Bulls Trade Targets with 2023 Trade Deadline 2 Months Away

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBAFeatured Columnist IVDecember 8, 2022

Bulls Trade Targets with 2023 Trade Deadline 2 Months Away

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    CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 26: Myles Turner #33 of the Indiana Pacers looks on during the game against the Chicago Bulls on October 26, 2022 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

    The Chicago Bulls are struggling.

    Maybe a 10-14 start doesn't sound like a reason to pound the panic button, but there are reasons to believe the Bulls brass has at least glanced at said button a time or two.

    This roster was constructed to win right now. That's a concern. The bigger issue, though, is the fact the Bulls owe a top-four protected pick to the Orlando Magic. If Chicago needs more blue-chip talent, then keeping that pick could become a top priority.

    Having said all of that, though, it feels premature to tear this down. Maybe it won't once the NBA trade deadline rolls around in two months, but it does right now.

    So, rather than weigh the merits of a hasty rebuild, we're instead identifying three potential trade targets who could help Chicago get things back on track.

Jae Crowder, Phoenix Suns

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 12: Jae Crowder #99 of the Phoenix Suns. looks on during the game against the Dallas Mavericks during Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals on May 12, 2022 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

    A big wing who plays both ends would solve a lot of issues for this roster.

    The Bulls keep hoping that Patrick Williams, the No. 4 pick in in 2020, will become that player. However, there is no statistical evidence of that transformation taking place.

    Chicago, then, could instead pivot toward Jae Crowder, a plug-and-play swingman who's been awaiting his trade from the Phoenix Suns since training camp. The 32-year-old isn't a star, but the Bulls don't necessarily need stardom from this spot. A player who provides both defensive versatility and outside shooting could do the trick.

    Crowder has the defensive versatility part down, plus he offers toughness and gobs of playoff experience. His jumper unfortunately comes and goes, but in 2020-21, he splashed 148 threes at a 38.9 percent clip, so the Bulls could at least hope he'd supply both quantity and quality as a shooter.

P.J. Washington, Charlotte Hornets

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    CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 05: P.J. Washington #25 of the Charlotte Hornets drives to the basket while guarded by Reggie Jackson #1 of the LA Clippers in the third quarter during their game at Spectrum Center on December 05, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
    Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

    Part of the reason the Bulls can't get going this season is that they're without their connector, Lonzo Ball. His unselfish, pass-first style helps tie this offense together, and his point-of-attack defense sets the tone on that end.

    P.J. Washington wouldn't be a direct replacement, but maybe his glue-guy game could serve as a similar adhesive.

    He can bounce between the 4 and 5 spots, or even handle the 3 spot in a pinch. He doesn't have a standout skill in his arsenal, but he doesn't have any glaring weakness, either. That means he can don a ton of different hats—scorer, stopper, table-setter, rebounder—and change his game however needed from one night to the next.

    With the 24-year-old approaching restricted free agency and the Hornets heading nowhere fast, he could be up for grabs. Chicago could really diversify its lineups by adding him and deploying him as both a power 4 and a small-ball 5.

Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers

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    PORTLAND, OR - DECEMBER 4: Myles Turner #33 of the Indiana Pacers shoots a three point basket during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on December 4, 2022 at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

    Chicago's roster construction prevents Nikola Vučević from playing his best. He's an offense-first player who can score in bunches and serve as a secondary playmaker. That's normally a really helpful skill set for a center, but since the Bulls' offense runs through DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine first, Vučević gets too often lost in the shuffle.

    Perhaps that will push Chicago's decision-makers toward making a change at center.

    Myles Turner would be a dream get if that happens.

    Defense really drives his value, which is saying something when he's averaging a carer-high 17.8 points on 55.3/41.6/81.2 shooting. His offensive arsenal lets him serve as an ideal screen partner, since he can roll to the rim or pop out to the perimeter, but he's even more effective at the less glamorous end, where his shot-blocking and ability to switch out the perimeter really shine.

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