The NBA decided to get crazy on Wednesday … like really crazy.
James Harden is now in Brooklyn. Victor Oladipo is now in Houston. Caris LeVert is now in Indiana. Jarrett Allen is now in Cleveland. And the moving parts don’t stop there. Several other players and a boatload of draft picks are on the move, as this blockbuster trade has now shaken up the NBA in a big way. The Eastern Conference, specifically, just got a whole lot more competitive with a true superteam now in the mix. The paring of Kevin Durant and James Harden alone is a lethal combination on the offensive end, and if an on-his-game Kyrie Irving is added into the mix, we might as well hand them the Larry O’Brien Trophy right now.
However, I don’t want to focus on what this means for the Nets or the Eastern Conference playoff seeds. After all, this is BN Bulls. What I’m curious about now is what this means for the Bulls front office. How do they perceive this trade? And how do they perceive the potential impact it can have on their plans moving forward? I know it might not feel like a James Harden deal has anything to do with their future plans, and in a general way, it doesn’t. But what this deal has done is take the top-offensive player off the trading block, which means that the other teams who envisioned a possible upgrade on that end of the floor now have to look elsewhere. Cue the spotlight on Zach LaVine.
Yes, that’s right. Brooklyn’s trade for Harden just increased the Bulls asking price for LaVine … or at least it should have. Bradley Beal is probably still the more coveted target for organizations across the NBA, but he also comes at a much higher price. LaVine offers a favorable contract considering his elite scoring ability. He also happens to be on a team that has an entirely new front office that has not made any major public declarations about their commitment to him moving forward. Now, that is not to say Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley want to trade LaVine. We truly do not know where they stand on the matter. What we do know, though, is that they were brought to Chicago to evoke change.
We also know both are eventually going to make this roster their own, and a quick way to do that is by moving a hot trade-chip like LaVine. Numerous teams have called about his services in the past, including just this offseason around draft day. Teams are interested, and when we combine that with the fact that (1) someone like Harden is off the board and (2) LaVine has continued his strong play through the beginning of this season, there is a chance those teams become more aggressive.
To be clear, I’m not comparing LaVine to Harden in any capacity. The Bulls would get nowhere close to the package Houston got for Harden. I feel silly even typing that sentence, but I just want to make sure we are all on the same page. The point I’m trying to make is simply that a once-available player is off the board (not to mention, two other bucket-getters in Victor Oladipo and Caris LeVert), and therefore interested teams that missed out might be desperate to look elsewhere. And if those teams are, in fact, desperate to look elsewhere, the Bulls could theoretically take advantage of that opportunity.
Oh, and we should not fail to mention that Jarrett Allen was dealt in this trade package, too. As a 22-year-old promising big man who is now likely the Cavs’ center of the future, could that impact possible trade interest in Lauri Markkanen or Wendell Carter Jr.?
Big moves like these have long-lasting ripple effects. Does that mean this will have an indirect impact on the Bulls? Absolutely not. But it does mean we can’t rule it out.