Haberstroh: Bulls might trade up to No. 1 or 2 in draft


For the first time in 12 years, the Bulls transcended their pre-lottery position and won the No. 4 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Which direction will they go? There should be options to address the team’s playmaking deficiencies and lack of wing depth at No. 4. Artūras Karnišovas and Marc Eversley have both also displayed a penchant for draft-day trades at past NBA stops. All options are seemingly on the table. 

Speaking on the latest Bulls Talk Podcast with K.C. Johnson, Tom Haberstroh said he’s expecting Karnišovas to pursue a move up in his first draft as executive vice president of basketball operations.

“I think [Karnišovas] might move up, because I think No. 1 with Minnesota and No. 2 (with Golden State) is going to be readily available,” Haberstroh said. “I would be surprised if you didn’t see Charlotte (at  No. 3) or Chicago move up in the draft.”

Reports have swirled for months that the Warriors are interested in flipping their No. 2 overall selection for a win-now piece — with a healthy Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and solid supplemental pieces in tow, their championship window remains open. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor said in his latest mock draft that “executives around the NBA say the Timberwolves prefer to trade down or out of this pick to bring in a win-now player…”

For now, there is a leaguewide moratorium on transactions while the NBA and NBPA hammer out modifications to the CBA in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic-affected 2019-20 season. But come draft night, Haberstroh thinks the floodgates could open.

“I also just think people are going to be more trigger-happy, make some deals because they’ve been so far away, so far removed from real NBA stuff that I do think there’s going to be a circus on draft night with the No. 1 pick,” he said on the podcast. “Top five I just think it’s just going to be all hands on deck.”

The Bulls find themselves squarely in that mix. A move up would be a risk, but if made by Karnišovas, you can bet it’ll be a calculated one. It could just be a matter of the price — and if there’s a prospect near the top that catches his eye.

“What is Chicago willing to give up to move up in the draft? If they have a guy that they really want and they don’t want to risk losing that player at No. 4? I don’t know what they’re willing to give up,” Haberstroh said. “But I do think that it wouldn’t be out of the realm, I wouldn’t be surprised if Artūras made a big splash on draft night and got a player that he really, really covets and values.

Even if Karnišovas stays put, his track record from his days in the Denver Nuggets’ front office gives reason to believe he can find the right player for the Bulls.

“[Karnišovas] is also a guy who came from a Denver organization that found gems later in the draft. So maybe he’s not as dead set on moving up in the draft, you almost think maybe he realizes I could get a lot of talent by sitting back,” Haberstroh added. “But I do think there’s gonna be a lot of trades on draft night. People are gonna be itchy to make deals after being silent for so long.

“I don’t know who the right fit is at No. 4 (for the Bulls), but I do think you need some defensive-minded guys for Billy Donovan. And whether that’s you get that in free agency or you get that in trades, I’m not sure, but I do think they need a defensive-minded guy to complement Coby White. If he is truly the franchise going forward, I do think you need a more defensive focus guy.”


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