With Lonzo Ball out indefinitely, the Chicago Bulls have to decide how much longer they want to wait for his return. If they decide to start over, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago proposed a trade between them and the Los Angeles Lakers that would give them another point guard and not have to worry about Ball anymore at the same time.
In the trade, Schaeffer proposed the following:
Lakers receive: Nikola Vučević, Lonzo Ball
Bulls receive: Russell Westbrook, Max Christie, 2027 first-round pick
Schaeffer went on to explain why the Bulls would want to make a trade like that.
“Drawing a first-round pick of that value for Vučević is certainly worth considering. And a homecoming for Christie, hooray,” Schaeffer said.
Schaeffer then added why the Bulls wouldn’t do a trade like this.
“While this trade would clear Ball’s money off the books moving forward, it also, according to Fanspo, would add $5.5 million in salary for this season. That would take the Bulls into the tax, which is not happening this year. You’re better off hoping Ball returns at some point.”
The Bulls and the Lakers are both in the same spot where they’re stuck at the moment. Both the Bulls and the Lakers sport 17-21 records that have them in the mix for one of the last playoff spots in their respective conferences with limited assets to improve where they are.
Billy Donovan’s Latest Update
On December 30, Bulls head coach Billy Donovan gave reporters a brief update on where Ball is as far as recovery goes. While there still is no timetable, Donovan made it sound as though Ball has made some progress compared to.
“Regularly on the court shooting,” Donovan said, per Sam Smith of NBA.com. “Which has been good. Actually, jumping a little bit while he is shooting. He’s been doing some light jogging, and I think working through some of that stuff. Like we last talked (December 18), it is progressing. It’s just really slow. But there has definitely been some improvement. He’s actually doing more physically than the last time we spoke.”
With Ball out for the first 38 games of the season, the Bulls have had Alex Caruso and Ayo Dosunmu take up most of his minutes in the starting lineup.
Schaeffer Proposes Three-Way Trade
Among the 11 trades that Schaefer proposes in that same article, he proposed a three-way trade between the Bulls, Lakers, and Golden State Warriors that would net the Bulls Westbrook while getting them plenty of young players and assets back. Schaefer proposed the following.
Warriors receive: Zach LaVine, Alex Caruso
Lakers receive: Nikola Vučević, Draymond Green
Bulls receive: Russell Westbrook, James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, Max Christie | Lakers’ 2029 first-round pick, Lakers’ 2027 second-round pick; next two tradable Warriors’ first-round picks.
Schaefer explained why the Bulls would make a trade like that.
“The Bulls smash the rebuild button by adding three future first-round picks, a bushel of prospects of varying intrigue, and a massive expiring deal to wash their books clean,” Schaeffer said.
He then also explained why the Bulls would pass on such a deal.
“The Bulls, simply put, are not wired to make a teardown trade of this intensity. Yes, the deal would sterilize their books for years to come and onboard some needed draft capital — but to what end? The remaining roster would be a wreckage it would take years to reconstruct. And while Kuminga has flashed some intriguing upside this season, none of those prospects are sure things by any stretch.
“While some fans may prefer this tact, the Bulls’ current front office has clearly exhibited it does not have an appetite for a years-long development project.”