NBA Trade Rumors and Bulls Deadline Primer
The informative part of the Bulls’ situation is less about improved teams (because they’re both in the West) and more about known sellers. The Portland TrailBlazers continue to pull the plug this season while guaranteeing that the pick they owe the Bulls will not be passed on this season (although they pretend it’s not a rebuild, so maybe the 2023 draft), and now Larry Nance Jr. is effectively off the board as a trade target, but maybe Josh Hart and Tomas Satoransky are now reversible. The good news is that if Sato is bought out, since he was traded from the team the Bulls sold him to, the Bulls can legally acquire him again. The bad news is that Sato became the NBA’s worst player This year.
Another established seller is the Indiana Pacers, who traded a few veterans in their big trade with the Kings but received two in return, likely not in their long-term plans in Tristan Thompson and Buddy Hield, with Torrey Craig also staying on. the list. . As always, it’s hard to figure out what the Kings are up to, but if this indeed pushes for the 10th seed, you’ll need to figure out Harrison Barnes and, to a lesser extent, Richaun Holmes are not available? Could probably still get Marvin Bagley for very little!
The Washington Wizards are also in the news, no trades, and will likely be in full seller mode after it was announced that Bradley Beal was out for the year. Beal is overrated, especially this season, and the Wiz have a solid roster that can win ‘too many’ games even in his absence, which could be motivation enough to treat their expiring veterans in Montrezl Harrell, Thomas Bryant, Aaron Holiday and Raúl Neto.
Another established seller is the San Antonio Spurs. And in the last roundup of rumors, I didn’t include the Marc Stein report that the Bulls made an offer for Jacob Poeltl…maybe unknowingly because it didn’t make sense to me? I see seizing talent for talent’s sake (and Poeltl is a superlative defensive center), but unless it’s outright theft, I don’t see the motivation to have a player who has to play a position you’ve already had under Nikola Vucevic, when that trade package ( probably Portland Lotto protected first and Coby White) could you potentially find someone to start the playoffs for you?
There have been no rumors about the Bulls since then. I expect them to get at least some short-term help because this current state of ‘looking like crap and losing games but just say Lonzo and Caruso don’t care’ is going to sink into the seeding and maybe even the play-in bracket which would be a disaster.
Here’s a primer on what the Bulls have available to trade:
First of all, I guess LaVine, DeRozan, Vucevic, Ball, Caruso, Green, Dosunmu are not traded. The latter two aren’t what you’d typically say are “untouchables”, but as rotation players on incredibly affordable deals, they’re the type of players the “buyers” keep. Alfonzo McKinnie is also untradable, but that’s because he simply can’t because he’s a recent signing.
Roster space: the Bulls are capped at 15 players on the active roster (plus the 2 two-way deals, these can be traded but do not serve as salary matching) so to do an unbalanced trade where they take more players than they are sent, they would have to waive a player first (or trade them to the OKC minor league franchise for not having him on the cap). I would suspect McKinnie would be the first to go. Next is Matt Thomas, although while he’s playing a ton right now, you’d think in a trade the Bulls would improve players for those minutes.
Luxury tax: Bulls can upgrade to luxury tax this season! Nothing says they can’t. They probably have habit, and that understanding is a little depressing to have, where even with a new front office, the ‘dorfs aren’t going to fully flex their big market muscles. As it stands, the listing is around $3 million under tax. They’re $9.4 million under the apron, which is actually a hard cap since they’ve had a sign-and-trade acquisition this year (Ball).
Commercial exceptions: The Bulls have just one TPE, at exactly $5 million from the time they signed and traded Daniel Theis* to the Rockets. It cannot be combined with a player to generate a larger outgoing salary. There is also an exception for minimum wage players, so for example the Bulls don’t need to use the $5M TPE to acquire Paul Millsap.
* (I will mention here that the Bulls cannot trade for Theis or Thad Young this year, they can only be on the Bulls if they are traded elsewhere and bought out).
Players whose contracts are about to expire: Derrick Jones ($9.7 million) and Troy Brown ($5.1 million) are the most important here. Brown is most clearly expendable when the team is fully healthy, but the team is nowhere near that now. I don’t know what’s going on with Jones’ broken finger. There was a report when it arrived that he was potentially playing with a splint on his hand that wasn’t pulling, but it’s been over a week since then. Maybe he’s waiting to see if he gets traded.
Players who are trumps: Patrick Williams and Coby White are the clear positive-value players the Bulls can move. White wasn’t looking that way to start the season, but has since turned it around to hit that subjective market valuation. But keep in mind – unfortunately – the Bulls’ luxury tax situation is potentially worse next season with Zach LaVine possibly getting SUPERMAX! , and White and Williams earn around $7.5 million next season. So what is a valuable contract for another team may not be for the Bulls.
Tony Bradley (24) and Marko Simonovic (22) are both technically young and they are signed until next year, but they would have the equivalent value of a second-round pick at best. Same thing with two-way player Tyler Cook (Malcolm Hill is no longer “young”).
1st round: 2022 clean, 2022 Portland top-14 protected through 2028, 2024 clean, 2026 clean, 2027 clean
Remember, the Stepien rule is that you must have a guaranteed first-round selection in one of the next two drafts. Now, a team can get around this on draft night by making a pick and trading ten player rights right after. But for this trade deadline, the Bulls can’t include their own 2022 pick because they don’t have a 2023 pick and Portland’s pick might not pass in 2 years. But they could trade that Portland pick. They can’t trade the 2024 pick because 2025 has already passed. The rule is satisfied if they received a first in return, and they could trade rights instead of sending a choice outright.
2nd round: Denver’s 2023, 2026 clean, 2027 clean. These can all be traded, but anytime the Bulls have a 2nd round pick (they could get one within that time frame) it will need to be waived for that tampering penalty.
OK now hit the trade machine you crazy kids.