Even if the Bulls *DO* Want to Trade Everyone, It Might Not Be Easy

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Even if the Bulls *DO* Want to Trade Everyone, It Might Not Be Easy

Chicago Bulls

Even if you didn’t read Shams Charania’s latest report on the Chicago Bulls at The Athletic, its mere existence said a lot.

The organization is clearly at a crossroads after an underwhelming 11-18 start. And when someone of Charania’s stature has to put pen to paper about what’s going on behind the scenes, it usually spells trouble. This feels especially true when we consider that the team’s max player was the only player quoted in the story. It’s hard not to think that he was the one sharing much of the inner turmoil, and it’s equally hard not to think about why he might do something like that.

Indeed, the entire Charania article felt like a way for LaVine’s agency, Klutch, to put real pressure on the Chicago Bulls. But don’t just take my word for it. According to Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus, this is a similar train of thought to the one that numerous folks around the league had:

“Multiple sources took the Athletic story, told from a very LaVine-centric point of view, as an effort by his representation to get the two-time All-Star moved to a new home,” Pincus wrote.

Look, I’m not sure if we’ll actually look back at this moment as the beginning of the end for LaVine in Chicago. But the fact people are thinking it might be is absolutely noteworthy, as is what they think the Bulls could get for the two-time All-Star in the open market.

Pincus went on to share comments from multiple sources that questioned LaVine’s health and current market value. They seemed to have doubts about whether or not the Bulls could actually generate strong interest if they were to begin fielding calls.

“Not many teams would consider taking on a player dealing with knee issues on such a massive contract,” Pincus wrote. “Multiple NBA sources struggled to come up with market value given the circumstances. The same sources agreed if there’s a price no one else would pay, the Lakers might be willing, though one didn’t think the Buss family would consider that large a contract.

Of course, that speculation could easily be moot. As one agent declared, “[Bulls chairperson Jerry] Reinsdorf isn’t helping the Lakers.”‘

The questioning of the value that Vucevic and DeRozan hold was also posed in the article. But I’m not sure I buy any of it.

While I understand that there can be hurdles to trading these vets – especially LaVine with his contract – I don’t at all think there would be a lack of genuine interest. Vucevic is an expiring contract, stretch big, and top-tier rebounder who could certainly be worth a playoff dart throw. DeMar DeRozan is still under contract for one more year and is easily one of the best isolation players in the league. Meanwhile, LaVine – albeit expensive – is still just 27 years old and coming off two seasons where he looked like one of the truly elite three-level scorers in the game.

Not to mention, I don’t think these endless reports about the vultures circling Chicago are baseless. There are clearly many front offices ready to line up with offers if the Bulls choose to tank, and we’ve already heard specific teams mentioned.

Now, I’ll admit my own potential for misreading the market. It wouldn’t be the first time. And of course, the Bulls’ (still theoretical) asking price would obviously carry a significant impact on the difficulty of pulling off any deal. There could very well be a world where they can’t get a return for someone like LaVine that exceeds the value he brings to the team long-term. Where the market stands at the time of a sell-off would also be a major factor. Are the Bulls the only option on the market or have other teams with less-expensive assets joined them in the tank?

I’m not going to deny that there is a world where the Bulls find themselves in a pickle to get a proper return on investment. However, I’m not ready to assume that is the most likely outcome right now. I think there is value on this roster, which is why a sell-off might not even happen in the first place.



Author: Elias Schuster

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