‘All-in’ Trade Proposal Sends Bulls $20 Million Star for 2 Ex Top-10 Picks

Jerami Grant

Getty Chicago Bulls forward Patrick Williams guards Jerami Grant during an October 20 game against the Carolina Panthers.

After making multiple splashes in free agency last summer, it seems a return to the playoffs is inevitable for the Chicago Bulls.

But the Windy City roster isn’t yet within the contending tier of the NBA.

To their credit, the Bulls have been without Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball for an extended period, so the full capability of the roster as constructed is still unclear.

Chicago’s got clear-cut weaknesses outside of the backcourt, however, with some serious concerns centered on the viability of the current frontcourt construction.

But as you scan the field of upcoming free agents for potential upgrades, there don’t seem to be a vast number of options.

That’s on the surface though.

One writer at Bleacher Report has proposed the Bulls make a “win now” play for Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant.

He’s averaging 19.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game this season.

But is the eighth-year forward worth the price tag posed by Andy Bailey? And does he make a viable fit on the Chicago Bulls?

Jerami Grant to Chicago?

In his latest work for Bleacher Report, Surprising NBA Offseason Trades to Start Thinking About Now, Andy Bailey went through four potential offseason blockbuster trades.

Among those, he put together the following framework of a deal that would send Jerami Grant to the Chicago Bulls.

  • Chicago Bulls receive: Jerami Grant
  • Detroit Pistons receive: Coby White, Javonte Green, and Patrick Williams

Bailey argued that Grant could very well serve as the piece that could catapult this Bulls roster into the upper echelon of contending teams:

A starting five of Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine (assuming he re-signs), DeRozan, Grant and Vucevic, with Alex Caruso as a defensive specialist and ball-mover off the bench, would give Chicago a real chance to push Eastern Conference powers like the Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers.

Is that true given the cost it would take to land him?

Prize of the trade return, forward Patrick Williams, was a defensive standout during his rookie season, as Bailey noted when arguing for Pistons’ interest:

For Detroit, again, the play is getting younger. Grant, who’s averaged 20.8 points as a Piston, obviously helps more in the short term, but Patrick Williams shot 39.1 percent from three as a rookie and holds similar potential as a multipositional defender down the road.

Is a player of that caliber, still on his rookie deal, worth giving up in order to acquire a middle-level starter?

Even after his injury, Williams figures to be a franchise cornerstone for the Chicago Bulls in the years to come.

And according to head coach Billy Donovan, he could make a return to the floor prior to the end of March.

Donovan Talks Williams’s Return

When speaking with media on Monday, head coach Billy Donovan dropped (via NBC Sports) a bombshell–Patrick Williams could be back by the end of March:

I’m pretty confident about that…Unless there’s some kind of setback or he doesn’t feel like he’s got the strength necessary.

Williams started 71 out of 72 games last season, posting averages of 9.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.

He was often the team’s best defender, and consistently took on the task of guarding the opposing team’s best player.

But now, given how long he’s been away and how the Chicago Bulls have had to adapt, there’s no set role (via NBC Sports) for the former fourth overall pick:

If we were whole (when Williams returns), I think the best thing to do with him would be to ease him in and bring him off the bench. That’s just my opinion right now…I don’t think it would be fair to him, just to throw him — with the number of games he’s missed and the amount of months he’s missed — to say, his first game back: ‘Hey, he’s starting.’

Whether or not that will be a long-term installment in head coach Billy Donovan’s rotation will likely depend on the kind of shape Williams returns in.

Because as he noted on Monday, until the 20-year old takes the floor, no one knows what he’s going to look like:

I just don’t know what we’re gonna get. He’s (Williams) really worked hard…I think adding Patrick helps our team. But for a guy that’s missed five months, and the first day he comes back, just to unload him into the starting lineup, I don’t know if that would be the best thing for our team and I don’t know if that would necessarily be fair to Patrick.

A return by the end of March, say for a home matchup against the LA Clippers on the 31st, would leave only six games for Patrick Williams to find his legs before the playoffs.

But that will only continue to fuel the caution and uncertainty surrounding a deep Chicago Bulls playoff run.

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