A solid early trade target that could be emerging for the 2020 offseason for the Chicago Bulls is the Utah Jazz veteran point guard Mike Conley.
The trade talks surrounding the Chicago Bulls and a potential deal to bring in veteran point guard Mike Conley ran rampant since last summer. Entering the 2019 offseason, the Bulls made it a priority to try and bolster the point guard position. The first priority for the Bulls front office seemed to be bringing in a veteran point guard.
How the Bulls accomplished that was pulling off a sign-and-trade deal with the Washington Wizards to land combo guard Tomas Satoransky. The Bulls seemingly got Sato at a nice value contract at the time. Sato was signed for a three-year contract worth around $10 million per year. But he hasn’t done much to live up to the hype since he originally signed with the Bulls.
The other outlet that the Bulls front office tried to tap into to find an answer at the point guard position was the NBA Draft. The Bulls selected the former North Carolina Tar Heels point guard Coby White with the seventh overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. This combination of Sato and White isn’t bringing the desired results thus far.
However, the Bulls are running out of options to turn to if they want to continue building up the point guard position heading into what will be the fourth year of the rebuild. Part of that fault should go to vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman (along with head coach Jim Boylen), but some should also just go on the anticipated slow development of White and an inconsistent year from Sato.
Although, White is starting to come along since the All-Star Break and Sato isn’t necessarily a bad signing for the Bulls. Sato’s contract still carries some value and White looks to still have a bright future ahead.
The problem is that Sato just might not be the experienced point guard presence that the Bulls need in their locker room. That might be a role that someone like Conley of the Utah Jazz could fill from here on out more effectively. Conley wasn’t a good fit with the Jazz so far this season, after he was traded from the Memphis Grizzlies last year.
Conley was much more effective during his lengthy run with the Grizzlies. On a winning team with a deep supporting cast, Conley is registering just 2.0 win shares and a 0.1 box plus/minus rating. He’s averaging 13.9 points per game, 3.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists, while shooting 40.7 percent from the field and 37.4 percent from beyond the arc.
There’s ample proof that Conley still brings a lot of value to the table, and that his usage and fit in Utah just isn’t up to par. He’s not getting to the rim as much, and he’s shooting more from the mid-range than usual. Conley is taking a career-high 21.1 percent of his field goal attempts from three-10 feet from the rim. He’s also not taking as many from three-point range in effective spots as usual.
The Jazz seem to be putting Conley in a tough position to succeed given his skill set. And with how much Boylen at least likes to emphasize to the media that he wants his players to shoot more threes and get to the rim more often, Conley should theoretically be a good fit with his schemes.
The Bulls are also mostly void of solid veteran presences in the locker room. Sato is one of the more tenured veterans on this roster in the NBA. Forward Thaddeus Young and small forward Otto Porter Jr. have also enjoyed varying degrees of success as NBA veterans.
What the Bulls really need along with adding a solid veteran voice like that of Conley’s alongside one like Thad’s is make some major shakeups in the front office. GarPax just isn’t getting it done, and neither is Boylen as the Bulls head coach.
If the Bulls really want to enact a true culture change, then they’ll have to start from the top-down. There’s no way that veteran players like Conley and Young could truly trust this Bulls organization through and through with personnel like GarPax still at the helm.
Conley could add a lot to this Bulls team. Ownership just finally has to step up to the plate and make the necessary changes in the front office and to the coaching staff. There’s a lot about this organization that needs to be revamped, including the roster.
Maybe there’s a trade idea that the Bulls could piece together that would send Sato out to the Jazz for a return that includes Conley. Both teams would have to do more to make the salary matching present in the trade package, but there’s certainly something to work with here.