On November 18th, the Chicago Bulls will draft out of their highest position since 2008 … maybe.
Thanks to a less-than-stellar draft class and a pre-draft process that has been anything but normal, the idea of trading down for teams with a top-5 pick has gained plenty of traction. The Bulls, of course, are no exception, as the team’s new front office has their sights set on simply adding more talent. Yes, I know it’s certainly ironic that the Bulls could be better off trading back to, say, the No. 7 spot after all these years, but here we are (Michael: MY … GOD).
Our most recent reason to believe that a trade down could be very much in play for Chicago comes via The Athletic, where hoops writer Zach Harper lumped the Bulls into an interesting category: “Minnesota, Golden State, Chicago, and Atlanta don’t seem to be in love with keeping their picks in the top 10.”
The fact that Chicago is found alongside Minnesota and Golden State – two teams who have garnered the most attention for a possible trade down the board – is pretty telling. Either there are serious rumblings behind the scenes about the Bulls actively seeking a trade partner or people are making assumptions based on Arturas Karnisovas’ active past on draft night. Regardless, the conversation is being had, and it should remind all of us to expect the unexpected.
Now, Harper did elaborate on the Bulls potential plans. He tabbed Chicago as “more likely” to keep their current pick than others, but went on to write that Chicago’s lack of a clear direction could mean anything is possible.
Chicago would be more likely to keep their pick, but questions about their direction remain quite loud. Arturas Karnisovas took over a bit of a mess. There is young talent, but figuring out how well it fits together or how high the ceiling on it all is can turn into a confusing exercise. The Bulls have been linked quite a bit to selecting Deni Avdija if he’s available at No. 4. Karnisovas is said to be a fan of Avdija but stuff like that can often be smokescreens in the draft process too. As nice as Coby White looked at times toward the end of the season, LaMelo Ball could be the desired playmaker. Although the thought of him and Zach LaVine together defensively doesn’t seem ideal.
Karnisovas has been a tough nut to crack, and we’ve already written about how he’s made rival organizations scratch their heads. All things considered, that’s good news for the Bulls. The less people know about the Bulls draft night plans, the more leverage the organization will have going in. What’s interesting about Harper’s comments here, though, is not another linkage to Deni Avdija – who would reportedly keep the Bulls at No. 4 if available – but rather the reference of the *gets air quotes ready* point guard dilemma.
The fact that Chicago has a clear need for a facilitator seems to be the driving force behind a possible trade down scenario. Killian Hayes and Tyrese Haliburton are two players many have liked to attach to the Bulls, but there is an argument that neither is worth the No. 4 pick. Both are expected to go somewhere in the 6-10 range, which means the Bulls could grab the guy they want and a couple of additional assets. For what it’s worth, we’ve also learned recently that Chicago worked out Alabama point guard Kira Lewis Jr., who is expected to go in the mid-to-late-lottery.
Again, no one is saying the Bulls should, will, or want to trade down. The conversation is probably fluid as they continue the process behind the scenes. However, the trade-down seed has surely been planted. People around the league seem to increasingly think it’s something the Bulls could do, and that’s a must-watch storyline over the couple of weeks.