Rumors: Pelicans place perfect fit for Bulls on trade block

Minnesota Timberwolves v New Orleans Pelicans
Minnesota Timberwolves v New Orleans Pelicans / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

Although they've done well to right the ship and creep closer back to a .500 winning percentage in recent weeks, it's clear to see the Chicago Bulls could still use a little extra help. This team started 5-14 for a reason and is still without over 40% of their entire payroll while Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball continue to recover from injury.

The Bulls continue to be one of the league's worst three-point shooting teams, ranking 23rd in threes made per game. They've made improvements to rebound the ball better, but still only rank 20th in defensive rebounds per game, and 20th in overall net rating. This team clearly still needs to add size and shooting to impact the game on both ends of the court.

Fortunately, the solution to Chicago's problems may have just presented itself. That's because the Pelicans are reportedly floating third-year forward Herbert Jones on the trade market.

Despite his excellent play surpassing all expectations as a former second-round pick, New Orleans appears to be bracing for a cap crunch as Trey Murphy and Jonas Valanciunas prepare for big paydays on top of the $100 million owed annually to their trio of Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, and CJ McCollum.

The Action Network's Matt Moore reports, “The Pelicans are thought to be open to moving Herbert Jones. They're high on Jones, but it'll be difficult for the team to pay their stars, Jones and Trey Murphy III.”

I still have a hard time understanding why the Pelicans would be in a rush to move on from a top-tier defender whose shot is steadily improving, but if there's any credence to this report at all, the Bulls would be wise to pick up the phone and begin discussions immediately.

Trading for two-way talent Herbert Jones could solve several lingering problems for a Bulls team trying to win now.

Despite being forced to play out of position, Herbert Jones has proven himself to be an exceptional starter for the Pelicans. In just his third season, Jones is averaging 10.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 37.8% from beyond the arc. His most valuable asset doesn't show up on the box score, however, as Herb is among the NBA's elite perimeter defenders while still having enough size to be a positive defender in the post.

For a Bulls team that has made up for much of their offensive deficiencies through superb defensive play, Jones would fit like a glove in Billy Donovan's system. Herb is the same archetype of player as Patrick Williams, but with the added flexibility to slide in wherever there's an injury in the starting lineup.

Not only would having two players like that be an enormous luxury, it would also be a massive point of leverage for the Bulls in contract negotiations with Pat later this summer. That's because Jones is on one of the most team-friendly deals in the league, earning an annual average of $13 million over the next three seasons.

Now that Coby White's contract is looking like it could become a steal in its own right, pairing him with a two-way player on a similarly affordable contract would be a fantastic move on the front office's behalf. With DeMar DeRozan preparing to hit unrestricted free agency, a move like this could help prepare the Bulls usher in a new era and re-center the team around players who can help this franchise meet its long-term goals, rather than going all in for unsustainable success this season.

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