Proposed Trade Improves Bulls Defense in Exchange for Two-Time All-Star

Billy Donovan

Getty Images Billy Donovan

The 2022 offseason is officially underway for the Chicago Bulls after being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks 4-1. The front office will now be tasked with making the right moves this offseason to take the team to the next level.

The Bulls’ front office has mostly expressed a desire for continuity with the team’s current roster after a busy offseason last year. The team added DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso last offseason and also drafted Ayo Dosunmu with the 38th overall pick in the draft.

Chicago got off to a strong start this season before the injury bug bit the team in January. The Bulls were 27-13 when Ball went down with an injured knee on January 14 that caused him to miss the rest of the season.

A week later Alex Caruso hurt his wrist and was out until March 12. The Bulls also lost Patrick Williams early in the season to an injured wrist that caused him to miss 65 games this season.

The start the Bulls got off to this season before the injuries is a large reason why the team has expressed a desire to run it back next season. The first thing the team will have to do though is re-sign Zach LaVine, who is an unrestricted free agent.

If the Bulls can keep LaVine then the team will likely just look at small improvements they can make to the roster. Two weaknesses the team needs to address are three-point shooting and rim protection.


Proposed Trade

A new article from Greg Swartz of Bleacher Reports proposes one new trade idea for every NBA team. One of the proposed trades is a trade between the Spurs and Bulls that could improve Chicago’s defense.

Swartz proposes that the Bulls trade big man Nikola Vucevic in exchange for Jakob Poeltl, Josh Richardson, and a 2022 second-round pick(via the Lakers).

Vucevic is a skilled post player who can pass and rebound seems like a natural fit in San Antonio under Gregg Popovich and would help make life easier for Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson and others.

Chicago does this trade to improve the team’s overall defense, getting Poeltl as challenge-everything big man inside while Richardson serves as a perimeter stopper.

The Bulls also pick up a second-rounder in this year’s draft after striking gold with their second-round selection a year ago with Ayo Dosunmu.

The Bulls tried to trade for Poeltl at the deadline originally, but the offer was rejected by the Spurs. It’s still unclear what the Bulls offered the Spurs in that trade attempt.


Pros and Cons of the Trade

The addition of Poeltl could be big for the Bulls on the interior since they lacked a true inside presence this past season. Poeltl averaged 13.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game this season. According to Cleaning the Glass, he ranked in the 88th percentile in block percentage among bigs.

The addition of Richardson could help the Bulls’ bench and their three-point shooting. This past season he averaged 10.2 points per game while shooting 41.5% from three-point range.

While these additions would help the Bulls in a couple of areas, there’s one area that losing Vucevic would hurt and that’s scoring. Vucevic averaged 17.6 points and 11 rebounds per game this season and his numbers went up during the playoffs to 19.4 points and 12.4 rebounds per game.

If the Bulls did make a deal like this they would need to look to add another player along the line to help with scoring. Before the Bulls do anything though they’ll likely wait and see what LaVine decides.

 

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