The Chicago Bulls are interested in acquiring a three-time All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year this summer.
According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Bulls could trade for Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert if he becomes available.
“Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported last month that the Raptors have expressed interest in Gobert,” O’Connor wrote. “I’ve heard those rumblings too. Sources have also indicated the Bulls are a team with interest in Gobert (and other centers on the market, including Knicks free agent Mitchell Robinson).”
The Bulls could benefit from adding Gobert since they allowed the fourth-most field goals inside of five feet and the ninth-most paint points in 2021-22. However, the Jazz star is an expensive offensive liability.
Gobert Lacks Offensive Creation Skills
Gobert is one of the best defenders in the NBA. He’s made six All-Defensive teams and averages 2.2 blocks per game for his career. However, as O’Connor noted in his column, Gobert lacks offensive creation skills.
“But the three-time Defensive Player of the Year will make an average of $42.4 million over the next four seasons, and despite his accolades he has plenty of skeptics around the league who view him as an expensive offensive liability,” O’Connor wrote. “The argument executives often have made is that committing so much money to a defender who lacks creation skills is limiting from a team-building perspective. Gobert gets paid like a megastar but no matter how great he is on defense, he can never match the impact of other stars despite being paid around the same.”
Gobert averaged 15.6 points, 14.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 2021-22. The Bulls were 23rd in defensive efficiency. They need a shot-blocking star who can defend the paint and clear the boards and Gobert fits that bill.
NBC Sports Chicago Builds Trade for Gobert
NBC Sports Chicago proposed that the Bulls trade Nikola Vucevic, Patrick Williams and Javonte Green to the Jazz for Gobert. That trade works under CBA rules.
“Would a package of Nikola Vučević, Williams and Javonte Green move the needle for the Jazz? Vučević and Green are on expiring contracts, while Williams’ potential could fit on a team that would also save on its luxury tax bill,” NBC Sports Chicago wrote.
This is an important offseason for the Bulls. Two-time All-Star Zach LaVine is an unrestricted free agent and Vucevic is eligible for a contract extension. Bulls executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas told reporters during his exit interview that he wants to retain his core and build continuity. He also spoke highly of Vucevic, who averaged 17.6 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 2021-22.
“He was one of our most durable players,” Karnisovas said about Vucevic. “And I think if you think about the rotations, guards going in and out, wings going in and out, I think he would have been probably the hardest guy to replace, but he stayed available and he’s been a vital part of what we run on offense.”
The Bulls made the playoffs in 2021-22 for the first time since 2017. They faced the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the 2022 postseason and lost in five games.