As the NBA trade deadline draws ever closer, Bulls fans continue to wonder whether the team will be big time sellers this year. There’s been talk of widespread interest in Alex Caruso, and speculation that the front office could move on from Nikola Vucevic since he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. On Sunday, a report from Matt Moore emerged that the Bulls have at least engaged in talks with the Suns for a swap of Coby White and Jae Crowder. But in his latest mailbag, NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson said the Bulls aren’t hot to move White.
“The Bulls value White,” Johnson wrote. “They’ve rejected offers for him in the past. He’s certainly available for the right move, but it’s clear at this point that the Bulls won’t give him away. For starters, they need his shooting. The team doesn’t have much of it. Secondly, White is a team player who has accepted whatever changing role has been thrown his way. And his defense and ball-handling both are noticeably improved this season. Coach Billy Donovan pointed to White’s improvement in screen navigation before the Pacers’ road game.”
Further, a one-for-one trade between White and Crowder simply wouldn’t work. A quick consultation with the trade machine shows that this move won’t go through for salary cap purposes, and the Bulls would need to add more salary to balance the budget. Including a player like Andre Drummond, whose role in the rotation has been greatly reduced lately, could make it work. But again, would the Bulls really make this move just to make a move?
A lot of that will be determined by how the front office judges the team. Do they believe the Bulls are closer to the squad that beat the 76ers, Nets and Warriors earlier this month? Or do they place greater stock in the bad losses to the Hornets and Pacers?
The Bulls currently sit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference with a 23-26 record. That puts them one place away from qualifying for the NBA’s play-in tournament. The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 9.