The Bulls had one of the busier trade deadlines in the league on Thursday as they made two deals, one with the Orlando Magic and a three-team trade with the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards.
Let’s break down and grade each trade.
The Vucevic Trade
- Nikola Vucevic
- Al-Farouq Aminu
- Wendell Carter Jr.
- Otto Porter Jr.
- Two first-round picks (2021, 2023)
Bulls Grade: A-
A lot of experts liked, but did not love this move. I absolutely loved it.
The first great thing about this trade is that, while the Magic were rumored to be shopping their three best players, one of them being Vucevic, there were no rumors floating around that connected the Bulls to any of them. The “going about your business quietly” approach has quickly become a staple of the Karnisovas-Eversley front office.
Vucevic replaces Carter Jr., which is a tremendous upgrade. Vucevic averages 24.5 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. Even more significantly, he shoots 40.6% from beyond the arc. Vucevic will space the floor significantly more than Carter, opening up driving lanes and shooting opportunities for Zach LaVine.
I also think Vucevic and LaVine will play well off each other in pick-and-roll situations. LaVine averaged 0.94 points per chance on pick-and-roll situations with Carter Jr. He averaged 1.02 and 1.14 points per chance with Lauri Markkanen and Thaddeus Young, respectively. Even if LaVine can maintain the same points per chance with Vucevic as he has had with Lauri, that’s a significant improvement.
Furthermore, Vucevic’s contract is actually team-friendly, descending in salary per year over the next two seasons.
- Daniel Theis
- Javonte Green
- Troy Brown Jr.
- Cash considerations
Robert HorryLuke Kornet
- Moritz Wagner
- Daniel Gafford
- Chandler Hutchison
Final Grade: A+
While this was the less sexy of the two moves, this trade is where I believe the Bulls dominated. They traded two players that essentially never played (Kornet, Hutchison) and a backup center with limited upside in Gafford.
While I liked Gafford, Theis is a slight upgrade at the position. Gafford is the better defender and the Bulls do lose rim protection (in both trades actually), but Theis is a much better offensive player and can further spread out the floor compared to Gafford. Theis shoots a decent 35% from behind the three-point line.
Troy Brown Jr. has the highest upside of any player in this trade. He never quite gelled with the Wizards but is a plus-defender and ball-handler. His weakness is shooting (just 33% from behind the arc) but I always believe that shooting is the most “improvable” skill.
I believe the Bulls landed the two best players in this trade and also got cash to go along with it. While it will not have the impact of the Vucevic trade, the Bulls still come out of this one as the main winners.