At 15-17, the Chicago Bulls are fighting for position in one of the East’s play-in games — and they are just a game out of being the sixth seed or higher and avoiding the play-in all together. Playoff experience would be another step forward for young Bulls such as Zach LaVine, Cody White, and Wendell Carter Jr.
There are also a few teams around the league eyeing Chicago players — particularly veteran big man Thaddeus Young — as a potential trade target.
It leads to a question for the new Chicago front office: Would it be willing to trade away Young and hurt the team a little now to help build a better roster for the future? Or is it better to hang on to Young and chase the playoffs?
The Bulls brain trust will meet in the coming weeks and discuss it, reports Joe Cowley at the Chicago Sun-Times.
[Bulls coach Billy] Donovan knows the heads of the Bulls’ family will be meeting after the All-Star break and before the March 25 trade deadline. He even has a generic date and place. But the direction that meeting is going to go is another story entirely…
The Chicago Sun-Times reported this month that several teams were intrigued with the idea of Young bolstering their bench, as well as providing a versatile frontcourt option to close games. He would be an instant boost for teams going for that late-season push, such as the Heat or Knicks.
Young is signed through next season, earning $13.5 million this season and $14.1 million in the final year of his deal, but what would he really bring back in a trade? Besides the Bulls taking on an expiring contract of similar value, the hope would be a first-round pick.
Whether the Bulls are willing to trade Young will depend on what is coming back to them in a potential deal.
First-round picks are hard to come by right now, and a lot of the contenders and playoff teams looking to trade for help at the deadline don’t have one in this draft, and not for a few years out.
Miami would be a smart landing spot for Young — the team needs help at the four and could use a backup five behind Bam Adebayo. Young can fill both those roles. But Miami doesn’t have a first-round pick it controls and can trade until 2025, and the players with matching salary, such as Kelly Olynyk, are not going to thrill Chicago (unless the Heat want to throw in Precious Achiuwa… which they reportedly don’t).
Young is a name to watch for the next month; a lot of teams are going to call Chicago and test the waters.
The Bulls need to figure out what direction they want to go. Are they all in for this season?