In addition to our weekly chat, which Chuck Myron facilitates every Wednesday, we have a second opportunity for you to hit us up with your questions in this, our weekly mailbag feature. Have a question regarding player movement, the salary cap, or the NBA draft? Drop us a line at HoopsRumorsMailbag@Gmail.com. Here are this week’s inquiries:
Do you believe that DeMar DeRozan will return to the Raptors or should the Raptors trade him now? — Illbedat44
HR: I’d be completely shocked if DeRozan was not playing with the Raptors next season. That’s how strongly I feel about the situation. DeRozan has been very transparent about his desire to stay in Toronto for the remainder of his career even though he is poised to turn down his player option worth only slightly more than $10MM and hit free agency this summer. DeRozan is from California and the Lakers would be a sensible fit, but I just don’t see him leaving the Raptors. Often when a player says he wants to stay with a team, he is being politically correct. DeRozan, however, has gone on record every time he is asked with a detailed answer on why playing with the Raptors is so important to him. If I’m the Raptors, I take him at his word, keep him for the remainder of this season and make the best offer possible this summer.
How likely is it that the Bulls make a trade this season? — Daniel
HR: I’d say it’s very likely now that Joakim Noah will be out of action for four to six months after suffering a dislocated left shoulder in Friday’s game. I don’t mean that the Bulls will be acquiring talent, either. I agree with Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com that the loss of Noah diminishes the Bulls as a contender this season. It’s unfortunate, at least from Chicago’s perspective, but this team doesn’t strike many as a championship contender. It’s time to look toward the future. While I don’t feel too strongly about his market, there will likely be several teams willing to at least listen about Pau Gasol, who has a player option for next season and is expected to enter free agency this summer. It is imperative for the Bulls to move Gasol. Still, it’s not clear what the Bulls plan to do at this point. If Chicago still wants to make a run at it, a wing player with some offensive upside is a necessity.
Who will be the biggest name traded before the trade deadline in just about a month? — Illbedat44
HR: We just answered a Bulls question, so Gasol and Taj Gibson jump out to me as well-known names to watch before the deadline. The most accurate answer to your question at this point is likely Markieff Morris. I know, it feels as if we’ve been discussing the Suns power forward as a trade candidate every week for months. That’s because we have. While Morris’ attitude is a question mark, he is also still viewed as a valuable stretch-power forward on the trade market, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News wrote recently. With the Suns struggling, it has to be only a matter of days before we see Morris, who has three years and $24MM left on his contract after this season, in a new uniform.