Ah, the sweet smell of gingerbread cookies, evergreen trees, hot chocolate, and NBA trades is in the air!
While we have yet to see any big-time trades go down this season, the rumor mill has been slowly dialing up. The league is still considered the most wide-open it’s been in quite some time, so we could see more teams on the brink of contention, which also means more teams could hit the trade market hard.
Here’s the latest.
- The NBA stove was turned on this past Sunday. December 15th marked the unofficial start of the trade season, acting as the trade-eligibility starting date for players signed this past offseason. For the Bulls, that means Thaddeus Young, Tomas Satoransky, and Luke Kornet are now tradable assets. Before we start digging into some actual rumors, I’d recommend taking a look at Hoops Rumors’ list of 12 notable players signed this summer who are now trade-eligible. Young is the only Bulls player who cracks the list, and it makes perfect sense considering he’s (1) a respected veteran across the league and (2) was already thrown into the trade conversation due to displeasure with his playing time.
- Since the reported “trade threat” from the Chicago Sun-Times, we haven’t really seen any updates. In my opinion, I think there are several contenders that would be interested in Young’s services, but the question is whether the Bulls would make the move only five months after signing him to a three-year $41 million deal. I think about teams like the Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers who are in obvious need of a big man, but also I envision both franchises trying to make a bigger splash.
- Regardless, a Young trade doesn’t have much traction right now. Even yesterday, NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson said on the Mully & Haugh Show: “We’re going to see how that plays out between now and February, there’s a long time between now and the deadline, I would say right now, there’s not even thought about moving him right now.”
- The juicer rumors can be found elsewhere in the league. One of the biggest names said to be on the move right now is the Cleveland Cavaliers Kevin Love. The most talked-about fit has been with the Portland Trail Blazers, but recently the Phoenix Suns have entered the picture. One sentence tangent: the Suns are what the Bulls should be right now and it pisses me off.
- The New York Knicks are one of the bottom-feeders of the Eastern Conference. Sitting with a bulk of short-term contracts on their roster, the thought of them hitting the trade market hard makes too much sense. The Knicks being talked about the most right now are Dennis Smith Jr. (Interest from Timberwolves, according to SNY) and Julius Randle. However, players like Elfrid Payton, Taj Gibson, and Marcus Morris are probably on the more trade-friendly contracts. Anywho, they’d be dumb not to try and trade most of these guys away.
- In a pretty unsurprisingly turn of events, the New Orleans Pelicans could be one of the most intriguing teams to trade with this season.
Yet what that also means is Jrue Holiday is indeed available via trade, league sources say. It would surely cost a significant amount to pry him away from the Pels, but this is a notable change in status given how unavailable Holiday was to interested teams last season
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) December 17, 2019
- At first, it felt like the Pelicans could be trying to compete for a playoff spot, but with Zion Williamson sidelined and a roster full of young developing players, the Pelicans could look to add even more assets. Two of the team’s most veteran players could be on the trading block, JJ Redick and Jrue Holiday. I doubt it would ever happen, but – boy – I’d love if the bulls had both those guys.
- The Detroit Pistons sit at 11-17 with the playoffs still very much in sight thanks to a horrid Eastern Conference. However, according to The Athletic’s James L. Edwards III, there is a world where Andre Drummond could be traded before the Feb. 6 deadline. If he declines his $28.5 player option this season, which is the apparent plan, he’ll be a free agent. An insane rebounder, it’s not hard to imagine several contenders who could try and swoop in, but I have to imagine the price would be very high. If he’s out of the Central Division, it’ll be at least a small perk for the Bulls when those teams matchup.
- Bleacher Reports Eric Pincus has a thread of rumors I recommend checking out. He’s been on the other end of reporting the Indiana Pacers interest in moving Myles Turner, the Golden State Warriors willing to listen to calls on D’Angelo Russell, and the Minnesota Timberwolves shopping Jeff Teague and Robert Covington. Could a Warriors-Timberwolves deal on the horizon?
- Other Bulls-specific news is similar to their offensive production (non-existent). Instead, the discussion right now is more about whether the Bulls should be sellers or not. If you ask me, this team isn’t really in a position to NOT send out feelers. The problem is, none of their talent is playing strong enough to net a return that feels encouraging. The Athletic’s Stephen Noh recently put the team’s tradable pieces into tiers of sorts, so check that out if you’re interested.
- From a purely speculative standpoint, it’s not crazy to think the Bulls would consider shipping off Kris Dunn. We know they already considered looking for a trade partner during the offseason, but now that he’s broken out as an elite defensive asset, the Bulls have to weigh holding onto him versus selling high (which I talked about earlier this week). Bleacher Report proposed a trade where Dunn is sent to Atlanta for wing DeAndre’ Bembry and rookie center Bruno Fernando. To make things very clear, that isn’t a rumor, but just a trade suggestion. I’m not sure that’d be worth it.
- The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Thompson decided to write out five possible trade ideas for the Bulls, and he has Covington along with DeMar DeRozan on his list. All of them are extremely unlikely to happen, but would you want them to?