The Chicago Bulls are one of the talks of the 2022 NBA Draft, set to take place on Thursday, June 23. But it is not because of who they are expected to select with the 18th-overall pick that they currently hold.
Instead, there is a growing belief in league circles that the Bulls will complete a trade for Utah Jazz center, Rudy Gobert.
This has been going around the rumor mill with what could amount to public negotiations. Both Darnell Mayberry and Tony Jones of The Athletic agreed any deal would have to include a piece that Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported the Bulls are unwilling to include.
The two sides may be closer to a middle ground than previously thought.
Bulls Going Big on Draft Night
Matt Moore of the “Locked On Nuggets podcast” was discussing what could take place on draft night with his co-host, Adam Mares on the June 20 episode. Most of the conversation centered around the Denver Nuggets. But the Bulls crept in during their quasi-mock draft.
Moore mentioned the Bulls, at 18th, as being a team to watch on what should be an active evening for trades.
Per Moore, who also covers the NBA for The Action Network, Gobert will be a Bull.
“Chicago at 18…no surprise, they’re trying to stockpile assets for the Gobert trade. Which, by the way, kind of the expectation around the league is that Gobert is going to go to Chicago. That’s…what I’ve heard.”
The Bulls have always had the ability to match salaries without including Patrick Williams, whom Jones and Mayberry insist would have to be included.
A deal built around center Nikola Vucevic, Coby White, the 18th pick (after it is made on draft night), and salary filler always made more sense from the Bulls’ perspective. The question was what would the Jazz take for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year?
With reports from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst on “The Hoop Collective” podcast on April 29 that the Hawks “make the most sense” for Gobert, the Bulls’ chances seemed slim.
This puts the rumors in a new light.
Activity vs. Continuity
An interesting side note of Moore’s assertion is that the Bulls are in fact willing to move back in order to send a greater quantity of picks to the Jazz for Gobert. That would have to include a third team.
Moore suggests that the Nuggets could be that team as they possibly look to move up.
“The 21[st] and 30th [picks]are not getting you, I don’t think, in the lottery…so, if it’s like [the Jazz] want another pick, alright, let’s trade back. Pick up 21 and 30 and send that in a deal.”
That suggests a quantity over quality view of the prospects expected to be available in the back half of the draft. If it is more of a tiered drop-off as opposed to linear, it makes sense to acquire as many shots at hitting on a prospect.
The Bulls do have the rights to the Portland Trail Blazers’ first-round pick the next time they (Portland) make the postseason.
Chicago will also have access to its 2027 first-rounder, the first year it would own it outright.
It will all come down to what Utah can realistically get for Gobert. If they ultimately feel the need to move him at all, that is. It has been reported that they are comfortable running it back with both Gobert and teammate Donovan Mitchell one more time.
Draft Week Bulls Buzz
This week was always going to be chock full of rumors. Bulls vice president of basketball operations, Aruturas Karnisovas, eluded to as much in his exit interview noting that the picture for the offseason becomes clearer as the draft draws closer.
Just three days away from the draft and the Bulls’ second-biggest rumor of the offseason – the first regarding Zach LaVine’s potential exit – is alive and well.
We still have to wait until draft night to see if it all comes together on draft night.