Now that the trade deadline is less than 10 days away, NBA fans around the league are practically salivating at the thought of their team making a big move to improve in a season where a clear championship frontrunner has yet to emerge. With the only trade of significance so far being the deal that sent Rui Hachimura to the Lakers, there’s still plenty of opportunity for the Chicago Bulls to join in on the fun ahead of the NBA’s February 9 trade deadline.
The Bulls have found themselves linked to several players and teams interested in negotiating a trade over the past few weeks, but not all of these rumors are worth buying stock in. Let’s separate fact from fiction here and mull through the hottest trade deadline rumors surrounding this team right now.
Just how believable are these 5 Chicago Bulls trade deadline rumors?
Rumor #1 – Andre Drummond on the trade block
Signed to a team-friendly contract, I believed Andre Drummond could have made a big impact on a Chicago Bulls team that sorely lacked the ability to crash the boards. Despite his fall from grace in recent years, I still think he can be a difference-maker for a team out there. It’s just not going to happen in Chicago. Nikola Vucevic’s bounceback season left Drummond with paltry minutes to go around in the first place, and the Bulls’ success implementing small ball lineups with Derrick Jones Jr. has seen Drummond pushed to just 60 total minutes of play time in the Bulls’ last 13 games.
Look for another team in need of a backup center to make a move for Drummond ahead of the trade deadline.
Rumor #2 – Jae Crowder to the Bulls?
I covered this more thoroughly here, but I can’t see the Bulls pulling the trigger on a trade for Jae Crowder. Trading for Crowder does make sense on paper; I’ve even advocated for this move in the past, but I’ve since changed my tune. I believe the improvements we’ve seen from both Coby White and Patrick Williams would ultimately render this move a net negative for a team that has aspirations past this season alone. Look for a team geared to win now like the Bucks or Trail Blazers to move for Crowder instead.
Rumor #3 – Alex Caruso is likely untouchable
If Alex Caruso goes, so do the Bulls’ hopes of making a playoff push. If this team doesn’t want to make a playoff push, we would have already heard reports of Chicago shopping DeMar DeRozan around. Instead, the opposite has been true, as whispers from the front office all indicate the team is committing to their All-NBA talent at least through this season. That means Caruso stays. At least for now. I don’t hate the idea of Chicago placing a few calls to get a feel for what other teams may be willing to offer though, considering the Bulls may revisit these trade talks in the summer if this season doesn’t pan out as desired.
Rumor #4 – Nikola Vucevic may be on the move
DeRozan and Zach LaVine may be too important this season to move so soon, but that doesn’t mean the Bulls must keep their Big 3 together at all costs. K.C. Johnson notes that moving Vucevic is a possibility the front office is willing to entertain, given that they won’t want to run the risk of losing him for nothing in free agency after they expended so many assets to acquire Vooch in the first place.
That being said, Vucevic’s performance right now is much better than his perceived value around the league. It’s simply going to take more time to remove the blemish that was the 2021-22 campaign from his public image. Since the Bulls almost certainly won’t get any attractive offers for Nikola, I believe the front office will be far more comfortable allowing him to play out the season in Chicago.
Rumor #5 – The Bulls will make win-now moves
I’ll be honest, I don’t expect any fireworks from Chicago ahead of the trade deadline. Much like last summer’s free agency period, I believe the Bulls will make blockbuster moves and instead work to improve at the margins. However, I do believe the Bulls will do something to improve. At least, that’s what I hope happens.
DeRozan seems to be in the same boat as me in that regard, as he indicated in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times.
"“Everybody else in the league is going to do what they feel is best for them…. I feel like, for us, we’re right there. We have to take advantage of the opportunity that’s in front of us.”"
There’s no telling just what the trade deadline holds in store for the Chicago Bulls, but with how dysfunctional this team has been this year, standing pat would almost certainly be a terrible mistake.