It happened. The Pelicans and Lakers agreed on a trade that would send Anthony Davis from New Orleans to Los Angeles, while receiving a slew of young talent and the fourth overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft.
The only thing more impressive than swinging such a big deal was that it went down without needing a third team to facilitate. Prior to the deal, there was a ton of buzz that the Chicago Bulls could have been the team to help put things into motion, but it never came to fruition. But still … Bulls-related draft rumors regarding one particular aspect of that deal aren’t going away.
After Saturday’s deal went down, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that teams were immediately showing interest in acquiring the No. 4 pick the Pelicans had just snagged from the Lakers. And because of the interest, an already sizable deal for New Orleans could grow if a team blows them away with a trade offer. Perhaps that team could be the Bulls, who Sam Venecie (The Athletic) reports has been the team brought up the most when it comes to trade discussions for the No. 4 pick.
If the Bulls get their hands on the fourth overall pick, they could consider Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland — who Venecie hears is “the player most often mentioned by executives around the league as the player they consider the fourth-best asset available in this draft.” We’ll have a lot more on Garland later today – whom the Bulls recently scouted. Of course, getting that pick won’t be easy.
FAIR WARNING ALERT: Venecie offers up some personal speculation that a deal for the fourth pick centered around sending Lauri Markkanen to New Orleans would be something that makes sense (not that we agree). In his mind, it would allow the Bulls to get the highly talented point guard they need to run the show, keep Wendell Carter Jr. as the team’s center-of-the-future, and move Markkanen to a place where he could thrive with a power forward (sup, Zion?) whose skills better compliment his game. According to Venecie, everyone comes out a winner in this deal … you know, except a Bulls team that robs Peter to pay Paul by creating one glaring hole in the starting lineup just as it fills another. Frankly, that wouldn’t make much sense for a team like the Bulls at this stage of their rebuild.
But of course these sort of proposals are going to seem painful at this stage of the game. After all, the Bulls won’t be the only team trying to snatch the fourth pick from New Orleans:
Hearing one of the teams most interested in picking up the #4 pick from Lakers/Pelicans is the Hawks. Atlanta has actively trying to move up by packaging together 2 of their 3 picks. The Hawks really don't want 3 rookies next year with an already very young roster.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 16, 2019
Yahoo! NBA contributor Kevin Smith hears the Atlanta Hawks are another team interested in landing the fourth overall pick. The Hawks have the Nos. 8, 10, and 17 picks in Thursday’s draft. And with that type of capital, Atlanta could swing a deal to get that fourth pick and land one potential impact rookie rather than try to fit three rookies onto their roster. Seeing that Atlanta already has Trae Young running the show, it could conceivably target a high-upside wing such as Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver or Duke’s Cam Reddish.
Let’s continue to keep an eye on what New Orleans does with this pick, because it could have Bulls-related implications even if Chicago doesn’t get involved. If the Pelicans keep the pick or trade it to a team like the Hawks that doesn’t need a point guard, it could allow for one of the lead guards to tumble down to the No. 7 spot. That would be good news for a franchise that could use some good vibes on draft day.