The Chicago Bulls might have one of the most sought-after players in the league at the trade deadline. And, no, that player is not named Zach LaVine.
According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, Thaddeus Young is currently viewed by league executives as a potential game-changer for contending teams: “We took a straw poll of league executives on which player outside of Bradley Beal could change the landscape of the playoff race. The unanimous answer was the veteran Thaddeus Young.”
Uh, that is a big deal.
On the surface, I know this may feel hard to believe, but Marks goes on to explain that Young’s (1) positional versatility, (2) financial picture (affordably under contract for the next two seasons), and (3) veteran presence *PLUS* the lack of otherwise available star-level talent makes him a very valuable and desirable target throughout the league. It’s hard to argue with any of that.
The veteran forward is playing some of the best basketball of his career, averaging 11.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game. His assist percentage sits at an elite 23.5 percent, which ranks in the 95th percentile, per Cleaning the Glass, and his effective field goal percentage of 60.9 is by far a career-high (73rd percentile). Combine all of these numbers with his solid defense and above-average ability to poke away the basketball (1.3 steals per game), and there is no denying that Young is a true winning player that can help almost any title contender.
The problem for hungry teams around the league is that the Bulls are improving. With a record of 15-16 and currently slated 6th in the Eastern Conference, the incentive to keep Young for at least the remainder of the season has only grown since the start of the year. He has been pivotal in the team’s improvement on and off the court, and the longer he stays, the better the Bulls chance at their first playoff berth since the 2016-17 season could become.
Does that matter enough to the front office, though? In their first year at the helm of the organization, Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley have to be thinking long-term. While the two executives did label their takeover as a retooling instead of a rebuild, it can be hard to justify not trading a veteran player at the peak of his value for potential assets that can help down the road, especially if the team does end up missing the playoff mark this season. We wrote a lot more about this internal debate the other day, so make sure to check it out.
Trade Thaddeus Young Whenever You Can? It’s Not That Simple Anymorehttps://t.co/famm88S9Al
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) February 23, 2021
As always, this is going to come down to whatever trade package is actually proposed.
As important as Young may appear to be to this team right now – and, specifically, to All-Star Zach LaVine – the Bulls are constantly trying to improve. If Young is as valuable as to contending teams as Marks makes him out to be to, it feels increasingly likely that the Bulls could receive an offer they can’t refuse. Teams get desperate at the deadline, and selling high is still a smart thing to do, generally speaking.
Read Marks’ full Trade Guide below, and stay tuned.