The Chicago Bulls might not have to look far for more relative bargains to help take this roster another step forward in the Eastern Conference. Some suggest that they turn their sights down I-85 to the Indiana Pacers.
Indiana is fully embracing a rebuild this offseason after tiptoeing around one last season despite trading their franchise player at the 2021 trade deadline.
However, the most discussed potential trade has since been deemed “currently dead” by The Atheltic’s Bob Kravitz. This could open up a pathway for the Bulls to swoop in with what might be an even better package.
One to Beat
NBA correspondent Marc Stein reported that the Pacers had engaged with the Los Angeles Lakers regarding Hield and Turner. Per Stein, a package that included Russell Westbrook and unspecified draft capital was offered. But his read was that the two sides were pretty far apart on what the Pacers wanted.
Westbrook’s $47 million contract expires after next season making him an attractive buyout option for the few teams with space to absorb him if L.A. attaches draft compensation.
Word of the potential dealings reached Bulls Twitter with “Bulls Central” – a popular YouTube channel – urging the Bulls to find a way to get that deal done for both Hield and Turner even if it meant using the NBA’s stretch provision.
“[Indiana is] looking to blow it up. And you might be able to get a guy from that team. Myles Turner still could be traded. They’re a team that’s looking to sell off. I’ll be fascinated to see where Buddy Hield winds up. I don’t think he’s going to start the season with Indiana.”
Hield averaged 18.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.8 assists with the Pacers while shooting just over 36.0% on threes. He is a 39.8% shooter from behind the arc in his career.
Turner ended last season injured after 42 games. But he averaged 12.1 points, 7.9 boards, and 1.0 assists per contest. He has also led the NBA in blocks twice doing so in the 2019 and 2021 seasons.
Going after Hield alone is more complicated than Turner given the former’s $20.5 million salary next season, per Spotrac, and the $18.5 million he is owed in 2024.
Turner will earn $17.5 million next season in the final year of his contract.
But it is easier to send Vucevic — whom the Pacers could flip in a subsequent deal — for Turner than it would be for Hield, though the Bulls would still have Andre Drummond who could potentially slide into a starting role if the Bulls made a major trade.
It is unclear if this deal would fall under that heading for the Bulls.
Host Stacey King said that, if the Pacers are having a fire sale, the Bulls need to get in on it before the Lakers do.
At the same time, White shot better from deep than Hield — albeit on less volume — while Vucevic did many things better than Turner except defend and shoot the three-ball and both players are career 34.8% shooters from beyond the arc.
Patience Could Pay Off
To date, the Bulls have held off on trading for forward Jerami Grant (now with the Portland Trail Blazers) and Rudy Gobert (Minnesota Timberwolves) opting instead to retain third-year forward Patrick Williams.
Their reluctance to include him could pay off in a big way if they can indeed sell the division-rival Pacers on facilitating this deal.
The Bulls are extremely limited in tradeable draft capital, only able to trade a lottery-protected selection from the Blazers “outright” until 2028. They cannot agree to any pick swaps, either, barring changes to the protections on the picks that they previously sent out.
They have already spent a lot of draft capital to put this roster together, including in the deal to land Vucevic ahead of the 2021 trade deadline. Trading for Lonzo Ball even cost them a second-round pick which can often serve as currency for lesser deals.
Would they be willing to spend more to bring in Turner and/or Hield? Is either of them worth the investment?