How many future draft picks do the Chicago Bulls still own?

Chicago Bulls, 2023 NBA Draft (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls, 2023 NBA Draft (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images) /

Since arriving in the Windy City, president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas sure hasn’t been shy in his decision making. He unloaded a wealth of draft capital to acquire stars like DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, and Lonzo Ball to make the Chicago Bulls a winning basketball team once again.

Unfortunately, these draft picks came with a whole host of precautions, protections, and thin text. That’s why I’m here to help make sense of it all. Below you’ll find the draft picks you can expect the Chicago Bulls to have at their disposal over the next five years, with explanations for how each pick ended up where it did.

After making blockbuster trades for DeRozan, Vucevic, and Ball, the Chicago Bulls will have to make the most of their remaining future draft pick stockpile.

2023 Draft

  • Portland’s first-round pick (lottery protected)
  • Denver’s second-round pick* (protected 31-46, will be forfeited)

If the Bulls fail to make the playoffs this year and end up moving into one of the top four slots in the draft lottery, they’ll retain their pick this year. However, this is unlikely to happen. The Bulls traded this pick away to acquire Nikola Vucevic.

If the Trail Blazers make the playoffs, the Bulls will receive their first-round pick. If the Trail Blazers miss the playoffs, the pick will be pushed back a year and will remain lottery-protected. As long as the Trail Blazers make the playoffs by 2028, this pick will be transferred to Chicago. If it has not happened by then, it will become a second-round pick. The Bulls acquired this pick in the three-team trade that sent Lauri Markkanen to Cleveland.

Chicago’s own 2023 second-round pick belongs to the Lakers.

*As punishment for breaking the NBA’s tampering rules to sign Lonzo Ball, Chicago must forfeit its next second-round pick. If Denver’s finishes with a top 14 record in the NBA this season and the pick conveys, the Bulls will have to forfeit this pick. Hopefully the pick conveys this season so we don’t have to worry about the punishment in future seasons.

2024 Draft

  • Chicago’s own first-round pick

If the Bulls jump into the top four of the 2023 draft, they will instead forfeit their first-round pick in 2024.

Chicago’s 2024 second-round pick belongs to the Pelicans.

2025 Draft

  • No draft picks

If Chicago’s pick ends up being in the top 10, they get to retain it. If the pick is somewhere between 11-30, it transfer to San Antonio. This pick was sent out in the DeMar DeRozan deal.

Chicago’s 2025 second-round pick belongs to the Spurs.

 2026 Draft

  • Chicago’s own first-round pick
  • Chicago’s own second-round pick* (may be forfeited)

The Bulls will only have their projected picks in 2026 the years beyond if they continue to make the playoffs as expected and convey their 2023 first-round pick to Orlando and 2025 first-round pick to San Antonio on time. If they fail to do either of those things, the timeline is pushed back by one year for each first-round pick.

*If the Bulls do not receive Denver’s second-round pick in 2023, they will instead be forced to forfeit their own 2026 second-round pick.

2027 Draft (and beyond)

  • Chicago’s own first-round pick
  • Chicago’s own second-round pick

The Bulls will instead receive Portland’s second-round pick in the 2028 draft if they have not yet made by the playoffs and conveyed their first-round pick by the time the 2028 draft arrives.

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There you have it. While there is a lot of trickiness involved with when these picks will convey, this here is the most likely and realistic way things should pan out. Unless the Bulls somehow luck out and receive a top 3 pick, of course, in which case I doubt anyone will be complaining.

In the next four drafts, you can expect the Chicago Bulls to have three first-round picks, while not being guaranteed to have any second-round picks — depending on how well the Nuggets fare this season. The better Denver plays this year, the more likely it becomes the Bulls will get their second-round pick in 2026. From the year 2027 onwards, Chicago should have access to all of their draft picks once again.

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