Bulls VP Says Veteran ‘Not Available’ for Trade: Report

Thaddeus Young

Getty Thaddeus Young guards Damian Lillard in a January 30 game against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Veteran forward Thaddeus Young has been the Chicago Bulls‘ most mentioned name ahead of the trade deadline. Is it possible that they’d hang onto him through March 25?

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported on Monday morning that Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas is shutting down any and all calls for the 32-year old:

Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas is telling teams that Thaddeus Young isn’t available for trade, according to multiple league sources.

Young is averaging 12.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists (career-high), and 1.4 steals for Chicago this season. He’s knocking down an unearthly 60 percent of his field-goal attempts but has made just five threes this year.

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Is Arturas Driving Up the Price?

The most obvious reaction here is that the Chicago Bulls are driving up their asking price for Thaddeus Young, as they should be. He’s been a key veteran presence on this young rebuilding team.

O’Connor noted that rival executives are suspicious about Karnisovas message about Young’s availability:

Executives wonder whether Karnisovas is just posturing to gain leverage since Young is highly sought after, but he does help facilitate development for their youth.

The 12-year veteran could certainly help a contending team right now, but at the same time, there’s no need for Chicago to sell low on the team-MVP. He’s under contract through next season, guaranteed only for $6-million.

If the Bulls don’t hear any offers they like this go around, they could simply revisit talks over the offseason or likely get a similar return at the trade deadline next year. Right now, it’d probably take at least a first-round pick to pry him out of the Windy City, and that’s a steep price tag for contending teams.

Young’s been crucial to both the team’s success and the individual growth of a few of the young guys this season. Keeping him around, even if only for the sake of not lowballing yourself, isn’t the worst idea.

The Bulls Want to Make the Playoffs

If Karnisovas’ and Chicago’s reluctance to deal Thaddeus Young holds, take it as a commitment from the front office that they’re serious about making a playoff push. As it stands, the Bulls are just shy of a tie for the eighth-seed in the Eastern Conference, with the Toronto Raptors holding a one-win edge.

But they’re just half a game back of the seventh-seed Charlotte Hornets, and only a game back of the sixth-seed Miami Heat. And given the new play-in tournament format, Chicago should have a shot at the postseason, if nothing else.

Keeping Young around gives them more than that shot though. And it provides them with a top-level defender for whoever they potentially match up with in the first round of those playoffs. Young has seen the postseason in eight of his past 13 completed seasons and maintained a 106 Defensive Rating through those 51 games.

That’s no coincidence. Thaddeus Young is a player built for the playoffs.

If the Chicago Bulls are all-in on making their first playoff berth since the 2016-2017 campaign, he’s a quintessential piece for that goal, and what it will take to win once they get there.

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