The Chicago Bulls are 6-9 on the season, and it’s looking like they could struggle to contend for the postseason. In turn, they could be forced to shake things up by the trade deadline. Making moves to improve their ceiling now is important, but they also need to consider their future.
A trade that could be worth considering for Chicago would be a deal with the San Antonio Spurs, and it would involve one of the Bulls’ stars – Nikola Vucuevic.
Here’s the outline of a potential deal:
Bulls receive: Jakob Poeltl, Josh Richardson
Spurs receive: Vucevic, 2023 1st-Round Pick (via POR), 2026 2nd-Round Pick
Vucevic has played well for the Bulls this season. He’s putting up solid numbers as Chicago’s third option. But he’s in the final year of his deal, and at 32 years old, there have to be some questions regarding how much he has left in the tank.
Trading for Poeltl and Richardson would not only improve their depth, but it would change the long-term outlook of the team. Poeltl is just 27 years old, and Richardson is 29. While both are in the last years of their contracts as well, they provide a better fit for Chicago and could be re-signed moving forward.
Why Bulls Make This Trade
So far this year, Poeltl has appeared in 15 games and has played 28.8 minutes per contest. He has averaged 13.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 3.7 assists on 65.9% shooting from the field. The big man is also averaging 0.9 steals and 1.2 blocks per game.
The defensive end is where Poeltl has shined. He has slowly become one of the better interior defenders in the NBA due to his height and length. And at just 27 years old, he would be able to grow with the Bulls moving forward. Chicago would lose a bit of shooting at the big man position, but they would gain some at the wing.
That’s where Richardson comes in. He’s been playing very well for the Spurs this year and would provide the Bulls with some much-needed perimeter shooting at the wing position.
In his 14 games this year, he has played 23.4 minutes per contest. Richardson is putting up 10.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists on 40.2% shooting from the field and 35.7% shooting from distance. Plus, Richardson would give the Bulls an extra perimeter defender to throw out there.
Why Spurs Make This Trade
In short, picks. The Spurs have gotten off to a nice start this year, but they are not in any position to compete for the playoffs. It’s likely that they end the season making a push for the top lottery odds rather than a Play-In spot.
Trading for Vucevic would only be for salary-matching purposes. Once Vucevic made his way to San Antonio, it seems likely that the two parties would agree on some sort of buyout. Or, if that isn’t the case, he could sit out the remainder of the season, similar to the situation with Al Horford and the Oklahoma City Thunder a couple of seasons ago. The two picks they would get in this deal would be the primary reason for making it for the Spurs.
San Antonio gets draft capital, and the Bulls get added depth and a better future outlook.