Speculation over the Chicago Bulls’ future figures to increase as the February trade deadline draws closer.
At 7-14, they are just four games out of the 10-seed and a would-be spot in the Play-In Tournament. But the situation has devolved to the point that the “main organizational focus” is finding a trade for Zach LaVine, per NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson. If that is the case, maximizing their return is critical.
Dan Favale of Bleacher Report has an idea for a “realistic” ideal to do just that.
“Neither the Bulls nor LaVine seems like they want their relationship to last any longer,” Favale wrote on December 5. “Exiting any trade with two firsts, a recent lottery pick and a smattering of short-term contracts is a win for the Bulls at this point.”
– Zach LaVine
– Terry Taylor
Achiuwa and Dick are both former first-round picks. The Miami Heat selected Achiuwa with the No. 20 overall pick in the 2020 draft.
He spent his rookie season with the Heat before they traded him to the Raptors for Kyle Lowry ahead of the 2021-22 season. Achiuwa is averaging 7.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.0 assists seeing a hair over 18 minutes per game in his 14 appearances this season. The points are a step back from the previous two seasons, battling injuries last year.
Achiuwa has dealt with injuries this season too. But his assists and rebounds are up.
Dick was the No. 13 overall pick in this year’s draft. A sharpshooter in college who connected on 40.3% of his looks in his lone season at Kansas, Dick is averaging 3.9 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 1.0 assists while shooting 24.4% to start this season.
Boucher is a two-time champion, winning one ring apiece with the Raptors in 2019 and the Golden State Warriors in 2018.
He is averaging 6.9 points and 3.9 rebounds this season, both steps back from last season as his role has been reduced. Boucher went from averaging over 20 minutes per game last season to fewer than 15 minutes this season. But he has found a new level of efficiency from beyond the arc, connecting on 42.4% of his 1.8 deep looks per game, his fewest since 2018-19.
Boucher is in Year 2 of a three-year, $35.2 million contract and has been linked to the Bulls.
“They need some size and help defensively with big wings and forwards,” an anonymous executive said, per Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney in April. Chris Boucher is a guy who makes a lot of sense with them if they have the money to bring him in.”
Trent picked up the final year of his three-year, $51.8 million contract this offseason. He is averaging 11.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and shooting 36.4% on threes this season.
Raptors Trade Pitch Would Meet Bulls’ Rumored Asking Price
“One league source said the Bulls would be focused on getting a good young player, multiple first-round picks and salary filler if they decide to trade LaVine,” wrote NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson on June 19. “Another said one first-round pick and an established, high-end player might be sufficiently intriguing.”
Dick has not lived up to his pre-draft billing yet. But he and Achiuwa are both young enough to invest in their development.
Boucher and Trent could buy the Bulls some more time with their other veterans.
“This return also insulates Chicago against a full teardown,” Favale continues. “Another team may need to be looped in here to help Chicago with its roster-spot crunch. Toronto may also need to line up subsequent moves to increase its wiggle room under the tax.”
The Bulls cannot trade Taylor until December 15 since he re-signed this offseason. But this proposal would shave roughly $1 million from the Bulls’ bottom line this season. That’s even with Boucher and Trent. Their contracts are worth $87 million combined with salaries totaling more than $30 million this season.
Teams Not Interested in Zach LaVine Trade
The Bulls may have overplayed their hand with LaVine. From the early whispers about their reaching out to teams to test the waters on trade interest to now with both sides willing to seek out a new home for the two-time All-Star, LaVine’s value has not increased.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported there is no market for LaVine at this time with teams concerned about his long-term health and ability to contribute in a winning situation.
If that is the case, an offer such as what Favale proposes might be too good to pass on.