Asset trading value ratings for bulls as the season teeters on edge


in 2007, Chicago Bulls I entered the season with high expectations.


The franchise was coming off a 49-win campaign, and after drafting Joakim Noah, it largely opted for continuity, signing veteran forward Joe Smith to free agency.

By the end of the season, she was on fire. They opened 9-16, which led to the departure of head coach Scott Skiles on Christmas Eve. They finished 33-49, engineering an important trade in February, as head coach John Paxson parted ways with underwhelming free agent signing Ben Wallace to a three-team deal.

The only solace? The bulls fell into the lottery luck draft. They took odds of 1.7 percent vaulting in the ninth-best odds of winning the lottery and draft Derrick Rose.

Which brings us to today.

The 2022-23 Bulls entered the season with increased, if not high, expectations.

Heading into a 46-win season in which the franchise ended a four-year drought, internal expectations centered on winning at least one playoff run. After drafting Dalen Terry, management largely opted for continuity, and signed veterans Goran Dragić and Andre Drummond to free agency.

There is still time to make things right. But a troubling stretch that saw four straight losses, seven in nine games and a defense that allowed 150 points in regulation for the first time since November 1982, raised questions about their next move.

In particular, given the amount of capital that was spent to compile this list, the bulls are not necessarily chock-full of tradable assets.

Coach Billy Donovan isn’t going anywhere, having recently signed a multi-year contract extension starting after the 2023-24 season. If the Bulls fail to make the playoffs, they’ll need similar lottery luck because their first-round pick goes to the Orlando Magic unless they fall into the top four.

In terms of trade, Executive Vice President Arturas Karnicovas has not shown any indications of striking a major deal up to this point.

Obviously, the latter dynamic can always change.

And if that happens, here’s a breakdown for the value Of the bulls most likely trade chips, not the player feasibility order that can be moved. Given the number of times management has cited the desire for continuity, standing up or making a simple move is still very possible.

But if the season continues to ramp up dramatically, a major change may be required.

1) DeMar DeRozan

The team’s top scorer also represents its best. Even at 33, DeRozan is considered elite in this department. With a true shooting percentage (. 600) of just . 003 of his career high, he’s effectively rebuilt his proficiency from last season, when he started the All-Star Game and made the All-NBA second team. It can make sense for a team looking to hit it big like the Los Angeles Lakers or New York Knicks, or as a competitor looking for one last piece.

In addition, DeRozan’s existing three-year, $82 million contract runs through next season, giving the prospective business partner an additional year of control and the opportunity to negotiate an extension when that off-season eligibility window opens. This is also something to keep in mind as the bulls analyze their options, since DeRozan will be well worth looking for another profitable earnings day.

DeRozan also represents the Bulls’ best chance of winning back the draft capital. The Bulls succumbed to three future first-round picks to make this roster — one from a Nikola Vucevic trade has already been transferred to Orlando — and they’ll likely want to restock that locker should they turn away from this position.

2) Zack Lavigne

LaVine is going through an up and down season that has him in and out of the lineup as he has dealt with a management plan for his twice surgically repaired knee. However, he, too, could be coveted by teams like the Lakers and Knicks if he were put more prominently in trade talks.

Lavigne signed a five-year contract worth $215 million max this offseason. The Bulls will likely be seeking a group of young players and draft picks in return.

However, given Lavigne’s knee history, the amount of money left in his deal and signs of his declining ability to decide in court, it could be difficult to find a suitor. And even if the roster resets, his age (27) combined with his value at a low point could force the Bulls to prioritize the Bulls to flip the other chips first.

3) Alex Caruso

The defensive-minded guard will be a plug-and-play backup – and closer – for any opponent or team serious about making a playoff push. One of the rumors that was mentioned most prominently was the Golden State.

Also upping Caruso’s value is the reasonable contract he’s currently working on, which guarantees $9.4 million next season and only has $3 million (of a potential $9.9 million if not waived) owed to him in 2024-25.

Unless packaged as part of a larger deal, Caruso’s return will likely be a youth player and pick because of this contract, his ability to defend every team’s caliber on point offense and generate deflections and steals, and his playoff experience.

4) Nikola Vucevic

Vučević will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. With no serious talks of a contract extension taking place in the latest season, it is clear that both sides are keeping their options open.

This is why it might be more likely to be transferred if management made a focus on this core group. Doing so would be considered wrong; Trade the bulls with Wendell Carter Jr. and two first-round picks — plus a major expired contract swap — to get Vučević.

But as in the case of Paxson’s exit from Wallace in 2008, sometimes lost seasons force new lines of thinking.

No team will give up significant assets for short-term lease. So if Vucevic is dealt, rest assured he will be for a team that knows he can and will re-sign him. A protected first-round rotational and/or pick player would be a solid returner.

5) Kobe White

The fourth-year blocking guard is also a free agent after this season, though he will be restricted by the condition that his employer at the time makes a qualifying offer. Therefore, like Vučević, consider him one of the most likely candidates to be transferred, even if his value is currently vague.

White shoots a career-worst 33.3 percent from 3-point range this season. But he has also shown improvements as a defender and decision-maker, as well as a penchant for making clutch shots.

22 teams still talk themselves to White because the candidate landscape change makes sense. The Bulls have made multiple trade offers for him since the draft season. But he wouldn’t plan to bring in the same veteran names above — maybe a middle rotation player or a protected pick.

6) Portland’s protected first-round pick

Like Caruso, this asset can be attached as part of a larger deal. But given the bulls’ lack of venture capital, trading will come as a surprise. And it’s unclear how the selection plays out across the league, since it’s protected by the lottery until 2028 before it becomes a second-round pick (although, as it stands now, the Trail Blazers will move it this year).

Remember: The Bulls are also a second-round pick in 2023, 2024, and 2025, and must forfeit their next available second due to an improper contact made in the free agency pursuit of Lonzo Ball.

Ah, yes, the ball. His absence since last January has played an important role in the slide of this bulls, a slide that must be stopped or major changes may be inevitable.

Everything must be on the table.

Click here to catch up on the Bulls Talk Podcast.







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