There’s just one game between the Chicago Bulls and the NBA’s All-Star break, and just 10 games between them and the March 25th trade deadline. And while they’re being monitored as potential sellers, could they be buyers, too?
Everyone knows veteran Thaddeus Young is the Bulls’ top trade chip. So, Chicago should explore every potential avenue of a trade that sees the 32-year old forward depart the Windy City. How about a Spencer Dinwiddie swap?
Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated recently confirmed that the Brooklyn Nets are shopping the sidelined point guard. Then SNY’s Ian Begley followed that up with a report that the Detroit Pistons reached out to gauge interest, too.
Dinwiddie suffered a partial ACL tear in Brooklyn’s third game of the season and underwent successful surgery on it back in early January. He’s expected to make a full recovery by the start of the 2021-2022 campaign.
Meanwhile, the Nets are looking to make the most of this season, the first of which where Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have (well, kind of) shared the floor at Barclays Center. That much became apparent when they went all-in on a deal for James Harden, relinquishing three first-round picks and four future pick swaps in a three-team trade.
They’re currently 23-13, 9-1 over their last 10, and the second seed in the Eastern Conference.
Brooklyn Needs Defensive Help in the Frontcourt
While Thaddeus Young may not qualify as your typical center, he’s played a career-high 48 percent of his minutes this season at the center position, per Basketball Reference. And the Nets, well, they could use some center help in a big way, after sending stud center Jarrett Allen to the Cleveland Cavaliers as apart of the Harden trade.
In fact, Brooklyn is one of few teams that are giving up more points in the paint than Chicago this season. The Nets are allowing 51.1 points compared to the Bulls’ 49.9 on a nightly basis, per NBA.com.
Now, it makes sense to question how Young could help one of few teams doing worse than his own in that department, but remember that any trade that sees him land in Brooklyn would also see him play the five a lot more. The Nets’ power forward rotation is currently clogged, with Kevin Durant averaging 36 minutes a night when healthy.
And despite the promising play of Nicolas Claxton in his return to the floor, it’s hard to see a championship contender putting a majority of trust in the 21-year old come playoff time.
Young is a smart, high-IQ defensive player. It’s what’s made him all the more valuable ahead of this year’s trade deadline. He’d also provide the Nets with another playmaking big, behind a career-high 4.3 assists average.
It makes sense for Brooklyn, but does it make sense for Chicago?
The Bulls Should Be Open to Any Potential Point Guard Fix
Even with some incredibly troubling issues on the defensive end, particularly in the paint and at the rim, Chicago’s dealing with an even bigger question at point guard. Like, who’s going to be starting at that position next year?
Right now second-year guard Coby White’s manning the helm, and while he’s been scoring over anyone, he’s not the distributor this Bulls team very well may need to get over the hump as a potential playoff team.
The 21-year old guard is averaging 5.1 assists, yes, but is making a lot of mistakes when the ball’s forced his way. White’s averaging 4.3 turnovers over Chicago’s last three games, but to be fair, only 2.4 on the year.
Still, there’s no questioning who the better player is between him and a healthy Dinwiddie. The Brooklyn guard and annual sixth man of the year candidate averaged 20.6 points and 6.8 assists over 64 games for the Nets last season.
On top of that, the two guards could play alongside each other, allowing Coby White to continue diving into an off-ball role, which is potentially the best fit for his style of play.
Do the Ends Justify the Means for Chicago?
All this said, and potential fit aside, this would be a risky trade for the Bulls to pull the trigger on.
As much as no one cares to discuss it, there is a chance that Dinwiddie doesn’t come back the same player. A lot of his success was based on his ability to drive downhill at defense bending speeds. If Dinwiddie’s lost a step, or two or three, by the time he comes back, Chicago’s going to be looking back with distaste at how this all went down.
Young is a guy that right now, is doing things on the floor that are helping this team win. To sacrifice him for a guy they won’t see until the start of next season, well, would likely require some additional incentive.
Based on the haul they sent out for Harden, it’s fairly obvious the Nets are rather depleted in the asset department. And as much as they’re not ready to hand the keys over to Claxton, it’s unlikely that they’d send him out in any deal. Brooklyn could potentially have three second-round picks in the upcoming draft, but is one of those enough?
Or would it take two, or all three? We saw the Detroit Pistons send out four second-round picks in the three-team trade that netted them the 19th overall pick in last year’s draft. But again, how certain would the Bulls be that they could pull off a similar deal? Is a dice roll on Dinwiddie a fair price for their second-best player?