Rival Teams Believe Bulls Will Explore Trades in the Upcoming Draft

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Rival Teams Believe Bulls Will Explore Trades in the Upcoming Draft

Chicago Bulls

The 2022 NBA Draft is a little under three weeks away, and the Chicago Bulls are set to select a player with the No. 18 pick in the draft. But whether or not that player will ever wear red is a different question entirely.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo, rival teams believe the Bulls will look to move their upcoming first-rounder in favor of more proven talent.

Rival teams expect the Bulls to explore trade options with this pick, preferably in search of veteran help. If Chicago keeps it, this is an opportunity to add a more experienced college player who can feasibly deepen the bench next season.

Let’s first set the record straight: Yes, you thought right, the Bulls technically can not trade their No. 18 pick ahead of draft night. The Stepien Rule prohibits teams from moving first-round picks in back-to-back drafts. Since Karnisovas moved both the 2021 first-round selection and 2023 first-round selection in their deal for big man Nikola Vucevic at last season’s trade deadline, the Bulls must select a player on June 23rd.

With that said, once the player is officially taken off the board, the Bulls have the power to immediately move that player. And I guess that is what a handful of rival teams anticipate.

If Arturas Karnisovas did go this route, I can’t say I’d be too surprised. Not only has he consistently left the door wide open for unexpected moves, but he did thrust this team into a win-now situation one summer ago. The Bulls also demonstrated how far away they still were from being a legitimate playoff threat with a swift first-round exit. While they will need members of their current nucleus to continue improving, they also need to bolster their supporting cast. The No. 18 pick could very well prove to be a helpful tool when looking for a more reliable win-now role player at the wing or in the frontcourt.

On other hand, Karnisovas is also trying to build a sustainable winning product. If he sees a young, high-upside player he likes with the No. 18 pick, I expect him to invest in developing that player. It’s also not like it’s impossible for the Bulls to find immediate help on draft night. Sure, it’s not as much of a guarantee as acquiring a veteran talent, but we did see Karnisovas draft an instant-impact player in Ayo Dosunmu last offseason.

Woo writes that picking a more experienced college player – like Dosunmu – is the way rival teams expect the Bulls to go if they do not move the pick. There certainly are several names worth considering that meet those requirements, including players we’ve recently discussed like E.J. Liddell, Ochai Agbaji, and MarJon Beauchamp. Yet, still, I wouldn’t put it past the Bulls to simply snatch the best player available.

While filling a need and finding an immediate contributor does seem important, I just don’t think Karnisovas is afraid of going after a player he likes. He took this approach with Patrick Williams, who was the youngest NCAA prospect in the draft and an obvious project piece. Karnisovas presumably made this choice knowing he planned to make win-now moves in the future, so who’s to say he wouldn’t do it again?

I’m open to the Bulls moving this pick if it truly helps add a big piece, but I’m more in favor of selecting someone with the No. 18 pick. I think this draft is deep enough to get a legitimately intriguing player at that spot on the board, and I also think it’s invaluable to have another player on a rookie contract considering the big money this franchise could have tied up in Zach LaVine by the end of the summer.



Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.