The NBA trade deadline is 2 p.m. tomorrow and fans of the Chicago Bulls want to know: Will Courtney Lee, currently of the Houston Rockets, be joining our team? His is the name topping most of the trade deadline buzz-o-meters currently set to Ludicrous Speed 'round the Internet. Most fans seem to agree Lee would be a useful piece -- another decent shooting guard to add to mix -- but that he's not the missing high scorer that the team truly needs to put itself over the top.
Lee was drafted by the Orlando Magic in the first round of the 2008 NBA draft. The 25-year-old is a decent scorer who gives a good effort on defense. He's also no stranger to trades -- having been moved by the Magic to the New Jersey Nets in June of 2009 and from the Nets to the Rockets this past August. Lee has been playing exclusively off the bench this season.
If the Bulls are serious about acquiring Lee, the obvious question becomes: How much is too much? The Rockets reportedly want back a big man in the trade, which almost certainly means Omer Asik. This could, and probably should, kill the deal, as Asik is a young, dynamic, hard-working center who would appear the perfect long-term backup for Joakim Noah. (Kurt Thomas ain't gonna be around forever.)
Beyond that, the issue becomes draft picks. If Bulls GM Gar Forman could simply flip the late-first-round draft pick he just got from the Toronto Raptors for James Johnson, then adding Lee may almost appear a no-brainer. But if the price is two draft picks, Foreman would likely be better off holding off for more of a difference maker. Perhaps O.J. Mayo of the Memphis Grizzlies, who would probably slot in as a starting player.
Or maybe the Bulls should do nothing at all. Among the many positive story lines running under this season's lineup is the excellent team chemistry. Would adding Lee or particularly a starting player disrupt the Bulls' rhythm? Would losing Asik hurt the team's depth and stellar defense? And then there's Noah. Forgive my usage of Cubs parlance, but getting Joakim back tonight is like "trading for an All Star." So why mess with a good thing -- especially when that good thing is about to get a whole lot better?
These are just a few of the questions no doubt buzzing around the front offices of the 38-16 Bulls at the moment. And only the next 24 hours or so (as of this writing) will bring the answers. In the meantime, it's Bulls vs. Raptors tonight north of the border. Tip-off is at 6 pm Central.