Hey Bulls, Several Teams Are Rumored to Already Have Their Draft Picks Up for Grabs
Even though the NBA Finals don’t even start for two more weeks, the offseason rumors are already in full swing.
A lackluster free agency class coupled with as much parity as we’ve seen in the NBA in quite some has led front offices to expect a summer full of movement. Not only have we gotten word that the Portland Trail Blazers might be open to dealing the No. 3 pick in the draft, but Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer has also name-dropped multiple other teams that could look to shake things up.
Take a look:
There are other teams rival executives are already pinning as potential trade candidates. Dallas avoided disaster by landing its top-10 protected pick at the No. 10 spot, and the Mavericks are certainly expected to explore the market for that selection in hopes of adding to their All-Star backcourt of Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving, the latter of which will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Indiana, which came away with the No. 7 pick, also holds picks Nos. 26 and 29, which the Pacers already explored trading for veteran talent before the February trade deadline, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Sacramento, down at No. 24, is another team to monitor, sources said, for first-round trade possibilities.
The Mavericks and Kings might have to trade their picks to add instant-impact talent to aid their star players. Meanwhile, the Pacers have a bright future with a backcourt of Tyrese Haliburton and 2022 lottery pick Ben Mathurin. They could certainly opt to keep adding young pieces into the mix, but they also put together a strong first half last season that possibly showed they’re only a few vets away from competing for the postseason. With two late-round selections, they may be able to add some decent experience to the locker room.
The fact we’re just days removed from the lottery and already seeing these kinds of rumors certainly makes it feel like an active offseason rests ahead. And that could be great news for a Bulls team that is in desperate need of a roster shake-up.
Indeed, if the Bulls want to find their way into Round 1, they’ll have some different paths to pursue. Those late first-round picks from the Kings and Pacers, in particular, could be worth keeping an eye on.
Having said that, I’m also not going to sit here and pretend the Bulls are the easiest trade partner. They’re dealing with a top-heavy roster and lack the players on middle-tier contracts that can help facilitate this sort of deals. Instead, they have guys like DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine making $28+ million. Not only are those somewhat tough contracts to absorb, but the Bulls aren’t trading either of those players for late first-rounders. They’d want a whole lot more.
Nikola Vucevic might be able to net you one of those late first-rounders in a sign-and-trade, but that’s also thinking with rose-colored glasses. Not to mention, neither the Pacers nor Kings will likely have much interest in the aging center.
Now, if the Bulls really want to get crazy, they could put LaVine or DeRozan on the table for a package that nets them a lottery pick. We already know that Dallas has shown interest in LaVine in the past. Smoke could begin to billow again, specifically if they are unable to re-sign unrestricted free agent Kyrie Irving this summer. For a deal to happen, though, they would likely need a third team to enter the picture. Dallas gave up basically all of their best assets in their deadline trade for Irving.
Portland remains an extremely interesting trade partner. This becomes even more true when we remember the Bulls own Portland’s future lottery-protected first-rounder that is heavily restricting the franchise’s future flexibility. Both LaVine and DeRozan could make some sense as a second star to keep Lillard happy, but the Trail Blazers might also be weary of adding another high-usage scorer.
Other teams I’d keep an eye on in the lottery – and this is purely speculative – are the Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, and Washington Wizards. Both the Magic (No. 6) and Rockets (No. 4) have tons of young talent and might want to join a team like the Pacers in pursuing veteran additions.
Rumor has it Houston, in particular, has an interest in re-entering the competitive mix this summer. They hired former Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, and there is a lot of talk about them seeking big-name talent with their cap space and assets this summer. Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer even said former No. 2-overall pick Jalen Green could be on the table.
As for the Wizards, Bradley Beal is under a max contract for several more years. Past reports have also suggested they would like to re-sign Kristaps Prozingis and forward Kyle Kuzma. In other words, they seemingly don’t have plans to enter a full-blown rebuild, so it’s hard not to think they might look at what impact players could be available with the No. 8 pick.
I don’t know exactly what the Bulls’ plans are this summer. But I do know there is no excuse for Arturas Karnisovas to sit on his hands for his fourth-straight transactional period, especially with so many teams evidently ready to find a trade partner. Get moving, AK!