One day after The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor named the Chicago Bulls as a team to watch in a potential Rudy Gobert sweepstakes, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer piled on.
Fischer echoed that the Bulls have “emerged” as a possible landing spot for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, but he went into way more detail about what a possible deal could look like:
Vucevic-for-Gobert seems to make more sense for Chicago, in the Bulls’ efforts to fortify a defensive attack around LaVine. And while Vucevic is generally considered a net negative on the defensive end, the popular package that’s been mentioned by league executives of Vucevic and second-year forward Patrick Williams would introduce the perimeter defender the Jazz have long been said to covet.
Chicago’s willingness to part with Williams remains to be seen. The Bulls were strongly resistant to including Williams in preliminary conversations with the Detroit Pistons to acquire Jerami Grant before the trade deadline, sources told B/R.
Of course, Vucevic heading back to Utah in any package feels like a given. Not only would the Bulls no longer require his services, but he would give the Jazz another All-Star-caliber big man to maintain a level of competitiveness in the West. I also wouldn’t say I’m surprised that league executives believe Patrick Williams would have to be another piece to the puzzle. But I would be a bit surprised to see the Bulls actually give him up.
While Williams is nowhere close to a proven product, he is arguably the team’s best asset. And the mere fact that executives anticipate the Jazz would want him in return for a player like Gobert demonstrates just how valuable he’s still perceived to be around the league.
The former No. 4-overall pick is only 20 years old and continues to show flashes of becoming a truly special two-way talent. This is why Fischer notes it’s unclear whether or not the Bulls would even entertain conversations that involve Williams. We saw them basically refuse to do so back at the trade deadline for a win-now piece, so why would they be ready to make that move now? Do they really view Gobert as the risk-it-all piece to get them over a championship hump? I lean toward no, but I’d be lying if I said a Gobert addition isn’t at least partially enticing.
Indeed, no one is denying that Gobert would make the Bulls a better team in the short term, particularly by fortifying the defense. The question is whether or not a team that is already so depleted of assets should risk even more of their future flexibility to add an aging big man who is owed $167 million over the next four seasons. Not to mention, he comes with glaring offensive limitations, which makes you wonder if he’s truly an ideal fit for a front office that drools over versatility on both ends.
Fischer does go on to present another trade scenario that takes Williams off the table and puts Coby White and Javonte Green alongside Vucevic. While this might be an easier deal for the Bulls to stomach, I have a hard time believing the Jazz would see this as a suitable return.
Similar to The Ringer’s O’Connor, Fisher adds that Gobert may not be the only target for the Bulls. He didn’t specifically name-drop another player, but he did write that the “Bulls brass has been considering their options at center since February’s trade deadline, sources said.” My best guess is that these conversations have mostly been about finding a defensive-minded backup to Vucevic. However, the more a name like Gobert is thrown in the mix, the more it feels like a big-time positional swap could be seriously on the table. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Read Fischer’s full post below:
An intriguing trade concept of Nikola Vucevic and Patrick Williams for Rudy Gobert was often repeated in conversations with league personnel on Monday. More on the Utah Jazz after Quin Snyder’s departure from the franchise @BR_NBA: https://t.co/fxSvACaCBk
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 7, 2022