The Chicago Bulls took another embarrassing loss on Wednesday night at the hands of the Collin-Sexton-less Cleveland Cavaliers–at home–but help could be on the way–if you want to call it help.
The NBA trade deadline is 4 pm ET on Thursday, and the Bulls have been one of the primary teams discussed in various deals. On Tuesday, news spread that the team was listening to offers for Lauri Markkanen. That is expected to continue through Thursday afternoon.
Could there be a match with the lowly Houston Rockets? Houston has been openly shopping guard Victor Oladipo, and Matt Moore of the Action Network linked Markkanen’s perceived availability as one of the Rockets’ potential options to unload Oladipo.
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A number of teams that had moved assets off the table have re-engaged, with the Houston Rockets for Victor Oladipo. As recently as late last week, the Rockets had signaled they weren’t going to give up Oladipo for nothing, even if meant losing him in free agency. That’s changed in the last week. League sources indicated Houston had re-entered the market, but had done so with the implication they had received a competitive offer for the veteran guard. In the past, the Knicks and Miami had expressed interest. The Bulls are actively involved in the market, multiple sources suggest, with Lauri Markkanen said to be involved. The Athletic said the Bulls are “listening” to offers, but league sources told The Action Network in recent days Chicago has moved to actively pursuing upgrades with the young stretch forward.
Would the Bulls really make a move for Oladipo, considering he’s likely to be a free agent after this season, based on his early-termination option, and with rumors that he wants to sign with the Miami Heat or the New York Knicks?
This is especially when considering acquiring Oladipo would likely mean Chicago had to give up draft assets, Markkanen and others.
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Oladipo is a talented, scoring guard (20.8 ppg this season) who can also play a little point, but this doesn’t seem like the smartest trade for Chicago to make.
The Bulls Must Be Careful Parting Ways With a Draft Asset
Trading the team’s first-round pick in 2021 shouldn’t be completely off the table, but if Chicago decides to move what could be a lottery selection, they need to get back someone who will be a part of their core moving forward.
It’s hard to imagine Oladipo fitting that description. A move for someone like Lonzo Ball, who seemingly wants to be in Chicago, might be something worth moving a draft pick, but I’m not sure that should warrant a first-round selection.
The Bulls Must Move Markkanen
No matter what shape or form it comes in on Thursday, the Bulls need to move Markkanen. He’s headed for free agency as the team didn’t extend him before starting this season.
Markkanen has shot the ball well most of the season, but his defense is poor, he hasn’t ever been able to stay healthy, and his lack of aggression partially defines the team’s absence of a winning mentality. In case you need numbers to back up that statement, consider this; Chicago is 8-15 with Markkanen in the lineup this season and 11-9 without him.
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