Back in 2003, the Miami Heat offered Dwyane Wade (No. 5 pick) for Kirk Hinrich (No. 7 pick) and Donyell Marshall on draft day, per KC Johnson. General manager John Paxson REJECTED the trade because he didn’t want to part ways with Donyell Marshall, who averaged 13.4 points and 9.0 rebounds over 30.5 minutes in 78 games for the Bulls the previous season. Imagine how different the Bulls franchise history would’ve been if they accepted an offer for Wade, who ended up being a top three shooting guard in NBA History. Wade did join the Bulls near the end of his career, averaging 18.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in 29.9 minutes over 60 games in the 2016-17 season.
In 2007, Kobe Bryant (age 29) demanded a trade to the Chicago Bulls. The deal was so close to being done that Kobe started looking for a home in Chicago. Per ESPN, the Lakers wanted Tyrus Thomas, Luol Deng, Ben Gordon and a rookie Joakim Noah. Bulls general manager John Paxson ultimately rejected the trade because he didn’t want to part ways with Luol Deng.
Kobe Bryant was almost a Bull. Imagine how different the last 15 years would’ve been if John Paxson agreed to ship off Deng. We would have seen a backcourt with Kobe and Derrick Rose, which on paper sounds like the greatest in NBA history. Not to mention that they could have made other superstars want to join the Bulls.
In the summer of 2010, the Bulls created enough salary cap to sign three max players with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah still on their rookie contracts. LeBron James (age 26), Chris Bosh (age 26), and Dwyane Wade (age 29) were not only linked to signing with the Bulls, but also ESPN analysts including Chris Broussard guaranteed these three would sign with the Bulls with Rose and Noah there.
After taking a meeting with Chicago, the three decided to sign with the Heat. They made the NBA Finals four straight seasons, winning two championships. With head coach Tom Thibodeau already hired at that point and Derrick Rose as an All-Star, it’s hard not to imagine how good that team would’ve been. As the years went on, Wade admitted they were extremely close to signing with the Bulls.
Derrick Rose was unwilling to attend the meetings or pitch to the ‘Big 3.’ Instead, the Bulls became one of the biggest competitors for that Heat team. Imagine if they combined forces… Wade: “I mean, this [Chicago] was a place I wanted to play. It was a place that LeBron also loved. We loved the city of Chicago. It’s a great market, as well.”