Do the Bulls Really Have the Least Valuable Assets in the NBA?

Whether it be the sportsbooks’ projected win totals or analysts’ power rankings, it’s become abundantly clear that expectations are low for the 2023-24 Chicago Bulls. Even with decent rotational additions like Jevon Carter and Torrey Craig, major questions persist about the ceiling of their core trio. And, unfortunately, it’s not hard to see why.

Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic played more minutes than any other three-man combination in the league last season. LaVine played his most games since his second season in the NBA, while Vucevic played all 82 games for the first time in his career. Yet, the Bulls still finished 40-42 and got bounced in the second stage of the Play-In Tournament.

The fact of the matter is that this group has left a lot to be desired, and that’s not only impacting how people view the organization for the upcoming season. Indeed, HoopsHype recently released its Team Asset Rankings for 2023-24. The whole point of the exercise is to order the franchises with the most valuable trade chips – both in terms of talent on the roster and future assets. Can you guess where the Chicago Bulls landed?

Wimpy drum roll, please!

Out of every NBA team, HoopsHype selects the Bulls to have the worst assets in the NBA. More specifically, the site states that they fail to have any “veterans with premium trade value or blue-chip prospects.”

I’m not going to sit here and pretend the Chicago Bulls belong that much higher on this list. Honestly, when you start to think about it and start to go team by team, you can understand their argument. But I still think last place is a tad dramatic. While I don’t feel great about the team’s future, I still think there is a way for them to take a step back and restock their asset pool decently well.

I mean, it’s not like Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan have ZERO value. DeRozan may be nearing his mid-30s, but he is coming off two of the best seasons of his career. He’s also on an expiring deal. Is it really crazy to think a contending team would give up a good youngster and/or some first-round draft capital for his services? I don’t think so.

As for LaVine, he’s a 28-year-old two-time All-Star who finished as the NBA’s 10th leading scorer last season. I always find it funny how LaVine’s name is constantly thrown into fake trades to Los Angeles, New York, Philly, or Miami … yet all everyone does is talk about how little the guy is worth. When push comes to shove, as long as LaVine performs to the level we’ve grown accustomed to, I think a team would offer an acceptable package for him.

Of course, then there are guys like Patrick Williams and Alex Caruso. While I know Williams hasn’t necessarily lived up to the hype, he’s still only 22 years old. I think most teams would be happy to accept him as part of a deal. The same can be said about Alex Caruso, who is fresh of an All-NBA First Team season. Particularly when we consider his cheap contract, Caruso feels like the kind of player whose trade value might shock some people once the deal goes through.

Let’s also not forget that the Chicago Bulls are only missing one future first-round pick. With the Nikola Vucevic trade paid off, they now have every selection except a protected one that belongs to San Antonio in 2025. And, well, I’m sure some people around the league would hold those picks to a decently high standard with how much this team has struggled in recent years.

Again, I get that the Bulls aren’t in a prime position, especially after they stunk it up last year. But I still think there is an avenue for them to receive decent return value for their current assets and jumpstart a rebuild … if they so choose.

written by

Elias Schuster is the Lead Chicago Bulls writer at Bleacher Nation. He started with BN full-time in 2019 immediately after graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign with a degree in Journalism (yes, he started with the Jim Boylen Era). Since joining, Elias has been the driving force behind Bulls and NBA content for both the site and social accounts. You can follow him on Twitter/X @Schuster_Elias.

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