Chicago Bulls: 3 updated trades with Rockets for James Harden

James Harden, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Carmen Mandato/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
James Harden, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Carmen Mandato/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports /
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Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago Bulls
Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports /

3) Chicago Bulls early season trades for Harden

Maybe what would be the most realistic trade scenario between the Rockets and Bulls, if Harden were involved in the foundation of any discussions, is this first one up on the list. In this particular trade scenario, newly hired executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley ship off a good portion of their young core to get Harden in the mix.

What the Bulls have to part ways with in terms of future draft capital is also significant in this hypothetical trade deal. The Bulls wind up sending an unprotected first round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, which could fall in the lottery. Although if the Bulls were able to get their hands on Harden, that might not be the case.

That would be quite the risk to take for this new front office regime with valuable future draft capital.

However, the Bulls also ship a good amount of valuable player trade chips to the Rockets in this hypothetical trade deal. They have to send third-year center Wendell Carter Jr., standout shooting guard Zach LaVine, and veteran small forward Otto Porter Jr. The return the Bulls get will just be Harden and veteran forward/wing PJ Tucker.

What easily brings the Rockets to the table in this trade discussion is stacking more future draft capital along with getting core pieces like LaVine and WCJ. First-year Rockets head coach Stephen Silas could slot LaVine alongside veteran point guard John Wall in a similar way to how he would a less ball dominant version of Harden.

The salary matching in this trade deal gets pushed through by the presence of Tucker going to the Bulls and OPJ going to the Rockets.