The Chicago Bulls are sitting atop the Eastern Conference standings and in the midst of an eight-game win streak, but there is still a consistent push for the 25-10 team to make a move that makes them a “real” contender.
Some would argue the team’s success, through a good amount of adversity, already makes them a legit contender. We’ll likely find out over the next few weeks which group is right, and we’ll also learn whether Bulls Vice President of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley plan to pull the trigger on a deal.
One consistent name that has arisen as a potential fit in the Bulls’ power forward spot is Detroit Pistons star Jerami Grant.
The 27-year-old also has several connections to the Bulls organization. He is the nephew of Bulls great Horace Grant who won three straight NBA championships alongside Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen from 1990-91 to 1992-93.
Jerami is also the son of former Washington Wizards player Harvey Grant–Horace’s twin brother. One of Harvey’s other sons, Jerian Grant played two seasons with the Bulls from 2016-17 to 2017-18. Harvey was college teammates with former Bulls player and current color analyst Stacey King.
The Bulls’ Potential Trade Package for Jerami Grant is Impressive
James L. Edwards of The Athletic identified four teams that would be ideal fits for Grant if the Pistons look to jump-start their rebuilding by moving their currently injured star.
The teams Edwards pointed to are the Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies, Indiana Pacers and the Bulls. Because of the inclusion of a young, up-and-coming star like Patrick Williams in Edwards’ proposed deal, it seems the Bulls might have the best potential offer.
Here is the proposed trade:
- Jerami Grant
- Patrick Williams
- Derrick Jones Jr.
- Matt Thomas
“The Bulls are currently the best team in the Eastern Conference and adding Grant to a core that has already exceeded expectations would only make Chicago more dangerous as the playoffs near,” Edwards wrote. “Grant would solidify the Bulls’ frontcourt, give Chicago another scorer who can create shots and add a good defensive presence. As for two-way players the Bulls could realistically add at the deadline, it doesn’t get much better than Grant.”
Grant is a smallish power forward, which is something it appears the Bulls want. Williams is listed at 6’7″ and Grant at 6’8″. The latter has extraordinary length that allows him to defend in the post and perform as a help defender, shot blocker (he averages more than a block per game during his career).
Prior to getting injured, Grant was averaging 20.1 points per game, which is a bit down from the 22 he scored last season. He isn’t a marvelous three-point shooter at 33% this season and 34% for his career, but he has made threes at a 39-percent clip for 2 straight seasons back in his last year with the Oklahoma City Thunder and his first campaign with the Pistons.
Because of his youth and production, you might wonder why the Pistons would want to part ways with such a productive young player.
What’s In it for the Pistons?
“On the flip side, this is the type of deal that fits the Pistons perfectly,” Edwards explains. “Patrick Williams is someone Detroit was high on in the 2020 NBA Draft, per sources, and he is a raw prospect with high upside. He would give Detroit versatility, much like Grant does, to mix and match different lineups, too. Obviously, Williams is on the same timeline as the rest of the Pistons’ core.”
Age is a big factor here. The Bulls have put themselves on a win-now timeline. They traded away draft picks and acquired a 32-year-old DeMar DeRozan, who is playing like an MVP, and traded away another promising young player in Wendell Carter Jr. for a veteran big like Nikola Vucevic at last year’s deadline. Williams could help the Bulls win a championship or advance deep in the postseason, but at 20 years old, he won’t reach his prime until DeRozan is probably past his.
Edwards also speaks to the value of the throw-ins for the Pistons.
“Derrick Jones Jr. and Matt Thomas are just salary-matching throw-ins here, although Jones Jr. would give the Pistons some premium above-the-rim athleticism to end the season, which is something they’re missing,” Edwards wrote. “However, what’s most important here is that this deal opens up even more cap space for Detroit going forward. Jones Jr. and Thomas have contracts that expire after this season while Williams is still in the middle of his rookie deal.”
It may seem like a major point of contention, but losing Jones Jr. could be a big deal for the Bulls. He is a reserve, who has started 4 games this season, but the “above-the-rim athleticism” Edwards mentioned has offered excellent value for Chicago. Jones has been an elite finisher. He is shooting 75% from the field on shots inside 3 feet. Zach LaVine makes 70% of those shots while DeRozan converts just under 65% of his attempts from that range. The three men get different kinds of looks in those situations, but the fact remains, when DJJ gets the ball in the kill zone, he almost always converts. Let’s also not sleep on the surprising improvement on his three-point shooting. From the wings, DJJ has been a pretty consistent three-point shooter nailing 40% of his threes on three attempts per game. He’s been a great addition to the roster and the Bulls would miss him if he were included in a deal.
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