The Chicago Bulls acquired Nikola Vucevic at the trade deadline this past season in hopes of making a late-season playoff run. Although the squad did an admirable job recovering from a slow start to its 2020-21 campaign, ultimately the Bulls fell short of a playoff berth.
Over in the Western Conference, the Portland Trail Blazers similarly disappointed in the first-round of the Western Conference playoffs – leading to much speculation regarding what the future holds for Damian Lillard.
Terry Stotts was ultimately fired as soon as the season ended, and this led to Lillard making a very public plea for Jason Kidd to replace him.
Kidd rejected the request, for pretty understandable reasons, and now the question is whether Lillard has reached the point of no return in Portland.
This week, NBC Sports presented an interesting trade scenario that could solve a lot of problems.
“A four-for-one package constructed around Patrick Williams, Coby White, Al-Farouq Aminu and [Thad] Young or [Tomas] Satoranský, for example, would work financially,” it noted.
“The Bulls may also make additions through trades, free agency or re-signings that could eventually be included if the trade is made next season. But then, does that deal — or any collection of players the Bulls may put on the table — work from a value perspective?
“Heaps of draft capital would have to be involved, especially for a Trail Blazers team in need in that department. But by way of the Vučević trade, the Bulls are restricted in their ability to trade future first-round draft picks. Those restrictions are incredibly complicated — thank the Stepien Rule, which disallows teams trading consecutive future first-rounders.”
So are Williams and White enough to land someone of Lillard’s caliber?
Williams started all 71 games, averaging 9.2 points and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 39 percent from beyond the arc. He definitely has potential, but that much potential? That’s a matter of personal opinion.
Similarly, White is an intriguing player, but between his injury-prone nature and inconsistency, he is hardly the type of guy you can build a franchise around.
If the Blazers are giving up someone such as Lillard, they are going to want significantly more in return.
For what it’s worth, many are anticipating that Chicago has its sights set on creating a new Big 3. The Bradley Beal rumors have been circulating for months, but if the Washington Wizards don’t make him available, Lillard is as good an option as any.
Clearly the Bulls have plenty of motivation to get something done. The question now is whether or not they have appropriate assets.
One way or another, this promises to be an interesting next few months.