Did the Bulls just blow their chance to trade Andre Drummond?

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat
Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

For the third consecutive season in a row, the Chicago Bulls opted to stay quiet and not make any moves at the February trade deadline, Many fans believe the front office should not have been content with the current direction of the team and shaken things up by making a trade. Well, if recent rumors are to be believed, they absolutely could have done just that.

That's because the Bulls reportedly had a deal in place to trade Andre Drummond away, but pulled back in the waning hours of trade deadline day. The Philadelphia 76ers were interested in acquiring the veteran big man to compensate for the temporary loss of Joel Embiid, but it seems the Bulls instead decided to remain committed to competing for a playoff spot rather than making forward-thinking decisions.

The 76ers believed they had a trade done to acquire Bulls center Andre Drummond before Chicago pulled out of talks hours before the deadline," says HoopsHype's Michael Scotto, "The Bulls wanted three second-round picks for Drummond, league sources said."

In return, the Bulls would have received a trio of future second-round picks. After the Memphis Grizzlies traded Xavier Tillman away for two second-round picks, the bar was set that the Bulls would need a little bit more for the superior player in Drummond.

It may not sound like a hefty haul, but the Bulls have to be smart with their assets at this critical juncture. Any draft capital they could have obtained at the trade deadline would have been an enormous help down the line as this team prepares for an uncertain future.

Not trading Andre Drummond while they had the chance may come back to haunt the Bulls.

Not every second-round pick is going to turn into the next Nikola Jokic, of course, but these picks still hold a lot of value for savvy front offices. That much is especially true considering Chicago's draft history. After all, the Bulls have already proven they can draft genuine starter-caliber talent in the second by selecting both Daniel Gafford and Ayo Dosunmu 38th overall in the 2019 and 2021 drafts, respectively.

Ideally, Julian Phillips — the 35th pick in last year's draft — can reach that same level for the Bulls; but if he fails to accomplish that goal, Chicago may be in trouble. That's because the Bulls dished out their 2026 and 2027 second-round picks to acquire the young forward, putting an even bigger dent in their war chest of draft picks after trading away their 2025 first-round pick to bring DeMar DeRozan to Chicago back in 2021.

Drummond has been excellent for the Bulls this season, averaging 8.1 points and 8.6 rebounds in just 16.7 minutes per game. In games he's been asked to step up into the starting lineup or play heavy minutes, he's rarely disappointed. His performance has established him as arguably the best reserve big man in the NBA, which will undoubtedly boost his value in the eyes of other teams.

The Bulls were fortunate to have Drummond accept his player option this season, but with him set to enter unrestricted free agency this summer, I doubt Chicago will be so lucky as to land him for the veteran's minimum once again. Drummond is likely to prioritize a big payday or playing for a contending roster, neither of which the Bulls can offer him.

This means Drummond will likely be suiting up for another team next season, and the Bulls will once again be left with nothing to show for it. Losing out on these three future draft picks isn't the end of the world, but Karnisovas' consistently poor decision-making should have Bulls fans very worried about what's in store for this team moving forward.

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