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Trade Ideas to Kick-Start the Chicago Bulls Rebuild

Demar Derozan Chicago Bulls

Despite their early season success last year, the Chicago Bulls have found themselves in no man’s land. Currently sitting at 10th in the Eastern Conference, Chicago’s chances of making a playoff run are slim. Though part of the Bull’s current situation isn’t necessarily their fault, most of the blame can be pointed to Chicago’s front office. Poised with a roster full of young talent, general manager Arturas Karnisovas felt the need to build a team worthy of reaching the finals immediately. 

Trade Ideas to Kick-Start the Chicago Bulls Much-Needed Rebuild

At the 2021 trade deadline, Chicago dealt former lottery pick Wendell Carter Jr. (who looks great in Orlando) and two future first-round picks (two! I repeat two!) for exclusively offensive-minded big man Nikola Vucevic. This transaction looks as lopsided as trades can get two years later (two! I repeat, only two years!). Vucevic is a zero on defense and has played like a shell of himself compared to his later Orlando years. 

A few months later, Chicago signed DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso all to reasonable contracts in free agency. But was that the move to make? Did Karnisovas really believe DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine would lead Chicago to a finals run? Patrick Williams has looked fine – disappointing for a fourth-overall pick but better than the next handful of picks after him. That 2021 first-round pick Chicago traded to Orlando? It turned into budding star Franz Wagner.

The point is that Chicago should have been patient. Karnisovas hurried, and now the Bulls have to decide their future. Here are some potential trades that I would like to see Chicago make in the days following up to the NBA’s February 9th trade deadline.

Derozan to New York for Two First-Round Picks

Chicago Receives: Derrick Rose, Evan Fournier, 2023 first (via DAL), 2025 first

New York Receives: DeMar DeRozan

This deal makes sense for both teams. DeRozan is probably in the midst of his final productive seasons as a scorer, and Chicago should deal him sooner rather than later while his value is still high. Chicago gains two crucial firsts as the franchise heads into a rebuilding phase. The Knicks, who currently sit three games above .500, make a move for a 26 PPG scorer to play beside Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle. This move could push New York into a top-four seed in a stacked Eastern Conference. Lastly, Derrick Rose returns to Chicago, which would be nothing short of fun and emotional.

Vucevic to Phoenix in a Three-Team Deal

Chicago Receives: Dario Saric, Torrey Craig, PHX 2024 first

Phoenix Receives: Nikola Vucevic, Grayson Allen

Milwaukee Receives: Jae Crowder

Everyone wins in this deal. The Bulls exchange Vucevic for a first-round pick, the Suns add two prime rotations players to upgrade their depth, and Milwaukee adds Jae Crowder. In addition to the previous DeRozan trade, Chicago adds more draft ammo for Vucevic while tearing down their roster. LaVine being dealt at the deadline is highly unlikely, but it wouldn’t be shocking for the 27-year-old guard to request a trade this summer.

Recently, coach Billy Donovan proclaimed that guard Alex Caruso is “nearly untouchable” approaching the trade deadline. Therefore, I will not be constructing a trade for the defensive maestro. However, like LaVine, it shouldn’t be shocking if he gets upset in Chicago and requests a trade to another franchise.

If Chicago doesn’t act now, their upcoming rebuild could take many years.



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