In a turn of events absolutely nobody saw coming, the Chicago Bulls have been heavily involved in potential Damian Lillard trade discussions. If recent reports are anything to go off of, however, it just might involve a player none of us expected to see in the red and white next season.
Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports that even if the Bulls don’t manage to land the big fish with Dame, they could still get involved in a three-team scenario that brings Tyler Herro to the Windy City. This would surely be a controversial decision by the front office, one I’d be staunchly opposed to for three key reasons.
1. Tyler Herro is a downgrade at the shooting guard position
Despite the national media’s repeated attempts to downplay the talents of the Bulls’ All-Star duo Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, even they’d have to admit there’s a serious discrepancy in the value of these two shooting guards. As promising as Tyler has looked in spurts, he’s still got a ways to go if he wants to match the NBA’s 10th-highest scorer over the last four years.
If Chicago were to trade LaVine, they’d lose their greatest shooter, slasher, and above-the-rim player. In exchange, they’d receive a player who averages four fewer points per game and is far less efficient from the floor. This isn’t even a lateral move like some claim a trade for Dame, it would be a blatant step in the wrong direction.
2. The Bulls are built to win now
The easy solution to problem No. 1 would seem to be keeping LaVine around in addition to Herro. More talent means more wins, right? That may not be the case here, as it’s important to remember that there’s no reason to deal Zach away just because a better offer has yet to surface. Even if this deal was worth pulling the trigger on in a vacuum, the reality of the situation makes it a poor idea.
Chicago would have to trade away virtually all of the depth on the roster to make salaries and raw value match. The ‘Big 3’ is an extremely poor fit scheme-wise. This would force Zach to play out of position at small forward just to field a team that has a weak bench and would undoubtedly be one of the league’s worst defenses. If 40 wins was considered a disappointing performance last season, I’d hate to see the fanbase’s reaction when this hypothetical team loses even more games next year.
Any outcome where the Bulls decide to trade for Herro and don’t immediately blow things up would be an abject failure.
3. Chicago would be on the hook for Herro’s $130 million extension
It was just under a year ago that I wrote an article here about how Herro’s four-year, $130 million contract extension could potentially spell bad news for the Bulls. Not that I ever expected Chicago to trade for him, but rather because I was worried this deal might drive up the price for Coby White in a contract year. Fortunately, Coby returned on an extremely team-friendly deal, so I’d rather we not muddy things up by bringing Herro onto the payroll any time soon.
Herro’s contract is risky enough in its own right, but the fact the Bulls would have to give up additional assets to get him in the first place makes this a trade proposal Chicago should stay far away from. The chance that this contract ends up being poor value or that Zach goes on to find huge success elsewhere is dramatically higher than the odds of Herro making a massive leap and mystically becoming better than LaVine after just one summer.