Chicago Bulls a Fit to Trade for Former No. 2 Pick?

Marvin Bagley III

Getty Marvin Bagley III works against Denzel Valentine in a February 20 game against the Chicago Bulls.

The NBA’s All-Star break is here, and with that, the trade deadline isn’t far behind. While there’s been plenty of speculation as to if the Chicago Bulls could be sellers, could they prove buyers?

If that proves the case, expect them to look into bringing a floor-spacing big home to the Windy City. Rim protection has been one of Chicago’s biggest flaws and starting center Wendell Carter Jr has made just six threes this season.

How about Sacramento Kings big and former number two overall pick Marvin Bagley III?

The Athletic’s Sam Amick and Jason Jones reported Friday that the 21-year old is “up for discussion in trade talks,” but went on to note that so far the team has had trouble identifying suitors.

Bagley is averaging 14.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, and an assist in 34 appearances for Sacramento this season.

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Chicago is Looking for Help in the Frontcourt

There isn’t any concrete reporting linking the Bulls to Marvin Bagley III, but there is enough reporting to assume that Chicago isn’t happy with their current frontcourt rotation.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on Thursday that the team was interested in Andre Drummond, another name that’s been circling the rumor mill in recent weeks.

And lately, Wendell Carter Jr has been glued to the bench for the closing minutes of close games. It’s been 32-year old veteran forward Thaddeus Young who’s been manning the five spot in clutch time and close-game situations.

Don’t expect that to change in light of any potential trade for Bagley unless Young himself is shipped out.

When it comes to any trade, however, the team’s chemistry has to be taken into consideration. They’ve won six of their last 10 and are currently tied for the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed spot with the Toronto Raptors.

Price depending, Bagley may prove an easier addition than someone like Drummond.

A Bagley for Markkanen Swap?

It’s hard to pinpoint just what the Kings would want in return for Marvin Bagley III, and given the reports on their lack of potential trade partners, it’s possible that his value’s lower than most would think.

Still, the former number two overall pick didn’t waltz his way into 2018 ACC Player of the Year, and a number of teams would no doubt be willing to take a flier on the 21-year old to see if they can reach untapped potential.

As it so happens, the Bulls have a former lottery pick in a similar situation. Lauri Markkanen, the seventh overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, is headed for restricted free agency after this season. His agent and the Chicago front office failed to come to terms on an extension last year, so his departure after this season is a safe bet.

Would Sacramento be interested in the 23-year old forward?

In a lot of ways, he does all of the things Bagley does well, at somewhat of a higher level. And similar to the Kings big, he’s failed to stay healthy. Markkanen’s played just 14 games this season, but the severity of his injury isn’t concerning, at least by way of reporting.

When he’s been available this year, he’s played well. Over his 14 games this season, Markkanen’s averaging 19.1 points and 6.1 rebounds while knocking down a career-high 39 percent of his 7.2 attempts from behind-the-arc.

A change of scenery might be best for both players, and a straight-up swap of the two youths might prove beneficial for both the Chicago Bulls and Sacramento Kings.

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