Bulls Preseason Trade Proposal Swaps Youth for Two-Way Star

OG Anunoby

Getty OG Anunoby dunking the ball during a December 23 game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Even after a purely win-now, transaction-filled Chicago Bulls offseason, fans, and the media alike are wondering when Arturas Karnisovas will make his next move.

And given how he’s spent his year and a half at the head of operations in the Windy City, it’s a reputation earned.

Of the roster he inherited when taking over in April of 2020, only two players remain: Coby White and Zach LaVine.

In place of the personnel that once shared the roster with the aforementioned guards, Karnisovas has brought in top talents DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, and Lonzo Ball.

The result? Well, that much has yet to be determined, after LaVine and Vucevic fell short of playoffs last year.

With the newly arrived Ball and DeRozan, Chicago will make another run at the playoffs, and hopefully, beyond.

But if things start to trend downward, don’t doubt that Karnisovas has the tools in place to make another big play.

Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report has put together the framework of a potential blockbuster in his latest column.


OG Anunoby to Chicago?

In an October 15 article for Bleacher Report, Last-Minute Trades to Improve Every NBA Team’s Starting Lineup, Zach Buckley proposed the Chicago Bulls trade for OG Anunoby.

Currently with the Toronto Raptors, the fifth-year forward is a textbook three-and-d wing, proficient on both ends.

Buckley’s proposal:

  • Chicago Bulls receive: OG Anunoby
  • Toronto Raptors receive: Coby White, Patrick Williams, 2022 first-round pick, 2026 second-round pick

On its face, this is a simple prospect-plus-picks for win-now talent swap.

Anunoby is an incredible defender with a near-40% three-point shooting average. He’d immediately enhance the Bulls’ status as a contender in the Eastern Conference.

The 24-year old forward averaged 15.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.5 steals per game last season.

Buckley’s thinks Anunoby’s aggressive play on defense and conservative play on offense is a perfect fit for this Bulls roster:

His offense is in a state of perpetual improvement and his defense was just graded as top-30 in the Association last season. He would immediately become Chicago’s best perimeter stopper, and his low-maintenance play the other way would complement the Windy City’s finest on that end.

Is that worth the cost of Chicago’s franchise cornerstone to be in Patrick Williams?

The fourth overall pick from last year’s draft, he’s displayed the necessary tangibles on both sides of the ball, but especially on defense, where he’s drawn comparisons to Kawhi Leonard.

One thing that’s worth noting, is Anunoby’s current contract, which will pay him an average of $18-million through the 2024-2025 season.

With a new contract for Zach LaVine looming, the decision to make an attempt at preserving cap space versus building the best possible roster is one only Karnisovas can make.

Do the Chicago Bulls need to make a move as aggressive as this one? Would the Toronto Raptors entertain a trade?

Some around the league think this team, as constructed, will make waves in the Eastern Conference.

Including household name and Windy City legend, Michael Jordan.


Jordan: ‘Chicago Made Some Big Changes’

Michael Jordan, the greatest player in Chicago Bulls history, hasn’t been much involved with the franchise since his departure in 1998.

But there’s no love lost between the current Charlotte Hornets owner and his longtime NBA home of 13 seasons.

That’s why when Jordan was asked about the Eastern Conference playoff picture in an October 11 interview with USA Today, he made sure to mention Chicago:

Well, it’s hard to knock out Milwaukee. I’m a firm believer that if you’re a champion, someone is going to have to knock you off the pedal. You got Brooklyn in the East. Miami has changed. You know, my old team Chicago made some big big changes, so they may compete in the East, as well.

Arturas Karnisovas and the Bulls’ front office made a slew of roster changes, including the dual sign-and-trades for guards DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball.

Still, even with the excitement that’s stemmed from three preseason games, it’s unclear how the Chicago Bulls stack up in comparison to the rest of the East.

But if the (debatably) greatest player in the history of basketball’s opinion means anything, then perhaps they’re bound for their first playoff berth in five years.

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