Three and a half years ago, the Chicago Bulls entered the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery likely hoping they’d be able to land one of the class’ elite guards like Ja Morant and Darius Garland, or even the biggest prize of them all in Zion Williamson. Unfortunately, they’d end up with the 7th overall pick and select UNC’s Coby White, a score-first guard who has unfortunately been able to leave a big imprint on this Bulls’ team. It’s not too late to rectify their mistake, however, as a golden opportunity to pick up the player they should have drafted has come along at just the right time.
I’m speaking of Cam Reddish, of course, who was a top-three prospect in his draft class until he struggled alongside Williamson and R.J. Barrett as a freshman at Duke. Reddish would end up being selected 10th overall by the Hawks with the pick they acquired from the infamous Luka Doncic-Trae Young trade. The Bulls passed on him then, but would be fools to do so once again before this year’s trade deadline.
Fred Katz of The Athletic did a deep dive on the several Knicks’ players rumored to be available for trade, including Reddish himself. Although Reddish denies formally asking for a trade, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reaffirms Katz’s report that the two parties are actively looking for a change of scenery.
Considering the recent trade rumors coming out of New York, the Chicago Bulls may end up with the player they should have drafted in 2019 all along.
Reddish has failed to consistently crack the rotation in both Atlanta and New York, but it certainly hasn’t been for a lack of trying. He’s looked dominant in several performances already this year, including a 22-point outburst on opening night against Memphis and a 26-point masterclass against OKC in November.
However, head coach Tom Thibodeau is well known to be fickle with his rotations. Thibodeau’s decision to instead commit the bulk of minutes to Immanuel Quickley and Miles McBride off the bench has not only severely impacted Reddish’s performance, but also his trade value moving forward.
Katz discusses the internal discussions New York has had involving Reddish’s availability on the trade market below.
"“The Knicks traded a first-round pick and Kevin Knox for Reddish in January but, as with Fournier, they listened to offers for him leading up to February’s deadline and then again over the summer, league sources said. The chances of New York recouping what it gave up for him would be slim, especially considering he fell out of coach Tom Thibodeau’s rotation recently and can enter restricted free agency this upcoming summer.”"
This is precisely what makes Reddish such an appealing trade target for the Bulls, especially if he could be gotten for cheap in return for taking on Evan Fournier’s salary. I don’t know how feasible that is, considering Chicago would have to send either Lonzo Ball or Nikola Vucevic in return, but it does at the very least provide the front office with more avenues to explore to get the best deal possible.
Even Chicago’s own Stacey King seems to be firmly in the camp of Reddish supporters, even taking the time to ponder a potential Reddish-Patrick Williams dynamic duo on Twitter.
Despite what King may tell you, Reddish’s box score statistics haven’t been worthy of praise as a future star just yet. If he was already at that level, he wouldn’t be on the trade block in the first place. But as Reddish continues to become a more efficient and well-rounded player year by year, it’s hard to ignore the potential player he could become.
I don’t think Chicago would be wise to give up anything of real value for Reddish, considering his impending restricted free agency may make him a little more difficult to retain. There are very few low-risk, high-reward players available on the market these days. If the Bulls feel they need one more piece to become a true contender, taking a home run swing on Reddish is as good of a gamble as they’ll ever find.