The Chicago Bulls have a situation.
Second-year forward Patrick Williams is out for the season with a wrist injury and the already smallish roster just got even smaller.
It would appear a trade might be in order to at least replace the size the team loses with Williams out of the lineup.
ESPN’s Kevin Pelton suggests the Bulls package Derrick Jones Jr. and sharpshooter Matt Thomas in a deal with the Houston Rockets. Pelton wrote:
Jones has played two minutes over the season’s first five games. His DNP-CDs have underscored Chicago’s decision to acquire Jones and a future first-round pick from the Blazers in the August sign-and-trade deal sending forward Lauri Markkanen to the Cleveland Cavaliers rather than simply keeping forward/center Larry Nance Jr., who went to Portland. If Jones can’t find a foothold in the Bulls’ rotation, his $9.7 million salary on an expiring contract could make him an attractive trade candidate. For example, sending Jones and guard Matt Thomas (whose salary is non-guaranteed) to the Houston Rockets for D.J. Augustin and Danuel House Jr. would give Chicago another forward who plays bigger than his size in House without affecting either team’s salary-cap situation much.
The Bulls Have to Make a Move if They’re Serious About Playoff Contention
You have to love how scrappy Chicago has been this season, and there is no reason to believe their defensive effort will wane. However, at some point, playing without any semblance of a power forward is going to catch up with them. House is an interesting option, but if Chicago is going to make a move to add a player to pick up some of the power forward minutes, you have to wonder why they wouldn’t try to acquire someone with a little more size.
The one thing you have to love about House is his ability to shoot it from three (he’s made 36% of his threes for his career and 40% so far this season), but he’s 6’7″ and that’s still not ideal size.
Preferably, the Bulls can add a player who is capable of playing power forward and some small-ball center. That’s part of the vision head coach Billy Donovan had for Williams.
Chicago Bulls Should Avoid Trading Coby White…For Now
There has been talk of dealing Coby White once he gets healthy, but if there is anything we learned from the Bulls’ 104-103 loss to the New York Knicks on Thursday it’s that Chicago needs some scoring off the bench.
The hope is that White provides that scoring punch when he returns from injury next month. It would be ideal for the Bulls to find some power forward help in a trade like the one listed above, and to have White return and be the Windy City version of Jordan Clarkson or Lou Williams.
With that, the Bulls could potentially replace some of what Williams provides while still adding a valuable scoring option off the bench. There may still be a good reason to deal White closer to the trade deadline, but early into his return it’s more advisable to observe how much he can help this group before considering shipping him off in a deal.
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