To help improve the Chicago Bulls roster and cap sheet this offseason, where could Arturas Karnisovas look for a potential trade deal?
The hire of the former Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas by the Chicago Bulls to be their next lead executive in the front office was a major splash hiring that sparked the hoops news cycle in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic last month. Karnisovas’ official title with the Bulls will be the executive vice president of basketball operations.
Karnisovas is set to replace the Bulls former vice president of basketball operations John Paxson, as essentially the lead voice in the front office. He also hired former Philadelphia 76ers vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley to replace former general manager Gar Forman to takeover in that same role. Denver Nuggets Schedule
Now that GarPax is out of the way in the Windy City, the new look Bulls front office can figure out where they want the direction of this rebuild to go. The roster construction and coaching staff are in the hands of executives like Eversley and Karnisovas (Karneversley?).
All options should be on the table to figure out how the Bulls will reconstruct this rebuild to find a more successful path to go down. The Bulls didn’t make all these big splash moves in the front office to have more of the same collapsing rebuild heading into its fourth year.
But where can this new look Bulls front office regime look to find answers to redirect this rebuild? An area where Karnisovas would be rather familiar is with his former team.
Here’s a look into three possible trade packages that Karnisovas and the Bulls could construct with the Nuggets.
As essentially a trade that sees the Bulls send two wings in exchange for two other wings from the Nuggets, a former draftee of Chicago lands back in his original spot. Former Michigan State Spartans shooting guard Gary Harris is a centerpiece of this trade deal along with the likes of small forward Otto Porter Jr. from the Bulls.
The Bulls send OPJ and fellow small forward and former Boise State Bronco Chandler Hutchison to the Nuggets for a return that includes Harris and former Memphis Tigers small forward Will Barton. Since Harris is paid just north of $17 million per year for the remaining three years of his contact, this is a decent risk to take on.
But taking on the risk of Harris might be worth it both since Karnisovas is familiar with him and his skill set and they get OPJ’s more roughly $28 million over the course of the next two years off the books. Landing Harris and the $12 million man that is Barton helps give a bit more freedom and versatility to the Bulls cap sheet.
And the Bulls would have to pay Hutch more than the roughly $3–4 million he’s getting per year on the remainder of his rookie contract by the time Barton and Harris come off their current deals. Getting two solid two-way wings and sharpshooters for the most part in Barton and Harris makes a lot of sense for the Bulls side of the discussion.
Since the Bulls are pretty much bringing aboard a good portion of the Nuggets former front office regime, it makes sense that they take on a lot of the core pieces that were in place in the Mile High City. Between Karnisovas and the former Nuggets director of pro personnel Pat Connelly (now the Bulls vice president of player personnel), there’s a lot in place in the Windy City in significant roles from Denver.
With that in mind, the Bulls could take a risk on taking on money like what Harris brings to the table and they could send out some of the failing draftees and free agent signings from the GarPax-era.
Two players that have sat around trade discussions of late for the Bulls are forward Thaddeus Young and combo guard Tomas Satoransky. Toss third-year power forward Lauri Markkanen into the discussions, and the Bulls have a pretty appealing trade package to send off to the Nuggets.
What the Bulls get in return in this possible trade package is forward Jerami Grant, rookie forward Michael Porter Jr., and the shooting guard Harris. Landing Porter Jr. would be an incredibly intriguing fit with the Bulls and a player that brings true star potential to the table. Grant also comes off his trade restriction on June 29, so he could be deal to the Bulls at that point.