The Chicago Bulls are not where many (myself included) thought they would be at this point of the 2019-20 NBA campaign.
Some (again, myself included) had the Bulls pegged as legitimate playoff contenders in the Eastern Conference heading into this season, but they have not played the part, as they have gone just 13-23 thus far.
With the Feb. 6 trade deadline inching closer, Chicago could very well become sellers over the next month, and it does have some pieces it could look to move.
While Kris Dunn has become a popular name due to the fact that he is in the final year of his rookie deal, he has also developed into one heck of a perimeter defender, and even if his offensive numbers aren’t there, elite defense has a ton of value. Just ask Marcus Smart and Justise Winslow.
Granted, both Smart and Winslow have improved their offense quite a bit and are well beyond Dunn in that category, but they made their money off of their defensive chops, so Dunn could be a guy the Bulls absolutely look to re-sign this summer.
Another name that could be on the move is Tomas Satoransky, a 28-year-old guard whom Chicago acquired this past offseason. With Coby White in the fold and Dunn potentially returning, Satoransky is a guy the Bulls could look to trade, and given his solid shooting numbers, he could have some value.
But the primary player we need to discuss is Thaddeus Young.
Some scratched their heads at Chicago’s decision to sign Young to a three-year deal back in July, but Young was seen as a strong veteran influence—and versatile defender—who could help the Bulls reach the next level.
That hasn’t happened.
Young, who had been a starter since 2012-13, has come off the bench in all 35 of his appearances this season, averaging just 8.7 points and 4.3 rebounds over 21.7 minutes per game (his lowest since his rookie year) while shooting a meager 39.5 percent from the floor, 31.9 percent from three-point range and 60 percent from the free-throw line.
Has Young, who is now 31 years old, declined that much, or is his current situation just not conducive for him?
That’s what other teams would like to know.
There has been some trade buzz around Young’s name, with the Los Angeles Clippers emerging as a potential destination (and boy, would he look good there).
But given the fact that Young is making $12.9 million this season with shoddy production and is under contract through 2022, moving him may not be so easy.
I will say that I am inclined to believe that Young would be better on another roster, but at the same time, potential trade partners do have to be wary of the possibility that Young’s abysmal 2019-20 output could be the start of a trend.
That shouldn’t stop the Bulls from shopping him, however, as it seems blatantly obvious that Young is not going to be around by the time Chicago is seriously ready to contend.
Because Young is an established veteran name who has playoff experience and can guard multiple positions, contending teams (like the Clippers) could make a push for him.