UPDATE: A follow-up trade between the Bulls and Celtics that sent Wagner to Boston in exchange for center Daniel Theis has since been folded into the original Bulls-Wizards deal below, resulting in a comprehensive three-team swap.
Shortly after dealing for All-Star big man Nikola Vucevic prior to Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, the Chicago Bulls struck another deal with the Washington Wizards for two former first-round picks.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that in exchange for Chandler Hutchinson and Daniel Gafford, Troy Brown Jr. and Mo Wagner are on their way to the Windy City.
Both Brown and Wagner had fallen out of the Wizards’ rotation this season, and the same can be said for Hutchinson and Gafford, who had played seven and 31 games respectively for the Bulls.
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A New Big Man Rotation
The next time the Bulls take the floor, they’ll be rolling out an almost entirely new center rotation with Vucevic and Wagner, a pair of floor-spacing bigs.
Given that Gafford and Wendell Carter Jr. combined for eight total three-pointers to date, it’s safe to call this an upgrade. Vucevic is shooting 40.6% from deep this season, and Wagner has hit 13-of-42 attempts in his own right.
What does this mean for Thaddeus Young, the Bulls current, albeit non-conventional starting center?
Expect to see him revert back to his role in the second unit, with Vucevic starting. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see him moved to the power forward position to play alongside Wagner if the Bulls can trade Lauri Markkanen.
As of Thursday afternoon, they’re still fielding offers for the 23-year-old, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports.
Markkanen is a pending restricted free agent and there have been doubts about his and the Bulls’ ability to agree on a new deal come next offseason. Trading him now would open things up even more in a new-look frontcourt.
A New Ball Handler off the Bench?
On the other side of this deal with Washington is Brown Jr. who, at 21 years old, still holds plenty of intrigue as a prospect around the league.
His two-plus seasons with the Wizards were incredibly up and down, seeing him go from a starter to sixth man, back to starter, back to the bench, and then ultimately out of Scott Brooks’ rotation. Just last season the former 15th overall pick averaged 10.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.2 steals per game while averaging just under 26 minutes per night.
Brown is a smart defender with the size to guard multiple positions who should benefit from a clean slate in Chicago under new head coach Billy Donovan. On top of that, he played point guard at times in Washington and has proven himself to be a capable ball handler. After the Bulls’ latest starting lineup shift, that may prove a welcome development in the second unit.
Coby White, previously the team’s starting point guard, was moved to the bench in favor of veteran Tomas Satoransky. He’s played better in an off-ball role and could see that next to Brown Jr.
Don’t count out the Bulls going in on another point guard either.