It looks like the Chicago Bulls are considering making a big move following a lackluster start to the season. The Bulls took the league by surprise last season, winning 46 games and making it back to the playoffs, but they haven’t been able to build upon that success. Now, they are just 9–14 and are at a bit of a crossroads.
The Bulls appear to have hit a wall, and they don’t have ways to significantly improve given that they have limited assets following two disastrous trades that will surely look even worse going forward. If they can’t improve, then they may not make the playoffs, and their win-now moves will have been for nothing.
The Chicago Bulls are at a crossroads.
The Chicago have talent but they aren’t that far off from being one of the worst teams in the NBA. Where they bottom out, they could have a chance at drafting Victor Wembanyama or Scoot Henderson with the first or second pick in the 2023 NBA draft, but that assumes they keep their pick. Their 2023 draft pick is protected, and if that pick is fifth or worse, it will go to the Orlando Magic.
Tank and hope for the best or try and compete despite a limited ceiling—those are their options. Based on comments by ESPN’s Zach Lowe on a recent Lowe Post podcast, it appears the Bulls may be choosing the former.
The Los Angeles Lakers have had talks about acquiring Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan as well as two-time all-star Nikola Vucevic. While they were apparently only having internal discussions, the word may be getting out that the Bulls are open to trading at least two of their stars.
That certainly hints at the possibility of them rebuilding, and if that’s the case, then Zach LaVine could be moved later on. Lavine is only 27 and under contract for four more seasons, which could make him a prime trade candidate. However, that’s only if they land one of the top four picks in the draft, and they’ll only be in that position if they move DeRozan and Vucevic. Of course, that comes with its own set of risks.
Bottoming out doesn’t guarantee that the Chicago Bulls will keep their pick.
Ironically, the Chicago Bulls face stiff competition to finish last in the league standings, and they could still lose their draft pick if they trade Vucevic and DeRozan. In that case, they’d likely keep LaVine and work to retool around him by using some of the assets received in a potential trade.
That leads to another risk: the Bulls have made two bad trades that have landed them in this no-man’s land. They traded Wendell Carter, the pick that became Franz Wagner, and their 2023 pick to Orlando for Vucevic.
They later traded Thaddeus Young and a lightly protected 2025 first-rounder in a deal to the Spurs, who weren’t planning on re-signing DeRozan, in a sign-and-trade. The Spurs later traded Young for a first-round pick and are probably salivating at the prospect of the Bulls’ 2025 first-round pick being a lottery pick, which it very well could be.
All in all, there are rumblings that the Chicago Bulls could trade at least two of their best players. That remains to be seen, but they’ll soon have to decide what course of action to take or risk losing a valuable asset.