Skip to main content

Is Domantas Sabonis a Bulls Trade Option?

If the Pacers embark on a full-blown rebuild, the Bulls need to call about a trade for Domantas Sabonis.
Domantas Sabonis Pacers Bulls Trade

Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

According to reports out of Indianapolis, the Pacers are looking at a substantial rebuild. A player such as Domantas Sabonis will likely be available, and the Bulls need to at least call about a trade. Sabonis has always given the Bulls trouble and Chicago's frontcourt needs an extra body.

Why Sabonis Works For The Bulls

Sabonis is an elite post player. While he typically plays a physical game that wears down defenders, he also possesses the ability to hit fade-away and drop-step shots.

In addition to his scoring prowess, Sabonis is one of the top big-man facilitators in the league outside of Nikola Jokic. He often creates open looks and effectively moves the ball to Indiana's three-point shooters. If Sabonis's ability to shift defenses continues, Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, and DeMar DeRozan could see cleaner looks from beyond the arc should a trade happen. Furthermore, the Bulls' pick-and-roll game could benefit from the 6-foot-11 forward's presence.

Sabonis may be a liability defensively, but considering the Bulls' tight defense at the guard positions, his size and positioning could be all Chicago needs. Look no further than Nikola Vucevic for such an example; he's not a top defender but he gets the job done. Unlike Vucevic, however, Sabonis can't shoot threes. But with the Bulls' smaller lineups, this area should be covered elsewhere.

Aside from what Sabonis would bring to Chicago, keeping him away from another Eastern Conference playoff team would be beneficial.

Overall, Sabonis would create frequent mismatches if inserted into the Bulls' current mix. At the right price, "defense by offense" on a Sabonis trade could be extremely beneficial for Billy Donovan's team.

Scroll to continue

Recommended Articles

Pacers Needs In A Sabonis Trade

It is a bit surprising the Pacers are trending toward a full rebuild. They have missed the playoffs just eight times in the past three decades. Indiana typically favors the retool method over full-fledged rebuilds. A rebuild in a smaller market is challenging when it comes to maintaining fans and drawing interest from big-name free agents. However, it's an ideal time for the Pacers to blow it up considering Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls will reign near the top of the Central Division over the next few years.

If this is the route Indiana decides to travel down, the organization needs at least one of a few things: a draft pick, a younger star player to build the team around, or cap space to sign free agents. Including this season, Domantas Sabonis has three years remaining on his contract. In the first two years, his salary is $18.5 million and the last year pays him $19.4 million. That is a fair price for the 25-year-old big man.

Potential Bulls Trade Compensation For Sabonis

Due to the Vucevic trade, the Bulls don't have an abundance of draft picks. The Bulls don't necessarily have a young centerpiece to give up either. But they do have two things the Pacers may want: young players who could develop into core pieces. Of course, this category includes Coby White and Patrick Williams.

Coby White has two more years on his deal. The former seventh overall pick hasn't lived up to the hype yet due to several obstacles. To start the 2021-22 season, White missed time while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, and now he is fresh off the COVID list. He hasn't had an ample opportunity to mesh with the revamped Bulls roster. Some new scenery in Indiana may do him well.

Patrick Williams is an interesting trade chip since he has three years remaining on his deal. The Pacers could view him as a quality building block if they believe in his Kawhi Leonard projections. Even if those comparisons aren't part of how the Pacers view him, Williams still represents an exceptionally athletic role player.

Beyond White and Williams, Chicago also has a few role players on expiring deals with this and next year left. Current Bulls players up this alley include Tony Bradley, Troy Brown Jr., and Derrick Jones Jr. Bradley and Jones Jr. have just this year remaining on their contracts, and Brown Jr. has two. None of these players would break the bank, and they could help fill Sabonis' role smoothly. In this scenario, these options would serve more as salary fill-ins than primary return pieces in a potential trade for Sabonis.

What Should The Bulls Do?

Whether or not the Pacers are interested in trading within the division, the Bulls need to make a call. Unlike a Robert Covington trade, the Bulls would have Domantas Sabonis longer. Three years of his services would be a great boost for Chicago. He fits a need and it would be a nice cherry on top to not face him again for the foreseeable future.

Fans will have to wait and see what Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley have up their sleeve.