Chicago Bulls: Should the team try to trade Kris Dunn?

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls have seen success with Kris Dunn in the starting lineup, but is that enough to keep him around past the trade deadline?

Heading into the 2019-20 NBA season, it felt like the writing was on the wall for the Chicago Bulls and Kris Dunn.

Between Tomas Satoransky’s signing, the returns of Ryan Arcidiacono and Shaquille Harrison, and the number six pick in the draft being used on Coby White, it looked liked the Bulls backcourt would be too crowded for Dunn. A midseason trade didn’t just seem likely, it almost felt inevitable.

Nevertheless, Dunn may have rewritten that script over the last few weeks. He’s been great filling in for the injured Otto Porter Jr. in the starting lineup, and has shown flashes of why the Bulls acquired him in the infamous Jimmy Butler trade.

Dunn’s been a major part of the Bulls success in December. He’s frequently the best defensive player on the court, able to hound some of the league’s best into heaves and turnovers. His decision-making has also improved, with less head-scratching mid-range jumpers and more smart plays.

In fact, Dunn’s been shooting 50 percent or better from the field in his past five games, a far cry from his dismal career average of 41.9 percent.

In other words, Dunn is playing winning basketball on a team that often struggles to do just that. It’s almost hard to believe that the Bulls would look to trade a player like that, especially since the team is still within striking distance of the eighth seed in the playoffs.

In spite of the franchise and fans’ desire to capture that playoff berth however, a trade might need to be what happens if the right offer comes along.

Although Dunn has been an integral part of the Bulls success, he’s just not a long-term answer for the franchise right now.

The Bulls’ struggles this season can largely be pinned on the absence of offensive pop. The Bulls are dead last in offensive rating. While some of that can be pinned on Jim Boylen’s three-point, lay-up, or look confused scheme, part of the blame has to fall on the players as well.

The Bulls have lacked a true presence that can stretch and contort a defense next to Zach LaVine. Lauri Markkanen hasn’t commanded enough attention, and Wendell Carter Jr. still looks hesitant to let loose from distance.

That means the Bulls have been forced to look to their guards for playmaking.

Satoransky has responded by posting more than 15 points in each of the Bulls last three games, and White has put out some dynamic efforts to remind fans why the Bulls spent the sixth pick on him. White’s 19 points in the Bulls last win against Detroit showed his immense upside.

Meanwhile, Dunn has only scored into double-digits three times in December, despite playing sizable minutes in most of those outings. Combine that with a cringe-inducing 23.2 percent from three-point range this year, and it’s easy to see the thorns in Dunn’s resurgence.

While there’s nothing wrong with being just a defensive specialist in the NBA, that’s not something the Bulls necessarily need right now. They’re still a solid ninth in defensive rating, and while some of that is due to Dunn, it’s also a sign that Boylen has instilled a hard-playing culture on this team.

With that being said, instead of giving Dunn minutes, the Bulls should be throwing White out there more to see if he can help open the floor for LaVine and Markannen. Satoransky’s potential breakthrough should keep him firmly in the starting lineup as well, and the rugged defense of Shaq Harrison could easily fill Dunn’s late game lockdown role if need be.

Basically, that means the Bulls shouldn’t be shy if the right offer comes across their table for Kris Dunn.

Thaddeus Young’s rumored displeasure, or Cristiano Felicio’s nauseating contract could be worthwhile pairings if a team comes looking for Dunn’s services. A pairing of Dunn and Young could even conceivably garner a first round pick from the right playoff contender, perhaps somewhere like Utah or Portland who could use two solid players to better round out their bench.

Next. 3 former Bulls who should be inducted into the Hall of Fame. dark

If that kind of offer came around, or if someone would be willing to take Felicio’s cap hit, then the Bulls can’t hesitate. Dunn may be playing some great ball, but he should still be on the trading block this season.