New Report Suggests Bulls Could Move Up for Hometown Draft Prospect

Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Everlsey (who Pistons considered) of the Chicago Bulls
Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Everlsey (who Pistons considered) of the Chicago Bulls

Earlier this week, Eli covered a rumor from ESPN’s Jonathan Givony that said the Bulls were potentially looking to trade up for UConn star center Donovan Clingan. Though it’s a bit of an underwhelming draft class, Clingan is one of the top prospects available. Well, Friday morning there’s a new prospect for whom Givony reports the Bulls are interested in trading up — None other than Chicagoland area native Matas Buzelis.

You should read Givony’s full NBA Draft rankings, but as for the Bulls and Buzelis (Givony’s fifth-ranked prospect), here’s what he had to say:

Sources say Buzelis’ hometown team, the Chicago Bulls, watched him work out privately in Los Angeles early in the pre-draft process. Chicago has shown a willingness to explore moving up in the draft for the right price. The Bulls’ Lithuanian president, Arturas Karnisovas, has extensive knowledge of Buzelis, who is also Lithuanian.

Could the Bulls trade up for Matas Buzelis?
© Grace Hollars / USA TODAY NETWORK

Could the Bulls Actually Trade Up?

A few weeks ago, I’d have thought no way would Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley be looking to move up in this draft. It seems like an odd one to try and do that in. It’s widely seen as a pretty uninspiring draft class. That’s not to say there won’t be any emerging stars from this group, but more so that it seems picking 11th overall has almost as good of a chance to net you a potential star as picking 4th or 5th.

Having said that, Buzelis is certainly one of the more intriguing prospects in this draft class. He’s got a massive 6’10 frame but has a skillset that can do it all. He’s athletic enough to get by slower bigs, and his length gives him an advantage over your smaller wings. His three-point shot can use some work, but his natural athleticism and explosiveness have the potential to equal a high ceiling that any front office would love to have.

But for as nice of a story as bringing Buzelis home would be, is the juice worth the squeeze to move up for him? The Bulls are already a little bit strapped in terms of tradeable assets, and moving Zach LaVine likely won’t get them much help there either. Of course, there’s always the potential for a sign-and-trade of DeMar DeRozan, but we know that the Bulls would love to hang on to him.

I tend to share a similar sentiment to Eli’s when he wrote about the Bulls possibly moving up for Clingan. I would applaud them for at least trying to make a splash and show some conviction in a big move, but at the same time is this really the time and place for that? If Buzelis ends up a Bull, I’d certainly be happy with it and I’d be excited about the ceiling he could reach. But at the same time, depending on the cost to move up, it feels like a very high-risk move for Arturas Karnisovas that might not be worth taking at this time given where this team is.

Earlier this year, Eli scored an interview with Buzelis when the Ignite G League team came to town to take on the Windy City Bulls. You can read that full interview below.

written by

Matt is from the Chicagoland area and has been working in Chicago sports since 2015 with stops at WGN Radio, the Chicago Blackhawks, Stadium, and NBC Sports Chicago prior to landing at Betsperts. Matt covers just about everything for Betsperts and Bleacher Nation but focuses on the NHL and college football.

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