Bulls have 4 of NBA’s most valuable trade assets, says Bill Simmons

DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Now that most of this summer’s offseason action has wrapped up, Bill Simmons of The Ringer took the time to construct his 2022 edition of The Ringer’s NBA Trade Value List. Surprisingly, the Chicago Bulls did not fare too poorly and managed to get four players mentioned in his rankings.

This is a marked improvement from years past, where Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter were the only players who came even remotely close to sniffing the list. Now, the Bulls are built to compete now while also helping prepare the young core for the future.

Here’s how the Chicago Bulls placed in The Ringer’s 2022 NBA Trade Value List:

  • Zach LaVine – No. 27
  • DeMar DeRozan – No. 59
  • Alex Caruso – Honorable Mention
  • Nikola Vucevic – Honorable Mention

Simmons broke this list up into a seemingly arbitrary top 64 ranking, with an additional 20 honorable mentions. With only 84 spots to fill, the Bulls are punching above their weight by getting four players onto this list.

With free agency all but over, utilizing the trade market will be the Chicago Bulls’ best option to improve moving forward.

Caruso and Vucevic crack into the honorable mentions tier, each for entirely different reasons. Vucevic carries the notoriety of multiple All-Star appearances and the perceived higher ceiling, while Caruso is the ultimate role player on an extremely team-friendly deal over the next three years. Given that this tier also includes names like De’Aaron Fox, CJ McCollum, and Robert Williams III, this certainly isn’t bad company to be keeping.

It’s interesting to note that the Bulls’ young prospects Patrick Williams and Ayo Dosunmu didn’t crack this list, although they’d almost certainly be seen as attractive assets to any potential trade partner.

DeMar DeRozan comes in ranked at No. 59 in the “Quality Starters” tier. He’s joined by Draymond Green, OG Anunoby, Deandre Ayton, Jarrett Allen, Fred VanVleet, and Domantas Sabonis here. Personally, I believe DeMar is clearly the best player in this bunch and should be ranked higher, but I can’t say I’m surprised after seeing the media’s treatment of DeRozan over the past several years. Calling DeRozan a “quality starter” after he just posted an MVP-caliber season comes off as pretty disrespectful in my opinion.

The biggest detractor to DeRozan here is certainly his age. He’s still performing at an elite level and on a high-value contract, but it seems Simmons is betting against his ability to maintain this level of play. Even if DeRozan does return just as good next season, this isn’t the best players list, it’s the best trade assets list. Even LeBron James is ranked 35th on this list, which is obviously far below where he’s at as a player.

Zach LaVine, on the other hand, is ranked in much more reasonable territory. His tier is elaborately named, “If You Tell Woj, I’ll Deny It to the Death … but I’m Listening”, and features the likes of Pascal Siakam, Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kawhi Leonard, and Zion Williamson.

This is honestly a fair assessment, as even if LaVine manages to return to his pre-injury form, it’s hard to see him surpassing Kawhi or Zion from a sheer talent perspective. Now that the Bulls have coughed up the $215 million to extend his contract, Zach is no longer on an extremely team-friendly deal either.

That’s not to say he isn’t worth the money, because he is, but rather an indictment of just how much cost-controlled talent there is in the league these days. With players like Ja Morant, Anthony Edwards, Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, and Scottie Barnes ally skyrocketing into the top 15 while still on rookie contracts, it’s hard to see it any other way,

This is precisely why the emergence of Patrick Williams is so vitally important to this Chicago Bulls team. If he can be properly developed and become an above-average starting talent while still on the last two years of his rookie contract, the future will begin to look much brighter here in The Windy City.

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