particular deal.
I’m sure Sam Hinkie is working the phones consistently, and when the right deal comes around, he will jump at it. If Chicago is the case, that’s wonderful, but it seems unlikely to me.
As an aside, it feels like there are many people who believe Evan Turner is an important reason that the Sixers have been more successful than many people assumed they’d be so far this year. He’s played better than he has last year, but by and large I believe that is overstated.
Turner, after his hot start, is now shooting 45.6% from the field to get his 21 points per game (taking about 18 shots). That’s far less efficient than he was to start the season. His win shares per 48 minutes are the second lowest of his career, at .049, the lowest of any starter, and similar to (the now cut) Darius Morris. He is still getting to the line at a much better rate than he did last year, which is keeping his overall offensive efficiency reasonable. He is not playing very good defense.
All in all, I believe Turner’s improved statistics are in part due to his effort to get to the rim, in part the increased pace that the Sixers are playing, and in part due to the fact that they do not have many options on offense. I don’t think this season has been any sort of revalation about him as a player, and I don’t think he is the key reason that they are winning games.
And about that… winning games. The Sixers aren’t doing very much of that lately. They are 2-7 in their last nine games, with a home, overtime win over the Rockets, who were sitting James Harden, and a lucky (but fun) overtime win over the Bucks, who are terrible.