NBA Trade Deadline: An especially wishful Bulls' wish list
D'Angelo Russell, Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are actively shopping Russell, according to reporting from Shams Charania of The Athletic, and it feels like the Bulls could put together a comparable package (Otto Porter Jr. to match salary + a young piece and/or picks) to that of Minnesota or New York, two of the primary teams interested.
The long-term money is staggering and the defensive fit next to Zach LaVine questionable, but those two scoring and playmaking off of each other is an irresistibly fun concept.
Justise Winslow, Miami Heat
Hear me out: Winslow is still just 23, earns a relatively reasonable $13 million per year on his current deal and has enormous defensive and playmaking potential — even if he’s been banged up all season. If Miami decides it wants to bolster its frontcourt depth, here’s as high an upside return for Thad Young as I can imagine.
(Young and Winslow’s salaries match in a one-for-one, though Winslow’s club option for 2021-22 likely appeals to the Heat, who will want to be flexible for the Giannis Antetokoumpo sweepstakes that summer. Young has a partial guarantee for $6 million that season.)
Zhaire Smith, Philadelphia 76ers
Smith was a first round pick (No. 16 overall) just a year-and-a-half ago, but has played just 136 NBA minutes so far. The 20-year-old out of Texas Tech missed all but six games his rookie year after suffering both a broken foot and an alarming allergic reaction before that season; in 2019-20, he’s been mired in the G League, averaging 13 points per game on 50.8% shooting (36.8% from 3) with the Delaware Blue Colts.
Those numbers aren’t eye-popping and he's a tad undersized, but Smith is uber-athletic and profiles as a potentially prototypical ‘3-and-D’ wing down the line. Denzel Valentine could theoretically help the Sixers, who rank 27th in the league in bench scoring, but Philly could probably find a more lucrative return for Smith elsewhere if they seek it out.
Maurice Harkless, Los Angeles Clippers
Unoriginal, and only a dream because it represents something that resembles a happy ending for the Bulls-Thad Young experiment. Harkless is a hard-nosed player who could help the Bulls maintain respectability in the short-term, and his contract also expires after this season, allowing the organization a modicum more long-term flexibility than with Young. Any draft chip attached would make this too good a deal to pass on, if it were presented.
Young, meanwhile, gives the Clippers a more-than-solid rotation big to cycle with Montrezl Harrell and Ivica Zubac. The Clips have reportedly expressed interest in Young in the past, though those rumors are somewhat stale at this point.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento Kings
One of my favorite players in the league, and he appears to be available. A slick ball-handler and sharp-shooter, Bogdanovic would be so fun running and gunning alongside Zach LaVine, and is big and sturdy enough to hold up on the wing.
The problem: Bogdanovich will attract plentiful suitors. The Bulls could match his salary without compromising too much, but the draft assets required probably make this unrealistic. Bogdanovic also enters restricted free agency this summer, which puts the Bulls in a bind they may not be prepared for.
Kostas Antetokounmpo, Los Angeles Lakers
Throw the kitchen sink. The summer of 2021 beckons.