The Chicago Bulls desperately need a point guard, but how much would they be willing to give up to get someone like Damian Lillard? One analyst came up with a deal that would work financially, but who says no first?
NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson rolls out a trade concept that would send shockwaves through the NBA and make the Bulls one of the must-watch teams in 2021-22.
A four-for-one package constructed around Patrick Williams, Coby White, Al-Farouq Aminu and Young or Satoranský, for example, would work financially. The Bulls may also make additions through trades, free agency or re-signings that could eventually be included if the trade is made next season. But then, does that deal — or any collection of players the Bulls may put on the table — work from a value perspective? Heaps of draft capital would have to be involved, especially for a Trail Blazers team in need in that department. But by way of the Vučević trade, the Bulls are restricted in their ability to trade future first-round draft picks. Those restrictions are incredibly complicated — thank the Stepien Rule, which disallows teams trading consecutive future first-rounders
Chicago would almost certainly need to throw in some draft assets, which is a complex deal, as Johnson pointed out. This is part of the reason Johnson doesn’t believe a Lillard to Chicago deal is realistic.
Why the Blazers Might Say No
In addition to the potential draft picks, Williams would be the key to deal for the Blazers. If Portland is going to part ways with their megastar, they will want a young, up-and-coming star and the potential to turn their take into more of the same.
The primary question for Portland might be: Is Williams a future star? There are some questions, and the Bulls rookie discussed the problematic transition into adopting a more aggressive approach last month, per Johnson.
This is the player they want me to be. It takes some getting used to, especially for me because it’s not natural to go out there and be aggressive, but this is who I gotta be in order to be the player that I want to be in this league. So I’m up for the challenge.
That sounds promising but also worrisome. Some may question if Williams possesses the intangibles necessary to be an alpha. If Portland is looking to get a young player with that trait, they may be more attracted to one like Michael Porter Jr., who is chomping at the bit for a more prominent role.
Why the Bulls Might Say No
Chicago loves Williams, and parting ways with him might be too much to ask.
Donovan praised Williams to Johnson, and acknowledged the young forward’s potential.
I get that he’s the fourth player taken in the draft. He’s got great upside. He hasn’t even come close to touching his ceiling. These are just things he’s going to have to go through.
Remember, as great as Lillard is, he’s 30 years old and not considered a great defender. Aside from a need for improved point guard play, better overall defense–especially on the perimeter is Chicago’s other major problem.
What does the Bulls’ defense look like with Lillard, Zach LaVine, and Vucevic? They will never struggle to score, but this trio would need an insanely good pair of defensive-minded forwards and a bench built similarly.
That might be a tall ask, and with Lillard and Vucevic aging, would the window be too small? That’s the question.
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