Wild Trade Proposal Would Land Bulls John Collins

Getty John Collins

The Chicago Bulls‘ trade proposals these days are about as common as DeMar DeRozan’s midrange shooting success. Translation: We’re seeing plenty of them.

Most of the trade concepts involve the Bulls parting ways with Patrick Williams, Derrick Jones Jr, Coby White, Troy Brown Jr, and/or the first-round pick from the Portland Trail Blazers.

This one is no different, though the prize is arguably the most attractive you’ll see in any trade idea. Take a look at the deal cooked up by The Athletic’s Will Gottlieb:

The Bulls Get:

  • Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
  • John Collins

The Hawks Get:

  • Derrick Jones Jr.
  • Patrick Williams
  • Troy Brown Jr.
  • Portland’s No. 1 Pick

Gottlieb’s explanation of both the Atlanta Hawks’ and Bulls’ motivations for this deal are on point.


The Bulls are a Legitimate Championship Contender With This Deal

A starting five of Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Collins and Nikols Vucevic could lay claim to the best starting unit in the NBA. When you extend out to Alex Caruso, Coby White, Ayo Dosunmu and perhaps Tony Bradley, Javonte Green, Malcolm Hill or a buyout big man, a healthy Bulls team might have the best 8-9-man rotation in the NBA.

As Gottlieb mentioned, Thomas’ ability to play small-ball 5 gives the team great protection in the even Vucevic’s inconsistent play continues or even worsens. It also gives the Bulls an opportunity to move Vooch at some point during the offseason.

Collins is just 24 years old, and despite the fact that he signed a huge extension in the offseason (5-year, $125 million) his youth softens the potential blow of parting ways with Williams. For Collins’ career, he has averaged 16.7 points, 8.4 rebounds while making 39% of his threes and 78% of his free throws. Those are the kinds of numbers you hope Williams will produce in the next couple of years, and Collins is getting them already.

He would thrive in the Bulls’ offense playing off LaVine and by having his athleticism rewarded in transition from Ball and Caruso.

TLC is a solid perimeter defender who has struggled to knock down perimeter shots consistently during his career. He played 29 games with the Bulls during the 2018-19 season before his contract expired in 2019. He is essentially a throw-in who would give the Bulls back some of their wing depth.


Full Hawks Rebuild

If Atlanta completes this trade, they are completely pressing reset and looking to build around Trae Young with a different cast of characters. The only pieces the Bulls would be sending their way with a chance to stick is Williams and the guy they draft with the Blazers’ first-round pick.

As Gottlieb mentions, Atlanta would be shedding a big salary, which allows them to perhaps go shopping for a better-suited replacement in the offseason when a good portion of salaries Chicago used to match Collins’ deal expire.

Hawks fans will probably hate this deal in the immediate, as it makes the Hawks less competitive (Williams might not even play again this season), but in the long term, Atlanta could be positioned for a quick resurgence.

A young core of Young, Williams, DeAndre Hunter and Okongwu isn’t a bad look. With renewed financial flexibility, that nucleus could get a lot better with a few signings. The Bulls are living proof a team can get exponentially better by signing the right group of free agents.

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Phil Bergonio
Phil Bergonio
3 months ago

Just to clarify the Hawks end here, Atlanta is a fringe “luxury tax” team with Collins. If you take him out, they are still over the cap for 2022-23. So any improvements like you allude to would have to come via the non-taxpayer MLE.

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