The Chicago Bulls‘ failure to make any kind of move ahead of the NBA trade deadline left a significant portion of the team’s cheering section dumbfounded. And the same could be said for many of the journalists and pundits covering the team.
Flash forward to now, and with starting point guard/roster linchpin Lonzo Ball facing the potential of a third surgical procedure on his left knee, the club’s failure to make radical change feels like even more of a misstep.
While Bulls VP Arturas Karnisovas did bring in a post-buyout Patrick Beverley to help with the playoff push, there’s a thought among the hoops intelligentsia that a full-on rebuild is really the way to go. To that end, a Zach LaVine trade this summer probably has the best chance of jumpstarting the transition.
Per the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley and others, some LaVine-centric conversation between the Bulls and the Knicks actually occurred ahead of the deadline, but nothing came to fruition. For his part, though, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley believes the teams could benefit from revisiting a deal in the near future.
B/R Trade Proposal Sees Bulls Swap Zach LaVine for Talented Youngsters & a Pick
In a feature that sought to identify the “one trade every NBA team wishes it could make now,” Buckley remarked, as many others have, that Chicago’s current course of action is delaying the team’s natural progression.
“The Bulls feel like they’re trying to avoid the inevitable by keeping this core together, but a massive rebuild is likely coming. Why not now?” he wondered. In the event that Karnisovas and his brain trust do eventually arrive at a similar conclusion, the scribe sees the following deal as a win-win:
- Chicago Bulls receive F RJ Barrett, PF Obi Toppin, G Miles McBride and a top-four protected first-round pick in 2025
- New York Knicks receive G Zach LaVine
Here’s how Buckley sees the deal helping out the Bulls side:
Chicago could let someone else pay Nikola Vucevic in free agency and use deals of LaVine and DeMar DeRozan to restock the shelves. Barrett shows cornerstone flashes at times, Toppin almost always produces when he plays, McBride is a defensive tone-setter and a lightly protected future first has the chance to exponentially increase in value.
At the least, it’s food for thought, especially when one considers that LaVine has knee problems of his own, in addition to a weird relationship with Bulls coach Billy Donovan and an odd fit with co-star DeMar DeRozan.
Bulls Falling Short in Key Area
Much has been made of the Bulls’ inability to space the floor consistently and overall lack of potency from deep, and there’s no doubting the deficiency. As of this writing, the team ranks dead last in the Association in three-point makes and attempts per game (at 10.2 and 28.4, respectively).
However, there may be another area of shortfall doing just as much damage (if not more) to their ability to win games. Specifically, an inability to gain any headway on the glass — and the offensive glass in particular.
As observed by BetMGM:
The Chicago Bulls are 7-23 (.233) when losing the rebounding margin this season — seventh-worst among NBA teams. The Phoenix Suns have averaged 44.4 rebounds per game (2,664 rebounds/60 games) this season — 10th-highest among NBA teams…
The Bulls have averaged 8.5 offensive rebounds per game (503 rebounds/59 games) this season — 3rd lowest among NBA teams; League Avg: 10.5