Owners of a 4-2 record over their last six games, the Chicago Bulls are currently enjoying their first nice stretch of the seasom. Even without Zach LaVine, they're winning. But with approximately $70 million their bench is still lacking some depth.
Fortunately, it appears the front office is determined to bolster the lineup moving forward. Recent rumors indicate the Bulls are in pursuit of "win now" players they can use to ideally replace the void left by LaVine and Lonzo Ball in the rotation. With that in mind, here are a few realistic targets who could strengthen the Bulls on the trade market.
1. Kelly Olynyk
This Canadian international Kelly Olynyk is in the midst of a middling season thus far, averaging 7.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists on 20 minutes per contest. But those numbers aren't showing the full picture. Kelly is an exceptional passer. He's not flashy, but he's very good at finding the open man. Olynyk can make plays from the top of the key, from the wing, or the post area. His teammates can make cuts or run weakside action and he will get the ball to the right place.
Since Kelly is a respectable shooting threat, with a career average of 37% from deep, you can also run the pick-and-pop with him. Chicago doesn't have that right now. He would immediately improve the Bulls' playmaking, which would get more good looks. Just by standing around the three-point line he's attracting attention from opponents. It would open a whole new world for the Bulls' cast of guards.
Defensively, that's a different story. He can be attacked, but it shouldn't be too great of a concerning he would be playing with the second unit and defense is far from a strength of Chicago's frontcourt in the first place. Even though he's not the most agile player, he's smart and knows how to take the right position on defense so he would rarely be left alone on an island.
2. Vasilije Micic
Former Euroleague MVP Vasilije Micic is having a tough first season in the NBA, which is understandable. He's not only playing behind SGA and Josh Giddey in OKC's rotation but also Jalen Williams and Lu Dort. Since Vasilije's an older rookie, it's extremely difficult to get minutes on that team, but that doesn't mean he can't contribute at a high level.
Chicago doesn't have a point guard or a creator, who could consistently get good shots for others. Coby White or Jevon Carter are combo guards who are best at scoring the ball, not creating better looks. That's why the Bulls are 29th in assists this season, and Micic could certainly help address Chicago's issues in that area.
He's a tall guard who can drive to the basket and create a shot for himself or his teammates. Last season he was averaging 18.4 points and 6.2 assists in the EuroLeague playing for Anadolu Efes Istanbul. He's struggling this season in a way because he's used to having the ball in his hands a lot. He's not a spot-up player or a slasher, where you could put him in the corner and he would be fine over there.
As a backup point guard, he can be effective. Give the keys from the second unit and he will change the flow of the game. For 15-20 minutes he could run pick-and-rolls, attack mismatches, and get other people involved. Unlike some other former EuroLeague stars such as Milos Teodosic, who lacked athleticism, Micic is a pretty good athlete, so he won't get lost among NBA bodies.
The Bulls would be wise to bolster their depth and prepare for a playoff push by trading for these solid role players.
3. MarJon Beauchamp
MarJon Beauchamp is a young guard who is stuck in the shadow of the Bucks' stars, but he's a young and athletic forward, with long hands, who's still improving. MarJon is close to an elite athlete. Sure, his game is still raw, but his ceiling is unknown. Beauchamp is showing flashes, but he won't get a lot of chances on that team.
Offensively, he can drive to the basket or shoot a spot up three. He has flaws offensively, but he's improving. Defensively, he can be an elite stopper. With such athleticism and hand length, he can defend against multiple positions. Maybe he won't become anything special, but in the Bulls' current situation, maybe it's worth taking a flyer on such a young talent. If Chicago could put him with Patrick Williams, then potentially we are talking about a future Bulls forward pair.
4. TJ McConnell
Chicago hasn't had a true point guard since Rajon Rondo. This team needs to work exceptionally hard for good looks and their lack of composure is shown on the court; TJ McConnell could hopefully fix that. He's one of the very few remaining traditional point guards remaining in the league today. McConnell is not flashy, but he delivers the ball into the right spots.
Even though he has registered 21 minutes played per game throughout his career, he has still managed to average 5 assists. He's not a heavy pick-and-roll player. He involves people in other ways. He can make an entry pass, can deliver the ball in the post, and since Chicago has good post-players in Nikola Vucevic and DeMar DeRozan, McConnell could make their life that much easier. Chicago would play with better flow, a more even pace, and fewer turnovers.
This move would be welcomed with open arms from Coby White, who would no longer have to worry about point guard duties but could concentrate more on scoring. These moves could potentially help cement the Bulls' chances for the playoffs. Right now they're close, but with this current roster, just not close enough.