Bulls rumors: Chicago eyeing Hawks big man, but there are challenges

Chicago Bulls v Atlanta Hawks
Chicago Bulls v Atlanta Hawks / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

With the Chicago Bulls trading All-Defensive guard Alex Caruso on Thursday, reports are that the team is expected to be busy on the trade market as the 2024 NBA draft grows closer.

Prior to the Bulls trading Caruso, Matt Moore of the Action Network reported that the Bulls were among several teams with trade interest in Atlanta Hawks big man Clint Capela.

Is Clint Capela a fit with the Chicago Bulls?

A 10 year veteran in the NBA, Capela spent his first six seasons in the league with the Houston Rockets before being traded to the Hawks in 2020. Capela has been a reliable big man during his time in the league, averaging a double-double for the last seven seasons. In the 2023-24 season, Capela averaged 11.5 PPG, 10.6 RPG, and 1.5 BPG in 73 games.

Is Zach LaVine next? Possible trades with 76ers and Jazz. Is Zach LaVine next? Possible trades with 76ers and Jazz. dark. Related Story

With the expectation that backup center Andre Drummond will be leaving Chicago this offseason, the Bulls will be in desperate need of a big man. Behind Nikola Vucevic and Drummond, the Bulls do not have much else in terms of centers. Adama Sanogo has a small amount of time on the court, but spent most of the season with the Windy City Bulls developing.

Capela would be a solid back up big and he only has one year left on his deal worth $22.2M, a number that would currently be difficult for the Bulls to absorb.

Reports on Thursday have suggested the Bulls are in talks with the Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers regarding a Zach Lavine trade, potentially opening up financial room to trade for a player like Capela.

Struggling on the defensive end this season and lacking in terms of big men, Capela could be a fit in Chicago, whether he's a back up big or (in the case the Bulls trade Vucevic) a starter. No players were named that could be used in a trade for Capela, but with Caruso being traded and Lavine possibly on the way out, there are only a handful of players that could be traded to match Capela's salary, one of which is Vucevic.

Possible trades for Clint Capela present challenges for the Chicago Bulls

Would Atlanta entertain a straight-up trade of the two big men? Not likely given Vucevic's contract extends an extra year. If the Bulls thought they had little chance to re-sign Patrick Wiliams, a sign-and trade could be a possibility, though that too seems unlikely. Without ridding themselves of LaVine's contract or letting DeMar DeRozan leave for nothing, it's difficult to see how a Capela trade works financially.

The biggest fear for Bulls fans is attaching any sort of future capital in a trade not just for Capela, but any player Chicago could be interested in. With the Bulls not receiving any picks in the trade for Caruso and reports suggesting Chicago has significantly lowered their asking price for Lavine, the team is lacking future assets. As the Bulls continue to look to make moves prior to draft night and free agency, their plans along with a potential trade for Capela may be more clear.