The NBA trade deadline is Thursday, and the Chicago Bulls must make a definitive statement about their present and future. It would appear things are aligning for a potential deal.
On Tuesday, we learned per The Athletic’s Shams Charania the Bulls are listening to offers for Lauri Markkanen.
Likewise, there are reports from Yahoo! Sports’ Vincent Goodwill that suggest the Indiana Pacers are open to moving guard Malcolm Brogdon and potentially listening to inquiries on Domantas Sabonis.
Multiple teams are saying the Indiana Pacers are listening to pitches on Malcolm Brogdon and are monitoring Domantas Sabonis as well. On Brogdon, the belief is the Pacers feel Caris LeVert can man the point guard adequately enough should they get a real deal for Brogdon, who’s in the second year of a four-year, $85 million contract.
NBA insider Brandon Robinson reported that Charlotte Hornets and Pacers had already discussed a deal involving Myles Turner.
These are all just rumors, but there is enough there for us to concoct a realistic trade that would land the Bulls a new starting point guard and center.
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Markkanen would have to be involved, and much to the chagrin of some Bulls fans, a draft pick would need to be included as well.
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In this proposed deal, the Bulls would part ways with expiring contracts, their current starting point guard, and draft picks in exchange for the opportunity to remake their roster.
- PG/SG Malcolm Brogdan
- C Myles Turner
- PG TJ McConnell
- PF Lauri Markkanen
- PG Tomas Satoransky
- SF/PF Otto Porter Jr.
- 2021 First-Round Pick
- 2022 Second-Round Pick
Here is a look at the financials on the NBA Trade Machine.
If the Bulls completed this deal, they would have a starting lineup of Brogdan, Zach LaVine, Patrick Williams, Thaddeus Young, and Turner. The bench would be strong with McConnell, Coby White, Garrett Temple, Wendell Carter Jr., Daniel Gafford, and Denzel Valentine. There’s a chance Chandler Hutchinson and Adam Mokoka could make an impact if needed down the stretch.
That’s not a bad rotation by any stretch, and it is definitely a playoff team in the Eastern Conference with room to grow in the future. Young has been productive and valuable, but the power forward or small forward position would be the area where the Bulls could improve in the future.
McConnell’s peskiness reminds you of Ryan Arcidiacono, only he’s not nearly as useless on the offensive end, and he’s a hair better of an athlete. Losing the first-round pick in 2021 would hurt.
However, Chicago still has a second-round selection, mid-level exceptions, and about $20 million in potential expiring deals coming off the books with the contracts of Temple, Cristiano Felicio, Valentine, and Luke Kornet expiring at the end of the season.
Brogdan and Turner are having strong years statistically. Brogdan is averaging 21.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game while putting up shooting slashes of 46/40/88.
Turner is leading the NBA in blocked shots at 3.4 per game to go with 13.2 points and 6.2 rebounds. His presence in the middle would improve the Bulls’ defense by leaps and bounds.
The Pacers would be dumping two huge salaries they are locked into for the next two seasons and parting ways with their own expiring deal in McConnell.
Meanwhile, they would pick up a mid-first round pick to go with their own likely lottery selection, Porter Jr’s large expiring contract, which would make them an immediate player on the free-agent market, and they’d get a look at Markkanen before deciding if it’s best to let him become an unrestricted free agent.
If the Pacers are sellers and the Bulls decide to go all out, this is a deal that works for both teams.
Bulls Should Try to Win, and Moving Markkanen Makes Sense
Even if this isn’t the deal, the Bulls should still try to make the playoffs, and moving Markkanen gives them the best shot.
It’s a young team that has experienced too much losing in a short period of time. LaVine needs and deserves to have a front office try to put players around him.
Remember, he hasn’t been extended yet, and the New York Knicks and other teams will come calling if LaVine ever hits free agency. He has proven himself to Chicago, and now it’s time the organization proves its commitment to support him.
The 23-year-old Markkanen is the key to a deal because he is headed for restricted free agency in the offseason, and many don’t believe the Bulls would be inclined to match an offer sheet for him. That’s likely what has prompted the inquiries.
The Bulls are 19-23 on the season and currently 1.5 games out of the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They’re on the edge of being a playoff team, but in this spot, it’s time for Chicago to decide whether they’re going to try to make the postseason this year or take their lumps in hopes of improving draft stock this summer.
Because the team has shown some flashes, there is a contingent in Chicago who would like to see the team as buyers rather than sellers. Moving Markkanen would allow Chicago to do a little bit of both.
All eyes will be on the clock on Thursday. All deals have to be into the league by 4 pm ET. Stay tuned.
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