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17 games in, the Bulls are 4-13 and only 0.5 a game from holding the worst mark in the league.

As recent as Saturday night, the Bulls had 3 starters out (Dunn, Lauri, LaVine) and 2 heavy rotation players (Portis, Valentine) out. The team is in disarray and the coach’s seat is as hot as ever. There is definitely one thing fans can take away from this horrendous start, the Bulls have a direction. TANK. TANK. TANK. This means blow it all up. GarPax should be making calls now to every team in the league saying their players are available minus LaVine, Lauri, and the rookies (Carter, Hutchison).

The question here is what can the Bulls get back? Let’s take a deeper look into 5 potential deals the Bulls can pull the trigger on.

Photo: Associated Press/Winslow Townson

1.) 76ers Receive: Bobby Portis, Justin Holiday, 2019 1st round pick (Top-5 protected)

       Bulls Receive: Markelle Fultz and Justin Patton

At first glance I know what you’re thinking, this makes absolutely no sense. But hear me out, the situations changed for each team at two different points. The Sixers changed their direction to “Win Now” when they traded for Jimmy Butler. The Bulls direction changed when the injury bug hit and the Bulls were losing by 20+ every night. The Sixers drafted Fultz number one overall in 2017 and it’s safe to say he’s been a disappointment. The Sixers have enough to make a run now and they don’t have the time to work on the reclamation project that is Markelle Fultz. The Bulls on the other hand have all the time and development in the world to take on Fultz and his hefty salary. The Sixers benefit because they receive a player in Bobby Portis who is a plug and play starter at the 4, a spot left vacant when Saric was given away, and a three point shooter in Justin Holiday who is 5th in the NBA in 3-point FGs made (as of Monday 11/19)! This is a no-brainer for both teams and the Bulls especially, have nothing to lose here and everything to gain. Two expiring contracts and a first for your possible future point guard. The protections on the pick may be tough, but that is the price of doing business for a former number 1 overall pick.

Photo: Associated Press/Elise Amendola

2.) Bulls Receive: Terry Rozier, 2019 2nd round pick

      Celtics Receive: Kris Dunn, Justin Holiday

This trade is mainly about two point guards looking for a change in scenery. It’s no secret Rozier has suffered greatly from the return of Kyrie Irving form injury. As we’ve seen from last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, Rozier can play well in the spotlight and run a team offense. Dunn has been riddled with injuries but has failed to make a lasting impact on this team. Rozier is a scoring threat the Bulls have really lacked at the point guard position since Derrick left. Boston gets a point guard more willing to be a backup, under team control for two years, and can hide the defensive deficiencies Irving holds. They also get Holiday who can back up Heyward and make up for the shooting woes Hayward has had since he also came back from injury. The Bulls immediately plug Rozier to start and let him play for a new contract.

Photo: USA Today Sports/David Banks

3.) Bulls Receive: Nene Hilario, 2019 1st round pick (Lottery-Protected)

      Rockets Receive: Justin Holiday, Ryan Arcidiacono

This one doesn’t seem as likely only because it’s hard seeing the Bulls flipping another player for a steal of a first round pick similar to the way they flipped Niko Mirotic. To his credit though, Holiday has played very well and is showcasing his skills as a spot-up shooter. Of all the contending teams willing to part with a first-round pick, the Rockets seem the most likely based on the sole reason that I believe they’d be the most desperate. The Rockets have gotten off to a slow start at 8-7 and have just parted with the disaster that is Carmelo Anthony. A team that may be in desperate need of a scoring threat, Holiday fits the mold the Rockets offense is based on. Nene is thrown in there to match money (another minimum player may have to be thrown in) and he’s signed for about $3.5M/yr for 2 years, but the Bulls get what they are looking for in an additional first round pick.

Photo: Associated Press

4.) Bulls Receive: Ian Mahinmi, 2019 1st round pick (Top 10-Protected)

      Wizards Receive: Robin Lopez, Denzel Valentine

The Wizards are not off to the start they would’ve liked, but I don’t think the Wizards are out of it especially in the weak East. Their aspirations are the playoffs and again, if this team finds immediate help, they’ll get in. In comes Robin Lopez and Denzel Valentine. Lopez’s contract is almost impossible to trade given the insane number of a $14m cap hit for the final year. Valentine is still on a rookie-scale contract so his contract is affordable. So why would the Wizards take Lopez in? For one, the Bulls would have to bite the bullet on a bad contract for the Wizards to think about it. Ian Mahinmi is making an insane $15m this year and $15m the next. Despite Lopez and Valentine’s immediate aid, its not enough to warrant the first round pick. So because Mahinmi’s contract is so bad, and the Wizards will eventually progress back to the middle of the pack in the East, the Wizards will place top-10 protection for their pick and it should, SHOULD convey for the Bulls this year. The caveat is the Bulls may not want to cripple their books for next year by taking Mahinmi on like they did with Asik.

Photo: Associated Press/Kamil Krzaczynski

5.) Bulls Receive: 1st round pick (Top-20 Protected), Shaun Livingston, Alfonzo McKinnie

      Warriors Receive: Kris Dunn, Justin Holiday

The Bulls would have to be willing to give up on the Dunn project which seems unlikely. But if they do, this seems likely to convey a worthwhile return in a first round pick. Warriors get a cost-controlled defensive point guard for two years and a spot up shooter while the Bulls get a veteran presence in the locker room with Livingston and a Chicago native in McKinnie who torched the Bulls in Chicago a couple weeks ago. the first round pick is the prize here as the Bulls get back to asset gathering mode. Livingston is still on the hook for $8m this year and $7.6m for next, but I believe his veteran presence would really help this team grow. He even could be a major contributor for a potential playoff run next year should he decide to stick around. Not the sexiest of trades but both parties find benefit.


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