NBA Rumors

NBA experts cook up a Bulls trade package for Damian Lillard

What would a trade from the Bulls to the Portland Trail Blazers look like for Lillard?

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On The Lowe Post podcast with Zach Lowe and, his guest, The Athletic's John Hollinger, the two crafted trade ideas for both disgruntled stars, Damian Lillard and James Harden.

During their venture through potential, realistic trade packages, they chose to go off the beaten path with some outside-the-box trade ideas. Insert the Chicago Bulls; a team extremely unlikely to vie for either athlete, yet interesting enough to try out a trade idea.

"Zach LaVine, Patrick Williams -- Patrick Williams is a big one for me because I'm on the lookout for rookie scale guys. Portland gets its pick back from the Bulls" Lowe suggested, also recommending an additional two first-round picks.

". . . I get Damian Lillard to be my point guard; don't really have a point guard on my team. Kind of a problem. And I have Dame, DeRozan, Vucevic. We will guard no one, but we're gonna be amazing on offense."

I chuckled at that last comment because, indeed, neither of those three players is particularly stellar on the defensive end. Lowe was surprised the Bulls, in fact, had a top 10 defense last season, allowing 111.6 points per contest -- eighth in the NBA.

That led him to comically suggest the Bulls should run with the Lillard trade and hope they have a top-10 defense anyway. He was surprised they generated a solid defensive turnout, using that as leverage to believe Lillard would work in Chicago, despite the lack of defensive talent.

Lowe mentioned the Bulls would also need to call San Antonio to lighten the protections on the pick they sent to the Spurs, in hopes of finding flexibility in trading two more first-rounders to the Trail Blazers.

"I don't think that's a totally bonkers trade," Lowe said.

Oh, but on the contrary, it's a bonkers trade.

This trade puts the Bulls further in capital debt. They already traded two first-round picks to the Magic over the past two years for Vucevic. They also traded the aforementioned 2025 first-rounder to the Spurs for DeRozan in 2021.

If they gave up their 2024 and 2026 first-round picks, they wouldn't have a first-round selection until 2028.

And what do they get in return? An aging, 32-year-old point guard with two years left on his contract. Sure, he's one of the NBA's best scorers and facilitators, but he's only played 87 games over the past two seasons. The trade leaves the Bulls decimated on defense and scrambling to fill the gaps of LaVine and, particularly, Williams.

Hollinger, in response to Lowe's suggestion, tossed the ball in a different direction.

"I like that package better in a (James) Harden trade than in a trade for Portland," Hollinger said.

Again, silly. Harden expects an extension for whoever decides to trade for him. He opted into his 2023-24 player option worth $35 million to find another destination in agreeance with the 76ers. How much will Harden's next contract be?

Also, it's important to note each of these two stars have preferences. Lillard reportedly is solely focused on the Miami Heat; Harden is honed in on the Los Angeles Clippers. In either hypothetical trade to the Bulls, perhaps both stars would remain unsatisfied, even after their initial trade requests.

Trade hypotheticals are fun to generate and ponder. But these are unfortunately preposterous, as the Bulls find themselves in a difficult spot without much draft capital and aging top talent.

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