Ambitious Trade Proposal Sees Bulls Land $125M High-Flying Scorer

Chicago Bulls

Getty Alex Caruso #6, Andre Drummond #3, Derrick Jones Jr. #5, and Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls huddle during a break in the action.

What is the best way to maximize the Chicago Bulls? Is it the current model of skilled offensive players and trying to fit specialists around them, even if that means sacrificing some two-way playability?

The Bulls could focus on complementing their $215 million man, Zach LaVine, with similar players who can get up and down the court with the type of open style he seems built for.

While they are a ways away from making that decision in earnest still, they have also lost four of their last five games and have just three wins in their last nine tries. The Bulls are currently the 11-seed meaning they wouldn’t even make the Play-In Tournament if the season ended today and could be in need of a shakeup.

Jumping at John Collins.

Bulls Get:

Hawks Get:

“Collins has been displaced by Dejounte Murray in the Atlanta Hawks’ offensive hierarchy,” asserts’s Alex Kirschenbaum, “ and has looked relatively disjointed as he struggles to adapt to his new reduced role with the club. He is averaging just 12.4 points on .504/.250/.933 shooting splits. He has never shot worse than 34% from long range over the course of a whole season. Collins is also chipping in 7.9 rebounds per contest for an 8-5 Atlanta team…For his career, the 25-year-old is averaging 16.4 points per game on .558/.372/.784 shooting splits, along with 8.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists.”

Bull By The Horns

The Bulls have not had a player built like Collins arguably since Tyrus Thomas who was a source of hype more than hope before Derrick Rose’s arrival.

But, to Kirschenbaum’s point, the Bulls could be getting in on Collins at his cheapest.

“Were the Bulls to trade for Collins, they’d be doing so with the hope that his numbers would stabilize in a new situation even if his offensive standing on the Bulls would still be at least third, maybe fourth, behind DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine.”

Collins made waves last season when he went public with disillusionment over his role as his usage rate fell to the lowest it had been since his rookie season. This season, after the Hawks made the blockbuster trade for Murray, the trend seemed to have been exasperated as it fell even further to a new career low.

At the time, Collins stated he wanted to remain in Atlanta, something he has maintained despite his name constantly being mentioned in trade rumors.

“He’s never been an amazing defender, but he does possess the athletic tools to be pretty solid on that end. His $23.5 million annual salary would make a deal a bit tough for Chicago to pull off.”

To Collins’ credit, he has found a groove despite still searching for his three-ball while also posting the best defensive rating of his career at 110.3 ranking in the 67th percentile, per Cleaning The Glass.

His salary is only where it begins to go south on the Bulls’ side.

Williams also appears to be adjusting to his role in their hierarchy. He is averaging 11.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, and 1.1 assists over the Bulls’ last seven games while shooting 39.1% from deep.

Vucevic is on an expiring deal and, while there were reports of possible new money for the two-time All-Star – who has also found his niche with his teammates – nothing materialized.

Even if the Bulls were to get on board with the deal, it takes two to tango.

Hawks’ No Fly Zone

“How Atlanta would opt to use current starting center Clint Capela after the arrival of Vucevic is up to them,” concedes Kirschenbaum, “but presumably, he could be packaged in a separate transaction to give the Hawks wing help.”

Displacing Capela for an aging (and possibly declining) Vucevic doesn’t fit with the Hawks’ MO this offseason.

They were deliberate in their attempts to add more defense with Murray. Even if they played on Vucevic’s preseason willingness to play a stretch-4 role, it would not behoove the Hawks to then weaken the back line of their defense – which currently ranks eighth in efficiency – by moving Collins out in favor of Vucevic.

There is also likely zero interest in moving the promising Okongwu in this type of deal.

Williams could be of interest to them, however, as they have still shown some vulnerability on the perimeter.

Kirschenbaum mentions using Lonzo Ball in Vucevic’s stead to make the deal platable.

But the issues with that start with his current injured status and the Hawks’ willingness to spend in excess of $79 million annually between Ball ($20 million per year), Murray ($16 million), and Trae Young ($43 million) with Murray up for new money after next season.

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