The Chicago Bulls could be teeing up the next blockbuster trade.
While the NBA has largely been on hiatus over the last month, the Portland Trail Blazers have reignited trade talks around point guard Damian Lillard, and it appears that the Bulls are among the interested teams.
“The team that I’ve heard – that I’ve made some calls, talked to some people – that is kind of the wild-card, in-the-mix team, is the Chicago Bulls,” said Kyle Neubeck on the “PHLY Sixers Podcast” on September 20. “I know the Bulls this offseason, Zach LaVine’s name has been thrown into the rumor mill a little bit.”
LaVine signed a five-year, $215 million contract last offseason.
“What I have heard in the last few days is that it looks like they might be trying to move LaVine in a multi-team deal just to see if they can get into the Dame Lillard sweepstakes,” Neubeck continued.
“Talking to other reporters, Chicago was a name that came up,” co-host Derek Bonder said, seconding the rumors about the Bulls’ potential interest in a trade for Lillard. “I think that would be a borderline crazy gamble for them to make. … I could see him throwing a stink if he’s traded to Chicago.”
“The big question there is, obviously, even if they could pull something like that off, even if they find a suitor for LaVine who is going to flip them stuff that they can trade for Dame, what the hell is Dame going to do if he ends up in Chicago,” Neubeck said.
DeMar DeRozan an X-Factor in Bulls’ Damian Lillard Pursuit
“Whether another team — besides Miami — makes a competitive offer remains the unknown,”
wrote Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald on September 20. “If Lillard is traded to a team other than Miami, he is expected to ask to be traded to the Heat.”
DeRozan is heading into the final year of his three-year, $81.9 million contract.
Lillard is in Year 3 of a four-year, $176.2 million contract and will begin a two-year, $121.7 million extension in 2025-26.
Bulls general manager Marc Eversley praised DeRozan for his play on the court and his work with his younger teammates, and said that wants the six-time All-Star to return next season which would mean a new contract. That could explain their interest in Lillard despite his hefty and lengthy contract.
Bulls Can Free Up Trail Blazers’ Rebuild
While the Blazers are in a rebuild, they are also handcuffed in the sense that they owe the Bulls a first-round pick the next time they are in the playoffs through the 2028 season. The Bulls could return the rights of that pick to the Blazers as part of a potential package.
Chicago can offer its 2029 and 2030 first-round picks in addition to any other players they include in any potential deal for Lillard.
The Bulls still owe a top-10 protected first-round pick to the San Antonio Spurs. They can only offer pick swaps until 2028, though the protections on the pick owed drop from top-10 protections to top-8 in 2026 and 2027, and then a second-round pick in 2028.