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The Zach Question: A View From Chicago

One of the advantages of belonging to a network like SportsBlog Nation is you get to interact with people from other cities following other teams.  I was chatting about all the smoke surrounding the Zach-to-Chicago rumors with Matt from Blog-A-Bull over the weekend.

My basic premise was this:  People on his site dream about getting Zach for Nocioni and junk (or worse) because "Portland wants to get rid of him". This makes us gasp and mutter about their idiocy.  Sometimes people in Portland dream about Zach for Deng and the #9 plus salaries because "Chicago really needs a post player" (as if Zach were the only--or even the best--option).  This makes Chicago fans gasp and mutter about our idiocy.  As is typical with trades we all want to believe every piece of evidence that confirms our strength and none which confirm our weakness.  So--apart from us all being idiots in each others' eyes--what is real here?  What would a Zach/Chicago trade look like from their point of view?

Here are some of Matt's thoughts...

I think the idea of getting Zach Randolph is polarizing without even considering what the Bulls would give in a trade. Just knowing that he'll be making max money (albeit less than KG or Jermaine O'Neal) for the next 5 seasons is a heavy risk for the team to take on. So even if the deal was a complete robbery it still may not help the team.

I actually think Zach would do fine in terms of attitude, although off-court issues may never leave him, and he'd be closer to his home, which is likely a bad thing in that regard.

It's more his skill set that may cause problems. He can clearly score but he also doesn't do much without the ball. The Bulls like to move and pass and Zach doesn't do much of either. And not only is he a subpar defender he's also undersized for a PF, so pairing him with Wallace may not be the best idea.

I still think he's worth the risk though, because you could acquire him without giving up anything too special. Nocioni and the pick are expendable. I still would hope to hold out for Gasol but I'd also rather do something than nothing (nothing being resigning Nocioni and drafting a big) to get a starting 4, as Tyrus should be a 6th man next year but not ready to start.

As far as the deal, the non-core assets the Bulls can deal are Nocioni in a sign/trade, the pick, as well as two expiring contracts of Duhon and Khryapa. From what I read last summer the Blazers wouldn't mind having Viktor back. Duhon doesn't help the glut of small guards on Portland, so maybe a 3rd team would need to get involved to take his contract, or take Dickau, or maybe expand the deal to include Jarrett Jack.

I also think if the deal waits until after the draft the pick can be signed first and therefore added to the total salary of the trade package. So between that, Duhon, and Khryapa, the Blazers wouldn't need to give Nocioni an outrageous deal. I actually think he could be worth 4-5 years at the mid-level to the Blazers, but I'm hoping the Bulls are 'beyond' Nocioni in their development as a team, if that makes sense.

Another candidate for sign/trade is PJ Brown. Not sure if he wants to go to a (re)building team like Portland but I can see a situation where Portland gives him a fat one-year contract to be the resident old sage and provide some frontcourt defense.

For better or worse, there it is.  The #9 pick was in there but there wasn't a Deng reference to be found.  That's something though.

Your thoughts?

--Dave (

P.S. There's plenty of other stuff today so make sure you scroll down!