The Chicago Bulls might want to look into trading for Richaun Holmes of the Sacramento Kings. Heading into a critical offseason, Bulls vice president of basketball operations, Arturas Karnisovas is tasked with closing a sizeable gap in the best-case scenario.
Assuming Zach LaVine re-signs, they still have to catch up to the upper-echelon teams writes the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley.
As The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry explained, that is still far from a given at this point.
Holmes can provide many of the things the Bulls are heading into this offseason searching for. He is still under contract with the Sacramento Kings, though, which could prove to be a roadblock.
Bulls Need Holmes…Badly
This suggestion comes from Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes who writes that the Bulls need Holmes to make up for the shortcomings of one of their other starters. Nikola Vucevic has come under fire and Hughes says it was warranted.
Hughes goes on to say that this offense needs to continue being built around LaVine and DeMar DeRozan and not an “inefficient center” such as Vucevic
Richaun Holmes will make a little more than half of Vooch’s salary next season, and he’s a proven lob-catching, rim-defending star in his role. He’s ranked in or above the 90th percentile in points per shot attempt in each of the last four years, and Holmes held shooters to a hit rate nearly 10 percentage points lower than Vucevic inside six feet.
Holmes averaged 14.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks while dishing out 1.7 assists as the full-time starter in 2021.
Then, the Kings traded for Domantas Sabonis from the Indiana Pacers ahead of this year’s trade deadline, and Holmes was reverted to a bench piece. He still managed 10.4 points and 7.0 boards this season.
But he only averaged 3.9 points and 2.9 rebounds in just over 15 minutes per game after the trade for the two-time All-Star in Sabonis.
Not So Committed
The Kings signed Holmes to a four-year extension last offseason that was reported by The Athletic’s Jason Jones as worth $55 million. It is a $46 million deal with a 15% trade kicker, per Spotrac.com.
That has made trading for him tricky in the past, as has the Kings’ general manager Monte McNair’s affinity for the player via James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area.
“We love Richaun,” McNair said at the time. “He had a career year. He’s an integral part of the team.”
Then the team made the trade leading ESPN’s Zach Lowe to write in March of this year that Holmes “might be the good player on a long-term contract most likely to be traded this summer.”
Holmes was shut down for the season on March 18 due to personal reasons while facing domestic abuse allegations and a custody battle which have both been resolved in the veteran forward’s favor, per the Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson.
McNair expressed the organization’s positive view of Holmes throughout.
“Richaun is a core member of our team, who is very important to our success. We fully support Rich and look forward to seeing him back on the court for the 2022-23 NBA season.”
But there is still the matter of whether that will be in Sacramento.
Bringing Holmes Home
Holmes — a native of suburban Lockport outside of Chicago — has a chance to go back to being the player that posted the Kings’ best on-off differential in 2021, per Cleaning the Glass. The 15% trade kicker makes things interesting and complicates any deals.
Hughes does not think the Bulls and Kings are great trade partners given both need more two-way wings like Chicago’s Patrick Williams.
Vucevic’s $22 million salary for the 2022-23 season is not a direct solution, either.
Perhaps the Bulls could interest the Kings in Coby White who is likely to be traded, writes Cowley. A package of White and Marko Simonovic works, per Spotrac’s Roster Manager. There is a potential fit for White in Sacramento too.
His 5.8 three-point attempts per game would have tied for second in Sacramento while his 38.3% shooting from deep would have ranked second behind Harrison Barnes among Kings players to average at least 1.0 triples per contest.
The Bulls will have the mid-level exception to add talent this offseason. But a trade remains a viable option even if they remain light on assets.
Holmes, a second-round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, seems like a good target for a team that is trying to “improve on the margins”. Will the journeyman who spent a season with the Phoenix Suns be on their radar?