In the hours before February’s NBA trade deadline hit, the Chicago Bulls were said to have had conversations with the New York Knicks on a Zach LaVine deal. And while there’s no telling exactly what the Windy City crew would have gotten back for the two-time All-Star, there’s little doubt that the move would have been transformative.
After the Bulls stumbled to a sub-.500 record and a play-in spot as the East’s No. 10-ranked team, many would argue that transformation should be the ultimate goal, too.
Dealing LaVine to the Knicks likely would have meant leaning hard into a rebuild. However, the argument could be made that the club ought to be making moves to maximize its competitive capability right now as opposed to focusing solely on the future.
One trade target with the potential to improve the Bulls’ standing now and later is Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic, who may be feeling some frustration with his current situation given the Mavs’ current existence outside the playoff mix. Per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, the team is already worried he’ll ask out.
Regardless of what happens with Doncic in the Big D, though, one analyst is exceedingly cold on Chicago’s ability to make a play for him.
CBS Spots: The Chicago Bulls Are About as Far From Being in a Position to Trade for Luka Doncic as a Team Can Be
CBS Sports’ Sam Quinn just took a long, hard look at the Doncic situation, examining each of the NBA’s 29 other teams as potential trade destinations. Alas, he saw fit to put the Bulls in the bottom or “no chance” tier, ranking them as the 28th most likely landing spot.
Patrick Williams and Ayo Dosunmu are valuable young players. You’d need a dozen of them to reach Doncic’s trade value. DeMar DeRozan’s age and Zach LaVine’s injuries mean that neither holds much value to Dallas, and even if they did, what sort of team would Doncic be joining? There’s no move here.
That definitely isn’t what embattled Bulls fans want to hear, but the assessment rings true.
A few years back, Williams was arguably Chicago’s most important long-term piece and best trade asset. Now, though, the bloom is officially off the rose. The 21-year-old did make a measure of progress this season, averaging a career-best 10.3 points per game and shooting 41.7% but, in year three, he hardly looks like the two-way ace many had hoped he would be.
In fact, his defensive rating of 113.4 is the worst mark teamwide.
Meanwhile, Dosunmu is still figuring things out and DeRozan’s age and LaVine’s knee issues would be a concern for anyone, not just the Mavs. Even the Bulls should be wary of their current core breaking down. Finally, the Bulls don’t have the draft capital necessary to sweeten the pot for Dallas, either.
So, Bulls fans probably shouldn’t be holding their breath waiting for chief decision-maker Arturas Karnisovas to make a miracle play securing Doncic’s services.
Patrick Williams Speaks Out on Playing All 82 Games
Of all the steps forward Williams did take this season, staying healthy was arguably the biggest. After appearing in a combined 88 games for the Bulls over his first two seasons — including just 17 last season — the baller suited up for 82 of 82 in 2022-23.
It’s a milestone that isn’t lost on the former No. 4 pick.
“After missing so many games last year, I didn’t want to miss anything that I can control,” Williams said, via NBC Sports Chicago. “Prehab, rehab, making sure I’m physically and mentally there. I want to play them all. That was my mindset coming in.
“It’s a blessing to play all 82. It was something that I definitely wanted to do and something I want to continue to do throughout the course of my career.”