Once the Chicago Bulls traded for Nikola Vucevic, their priority no longer became the present, but the future. Everyone’s asking what their next move is.
With Zach LaVine and the aforementioned All-Star in tow, the Bulls have an opportunity to put together an even greater win-now core this offseason.
But where do they start?
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Guard for Guard Swap?
In his latest for Bleacher Report, Realistic Offseason Trades NBA Fanbases Wouldn’t See Coming, Zach Buckley suggests that the Chicago Bulls trade for Cam Reddish.
The cost? Second-year guard and sixth man Coby White:
It isn’t often a top-10 pick gets discarded within two years of his selection, so the Hawks and Bulls would be turning a few heads if they swapped their 2019 lottery picks. But when you think about what each club needs and what each player brings, it isn’t hard to see a universe in which they’re thriving in the other’s jersey.
As Buckley mentions, both guards were apart of the 2019 draft class. White went to the Bulls who had the seventh overall pick, with Reddish going to the Atlanta Hawks at 10th overall.
HIs argument for White in Atlanta? The Hawks are in desperate need of non-Trae Young initiated offense:
Plug White into an instant-offense role behind Young and that issue could be solved as soon as the trade is finalized. White’s struggles with shooting efficiency (40.8 field-goal percentage) and primary playmaking duties (4.6 assists in 31.4 minutes) are much easier to stomach in spark-plug stretches.
It seems worth noting that Chicago’s second-unit point guard has thrived more this season in an off-ball role, which is what ultimately led to his being benched behind Tomas Satoransky.
Regarding Reddish, Buckley suggests his defensive focus could be a nice fit on the Bulls:
Chicago doesn’t have much need for a score-first guard with defensive limitations alongside Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic. But a defensively versatile wing who can splash open shots and perk up the secondary playmaking? Now you’re talking the Bulls’ language.
The second-year guard, who hasn’t played since February 21st, is averaging 1.3 steals per game this season.
At the end of the day, Buckley argues the potential yield is worth the risk:
White’s best version answers a major question for Atlanta. Reddish’s best version would be a gift from the basketball gods for Chicago. Even if the odds of either maxing out aren’t great, the promise tied to that chance could be enough for each team to bite.
Whether the idea of Cam Reddish is enough for the Chicago Bulls to part ways with Coby White remains unclear. The second-year guard has been a nice piece for them off the bench since his demotion.
A Team in Need of Defensive Upgrades
Buckley’s trade proposal should only reinforce the concept that is the Chicago Bulls defensive woes.
As of Monday afternoon, they’ve got the 20th-ranked Defensive Rating at 112.3 points per 100 possessions, and are allowing 50.2 points in the paint per game on the year.
Neither of those numbers instills confidence in a potential playoff push, nor does their record.
After their latest loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Bulls are 22-30. That’s good for the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference, four games back of the eighth-seed New York Knicks.
No matter what happens this season, expect the Chicago Bulls to invest in defensive help come the offseason.
Their future as a franchise could very well depend on it, as well as their window of contention with Zach LaVine.
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