With all due respect to the Chicago Bulls and their mostly solid 2021-22 regular season, almost everyone has already written them off in the upcoming first-round matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Between the team’s struggling defense, the absence of Lonzo Ball, and underachieving from Nikola Vucevic, most experts find it difficult to imagine the Bulls winning more than one game in the first round against the defending world champions.
With that said, a lot of the talk around the team seems to be based on fast-forwarding to the offseason where Chicago is expecting to look to dump Vucevic in search of a more defensive-minded big man.
On a recent episode of Keyshawn, JWill and Max, ESPN personalities Max Kellerman, Keyshawn Johnson, and Jay Williams discussed potential deals that would improve the Bulls’ roster next season. All three men believe the Bulls need help defensively and an injection of toughness, though they couldn’t necessarily agree on the route.
Williams wants the Bulls to add a tough, defensive center while Kellerman and Johnson focused their attention on a potential Jimmy Butler reunion in Chicago. From their spirited conversation, the loose framework for a potential three-team deal involving the Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and a team willing to take on Vucevic’s contract for a season.
Here is the segment from the show:
The trio doesn’t come up with a specific trade, but let’s take things a step further to iron out what would be a potential three-team blockbuster trade that might reinvigorate the three squads involved.
Bulls, Lakers, and Pacers Three-Team Trade
- Anthony Davis
- Myles Turner
- Stanley Johnson
- DeMar DeRozan
- Coby White
- Goga Bitadze
- Matt Thomas
- Nikola Vucevic
- Mac McClung
- Bulls 2023 Second-Round Pick, Lakers 2023 Second-Round Pick
Here is the trade executed on Fanspo.
Parting ways with DeRozan will likely send many Bulls fans into a frenzy, and gambling on the health of Davis will cause even more anxiety amongst Chicago’s fanbase. However, Chicago’s need for interior defense would be answered in a major way with the acquisition of Davis, and that concept would be augmented even more with the addition of a second elite shot-blocker in Turner.
White is a hard worker, but the ascension of Ayo Dosunmu makes him expendable. The Bulls would have a starting five that looks like this: Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine (assuming he is maxed out as expected), Patrick Williams (moving back to small forward), Davis, and Turner. Davis infamously shuns the idea of playing center, so acquiring Turner would help to keep him from being in an undesirable position.
Chicago’s bench mob would be led by Alex Caruso and Dosunmu, but they would need a perimeter scorer to help add some punch to the second unit.
The Lakers Would Add Some Much-Needed Scoring
Los Angeles struggled on both ends in missing the postseason this past campaign. While adding DeRozan, White, Bitadze, and Thomas doesn’t help on that front, that group would help to space the floor for LeBron James and Russell Westbrook in case L.A. is unable to find a taker for the latter.
L.A. is likely starting Westbrook, Malik Monk (if he returns) DeRozan, James, and a veteran big if the team doesn’t turn to Bitadze as the man in the middle. White would give the team a much-needed scorer off the bench, and if there is any teammate Thomas could excel alongside, it would be James. With Austin Reaves also returning, the Lakers would be in a position to be vastly improved next season.
Indiana Would Add 2 Second-Rounders and a Less Disgruntled Big Man
Both Turner and Vucevic are entering the final years of their deals. Turner expressed displeasure with his role in Indy late last year. He played in just 42 games this past season.
Vucevic isn’t nearly as good of a defender, but he’s far more skilled offensively and could benefit more from playing alongside a dynamic young point guard like Tyrese Haliburton. Even if things don’t go swimmingly for the Pacers, they would have still procured two second-round picks from the deal while not sacrificing much in swapping Turner for Vucevic and taking a look at the athletic McClung as a potential backup for Haliburton.
This might be the rare deal where every team involved has a chance to improve.
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