The Chicago Bulls are in a tough position. It doesn’t seem like the current core is good enough to compete for a championship, especially considering injuries, and so a lot of people have begun looking toward the trade market.
Well, the Phoenix Suns might be dealing with some issues of their own. Deandre Ayton still seems disgruntled, and on ESPN’s NBA Today, Kendrick Perkins said that Phoenix should trade him. Why not send him to Chicago?
Here’s an outline of a potential trade:
Bulls receive: Ayton
Suns receive: Nikola Vucevic, Alex Caruso, Javonte Green, 2027 1st-Round Pick (Lottery Protected)
ESPN showed a video of Ayton getting into it with Mikal Bridges during some free throws, as well as a video of Ayton getting into it with head coach Monty Williams in a huddle. That led to Perkins relaying the message that the Suns will have to trade him.
“It is something. It is something. And it’s something with the guy you drafted number one about three years ago in Deandre Ayton, and the head coach. It’s not a small thing. This is a big thing,” Perkins explained. “So, this fire has already been lit, and I don’t believe that you can put it out. In my opinion, it looks like Deandre Ayton is the scapegoat. It looks like the team doesn’t have the patience for him. Whether or not he don’t fit the culture of their organization or he doesn’t go about doing things the way others do. To me, it seems like they don’t embrace him with open arms. And right now, I don’t see no coming back from this. I actually think, when he’s eligible to get traded, they’re going to have to trade him.”
Nikola Vucevic Helps Suns, Deandre Ayton Helps Bulls
From the perspective of the Bulls, this trade would be a great way to begin a rebuild. DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine would still be on the squad, but they could be moved in other trades at the deadline or this summer. Building around Ayton may not be the pathway to a championship, but he’s a solid young piece to start with.
He’s been putting up solid numbers for Phoenix this year, and if given enough freedom, he could grow into something more. The big man has appeared in 28 of the team’s 32 games this year and is playing 28.9 minutes per contest. Ayton is averaging 17.6 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game on 62.4% shooting from the field and 33.3% shooting from beyond the three-point arc.
Meanwhile, the Suns would benefit from Vucevic’s playstyle, as well as the added depth that would come with this deal. Vucevic has appeared in all 31 of the Bulls’ games this year and is playing 32.5 minutes per contest. He’s averaging 16.8 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game on 51.5% shooting from the floor and 37.1% shooting from distance.
His offensive game would give the Suns a boost, as they’d have a stretch big to run things through. Meanwhile, Caruso’s two-way play could fill in the gaps at the guard position, and Green would give them another option at the forward position alongside Torrey Craig and Cameron Johnson (once healthy).
Bulls Could Start Rebuild Very Soon
While the current Chicago core has only been together for a couple of seasons, it’s already become clear that something isn’t right. According to an Eastern Conference executive who spoke with Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports, a rebuild could be incoming.
“A full rebuild kind of thing, that is not going to happen this year, but they could get started on it,” the exec told Deveney. “They’re not going to trade away Zach LaVine during the season. They will have an easier time with moving on from DeMar DeRozan if that is where they go, but even that, it is something they would wait until the summer to do rather than try to pull off a move at the deadline.”