Bulls Rumors: Hottest Trade Reports Surrounding Chicago

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IMarch 24, 2021

Bulls Rumors: Hottest Trade Reports Surrounding Chicago

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    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    The Chicago Bulls are 19-23, which has them in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. And with the NBA playoffs featuring a play-in tournament this season (which will include the Nos. 7-10 seeds), they're right in the thick of the postseason mix heading into the final two months of the regular season.

    Does that mean the Bulls will make some key additions to their roster ahead of the trade deadline, which is set for Thursday at 3 p.m. ET? Or could they make moves with an eye toward the future, as they look to keep assembling a team that will lead to long-term success?

    Here's some of the latest trade buzz surrounding Chicago as the deadline quickly approaches.  

Bulls Signaling Young Is 'Not Available'

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    While the Bulls could move some of their players ahead of the trade deadline, it appears Thaddeus Young will be staying with the team for the rest of the season.

    According to ESPN's Zach Lowe, Chicago is signaling that Young is "not available" to teams that have inquired about the 32-year-old forward. The Bulls believe that Young is "too valuable to both their on-court play and their locker room," per Lowe.

    That doesn't mean other teams haven't been trying to trade for Young, though. Lowe reported that Chicago could likely get a first-round draft pick in exchange for Young, who is under contract through the end of the 2021-22 season.

    Young is averaging 12.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 38 games this season for the Bulls. He's been with Chicago since the start of the 2019-20 campaign, as he signed with the team as a free agent prior to that season.

    A valuable veteran role player coming off the bench for the Bulls, Young appears to be staying in Chicago and will look to help the team make a push into the postseason.  

Markkanen Drawing Interest from Numerous Teams

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Lauri Markkanen is in his fourth NBA season, but he's still only 23 and has plenty of years ahead of him in his professional career. But the question is, how long will he remain in Chicago?

    The Athletic's Shams Charania reported that the Bulls are "listening to potential suitors" for Markkanen, as numerous teams have expressed interest in the young power forward. Markkanen is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the season, so perhaps Chicago would consider moving him before then.

    Markkanen is having a solid season for the Bulls, as he's averaging 17.7 points and 6.0 rebounds in 22 games while shooting a career-best 48.3 percent from the field. He missed some time because of a right shoulder injury, but he returned to action on March 11 and has since played in eight games.

    The No. 7 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, Markkanen has been a solid player throughout his career and has the potential to keep improving in the years to come. So if the Bulls decide to trade him this week, it's possible they'd be getting a decent return.  

Bulls in Pursuit of Ball Ahead of Deadline

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    Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

    Will the New Orleans Pelicans be trading Lonzo Ball before the deadline? If so, it's possible that the 23-year-old point guard could be heading to the Bulls.

    The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported that Chicago has been in pursuit of Ball, as well as the Atlanta Hawks. However, there's been "skepticism around the league" that New Orleans will deal Ball, who has been with the team since getting traded by the Los Angeles Lakers on July 6, 2019.

    Ball is having a strong season, as he's averaging 14.2 points (a career high), 5.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds in 38 games while shooting a career-best 42.5 percent from the field. He's set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the season, so if he gets traded, it's possible it could be a short-term move for a team.

    According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, Ball will be looking to sign a deal in which he'll earn about $20 million per season when he hits free agency. So because they may not want to pay that price to keep him for the long term, perhaps they'll be trading him ahead of the deadline.