Grade the Trade: Bulls land Damian Lillard in 3-team blockbuster pitch

Damian Lillard, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)
Damian Lillard, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images) /
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Damian Lillard, Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls, NBA Trade Rumors
Damian Lillard, Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls, NBA Trade Rumors (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Would the Bulls accept this deal?

Zach LaVine is not technically a homegrown star, starting his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he truly became a star in Chicago. He averaged 13.7 points per game in three seasons with the Wolves and 24.5 points in six seasons with the Bulls. He made both of his All-Star appearances with Chicago. He feels like an integral part of the team’s fabric.

At the same time, this team is going nowhere fast. Their big move this offseason was signing Jevon Carter, he of the eight points per game on just 15.3% usage, to add to a crowded guard room. Doubling down on the group they had is only going to lead to more mediocrity. If trading LaVine is the only realistic path to shaking this team out of its funk, then trading LaVine has to be strongly considered.

Damian Lillard would instantly supercharge the offense, stretching the court and opening space for DeMar DeRozan to go to work in the midrange, just as CJ McCollum once thrived as the midrange assassin alongside Lillard. Pick-and-pop actions with Nikola Vucevic would be incredibly hard for opponents to defend. The defense would be a question mark, but the activity of Carter, Alex Caruso, and Torrey Craig can help hold things together; it’s not like Lillard is an appreciably worse defender than LaVine.

This would be a move that pushes all of the chips in, and the Bulls flunked their last such push. Even so, if Door Number “Rebuild” is off the table, then a high-risk, high-reward swing is their best option. It probably won’t work, but the current group definitely won’t work. Trading LaVine for strong value now and seeing what Lillard can do in The Windy City is a worthy move.

Grade: B

Next. Grade the Trade: Bulls offload Lonzo for big free agent in proposal. dark