Why a Kevin Durant trade would be bittersweet for the Chicago BullsAnish Puligillaon June 25, 2022 at 3:25 pm

With the Chicago Bulls back within the realm of NBA relevancy, many around the league and the fans especially are eager to see what moves the front office makes to continue pushing this team towards their goals of finals contention.

Last summer, the Chicago Bulls surprised the entire league by not only acquiring Lonzo Ball (albeit through some alleged tampering), but also DeMar DeRozan. While at the time DeMar was hailed as the worst free-agent signing in the NBA, he completely flipped the narrative as he went on a fringe-MVP level campaign and helped guide the Bulls back to the playoffs for the first time in 5 years while the health of his teammates crumbled around him.

Now, going into this summer it seems that every big-name free agent could be a feasible target for the Chicago Bulls. It started with Rudy Gobert, an elite big man that would have provided a significant boost on the interior defense and rim protection, but it has now shifted to Kevin Durant amid all the drama stemming from Kyrie Irving’s contract situation.

Sources: Kevin Durant is monitoring the Brooklyn Nets’ situation and considering options with his future.

This now opens the path for Kyrie Irving to proceed on finding a new home via opt-in and trade.

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 23, 2022

A potential Chicago Bulls trade for Kevin Durant could lift them into title contention as early as next season.

I think everyone is in unanimous agreement that trading for Kevin Durant immediately makes the Chicago Bulls a title contender. Envisioning a lineup featuring Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Kevin Durant, and literally anyone at the center spot would make any fanbase salivate about their squad’s chances at a title.

However, what many of us are failing to consider is the cost of a Kevin Durant trade. It is likely that the trade haul the Nets would receive in a Kevin Durant trade would be the largest return in NBA history. For example, to acquire James Harden, the Nets parted ways with Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, Caris LeVert, four first-round pick swaps, and three other first-round picks.

One would have to imagine that the cost of trading for Kevin Durant begins with that type of framework. Unfortunately, the Bulls’ only real asset is Portland’s first-round pick which is lottery protected. Other than that, their 2023 first-round pick is headed to Orlando and their 2023 second-round pick was forfeited due to tampering. They do hold their own 2024 first-round pick but don’t own their second-round pick and in 2025 both their picks head to San Antonio.

Even if the Bulls did magically hold all their picks, they’d have to package some combination of 7 picks and pick swaps with a core of players likely including Patrick Williams, Vucevic (for salary), and Ayo Dosunmu. If the Nets lost Kyrie and KD, Vucevic likely has little value to them outside of salary which brings into question whether this trade package would be remotely interesting to them.

Furthermore, unlike the Rockets who were ready to reset and rebuild when Harden requested the trade, the Brooklyn Nets are expecting to compete. They traded a plethora of assets to build their big 3 core of James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant. With so many assets already heading elsewhere, tanking for the lottery is not a route back to title contention for the Nets. This is why any trade involving Kevin Durant would likely involve pieces to put around Ben Simmons.

This brings me to my final point – why trading for Kevin Durant would be extremely bittersweet for Chicago Bulls fans.

For the Chicago Bulls to acquire Kevin Durant, they would most likely have to include DeMar DeRozan in any trade package.

Once again and unfortunately, DeMar would be the victim of circumstance. I truly would feel bad for him if the Bulls traded him after a season in which he played 76 games, was a borderline MVP candidate, and helped build a strong culture by taking young players under his wing. In fact, he’s training with Patrick Williams right now and putting him through the wringer.

However, the truth of the matter is, is DeMar has rejuvenated his career, is about the same age as Kevin Durant (actually a year younger), plays a similar style, and is playing on an extremely team-friendly contract given his level of play. If the Nets do trade Kyrie and get Ben Simmons back, DeMar DeRozan might be the closest they’d get to replicating Kevin Durant’s impact on the floor. Since the Nets are striving to win now, I feel pretty confident saying they would demand DeMar DeRozan in any Kevin Durant trade package.

Whether the Chicago Bulls would give up DeMar, likely Patrick Williams, other role players, and at least five picks/pick swaps is to be determined. All we know for sure is that if they did, it would surely be bittersweet for Bulls fans and the entire city of Chicago who embraced him as he led our favorite team back to the playoffs in only his first year here.

Read More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.