Bulls Urged to Target $75M Wing Scorer in Trade

Chicago Bulls

Getty Head coach Billy Donovan of the Chicago Bulls talks with Zach LaVine.

The Chicago Bulls (17-21) have a lot of guards, but adding one more could benefit the team, according to one NBA writer.

“At some point over the next month or so, some playoff-focused suitor will finally free Eric Gordon from the Rockets’ top-to-bottom rebuilding project,” wrote Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report. “If the Bulls want to give their group a chance to compete but don’t want to diminish their remaining collection of trade chips, they could be that team.”

Chicago’s entire guard rotation has dealt with injuries at points this season, and the Bulls still await the return of Lonzo Ball, whose injury has kept him sidelined indefinitely. But, according to Buckley, Gordon would represent an upgrade over the guards on the Bulls’ bench.

“They may not have a glaring need in the backcourt,” Buckley wrote in his January 5 story, ”but Gordon’s game and track record could bump him up the rotation pretty quickly. He offers more defensive resistance than Goran Dragić, more consistency than Coby White and loads more polish than Dalen Terry.”

Eric Gordon Could Bring Team Together

The Bulls, who are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, have been resistant to the idea of blowing up their core as they hope for Ball’s return to the lineup.

But Gordon, 34, is averaging 11.9 points on 55% true shooting for the rebuilding Rockets, who have the worst record in the Western Conference, and the Bulls lack a strong shooting presence. He primarily spends his time on the wings but has a point guard background. His sure-handed ball handling and floor spacing (37% career 3P) could be big boosts to a Bulls’ team lacking in all three areas.

“He is primarily a spark-plug scorer with an ignitable three-ball at this stage,” Buckley wrote, “but the 34-year-old’s playmaking and experience might help tie this team together, too.”

A Major Complication

Gordon and the Bulls might seem a good fit for each other on paper, but fitting him on the cap sheet is a different story. The 15-year veteran – who has been traded only once before and never during the season – is making $19.5 million this season with another $20.9 million due in 2023-24, though that is currently non-guaranteed as part of the four-year, $75.5 million deal he signed in 2020.

The Bulls likely could get to that number if they offered Ball or Nikola Vucevic in a 1-for-1 swap. They could also put together a package featuring defender Alex Caruso along with White or Patrick Williams.

There has been some thinking that they might be buyers at the trade deadline rather than sellers. However, they are also light on the requisite assets to go after a top trade target because they still owe two first-round picks due to previous trades.

Eric Gordon in Relation to Bulls Bench Guards

Dragic, 36, started the season off nicely averaging 9.3 points on 55.1% with 3.6 assists and 1.9 rebounds before injuring his shoulder in the first quarter of the Bulls’ 121-107 win over the Boston Celtics on November 21. He is averaging just 6.8 points on 51.4% true shooting in his last 18 games.

White, 22, is in the final year of his contract and, while he has played better than his numbers might suggest of late, he has been on the trade block for the past year-plus. Terry, 20, was the Bulls’ first-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft and has played sparingly.

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