Jerami Grant’s name has been bandied about more than most as NBA trade deadline fodder, and the Chicago Bulls have been oft mentioned as a potential landing spot. He makes sense as a target, too, given the sheer volume of injuries the club has suffered in the frontcourt this season.
More recently, though, it has been Chicago’s backcourt getting smashed. Regardless, when Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso eventually return, that hole at power forward will likely remain. So, it should come as no surprise that Grant was once again namechecked as the Bulls’ “dream” trade target by Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz.
However, some Bulls fans aren’t sold on Grant as the answer, and it would undoubtedly take a lot for the team to get him out of Detroit; think Patrick Williams and Derrick Jones Jr. just as a starting point for discussions.
The other two ballers comprising Swartz’s top three for the Bulls may just fit the bill, however, and they’d undoubtedly come at a much cheaper price.
Blazers’ Larry Nance Jr. a ‘Realistic’ Option
While Grant was listed by Swartz as the dream target, Portland Trail Blazers forward Larry Nance Jr. was given the distinction of being the Bulls’ “realistic” trade option. Given the current situation with Dame Lillard’s club, it stands to reason that the Blazers would be willing to move him.
More than that, though, Nance would provide a much-needed boost on both sides of the ball for the Bulls and could probably be had for a lot less than it would take to get Grant.
At 6-foot-7 and 245 pounds with a 7-foot-1 wingspan and a crafty game, Nance is big and long enough to contend with the Association’s top bigs, yet quick and athletic enough to defend out to the perimeter. Moreover, his versatile offensive game would make for a nice complement to the Bulls’ big guns.
Although raw his numbers have dipped a bit this season, Nance put up 9.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.7 steals per contest for the Cavs in 2020-21. And his per 36-minute production has actually changed very little.
Swinging Jones’ expiring contract for Nance straight-up works financially, and the Bulls could include a second-round pick to sweeten the deal. And with the Blazers’ season essentially lost, lowering their luxury tax bill, getting assets and improving their flexibility going forward should be the order of the day.
This trade would accomplish all three.
Batum Is the ‘Sneaky’ Target
Rounding out Swartz’s top three for the Bulls was his “sneaky” target, LA Clippers big man Nicolas Batum, whose versatile skill set and years of playoff experience could be a boon for the Bulls’ frontcourt.
So far this season, Batum is putting up 9.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game. He’s also shooting 49.2% from the field and 41.8% from three-point range.
Although the Clippers moving Serge Ibaka seems like a much more likely scenario, it could still be worth Chicago’s while to at least inquire about Batum’s availability, especially while the club still owns a $5 million trade exception from the Daniel Theis deal.