As the NBA’s February 9 trade deadline inches ever closer, it’s difficult not to think about all the moves the Chicago Bulls could make. Whether they plan on improving the roster, moving toward a rebuild, or standing pat, the front office has done a great job of keeping us in the dark thus far.
One thing we do know, however, is that Patrick Williams and Alex Caruso are currently considered relatively untouchable, if reports are to be believed. Obviously, very few players are truly ‘untouchable’, but this signals the front office won’t move them for anything short of a massive overpay. This should also help us understand what their intentions may be at the deadline.
I also suspect LaVine is very unlikely to be dealt away, despite other teams circling like vultures and closely monitoring the situation. With several core players set to hit free agency this summer, any move the Bulls make will have to be made with the intention to keep the payroll open so that they can re-sign the likes of Ayo Dosunmu, Javonte Green, and any veterans they wish to keep around.
If the Bulls do decide to pull off a major trade at the deadline, these three players are the most likely to be among those on their way out.
DeMar DeRozan would be an invaluable trade chip if the Chicago Bulls decide to blow it up before the trade deadline.
3. DeMar DeRozan
DeMar DeRozan is many things. He’s the Chicago Bulls’ primary scoring option and the undoubted leader in the locker room. He’s the best free agent signing in Bulls’ franchise history. And for better or worse, he’s Chicago’s most valuable trade chip if they decide to make any moves at next month’s trade deadline.
NBC Sports Chicago’s KC Johnson discusses the possibility of DeRozan being moved at the deadline with HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto below.
"“As of this talk, I’d be surprised if they move any of their big three. If you do decide to break up this core, I ranked him as their most significant trade asset by far. Here’s the other thing about DeMar, he’s extension eligible this summer. You don’t have to extend him since he’s guaranteed through next year, but you can bet that he’s going to look to be extended this summer.”"
I’m liable to agree with KC here, in that I don’t expect DeMar to be moved. Now that the Bulls have gotten the ball rolling and won 10 of their last 16 games, there’s too much at stake to give everything up right now. But if Chicago hypothetically runs into another extensive losing streak, or if LaVine suffers a significant injury, it may be time for this team to face the truth of their perceived ceiling and begin recouping as many assets as possible before losing their best players in free agency.