The NBA draft lottery didn't do much to alter the Bulls' universe.
They own the No. 9 pick of the first round, as expected, while the league's newest stars, Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, will pass through town just once per season.
Locally, the lottery was a success only for someone who takes pleasure in watching Boston sports fans suffer. Not only did the Celtics end up with the No. 5 pick, they had to watch Portland rookie of the year Brandon Roy -- a player Boston general manager Danny Ainge essentially traded for overrated prodigy Sebastian Telfair -- unfurl the No. 1 Blazers jersey that Oden will wear next season. Or Durant.
In theory, this could set up some trade possibilities for the Bulls, though the odds are against any sort of big-splash deal.
Since Portland won the first overall pick, an obvious question is whether adding Oden or Durant means the Blazers will look to trade 6-foot-9 power forward Zach Randolph.
With Portland and Seattle owning Nos. 1 and 2 in the NBA draft, Bulls fans may be thinking Zach Randolph could be had in a trade. Do't bet on it. (Associated Press Photo)
If they do, consider the Bulls interested. A year ago, that probably wasn't the case, since Randolph had several brushes with the law, and general manager John Paxson is choosy about the kind of characters he allows in the locker room.
But now that the Bulls' braintrust feels the team is close to becoming a championship contender, they are willing to take a chance. They no doubt watched with envy as Rasheed Wallace helped close out the second-round playoff series against Detroit. If only the Bulls could land a troubled former Trail Blazer of their own.
Realistically, though, it's difficult to imagine why Portland would feel much need to trade Randolph. The 25-year-old is coming off the best season of his career (23.6 points, 10.1 rebounds).
Randolph is owed $61 million over the next four years, but the Blazers already solved most of their payroll problems. Chances are, there won't be a Randolph fire sale like there was for Wallace three years ago.
That brings us to Seattle, the team with the No. 2 pick. It was mentioned here a few weeks ago that the Bulls would be interested in swapping their draft pick for power forward Nick Collison (9.6 points, 8.1 rebounds), Kirk Hinrich's former roommate at Kansas.
But if the Sonics end up with Durant, a more likely scenario could be allowing Rashard Lewis to leave as a free agent while keeping the rest of their big men.
Seattle does have payroll issues and is already stuck with Ray Allen's $52 million contract for the next three years. Orlando has the cap space to pursue Lewis, so maybe the Sonics try to orchestrate a sign-and-trade deal to get Darko Milicic from the Magic.
There are rumors that Phoenix center Amare Stoudemire could be on the block because chemistry problems were mentioned when the Suns lost to San Antonio. Stoudemire is a risky proposition, though, since he's had microfracture knee surgery. Last season went fine, but what about the next four years on his contract?
The Bulls may not get very far with their trade bait of the No. 9 pick, Chris Duhon, Viktor Khryapa and maybe a sign-and-trade with Andres Nocioni, who would have to agree to any deal. The Bulls were more willing to part with Tyrus Thomas in February than they are now.
Paxson's assertion that a Kirk Hinrich-Ben Gordon backcourt isn't ideal size-wise shouldn't raise any red flags. But it was hard not to read between the lines when Paxson suggested Hinrich spend more time in the weight room, and coach Scott Skiles' praise for the team's hard-working young players stopped at Gordon and Luol Deng.
Hinrich is by no means lazy. But while Gordon and Deng took giant leaps forward last season, Hinrich still hasn't equaled his rookie assist average of 6.8. The Bulls probably feel Hinrich could do more to make himself a great player and may consider offering the fourth-year guard in a trade, but that's still a long shot.
The Bulls got some bad news Wednesday when Georgetown center Roy Hibbert announced he would pull out of the draft and return to school. The pool of big men is smaller without Hibbert, but the Bulls still figure to have a decent shot at Washington 7-footer Spencer Hawes at No. 9.
Hawes needs to get stronger, but his best asset right now is a nice array of post moves. And isn't that what the Bulls need most, some interior offense?