The Chicago Bulls intend to be deliberate and calculating under Arturas Karnisovas moving forward. Thus far he’s made no indications of whether he plans to shake up the roster as it is. He’s constantly offered praise for young guys like Zach Lavine, Lauri Markkannen, Coby White, and Wendell Carter Jr. Some feel he might prefer to work around that young core. Then again this could all be speculation.
Like any guy who takes over a failing basketball operation, Karnisovas could easily be seeking change.
The swiftest way to accomplish that is by acquiring as many resources as possible This means trades. Who is his biggest commodity at present? That is unquestionably Lavine. The 25-year old guard had his best season in 2019-2020, averaging just over 25 points per game. His scoring ability can be seen as quite valuable to the right team. Hence why it was no surprise when word came out that teams like the Knicks and Nets were monitoring his situation in case the Bulls make him available.
Should that happen, what can the team get in return?
Zach Lavine could fetch a considerable package if handled right
It’s no secret that young players who can create their own shots are a valuable commodity in the NBA. So teams will pay a good price for them. He is under contract for two more years, giving whichever team deals for him solid control of him. Combine that with his age and it’s fair to believe the Bulls should be able to secure a strong package in return.
Karnisovas will almost certainly be looking for money and draft picks in that scenario. Between the two teams mentioned, it appears the Knicks are in a better position to give the Bulls what they want. Between this year and next, they have three 1st round picks. They also have the most wiggle room beneath the luxury tax threshold at $22.4 million. Lavine’s contract would take up $19.5 million each of the next two seasons. The Knicks would be able to absorb that without much issue.
In return, they could receive Elfrid Payton, Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox, Ignas Brazdeikis, and a 1st round pick. Payton averaged 10 points and 7.2 assists last season. Robinson averaged two blocks with 9.7 points and seven rebounds off the bench. He was also their highest-rated defender. Two promising young players and what could be a high draft choice on top of it.
It’s not the only option of course.
They could also make that deal for older veterans Taj Gibson and Wayne Ellington along with two 1st round picks. Both players would carry a dead cap of just $2 million combined if released before next season. That would net the Bulls $17 million in cap space. Together with those picks, Karnisovas would be in prime position to truly start remaking the roster.
This is just the ideas involving the Knicks. There could be many more with other teams. All that matters is the Bulls don’t be too desperate to move Lavine. They can afford to hold out for a good offer.