Big trade with Bulls and Suns: Would the Bulls do it?
The Chicago Bulls have made some big-swing trades in recent years, so it’s not out of the question that they would do so again this season. Zach LaVine is 27 years old, five years younger than Nikola Vucevic and six years younger than DeMar DeRozan. Adding Deandre Ayton, who is 24, would help to reset Chicago’s core along LaVine’s timeline.
Ayton is a gifted offensive center but is also a reasonable defender; he has a neutral Defensive-EPM (Estimated Plus-Minus) while Vucevic is at -2.3, which ranks in the fifth percentile among centers. Ayton doesn’t stretch the court like Vucevic, but his touch around the basket makes him a valuable offensive piece.
Jae Crowder would help to space the court, and Dario Saric would fit well into the Bulls’ switching scheme. Saric, Crowder, Patrick Williams, Derrick Jones Jr., and Javonte Green can all be mix-and-matched in the rotation and can all switch defensively, giving the coaching staff plenty of versatility.
Losing DeRozan would be an obvious hit to the Bulls’ offense, but the question becomes whether LaVine can help make up for that. If he is chafing at the reduction in an offensive role and crunch-time touches, this would be a chance for him to fill the void. If the coaching staff believes LaVine can do that, they should consider this deal. If not, they need to look elsewhere.
Tearing the entire team down is a dangerous proposition, but so is standing pat and watching time (and draft picks) slip away as the Bulls languish in the Play-In Tournament. This trade is a halfway measure that could be the answer to a different build around the Bulls. It’s probably too far-fetched for either team to agree to, but it’s certainly something to think about.