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Trading Places -- NBA Draft Edition

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jun 29, 2006 7:20PM

Man, what a crazy night at Madison Square Garden for the NBA Draft. As we predicted, there were a flurry of trades -- although mostly just draft picks moving around, along with throw-in future 2nd round picks and the like.

The Bulls were among the early traders, drafting Texas' LaMarcus Aldridge, then shipping him to the Portland Trailblazers in return for Tyrus Thomas (picked 4th) and third year player Viktor Khryapa.

Later in the first round, they had Philadelphia draft Swiss guard Thabo Sefolosha at the 13th spot, sending them Rodney Carney (16th pick) and a second round pick in next year's draft in return.

So how'd the Bulls do? They didn't really address their needs in terms of needing a low-post scorer, but Thomas is a good rebounder and shot blocker. And he supposedly has the most upside of any player in this draft, of course upside also means he's currently more of a project. Sefolosha does address their need for a taller guard, and his specialty is defense.

In a relatively weak draft, the Bulls probably did as well as they could hope for, but we're not sure that their two additions will be much help in the next year or two, as the team tries to claim a space among the Eastern Conference's elite teams.

Reading between the lines during his post-draft interviews, GM John Paxon's repeated comments about getting "long players" clearly mean they failed to get the "tall players" they need. To get those guys, they'll need to address their need for size down low via free agency. Once the free agent signing period begins on July 1st, expect the Bulls to be in hot persuit of the like of Al Harrington, Nazr Muhammed, Joel Pryzbilla, Nene, and possibly even Ben Wallace. They've got tons of salary cap room available, making them an attractive destination for many.

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