Some suggestions for improving the Chicago Bulls this offseason make a lot of sense. Primarily, they need more size and three-point shooting for their bench. Those deficiencies showed up early and often against the Milwaukee Bucks in the playoffs.
There have been calls for and against improving the center position defensively as well as adding another proven scorer to the frontcourt.
One possible avenue for improvement that has not come up as often, despite the current “standstill” Lonzo Ball finds himself in during his rehab process, has been to find a new point guard.
And one name, in particular, has come up that would be quite the surprise: Russell Westbrook.
Brodie on the Bulls?
This suggestion comes courtesy of The Ringer’s Logan Murdock and Kevin O’Connor on “The Void” wrapping up the first-round series. Part of that included what came next for this Bulls team that Murdock described as “getting older” while sending a message about Zach LaVine’s comments during his exit interview.
O’Connor brought up the Los Angeles Lakers as a potential destination should LaVine be set to depart Chicago.
“LaVine went to UCLA. He chose Southern California to go to college. He trains in California during the offseason…You can’t just think about teams that have cap space as potential landing spots…you don’t have to give up a lot if a guy says ‘I’m going to you. I’m going there’…That’s a young, sharpshooting, athletic guard who could add a lot to a lot of teams here.”
Murdock then posed the hypothetical to O’Connor on a solution should LaVine’s departure from Chicago become a certainty.
“Do the Bulls just say, ‘Hey man, we had one good year. But the writing’s on the wall. We’re just going to trade him for Westbrook, get up off of that deal, and then…rebuild again?”
Murdock continued saying the Bulls would have to start over if they did that deal to which O’Connor offered that it could potentially be part of a larger deal to bring Anthony Davis home to Chicago, something Heavy’s Brian Mazique has explored.
Both hosts acknowledged other pieces would need to be involved but Westbrook as an add-in to bring Davis home. And Murdock added that LaVine’s agency, Klutch Sports, likely wants their clients to play together. But it is an interesting starting point.
“Every player that has to do with Klutch, you have to tie them to L.A. You just have to.”
Bad Buy for Bulls
Westbrook is coming off of his lowest-scoring season since 2010, his second year in the NBA. He averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.1 assists in his first go-round with his hometown Los Angeles Lakers.
He has been a focal point for a fanbase looking to blame someone for the Lakers not even making the Play-In Tournament.
Ownership blames Anthony Davis and LeBron James for pushing Westbrook over acquiring Buddy Hield, per Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus.
Hield averaged 15.6 points while shooting 36.6% from downtown splitting the year between the Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers.
In Westbrook’s defense, he shot better from the floor than he did in his lone season in Washington, and his 29.8% from three-point range was better than the two seasons prior.
The Bulls have to have some level of concern with Ball’s health as he has never appeared in more than the 63 games he saw action in during the 2020 season.
Westbrook has played in 70-plus games in five of his last seven seasons including a team-high 78 appearances for the Lakers last season. He is set to make $47 million this season if he opts into the final year of a deal that will have paid him nearly $207 million over five years, per Spotrac.
The 2017 MVP has until June 29th to decide.
Chicago’s net rating was plus-2.8 with Ball on the floor and a minus-1.7 without him in the regular season, per Cleaning the Glass.
Los Angeles was bad with or without Westbrook, sporting a minus-3.6 net rating with him and a minus-3.7 net rating when he sat. While the Lakers were slightly better with Westbrook, that is not moving the needle positively for the Bulls.
Both hosts concede this would be lopsided in the Lakers’ favor and an absolute last resort for the Bulls. Even then, it seems too far-fetched.