The Bulls have been pretty active leading up to the 2019 trade deadline. They’ve already traded away Justin Holiday for Wayne Selden Jr, MarShon Brooks, and two 2nd round draft picks. They’ve waived Cameron Payne and Brooks in order to take on Michael Carter-Williams and Cash. They have waived MCW so they could take on Carmelo Anthony and Cash. They’ve waived Melo and taken on Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and even more Cash. As it stands, the Bulls have reached the limit for the amount of cash they can receive in trades, so any other trades they make will have to be for players or draft picks.
Are there any “Untouch-a-Bulls”?
Yes, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, both Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr are considered to be untouchable.
Who have the Bulls made availabe?
The players that are known to be available for trades are Robin Lopez and Jabari Parker. There have been reports of teams interested in both Rolo (the Golden State Warriors) and Jabari Parker (Utah Jazz, LA Lakers, New York Knicks) but nothing serious has come of any of these rumors yet. In the case of Lopez, the teams that are interested in him are relying on the Bulls buying out the rest of his contract so they can sign him to more affordable terms.
Are there any other players the Bulls would be willing to trade?
Yes, every other player on the roster, including the recently signed Zach LaVine and “point guard of the future” Kris Dunn. While the Bulls are not actively shopping these two core players, they are said to be “listening to offers.” I’m not sure who has been asking after Dunn, but I’m sure a scorer like LaVine has probably come up in a couple of trade talks with other teams.
Interesting stuff from Zach Lowe on the availability of Dunn and LaVine in trade talks: https://t.co/rR7dz97dxp pic.twitter.com/FqPAltE7HS
— Stephen Noh (@StephNoh) February 2, 2019
Are there any players the Bulls are targeting?
Brian Windhorst of ESPN has said the Bulls and Lakers were in talks (that seem to have fallen apart) to exchange Jabari Parker and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Caldwell-Pope is a decent player, he doesn’t have Parkers scoring ability, but he makes up for it with stout-ish defense. I’m not sure why the Lakers would make this trade, I guess they need the scoring, but the talks have since fizzled, or are at least on the back burner until other deals get done.
The Bulls front office has suggested that one of the ways of motivating Kris Dunn to improve would be to bring in a veteran to challenge him for the starting point guard position. To that end the Bulls have been rumored to be interested in Jazz guard Ricky Rubio, and Indiana Pacers guard Darren Collison. It would be nice for the Bulls to have a veteran point guard on the roster, they probably should have had at least one from the moment they decided to start rebuilding. They need someone to calmly get them into their sets, dictate the flow and pace of the game, and school the young ball-handlers on how to get their teammates points. I’d be in favor of this kind of trade.
Are there any other players that have been linked to the Bulls?
Lonzo Ball is the name most people have heard linked to the Bulls at the 2019 trade deadline. Not that the Bulls or Lakers are talking about trading the up and coming distributor, at least not to each other. When the whole “Anthony Davis to the Lakers” thing blew up, and it became apparent that Lonzo Ball was on the trading block, he made it known that he didn’t want to end up as the back-up point guard in New Orleans, he would rather have a shot at a starting point guard position on teams like the Phoenix Suns or Chicago Bulls.
The only other player linked to the Bulls has been Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. One of the big hurdles the Bulls and Lakers have in making that trade happen is Caldwell-Pope’s “No Trade” clause. Just like Niko Mirotic last season, because of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Caldwell-Pope has an automatic “no trade” clause built into his contract; he would have to “okay” any trade he was involved in, and it doesn’t sound like he is very interested in playing for the Chicago Bulls.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has no-trade rights and the Bulls aren’t a team he’s interested in. (Via the Chicago Sun-Times) https://t.co/ztPReQ53WN
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) February 5, 2019
What type of players should the Bulls be targeting?
Point guards and wings. I too believe the Bulls need a veteran point guard/distributor to help steer the development of their young core. It’s tough watching this team night after night miss opportunities on offense because LaVine and Dunn are not distributing the ball correctly. A veteran ball-handler like Ricky Rubio would go a long way to building up the teams confidence on offense.
The Bulls also need depth at the small forward and shooting guard positions. Wayne Selden has done a very nice job doing a little bit of everything on the wing in his short time as a Bull, it would be a good idea to pick up another player or two with similar skill sets. There might be a few young players at the back end of rosters that could fit that bill, players like the recently acquired Luwawu-Cabarrot. The Bulls don’t need to hit a home run at this trade deadline, but a couple doubles would be nice.
Finally, the Bulls might consider trading for a rotation center, a big man with some size and strength. If the Bulls are going to cut ties with Robin Lopez (and there is no guarantee that they will), then they should find a big body to take his place as the back up center. Even as the league moves away from the traditional big man as center archetype, there are still plenty of all-star caliber players that can play bully ball in the low post, the Bulls will need a body that can defend against that. Enes Kanter, Frank Kaminsky, Jahlil Okafor, there are centers available that could take over for Lopez if the Bulls do decide to move on from Rolo, at least until Wendell Carter Jr, Chandler Hutchison and Lauri Markkanen build up enough strength to effectively defend those all-star bigs.
Which Bulls players are most likely to be traded?
In my opinion, the players most likely to be traded by the Bulls are Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker. When healthy, Bobby Portis is a great contributor off the bench for the Bulls. Over the past several seasons he has turned himself into a reliable scorer, both in the paint and from beyond the 3 point arc. He would be a great stretch big for most teams in the NBA, and his contract is small enough that it would be easy for other teams to match. Portis is probably the easiest Bull to trade, because he could fit with almost any team and it wouldn’t be a struggle to match his contract.
Teams are always looking for scoring and that’s what Jabari Parker does. When in shape and motivated, he is a dynamic scorer, ball-handler and passer. He could help a whole bunch of teams making runs at the playoffs. His contract is large ($20 million), so it won’t be easy to find teams that can match his salary. The Bulls are hoping his skills are desirable enough for other teams to make the financial sacrifice.
A couple other players that might garner interest: Zach LaVine for his scoring, Chandler Hutchison and Denzel Valentine as a pot sweeteners in a larger deal, and Wayne Selden Jr for his all around play.
Will the Bulls actually trade anyone at the deadline?
Probably not. No experts I follow have said anything about specific teams interested in Portis.
Bobby Portis said via @KCJHoop that he hasn’t heard anything from his agent about being involved in any trade talks.
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) February 5, 2019
The Parker contract is proving more difficult to trade than the front office anticipated when they offered it this summer. The teams interested in Robin Lopez don’t appear to be willing to trade for him, and are content to wait until he is bought out of his contract (which I don’t see happening while Wendell Carter is injured). Teams will have to overpay to get Zach LaVine in a trade, and I’m not sure how much interest there is in Kris Dunn. I feel like the Bulls have made all the moves they can this trade season, and the deadline will pass them by, leaving us with nothing more than the whispered rumors of what might have been.
Of course, they could also just burn the whole damn thing down and start over. Everybody Must Go (except Lauri and Wendell)!!! That might not be the worst option at this point.
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