Proposed Blockbuster Trade Sends Bulls a $206 Million Playmaker

DeMar DeRozan. Chicago Bulls

Getty DeMar DeRozan #11 and Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls celebrate.

Buckle up, Chicago Bulls fans. Despite the team’s strong 121-107 victory over the Boston Celtics, there will still be some doubts over the staying power of this group. They have three wins against last season’s top two seeds in the Eastern Conference.  But the Bulls have been a prime candidate for a mid-season shakeup to some degree since the summer.

They remain one at this point of the season, though some ideas, however, are far more extreme than others.

And most come with several caveats.

Nonetheless, it seems the Bulls have some players that could be of interest to a Western Conference title hopeful, one that has gotten off to an inauspicious start of their own in the Los Angeles Lakers.

DeRozan Going West-brook

“Obviously they had interest in DeMar DeRozan before he signed with the Bulls,” said Bryan Toporek on the November 20 episode of “The NBA Podcast” with Morten Jensen. “And DeMar has repeatedly said he thought he was going to be a…Laker that summer.”

Bulls Get:

Lakers Get:

Toporek wondered if the Lakers would give up such valuable to which Jensen quickly responded that he didn’t believe there was any way the Bulls would relinquish the five-time All-Star for anything less arguing that trading any of the Big Three is a clear signal they are tanking.

Therefore, they would have less interest in Westbrook’s monster $47 million expiring contract and more in the draft picks.

Dan Favale of Bleacher Report lists those picks as the most valuable trade chips in the NBA.

DeRozan, 33, is off to another fine start, though his scoring is down to begin this season. He’s averaging 25.4 points, 4.2 assists, and 4.2 rebounds. He has this season and the next remaining on his contract at nearly $56 million.

Westbrook, 34, is averaging 15.4 points, 7.7 assists, and 5.4 boards with 1.1 steals while adapting nicely to his new role coming off the Lakers’ bench.

His pact will create a heap of cap space for one team when it expires next summer.

The rest of the potential pieces in this hypothetical deal have been pored over ad nauseam with both Vucevic and White being constants in trade rumors. Both have gotten off to alright starts to the year – White did miss eight games with a quad injury. Neither has played so well that they have become indispensable, however.

“Maybe it’s DeRozan and I think Russ and the two picks? I would at least entertain that if I’m in blow-it-up mode for the Bulls and make salary match however you want.”

Bulls’ Tank Commander

Toporek and Jensen debated whether or not to include Lonzo Ball in place of Vucevic or the combination of Caruso and White. But they both agreed they would have to be sure he isn’t going to bounce back to his pre-surgery form which would require the Lakers to be in the dark on that front which is a stretch given what is already public.

Ball has been out since January with a bone bruise that required surgery to clean up loose cartilage that caused nerve damage.

The Bulls banked much of their season on his ability to return to the court at some point.

As more time passes, that has looked like an unwise choice as they showed a lot of the same flaws as last season despite their (minor) additions. That’s why the win over Boston was a big deal. Still, this next stretch of games could define their season with six straight contests on the road including dates with the Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors.