It appears that the Chicago Bulls may be on the shortlist to trade for a star. After missing the playoffs last season and being unable to significantly upgrade their roster, their chances of making it this season appear low. Perhaps that is why they are believed to be suitors for disgruntled Philadelphia 76er James Harden.
The LA Clippers are still seen as the frontrunners to acquire Harden, even though they have backed out of trade talks for the time being. But if the Sixers get sick of waiting, then they could potentially pivot to the Bulls to try and get a deal done.
NBA Rumors: The Bulls emerge as a dark horse favorite to land James Harden.
The Bulls’ rumored interest in Harden is interesting because it implies that they aren’t interested in rebuilding just yet. However, it would probably involve them trading one of their three stars. The most likely candidate would be DeMar DeRozan, who is also entering the final season of his contract with him and the Bulls are far apart on a contract extension.
Would a straight-up deal for Harden and DeRozan make sense? On paper, probably. Of the two players, Harden is better but he has made it clear that he doesn’t want to be in Philadelphia any longer. Although the trade market for him isn’t really there for him at the moment, the Sixers seem intent on trading him for a star. He would do so by acquiring DeRozan, who is a star—an aging star, but nonetheless a star.
As for the Bulls, they would get a better fit with Harden being a better passer and shooter and he may be willing to sign an extension in Chicago. DeRozan might be willing to in Philadelphia too, though the Sixers are planning on being a cap space team in the summer of 2024.
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Overall, while the Clippers remain the frontrunners to acquire Harden, the Bulls appear to be the dark horse team to trade for him. If that were to happen, it may help both teams in the short term.