Rumors are just that, rumors. But when your team is in dire need of an upgrade and there is a disgruntled NBA superstar, you begin to hope that rumors can evolve into the truth. It is no secret that the Chicago Bulls need an All-NBA caliber player on their roster to take them on a deep playoff run and Damian Lillard can do just that.
Rumors have surfaced about the Chicago Bulls entering the Damian Lillard sweepstakes to rescue the star PG from Portland. Kyle Neubeck of PHLY sports reported “The team that I’ve heard—I’ve made some calls, talked to some people—that is kind of the wild card, getting-into-the-mix team, is the Bulls…”
If this is true, and Damian Lillard would welcome a trade to the Chicago Bulls (it has also been rumored that if he were traded anywhere but Miami, he would force his way to Miami ASAP) what would that trade look like and what would the impact be?
If the Bulls are looking to trade for Damian Lillard, what would a realistic package begin to look like?
Let’s start with what the trade would have to look like for both sides to benefit. If the Bulls are looking to win now and Portland is looking to build towards the future, Chicago has to sacrifice younger stars and take on an older player alongside Damian Lillard. A trade that financially works for both teams would look like the Chicago Bulls sending Zach LaVine, Patrick Williams, Lonzo Ball, a 2024 unprotected first-round pick, and a 2026 unprotected first-round pick for a return of Damian Lillard, Jusuf Nurkic, and Nassir Little.
The Bulls would be interested in making this move as it would finally solve their point guard problems with Lillard leading the charge and having full control of the offense. Coby White could. Make his return to the starting lineup and do what he does best, catch and shoot. DeMar DeRozan can still dominate the midrange and help facilitate the rock.
Down in the low post, Nikola Vucevic could play the power forward position and dominate teams with Lillard on the pick-and-pop or pick-and-roll. Jusuf Nurkic would be able to camp the lane, grab offensive rebounds, and defend the paint, something Vucevic has never done at center. Nassir Little would come off the bench and get to work with the defensive-minded unit of Carter, Caruso, Craig, and Drummond.
All things considered, Billy Donovan would have a lot of rotational options depending on match-ups, allowing him to decide whether or not he wants to consistently start the big men and change things around for when they need to play more defensive lineups or all-out attacking on offense.
Does this trade get the Chicago Bulls over the hump and turn them into a contender? I believe so. Swapping out LaVine for Lillard gives you a higher-volume scorer as well as a floor general. Inserting Nurkic into the lineup gives you more height and a better interior defense. Adding Little to the bench gives you another strong athletic player who can impact the floor on both ends.
If Arturas Karnisovas is serious about winning, they should do everything in their power to get Lillard into a Bulls jersey. Dame is a certified killer in the playoffs and has shown he can carry a team with limited assets deep into the playoffs. There is enough reason to hope this rumor can turn into reality. A move like this would get the fans believing in the team again and restore hope in the front office staying true to their promise of doing everything in their power to be competitive.