Will the Bulls make a trade on draft night?

Sam Smith speculates if the Bulls will look to make a move in the 2020 NBA Draft.
by Sam Smith
Remind Me Later
Draft 2020 | AT&T Bulls Draft Coverage

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Will the Bulls be making another draft night trade? With Minnesota?

The Bulls in next month's NBA draft are prepared to trade up, trade down or stay where they are at No. 4. This comes directly from sources who may or may not know.

I still get the scoops.

It's draft time in the NBA, which is the time of more change of directions than Gale Sayers on a kickoff return. I used to joke at draft time about Jerry Krause's responses: Hello, he lied. Jerry never thought that was as amusing as I did.

So what about the Bulls trading for the No. 1 pick in this draft?

It's been speculated, of course, that the Bulls might be looking to move up. Which has been sandwiched between reports given the Denver history of basketball chief Arturas Karnisovas that he'd prefer to move down. Deni Avdija, the most frequent Bulls selection by mock drafters, often is said to be the Goldilocks solution: Neither too risky or not risky enough. Just right. You know, like Obi Toppin. This will get even more confusing in the next three weeks.

But about that No. 1 pick in the draft, which is now held by the Minnesota Timberwolves. A return for Zach LaVine?

Zach LaVine

Zach LaVine

It's necessary first to consider the qualifiers, that rarely do teams trade the top pick in a draft, that Minnesota is said to desire top prospect Anthony Edwards with the top pick since he fills a need for them and that new Bulls coach Billy Donovan is a LaVine fan.

It's true the Timberwolves have talked about trade possibilities for No. 1. But that's usually to solicit offers. Who knows, maybe the Lakers don't want LeBron anymore. Unsurprisingly, there were reports this week of the Charlotte Hornets' interest in the No. 1 pick. Seems like the Timberwolves already are working overtime.

With a team being built around Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell, it makes sense to add an NBA-ready, physical shooting guard like Edwards.

Though what if the Timberwolves could add a near All-Star like LaVine? Who also can shoot. Timberwolves fans loved the high flying LaVine. He was an unpopular addition to the big trade for Jimmy Butler on draft night in 2017. Other than Butler, of course. Kris Dunn was a backup still trying to survive Tom Thibodeau and Lauri Markkanen was the draft pick Minnesota didn't get to know. But they loved the amiable skywalker and dunk champion, who was recovering from knee surgery. Thibs didn't have time to wait.

What if the Timberwolves could get someone like LaVine instead of Edwards?

LaVine is an underrated Bulls star who has outperformed many NBA All-Stars without getting the recognition because of the Bulls rebuilding project.

Would anyone in this draft be worth the price to the Bulls?

Certainly not Edwards, who isn't as talented as LaVine. And likely not LaMelo Ball, who could even fall to No. 4 because of questions about his shooting and team fit. Which leaves seven footer James Wiseman among the supposed Big Three in this draft.

He doesn't make much sense for Minnesota because they have Towns.

But he does seem intriguing for a team like the Bulls.

The Bulls only listed seven footers on the roster, Markkanen and Luke Kornet, spend most of their time 25 feet from the rim. Wiseman is still just a kid, but no one on the Bulls roster features that sort of potential defensive instincts with big time athletic ability.

The draft and building a roster is about special players. Could Wiseman be that player?

Wendell Carter Jr.

Wendell Carter Jr. drives to the basket against Detroit

Many expect Wendell Carter Jr. to have a breakout season with a more defined and involved role. And while he has a physical game, he lacks the explosive athletic potential and size. There aren't many players who project like Wiseman. Centers, even mobile ones, are said to be on the verge of NBA extinction. But there's plenty of big people who are tough to defend, especially in the recent playoffs. Like Nikola Jokic, Bam Adebayo and Anthony Davis. And All-Star centers hanging around the East like Joel Embiid and Nikola Vucevic.

The Bulls with new management and a new coaching staff seem inevitably headed for some sort of makeover. We have no idea what it will be. But it seems apparent with all the new eyes and philosophies. Remember, the two new executives came from teams built around mobile centers. The coach, even having wing/forward stars like Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Paul George, always had a place in his heart and in the middle for a big man. Imagine having one that could react without having to think about it first.

Would it make sense for the Bulls, as has been speculated, to try to get the No. 1 draft pick? My personal guess is they don't, in part because Minnesota probably is privately committed to using it and the new Bulls guys want to see what Zach/Coby White looks like in a potentially dynamic scoring backcourt.

But Minnesota with Towns' infatuation with the three-point line could use an inside banger to protect Towns. Anyone seen Onyeka Okongwu? He projects as a powerful inside player, perhaps a more skilled version of Montrezl Harrell. He'd certainly be available at No. 4.

Zach's too good and valuable, especially to a team like the Timberwolves anxious to be in contention, to basically be exchanged for three spots in the draft. So Minnesota's No. 1, a future unprotected Timberwolves No. 1, Jarrett Culver and onetime Bull James Johnson to fill out the salary match?

It seemingly sets the Bulls back immediately because LaVine is the team's leading scorer. Culver is a good defender who did shoot much better the last part of the season. Is it enough? How much do the Bulls want to change? Next week I'll likely be considering possibilities for trading down. Three weeks of guesses to go.

I still assume the Bulls to use the pick at No. 4. Where it's not too hot and not too cold, but perhaps just right. For whom? I'll get back to you on that. I should know by late Nov. 18.

Got a question for Sam?

Submit your question to Sam at asksam@bulls.com

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or its Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

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