If the Chicago Bulls are going to make a trade on draft night, the likely scenario would be to move up in the process, says one insider. That is contrary to the notion that they could possibly flip that pick for veteran help, per NBC Sports Chicago’s Rob Schaefer.
Not that they would not still consider that. But the “safe bet” would be for them to use the pick, per NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson.
Johnson also called rumors of Rudy Gobert coming to Chicago “overblown” and added that, should they look to trade their pick, Coby White would likely be attached. That too has been a common rumor this offseason.
It is the direction they would try to go that is surprising.
Bet on the Bulls Making the Pick
The Bulls could indeed try to package White and the 18th-overall pick, per Johnson. That much has been in the rumor mill for weeks now. An executive told Heavy’s Sean Deveney that the Bulls could package White for Philadelphia 76ers wing, Matisse Thybulle.
That talk has cooled.
But White trade rumors have persisted even as Johnson continues to remind everyone of Bulls vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas’ goal for continuity.
“The safe bet is that Karnišovas keeps his core and uses the pick. Or that if a trade is made, it’s perhaps a package deal involving Coby White to move up in the draft.”
Keeping whomever they select in the NBA Draft on June 23 has arguably been the least discussed scenario for these Bulls. As Johnson notes, their aggressive nature the past two seasons has led to a belief that a “win-now” approach would rule out another rookie.
They did strike relative gold with former second-round pick, Ayo Dosunmu, taken 38th-overall last June.
The organization is still waiting on Patrick Williams to put together a complete season and show what he truly is, though. Taken fourth-overall in 2021, Williams’ immense potential has led to the Bulls declining to include him in deals for either Gobert or Jerami Grant.
Possibly Going Up
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported that rival teams believe the Bulls “do not love their options” in terms of prospects projected to be on the board when they are slated to pick. Givony has them taking Ohio State guard Malaki Branham if they stay put.
Branham’s college teammate, E.J. Liddell, had an impressive workout, per the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley, and could be available.
Dosunmu is a testament to Karnisovas’ ability to find talent even very late in the draft.
The Bulls wanting to get a better shot at a prospect that can contribute from Day 1 makes sense. Their window to compete might be right now. An older, more ready-made prospect such as Liddell might be the conventional approach.
As Johnson notes, though, little about Karnisovas’ tenure has been conventional
Brian Windhorst also reported on the Jun 21 episode of “The Hoop Collective” podcast that teams at the back end of the lottery were interested in moving out of their slots.
That could create the perfect storm for the Bulls to jump a few spots for a prospect they like.
They would have a better chance at prospects such as Baylor forward Jeremy Sochan whom Johnson writes possesses versatility that could intrigue the Bulls. Or Duke center Mark Williams who said he has also worked out for the team.
Former Top-10 Pick Could Be on the Move
Johnson’s report is further confirmation that Williams appears to be the major holdup in a Gobert deal. Darnell Mayberry and Tony Jones of The Athletic both reported their belief that any deal for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year would have to include the forward.
The Bulls’ belief that he can develop into an “impact player” is well-documented and an executive told Deveney they would practice patience with him.
White, on the other hand, faces a different set of circumstances.
Williams was Karnisova’s first draft pick while White was the last of previous Bulls’ vice president John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman. He is one of just two players from the previous regime left on the roster along with free agent Zach LaVine.
Both Johnson and Cowley have suggested a White trade is likely this offseason.
Karnisovas said whether or not they need to keep the pick, “depends on who gets there, if you like them or not” during his exit interview.
Trading up would be one way to ensure they land a player that they like.