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Chicago Bulls 2018 NBA Draft: 3 trade ideas GarPax should explore

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For a rebuilding team like the Chicago Bulls, one route to becoming a championship contender is through the trade market. The 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday night can be the perfect avenue to do some wheeling and dealing.

Teams like the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets are recent examples of how trades not only can acquire established players, but they also can create flexibility by bringing your team draft picks, young players and expiring contracts. All of which can put you in a prime position to make a major move, making your roster attractive to a star free agent or giving you the capital to make another trade.

Bold trades require aggressiveness and plenty of creativity. Historically, the Bulls have never shown signs of taking big risks. However, recent trades involving Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic would indicate that the GM Gar Forman and VP John Paxson are willing to make some brash moves during this rebuild.

With that in mind, here are three trade ideas that GarPax should consider on draft night.

Acquire the No. 14 Pick from the Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets reportedly are shopping Kenneth Faried’s contract and would consider including the No. 14 pick in any trade. Faried, who used to average 12 points and 8 rebounds in his sleep, is no longer the steady power forward he once was. In fact, he only averaged about 14 minutes through 32 games last season.

Faried has one year left on his contract worth about $13.8 million. Given his decline, it’s clear why the Nuggets would have to throw in a sweetener to make any deal work. In this case, the No. 14 pick would be a huge addition for the Bulls, giving them another lottery pick to choose two highly touted prospects in one draft. There are two scenarios that could get a deal and both include the Bulls’ No. 22 draft choice.

Package No. 1

  • Bulls acquire: 14 pick and Kenneth Faried
  • Nuggets acquire: 22 pick, Denzel Valentine and Cameron Payne

Recap: Admittedly, this one is a stretch. However, there is some merit to offering this type of package from the get-go. For starters, the Bulls are taking on Faried’s contract and letting go of the No. 22 pick. While they gain eight spots in the draft order, they also lose cap flexibility this offseason. So offering up Denzel Valentine and Cameron Payne as additional pieces isn’t completely off base, especially after both players had solid bounce-back seasons last year. But if that doesn’t work, they could try this…

Package No. 2

  • Bulls acquire: 14 pick and Kenneth Faried
  • Nuggets acquire: 22 pick and Justin Holiday

Recap: This might be more palatable for the Nuggets. Holiday has emerged into a solid rotational piece over the last few seasons. This year, he earned starter’s minutes and averaged career highs in scoring (12.2 points per game) and 3-point shooting (35.9 percent). The Nuggets would be dropping eight spaces, but they’d be gaining a decent role player and cap flexibility.

Acquire the No. 4 Pick from the Grizzlies

You got to give kudos to Chandler Parsons, who’s been paid TWICE for being slightly above average. After showing flashes with the Houston Rockets, Parsons cashed in on a three-year, $46 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks in 2014. He wisely opted out of the final year of his contract in the summer of 2016 when the league’s salary cap ballooned. The Memphis Grizzlies promptly swooped in with a four-year, $94 million contract.  But after mediocre play and injuries, they’re desperate to get out of the deal. So desperate that they might be willing to trade down from No. 4.

Enter the Bulls, who have plenty of cap space and a rebuilding roster that could use a top-five draft choice. Of all the teams in this year’s draft, they actually might be the best dance partner and could pull off a trade using either the Nos. 7 or 22 picks.

chandler parsons-memphis grizzlies-chicago bulls-2018 draft trade
Mar 19, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons (25) passes the ball against Brooklyn Nets guard D’Angelo Russell (1) and Brooklyn Nets forward Quincy Acy (13) in the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Package No. 1

  • Bulls acquire: 4 pick and Chandler Parsons
  • Grizzlies acquire: 22, Kris Dunn and Bobby Portis

Recap: This deal was originally proposed on Twitter from former Bulls Confidential blogger and super fan Doug Thonus. It might seem farfetched, but the logic makes sense. If the Grizzlies want to unload an absolute albatross of a contract, it’s going to be costly.

In fact, the scenario above might be riskier for the Bulls. They’d be losing a starting-caliber point guard and a valuable role player capable of averaging 10 points and 6 rebounds off the bench for his career. However, would the Grizzlies feel comfortable sliding 18 slots down for two young role players and a late-round draft choice? And could the Bulls stomach losing two young assets? If not, there could be a slightly better option for both sides…

Package No. 2

  • Bulls acquire: 4 pick and Chandler Parsons
  • Grizzlies acquire: 7

Recap: While the first deal would’ve given the Bulls two top seven picks, this one is a bit more realistic. The Grizzlies only would be dropping three spots for unloading Parsons’ contract, and the Bulls wouldn’t be parting with key young pieces. However, is that bloated contract worth the price of moving up? If it assures you getting Mo Bamba, Michael Porter Jr. or a projected top-three talent that falls, hell yes!

Acquire a Young Player from the Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are hot for LeBron James, and they’re interested in pairing him with the likes of Paul George, Chris Paul or Kawhi Leonard. However, Luol Deng’s contract could inhibit them from building the ultimate super team. In order to shed someone like Deng, the Lakers might have to part with a young player.

The Bulls could easily absorb the remaining $36.8 million on Deng’s deal and offer a less damaging contract. Omer Asik, who the Bulls re-acquired from the New Orleans Pelicans in the Nikola Mirotic trade, has two years and about $29 million left on his contract. The Lakers could use the stretch provision, allowing them to waive Asik and pay out the remaining guaranteed money over a longer period of time. But in order to help Los Angeles, GarPax should demand one of their young pieces in return.

Package No. 1

  • Bulls acquire: Kyle Kuzma and Luol Deng
  • Lakers acquire: 22 pick and Omer Asik

Recap: In theory, this trade would work without the No. 22 pick, and the front office should try its damnedest not to include it. However, the Lakers might want something of substance to part with a young piece like Kuzma, who was drafted No. 27 last year and averaged 16.1 points per game. Kuzma carries an affordable rookie contract and would be the perfect piece for the Bulls to add, whether he’s part of their long-term plans or future trade packages.

Package No. 2

  • Bulls acquire: Brandon Ingram and Luol Deng
  • Lakers acquire: 22 pick and Omer Asik

The former No. 2 overall pick bounced back last season after a rough rookie campaign, averaging 16.1 points per game and shooting 39 percent from 3-point range (nearly a 10 percentage-point jump). At 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot wingspan, Ingram has the length to make him a nightmare forward in the league for years to come. And like Kuzma, he’d be the perfect addition on the Bulls’ rebuilding roster.

So why would the Lakers deal Ingram or Kuzma in either scenario? It’s the price of business when you’re trying to create a super team. Their main objective is to create more cap space, and the Bulls are doing them a huge favor by taking on Deng’s horrific contract. The Lakers’ No. 25 pick probably wouldn’t be appealing to a team like the Bulls, so they would have to consider parting with high-upside talent.

Matt graduated with a Bachelor's degree of journalism from DePaul University in 2011 and currently works in the digital marketing world as a content manager. He's been a Chicago sports fan and almanac since childhood, and he has explainable superstitions leading up to Bears games. Aside from sports, Matt also shares a deep love for family, friends, faith, theater and creative writing.