Tank talk has heated up around the Chicago Bulls.
The Ringer’s Bill Simmons made headlines within the Bulls universe recently, when he presented a slew of trade concepts that would send some of the team’s biggest names elsewhere. The most notable deal he pitched included sending both DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Russell Westbrook and the team’s highly-coveted 2027 and 2029 first-round picks.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe then added a little extra juice to this trade idea on the latest episode of The Lowe Post, stating that Los Angeles’ brain trust has had a conversation about this exact deal:
“I can tell you 100 percent for sure, the Lakers have had internal discussions about that very possibility, if it would ever come up. Not that they would do it, let me be clear, just you look around the league like any responsible team would …”
Lowe didn’t say he’s heard anything from the Bulls’ side of things, reiterating that Arturas Karnisovas keeps things close to the vest and NBA teams have no clear idea where Chicago’s front office stands when it comes to the future of this franchise.
In fact, Lowe said that he leans more toward the organization trying to figure things out than hitting the reset button.
Still, this makes it extremely clear that the league has its eyes on the Bulls. Not only has their slow start been noticed, but there seems to be a lack of confidence in this group’s ability to turn things around. With that being the case, it seems like we should prepare ourselves for rumors like these to continue popping up. The Bulls have many intriguing veterans on their roster and win-now teams are going to hold out hope that they can acquire those pieces.
It also surely doesn’t hurt that a player like DeRozan has been tied to the Lakers before. Talk of him returning to his hometown has been ongoing for years, and the All-Star even thought he had a deal done with LA before the franchise opted to trade for Russell Westbrook (leading him to sign with the Bulls). As for Nikola Vucevic, he is headed toward unrestricted free agency this summer, so there is a world where the Bulls feel inclined to get something for him if they don’t plan to re-sign him.
For what it’s worth, though, I don’t see the Bulls entering full tank mode right now. The front office picked this lane just over a season ago, and it would be a pretty big shock to see them reverse course so quickly, especially with Billy Donovan and Zach LaVine under new contracts. Could I see some big trades on the table? Sure, but I don’t expect those trades to point toward a full-blown rebuild or multi-year tank job.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t say that there is a lot of season left. The Bulls’ schedule is about to ease up rather drastically, which could lead to the kind of turnaround this front office is hoping for. Conversely, though, it could also lead to more losses and even more trade rumors. So … stay tuned, I guess.