The 2018-19 season was expected to be a good one for the Chicago Bulls as they signed potential star Jabari Parker to a contract during the summer and they added Wendell Carter Jr. with the eighth pick overall in the 2018 NBA Draft. However, the Bulls are mired in the cellar with only head coach Fred Hoiberg to be blamed so far for their disastrous 5-19 start.
However, the Bulls may need more than just a fixer-upper with the firing of Hoiberg and may want to look further at solving their problems with a trade. They currently have a glut of power forwards with Jabari Parker, Lauri Markknen, Wendell Carter Jr., Bobby Portis and Cristiano Felicio all playing the same position. Something has to give and one or more of these talented young players need to be moved.
The only immovable piece from the aforementioned players should be Markkanen who has the potential to be a very special player in this league, one who could become an All-Star very soon. The second-year forward had just returned last Saturday from an injury he suffered in the preseason. He appears to be the cornerstone of Chicago’s rebuilding efforts for the foreseeable future.
Same goes for guard Zach LaVine who has been shooting the lights out this season, leading the team in scoring at 25.0 points a night. He and Markkanen are the building blocks of this Bulls team while the rest of the roster can be had for the right price.
What the Bulls need is a more seasoned floor general who will direct traffic and be a second coach on the floor. To that end, the Bulls need to swing for the fences and try to nab an All-Star point guard when an opportunity presents itself. Parker is the most logical piece to go since he has the type of contract that is comparable to the league’s veteran point guards. A few other Bulls players may have to be added to the deal to sweeten the offers, however, and to make the numbers work.
Here are three potential trades that can fix the Chicago Bulls this season:
*Note: ESPN’s Trade Machine was used to simulate/approximate these trades.
3. Chris Paul and Marquese Chriss for Jabari Parker, Kris Dunn, Cristiano Felicio, Bobby Portis
It may seem ridiculous to even consider that the Houston Rockets would trade their starting point guard but with the season not going as well as envisioned, perhaps general manager Daryl Morey may want to shake up their plans. With an 11-12 record and currently the second worst team in the Western Conference, it’s only a matter of time before the Rockets blow up their core if they don’t get their ship right very soon.
If things don’t work out, the Bulls should shoot for the moon by trying to get a deal done for Chris Paul. Chicago needs veteran help from the point guard spot and none are more battle-tested than Paul. He is considered by many as one of the greatest point guards in NBA history and he would be a terrific addition to this very young Bulls squad that’s been looking for a leader like him.
The only concern here would be for Paul who may not be motivated to play for a team that’s still learning how to win like the Bulls. But this season could be just a bump in the road and he could lead this team to greater heights next season. The 13-year veteran could be the missing piece to this Bulls team to take them further in the playoffs than they ever have in the last few years.
A young player that would be part of this deal is former Suns forward Marquese Chriss. He’s had a rough start to the season but could play more minutes and grow into a role as a backup to Markkanen.
The Rockets, meanwhile, get a ton of youngsters with loads of potential with Parker, Portis and Felicio while replacing Paul in their starting lineup with Kris Dunn. The infusion of young talent could rejuvenate Houston’s sagging fortunes. And even if this deal doesn’t work out as well as expected, at least they’re not much worse than they were before this trade.
2. Damian Lillard for Jabari Parker, Kris Dunn, Darnell Valentine, future first-round pick
Another potential trade for the Bulls would be to look toward the West once again to entice the Portland Trail Blazers to trade Damian Lillard to them. The Blazers started out the 2018-19 season strong but have now dropped to seventh place in the West and are in danger of being out of the postseason for the first time since Lillard’s rookie season.
If they are looking at the possibility of not making the playoffs anyway, Portland may want to start the rebuilding project by dealing their star player for a couple of nice pieces who could be part of their future. Dunn, Parker, Darnell Valentine will add depth to the Blazers right now.
The Bulls in return would get one of the top point guards in the league and his leadership could propel this team to one of the top five spots in the Eastern Conference. Dame will get this team to play with composure down the stretch and will teach them how to play with composure when the game is on the line.
1. John Wall for Jabari Parker
It’s only a matter of time before the Washington Wizards blow up their team. John Wall is likely going to be the first player to be traded and the Bulls need to line up to grab him when they can. In exchange, the Bulls offer Parker as they absorb Wall’s seemingly untradeable contract in order to get the All-Star point guard that they are craving for.
Wall is still an incredible talent after eight years in the league. Having the rich tradition in Chicago with Michael Jordan’s legacy hanging in the rafters should inspire Wall to up his game a notch higher.
The 6-foot-4 point guard is aching to get a new lease on his basketball life and he should find a nice home in Chicago where there’s nowhere else for the team to go but up. Wall and LaVine should be an exciting backcourt, one that could rival his partnership with Bradley Beal in Washington. He could teach the young ones how to prepare for a game better than they have and he will be looked at as the unquestioned leader of the Bulls. That should motivate Wall to have one of his better seasons, taking this team to the playoffs and leading a new era in Bulls basketball.