Grade the Trade: The Bulls move star in this proposed deal with the Spurs

NBA DeMar DeRozan #11 and Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
NBA DeMar DeRozan #11 and Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Grade the Trade: Would the Bulls agree to the deal?

The Bulls find themselves on the cusp of a rebuild thanks to a couple of bad trades as well as bad luck. They traded Wendell Carter Jr. and two first-round picks for Vucevic, only to see Carter Jr. become a starting center in Orlando. Additionally, those two first-round picks turned into lottery selections, with the Magic drafting Franz Wagner and Jett Howard.

The Bulls could have certainly used those picks but instead, they opted to double down by trading for DeRozan in a previous deal with the Spurs. San Antonio flipped a second-round pick they received in the deal, as well as Thaddeus Young in a trade for a first-round pick, and also owns a top-10 protected pick from Chicago in 2025.

The protections on that pick actually extend out until 2027, making it difficult for the Bulls to trade first-round picks to improve their team. Factor in that starting point guard Lonzo Ball will miss all of this season after already having missed a season and a half of basketball and the Bulls find themselves in between a rock and a hard place. As a result, moving LaVine while he still has good trade value should be an option for Chicago.

LaVine is still a very good player but he isn’t worth his contract, which will pay him more than $40 million a season over the next 4 years. Getting off that deal by receiving several expiring contracts would help Chicago’s rebuild, as would the picks they’d receive for him.

While it’s unlikely that San Antonio would give up three firsts in a deal for LaVine, two probably wouldn’t be out of the question, depending on which ones they offer up. San Antonio owns Toronto’s top-six protected first-round pick both this season and next.

With Toronto potentially trading their two best players this season, that could be a valuable asset. Also, the Spurs could always trade Chicago back their pick, which would free the Bulls up to tank. But would the Bulls do that deal? If Chicago decides to enter a new phase, then a package centered around three expiring contracts and two potential lottery picks would be a competitive offer that they might accept.