After a couple of days to get over their third straight loss, and fourth in five tries, the Chicago Bulls (9-14) get back to action against the Washington Wizards. But, with the way this season is going, could we see these two teams come together on a trade?
Last season, the Bulls didn’t suffer their 14th loss until mid-January and sat atop the East until after the All-Star break.
This season, they are 12th in the East while also being 3.5 games out of the four-seed.
“The Bulls…feel like they’re running on fumes,” writes Zach Buckley for Bleacher Report. “Maybe a healthy Lonzo Ball could pull them out of their funk, but…their offense is depressingly bad (26th in efficiency), their Big Three too often steps on one another’s toes, and there’s zero indication a leap from Patrick Williams is happening any time soon. Or at all.”
Time for a Change?
Buckley alludes to Ball’s still-unknown timeline to return following offseason knee surgery as a reason to doubt the Bulls can pull themselves out of this funk. His solution is, like many others, that they prepare for a reboot.
“Chicago could be ready for a change, and this deal would start to sketch out some long-term direction. Rui Hachimura is a really skilled scorer, Johnny Davis is still only a few months removed from being the 10th overall pick, and the draft pick would help fill some of the void created by previous deals. Will Barton is a serviceable role player or a chip for a separate swap should the Bulls torpedo into a tank job in hopes of saving the top-four-protected pick they owe the Orlando Magic.”
DeRozan is still performing at a high level averaging 25.5 points on 59.4% true shooting (the second-highest mark of his career) in his 14th NBA season.
Hachimura, 24, is averaging 11.3 points on 54.2% true shooting with 4.8 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in a bench role.
Davis, 20, hasn’t been able to make an impact to this point at the NBA level. But in nine G League games with the Capital City Go-Go, Davis is averaging 12.8 points with 3.8 boards, 1.7 assists, and 1.2 steals while knocking down 35.3% of his looks from beyond the arc.
Barton, 31, is in the midst of a down year averaging just 7.4 points on 46.4% true shooting. But he is a capable 3-&-D wing who can put the ball on the deck and make plays.
The selling point would have to be the draft pick. Chicago is already familiar with how significant a lightly protected pick can be and this has a chance to give them a pick quicker than some other suggestions such as a package including the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2027 and 2029 first-rounders.
Washington currently owes a first-round pick from a previous deal but it doesn’t figure to convey with them currently slated to be in the lottery. This deal would almost certainly elevate them out of that spot with DeRozan alongside Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma, and Kristaps Porzingis.
That is the only first-rounder they owe out, though.
The other major obstacle is the Bulls themselves. They are said to consider DeRozan – as well as teammate Zach LaVine – untouchable in trade talks.
How wise it is to consider a 33-year-old on a losing team untouchable aside, teams often posture this way as a negotiation tactic. Generally, what that stance means is it would take a substantial offer to pry said star loose.
Under those criteria, it is difficult to say there is enough return on investment in this proposal.