The Bulls are still looking to make a trade, but they will need to be patient until their key players return. Patrick Williams is expected back by the beginning of February, but other team pieces may not return as soon as originally thought.
The Chicago Bulls enjoyed one of the strongest off-seasons in recent memory, as they added DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso to their existing roster. Patrick Williams, with his defensive abilities and good jump jumper, is also an important member of their first unit. Last year’s fourth-round selection sustained a perilunate dislocation on his left wrist, forcing him to miss the remainder of the season.
Because DeRozan and Zach LaVine are not renowned for their defensive abilities, the Bulls’ perimeter defense is already a question mark. Every night, Williams was charged with guarding the opposition team’s top wing player, but his absence has left a huge void in their wing position. Here are three deals the Bulls might make to compensate for Patrick Williams’ absence.
After Patrick Williams’ injury, the Bulls made three transactions.
Josh Hart should be contacted by the Pelicans.
With Caruso and Ball already on the roster, the Bulls’ defensive line will be substantially improved under head coach Billy Donovan by signing Josh Hart from the New Orleans Pelicans. He just received a contract extension with the Pelicans, although he solely serves as a backup in New Orleans. Hart’s precise three-point shooting and lateral agility let him contribute on both sides of the court in spurts.
The Bulls are already above the salary limit, so they won’t be able to add a component that would raise their cap any higher. A reasonable trade for the Pelicans and Bulls would be to send Derrick Jones Jr. or Troy Brown Jr. to New Orleans along with 1-2 additional components they’d require. Hart’s compensation for the 2021-22 season is $12 million, which is still plenty for Chicago’s roster. Hart’s skills will be better used with the Bulls, who are in need of wing depth, due to his limited playing time on a developing team.
Get Larry Nance or Robert Covington from the Blazers.
Due to a paucity of cap space, the Bulls’ choices for recruiting wing defenders to supplement their first unit are limited. With the Portland Trail Blazers trying to get their season off to a good start, Chicago may attempt to work out a trade to either Robert Covington or Larry Nance. By sending Brown Jr. or Jones Jr. to Portland, the Bulls will not have to pay a large amount of tax money.
Covington and Nance are two strong defenders who can cover anybody from the small forward to the center. Furthermore, they have not lived up to expectations with Portland, making it a good time for Arturas Karnisovas to purchase cheap. From Chicago’s attack, Covington will be able to try a variety of open wing or corner threes, while Nance possesses a consistent in-between game and outstanding high-flying ability. The Blazers aren’t projected to go far in the playoffs, which may help them pull off this deal with Chicago.
Any of the Pacers’ wings might be traded for.
The Indiana Pacers are a team that consistently makes the playoffs, but they are unable to make a significant impact at that point. The Bulls may call Indiana and attempt to acquire a component, like as Justin Holiday or Jeremy Lamb, given their plethora of wings on the roster. Caris LeVert and T.J. Warren have yet to return to the Pacers, but rookie sensation Chris Duarte has been getting over 30 minutes from newly appointed head coach Rick Carlisle.
Lamb’s contract is up in the summer, and he hasn’t been able to recapture his glory days in the NBA since suffering a devastating ACL injury. Donovan may find a home in Chicago’s second unit, where he’ll be tasked with improving his defensive ability as well.
Holiday, on the other hand, has a team-friendly deal that pays him about $6 million over the next two years. With his offensive and defensive versatility, he could play any of the wing positions. He doesn’t have a lot of turnovers, and he has a great outside shooting, which is crucial in an offense with LaVine and DeRozan.
The Bulls are off to a great start, going 4-1, and their next games are against playoff-contending teams, putting them up against the best of the best. The loss of Williams will be difficult to replace, but adding a pair more wingers before the trade deadline might help Chicago’s defense and second unit.