With the NBA trade deadline fast approaching in two days, the Chicago Bulls have been active in trade conversations. Currently, the Bulls sit in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 19-23 and have been looking for ways to improve the team. Recently, there have been rumors about the Bulls taking calls on Otto Porter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen, as expected. However, they are also searching for another veteran presence to pair with Zach LaVine. Let’s dive into those rumors a little bit more below.
Bulls Listening on Lauri Markkanen
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, multiple teams have expressed interest in trading for Lauri Markkanen.
Markkanen will become a restricted free agent this summer and could command a hefty contract that the Bulls may not be willing to pay. He has put together a strong season so far, averaging 17.7 points and six rebounds per game while shooting 48.3% from the field and 39.6% from the three-point line. However, injuries have continued to plague him as the big man has missed 20 games to this point of the season.
Despite Markkanen’s potential, it’s is no surprise the Bulls are taking calls on him. He has yet to show the ability to stay on the court on a consistent basis. According to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, there have been rumblings of a potential Lauri Markkanen-for-Lonzo Ball swap.
Still Searching for an Otto Porter Jr. Destination
In addition to Markkanen, the Bulls have also been fielding calls regarding Otto Porter Jr.
There have been rumors over the past couple of weeks that the Bulls may also consider buying out Otto Porter Jr. He has had a solid season thus far, averaging 10.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in 21.8 minutes.
It is no surprise that the Bulls are taking calls on Porter Jr. because he will become an unrestricted free agent after this season. The Bulls clearly do not see him as a long-term fit with the team given the emergence of Patrick Williams, who has taken over the starting small forward spot. It will be interesting to see what happens with Porter by this Thursday’s deadline.
Many executives around the league believe the Bulls could be in the market for a veteran player who can make a big impact. One player that has floated around the Bulls circle is Demar Derozan of the San Antonio Spurs.
The addition of DeMar DeRozan would make some sense for the Bulls. He is a proven veteran who can score the ball, which would help take some pressure off Zach LaVine. Despite his large contract, the Bulls would be able to match it as Otto Porter Jr. also carries a large salary of $26.63 million. Porter Jr. could be an appealing asset to the Spurs, who may be looking to infuse more youth into their roster. From the Bulls side, acquiring DeRozan may be the move to help solidify their postseason status despite some concerns about his potential fit with the team.